Meet the Horses
My Katie Girl
Born a Montana cow pony, surviving harsh winters on the range at 8000 feet, 11-hr. cattle drives and carrying not only humans but exhausted calves or dogs on her back, Katie was the love of her owner’s life ... a real working partner. On loan to a local ranch, she was turned out to lush green spring pastures and foundered.  After partial recovery, she moved with her owner to two more states where her career changed to English riding, jumping, school horse, and eventually 3-day eventing. Always in the ribbons, she carried her “kids” to success. Sadly, as Katie aged, her owner contracted Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and could no longer care for her and meet the special requirements for her feet. Katie “retired” to Oregon where as she aged she developed arthritis and a swayed back.  Katie loves kids and her work with them. She has learned to drive a carriage and teaches swimming to our younger horses as well as low-impact riding and jumping to children under 75 lbs. including those with special needs. Her original owner has recovered enough to travel from Arizona to reunite and ride her once a year. Katie remembers, and  still loves, her precious cargo!
    “Pony”, a former pasture pony, was purchased for her long, fluid, movement and style, destined for greatness in the dressage ring. But she had other ideas. With a mind of her own, she would not “socialize” as training, rules and restraint increased. Territorial to the max, she attacked other horses in the field. She let out blood-curdling squeals at 6 a.m. followed by repeated, double-barrelled blows to the walls of her stall. More training seemed to make the situation worse. Bucking, biting, aggression. Labeled “corrupt” she was put in an unsheltered roundpen for three months and ignored as her perceived value dropped. Her life changed one day when she “joined up” with a TCTC volunteer and moved to a new home where her monitored habits revealed gastric ulcers and a need for chiropractic adjustments of, among other things, floating ribs. During rehab it became apparent that Pony was extremely relationship-oriented once you earned her respect and love. She is now sponsored and maintained physically by a veterinarian and her two young children, and is learning to give lessons to many students who adore her.
Lucky Paris “H”
    “Lucky” was an eventer ... dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country jumping ... until she had a suspensory injury. After treatment and a year’s stall rest, it was clear she would never jump again. Sales efforts were unsuccessful, so she was donated to Trillium Creek. A bit belligerent and strong-minded at first, but glamorous, Lucky has a beautifully thick white tail that she holds up when she moves out. She has since proved she could transition to a horse of many colors. Retrained to establish ground manners, trail ride and drive, she now helps teach riding to volunteers and became a 4-H partner for a young teenager who desperately needed her love and provided unconditional love and training back to Lucky. The partnership has been successful. Lucky has given up her “Union Card” for control, and replaced it with trust in her people and environment. She is so comfortable that when she lies down to nap, she allows her students to sit right on top of her for a little visit!
    Little Bobby is our smallest trainer. He teaches the timid, tiny or beginning horse people how to drive and is safe enough for some with disabilities. He has a tremendous work ethic ... a very strong little man! Bobby also loves to jump, and leaps as high as as he is tall when he’s in condition! Bobby clips and bathes so well that again, he makes a great coach. During the winter with a full coat of hair, he looks like a pot-bellied pig.  He is not a pushover and therefore all the better as a teacher, yet he is kind-hearted and patient when needed. Strong beyond his size, he is a great example of the American Miniature Horse, originally bred for the heaviest labor in coal mines.
   An Argentine Thoroughbred used on a ranch, as a polo pony and then as a schooling horse for eventers, Willow’s condition deteriorated when her trainer unexpectedly became pregnant and had too many horses to keep. On the market for an extended period of time, she lost all the muscling in her back, her feet became brittle and cracked, and her coat dull. She had an old injury that discouraged potential buyers, and developed an abscess in her hoof. She came to Trillium Creek and has been reconditioned and recovering from a stifle injury incurred in the pasture, as well as recurring colic that appears to be connected to gastric ulcers for which she is also being treated. She is a quiet, incredibly nimble, wise mare with a very soft eye, who thrives on relationship. She notices anything new in the arena but is quiet and thoughtful on the trail. Exceptionally nimble, she moves much like a deer!
Gracie May
    The product of an accidental breeding, it was unknown whether Gracie’s father was a Quarterhorse or a draft, or even how old she was. Her mother was Thoroughbred. She seemed like a short pony, and was supposedly 3 years old when she was purchased to train as an eventer for a gifted short rider. She was smart, bold and brave. Training advanced quickly...too quickly. Though she was extremely athletic and agile, she was a year younger than the trainers suspected. She collapsed mentally and became frightened, angry, confused and dangerous, even for her experienced young owner. She was donated to Trillium Creek. After a year turned out to pasture just to “normalize” followed by another year of natural horsemanship and ground training, Gracie was slowly rehabilitated so she was safe enough for an athletic young city man with dreams of learning horsemanship to start working with her as a volunteer. After another year of very intensive work, love and relationship, Gracie learned to be ridden Western, on trails, and even to swim, through the young man’s efforts. She is now learning to trust others as well, and has moved back into the English arena to learn dressage and rediscover her full potential as a jumper.
Mystic Wind
    “Windy” is half Quarterhorse, half Haflinger, a draft pony. Though she came to Trillium Creek with a love of people and the gentle nature of the Haflinger breed to be a safe mount for young, old or disabled riders, she developed a hypersensitivity to biting flies called “noseeums” and worms. The allergic reaction compelled her to itch large areas of hair off her entire buttocks and belly, leaving it raw. The stress from the itching resulted in laminitis. The coffin bone of the foot rotated from the outer hoof wall. She also developed ulcers from the stress of the stress itself!  Windy is resting for a year as her immune system is bolstered, her feet regrow and she is slowly reconditioned. She is our photo queen, as she will stand quietly with visitors who want to sit on a horse for their first time and take a photo, something she does very well as she is interested in everything and always pricks up her ears! While she’s resting, we’re starting to get her used to harness, preparing her to learn driving. Keeps her fresh.
    Actually, he had a fancy name when he was born, Viva la Vida, “Long Live Life”, but some  conformation issues put him at the bottom of the herd’s pecking order and by time the breeder realized she could not sell him, he was just a wild little guy named “Vinnie”. We call him “Vinnie the Mini” and he came to us with bleeding ulcers, needing relationship and a safe place to live. We put him to work as a field companion for Kumba. After 3 months of approach and retreat training in the pasture, we got close enough to touch him. He gradually learned about timothy pellet treats and became less standoffish. One day he finally came up to Bonnie who was sitting on the ground, allowed her to scratch him on his withers where horses often talk to each other, and then suddenly he started “talking” to Bonnie on her shoulder, just where her “withers” would be if she were a horse! Vinnie’s sponsors have been learning ground training and driving of minis, so he has been brought into the barn for domesticating and learning his ground manners, in-hand training, and hopefully driving, with their participation and dedication. He has a good mind and great potential for relationship!
    “Bugs” is his name now, but the story of how he came by his name is sad. Sold to someone who appeared to have all the credentials of a good potential owner offering him a safe, secure future, he was taken out of state as an exceptionally well bred American Miniature stallion. The breeder was called a year later with a demand that she buy him back because he was “crazed and demonic”. The owner was “leaving the country” and no longer wanted him. The breeder refused to buy him back, but offered to pay a professional horse hauler  to bring him home. The hauler reported that the owner had been throwing Bugs on the ground to trim his feet when he arrived, and it was obvious the little guy had suffered a lot of abuse...hence his eyes “bug” out of his head. They had also gelded him. Bugs was donated to our program for rehab and to see if we could restore his faith in humans. When he arrived if an adult came near his corral his eyes would bug out and he would franticly try to climb over the fence to escape. A gifted young girl has sponsored Bugs and learned to desensitize him to everything and everyone through natural horsemanship techniques learned at Trillium Creek. Bugs may never be a driving candidate but he appears to love children and trust his handlers enough to let toddlers sit on his back for pictures! He even stands on all fours for the farrier! As he has learned to trust again, his eyes have softened, giving him a sweet, gentle look that matches his inherent nature.
Miss Kitty
        Our newest member of the herd, “Kitty” is a sweet, dominant byproduct of the industrial production of Premarin in Canada. Luckily, she was acquired by a compassionate woman who loved, raised and trained her from a baby to become the 2009 & 2010 Washington State high point driving horse, at only 6 and 7 years old! She is teaching us how to drive, and will be a safe mount for hefty riders who need a gentle giant to carry them either onboard, or with a cart. Kitty loves ginger snap cookies and to cuddle. She is half Belgian draft horse and half Quarterhorse. Belgian draft horses outnumber all other draft breeds combined in the United States, and have been in this country for over 100 years! They are the most direct lineal descendants of the “Great Horse” of medieval times that were used to carry armored knights into battle and are even known to have existed in the time of Caesar. Belgians are “easy keepers” and willing workers with amiable dispositions. Kitty stands 15 hands, weighs 1500 pounds, and the earth moves when she walks by! She seems to adore her new home and all the attention she gets. She just loves people! We are so very fortunate to have found her! She belongs to Walt, and his greatest hope is to experience a lifelong dream... to drive her with her sleigh when enough snow falls!
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