equine rescue upstate ny

Hello Friends and Happy Spring!

This time of year always has me thinking about what the warm weather means for our equine community. No doubt, those of you who’ve been around the barn for a few seasons know to expect the return of pollen, insects, and sweat (ours and our horses’). Allergies are kicking up, and along with our animals, we’re a little itchy, to say the least.

Over the years, I’ve come across a lot of ideas about how to keep a horse comfortable, how to pamper a horse. And many of them are costly. High end fly sprays. Essential oils. Tepid baths. Mint- and tea tree-infused shampoos. Silky conditioners. Epsom salt soaks. Liniments. Poultices. Hoof shine. Cushiony leg wraps. And there’s more. How about reiki? Acupuncture. Massage. Chiropractic treatments. The list feels endless.

But before your head starts spinning, consider that most horses don’t need to be pampered in a way that will break the bank. Consider that many of the herd members at 13 Hands once endured cruelty, unpredictability, fear, neglect, and blatant abuse. Consider that rescues appreciate a different kind of pampering: freedom, confidence, security, peace.

In addition, check out this list of the ways horses at 13 Hands are pampered:

Mud Baths and Mud-Mask Facials. I have yet to meet a rescue who doesn’t love a roll in the mud (which, by the way, is a natural way to keep insects off skin). Most will cover their faces with such a thick layer that on some muddy days, we humans can barely tell the color of their hair.

Social Hour. On any given day, particularly when there’s a cool breeze, you’ll see horses playing and communicating. Sometimes they charge around the field together, bucking, rearing, and tugging on one another’s manes. Sometimes Social Hour is quieter, when you catch them absorbing the joy of good company.

Alone Time. You might notice that some rescues stand away from the herd. Don’t assume they’ve been banished. Like many of us, some equines cherish time alone. No expectations. No pressure. Just the sun on their backs and the knowledge that they can reconnect when the moment is right.

Cocktails. Fresh water anyone? It’s deeply satisfying to watch a horse drink, to witness water travel down the horse’s throat, to see their neck muscles draw it in towards the torso, to imagine what it feels like to fill that barrel of a belly.

The Salad Bar. Rescues at 13 Hands have a diet that’s rich in grass and/or hay. In the warm weather, they forage the way I do at a salad bar—nose down for the greenest greens, the leafiest leaves. And sometimes they find toppings — dandelions, seeds, and clover. Who needs dressing?

A Stay At The Inn. Horses know instinctively to huddle together in cold weather, to seek shade when the sun is high, and to head for cover when the insects are biting. I imagine cozying up with your paddock mates inside a shelter is like coming back to your room at the inn after a long day out.

The Most Magnificent Views. If you’ve ever visited a place with a breathtaking view, you know it can bring you a sense of awe and a feeling of peace. I often wonder what the horses are thinking when I see them standing facing the hill, the valley, or the rainbow that often appears in the distance. I can only imagine that the views do for them what they do for us.

This spring, I hope to see you around the barn. Come visit our very grateful, pampered horses.