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By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

A couple of colts came to me to start and sell. However, they needed more time. Although they had progressed, the full extent of their potential had yet to be realized. I could feel it.

Just like us, some colts take longer to bloom. Additionally, I didn’t feel that the prospective buyers were a good match. Someone was going to get hurt and both the human and the colt’s confidence would be undermined. So I bought them. Neither colt was easy. I’ve put an additional three years of training on one, and the other has had an additional year. To see their natural ability and confidence develop gives me tremendous satisfaction in knowing that they have a chance for a secured future. This is my purpose.

In the beginning of my career I focused on improving the relationship between my clients and their horses, and I did. But I was completely unaware of the profound difference the horse would make in my own life. The drive I had to prove myself has long been replaced with a determination to improve myself, not for outside approval, but to bring out the best in each horse. For me, there may be a litany of distractions for 100 different reasons, but when I step up into the stirrup, any inner disturbances fade. The color comes back into the moment. I’ve hit my reset button. I feel most alive while sitting a horse, whether I’m riding in the mountains, working a cow or watching a mentor perform seamlessly in the discipline I’ve enjoyed participating in the past. I’m lost in the sheer beauty of it all. It’s a symphony. This is were I bloom.

But that is my experience. The horse inspires us to be better humans in many different ways.

For Yvonne Wall, her life is made whole by caring for the most vulnerable. She created Forever Free Horse Rescue when it became apparent after taking in the first horse in need that there would be more to come. She is committed to providing feed and shelter to those that were starved and abandoned, to provide medical care to ease long term painful conditions and to provide undivided attention and affection to those that were ignored. These horses are not up for adoption, they live out their lives at the facility where they have room to move and to bond with other horses. When it is time for them to pass, Yvonne accepts God’s timing—and with her long-time vet, they make it as painless as possible.

Duke is a great example. Duke was surrendered to Yvonne by the owner who could no longer regularly feed or provide proper medical attention. Yvonne was told that Duke was diagnosed as having pneumonia and was given penicillin to administer. The owner did so as was evidenced by multiple hematomas on both sides of his neck. After Dukes arrival he was provided a proper medical exam which revealed that his chronic cough was due to asthma. He was placed on a regimen of antihistamines and prednisone. A horse’s normal respiratory rate varies between 13 – 20 breaths per minute depending on the horse. Duke’s rate of breaths per minute was about 30. Any exertion caused a fit of coughing and gasping for air. Not much of an existence and his prognosis was dire.

The vet offered one last option which hadn’t been given to a horse whose condition was so severe. He was cautiously optimistic. The nebulizer, an inhaler, was given to Duke twice daily at 12-hour intervals. The inhaler fits over his muzzle and is held in place with a strap that rests behind the ears, just like a halter. Albuterol, which opens up the lungs, is mixed with saline and added to the medication cup. Once that solution is fully inhaled, then a second solution of Dex and Saline is added which reduces inflammation and irritants in the airways. The treatment alone provided immediate relief; he could breathe without straining. Soon, the antihistamines and prednisone were no longer needed, and his two treatments per day were reduced to one. He can run and buck with his stallmate without coughing and still maintains a healthy respiratory rate of 17 breaths per minute. Success.

Duke is just one of the 42 horses that Yvonne has helped through Forever Free Horse Rescue, she is now down to 14. She relies on grants and donations for funding; however, she frequently reaches into her own pocket to provide the level of care she has committed to giving over the past 15 years. She doesn’t need to ride, or show. She provides a sanctuary to the horses in need. That is her reset button, her purpose, her connection. Her website is www.foreverfreehorserescue.com


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