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Noel, the Christmas Pony

Uncategorized January 22, 2017

As I was working around the barn today, enjoying the treat of a sunny but chilly day, I received a call from an SPCA constable; could I attend for a seizure right away? I finished up quickly, then headed out to an address in a rural area near Chilliwack. Responding originally to an abandoned dog complaint, the officers had rounded up a number of dogs, left behind in the wake of a tenant moving out. Apparently these folks left in such a hurry, they “forgot” their dogs. After the officers had the dogs loaded up, they heard a sound, which apparently came from an old abandoned barn near the edge of the property. On investigating, they found the barn was not at all empty …

I backed my rig into the driveway & stepped out to the grim faces of the SPCA constables. As we made our way through an ocean of discarded junk & garbage, I began to get a sense of foreboding; despite trappings familiar to these abandonments & seizures this would not be a scene I would soon forget. We reached the only opening in the barn, which had been sealed up with boards & plywood. I as peered into the gloomy innards of the decrepit barn, I made out a shape huddling in the far corner. The only response from my hushed call was a pair of terrified eyes reflecting the slim shaft of sunlight that sliced into the darkness from behind me.

I moved slowly inside, talking quietly in reassuring tones as I went. When the shape darted to the other side of the small enclosure, I backed away slightly & just waited. Eventually, curiosity got the upper hand & with painfully laboured steps & a body trembling from fear, a frail form inched cautiously towards me. Presently I got my first look at the barn’s only inhabitant; it was a small horse who seemed to wear a head two sizes too big for his body. He sniffed, then quickly licked my palm before backing away. I continued to stand in the same spot for a moment, then took the initiative to move forward again. The horse did not move away this time, instead he stretched his gaunt neck out to meet my hand, which he licked again before retreating once more. I watched as the look of trepidation slowly faded from his eyes, replaced with one of pleading.

Over the course of the next 1/2 hour we exchanged gentle touches, soft words & meaningful looks. Each time I would reach for the lead rope hanging from my neck, the horse would dart away as quickly as he was able. It took the remainder of the hour to gain enough of his trust to allow me to stand next to him with my arm draped over his neck. As I rubbed his whisper thin neck, I would lean over him enough that the lead would brush against his shoulder. At each sign of going too far, I would back away slightly; as this pattern developed, the horse eventually began to follow me as I moved out of his space. At length I draped the rope over his neck & backed away, with him following. Shortly afterwards I was able to get a halter onto him, & after leading him around the tiny enclosure for a time, I decided to go for broke & head for the doorway.

We walked slowly towards the opening, & although the horse was hesitant to follow it took very little coaxing to keep him close by. Everything seemed to be going quite nicely, until we left the confines of that barn. On exiting, the sun spilled over the horse’s unbelievably thin body, revealing what was little more than a walking skeleton. It was then I realised the impression I had gotten inside of his head being too large for his body was due to the disproportion between that head & his hideously emaciated body. He appeared to be a young horse, at first I thought perhaps a yearling, as between his gaunt lips I could see juvenile incisor teeth.

I managed to position myself so as to shade the horse’s head from the sun, which eased his terror at seeing his own shadow for what may have been a very long time. He continued to shake violently, so we stood there for the next several moments as I quietly reassured him. Once his trembling subsided, we resumed our walk towards the trailer. He followed quite willingly, sensing that he was leaving this place of dark horrors behind, & walked onto the trailer with only brief hesitation to investigate the threshold. Once I was satisfied the horse was confident enough, I stepped out & closed the access door behind me. I had left a small amount of hay in the box stall for him, enough to let him munch for a bit but not too much, as I did not want to risk the chance of a colic by allowing him to gorge right away.

On arriving at the SPCA shelter & examining the horse in detail, we reached the conclusion that he was at a state in which the volunteers there were ill-equipped to deal with. I suggested moving him to a friends’ barn, where he could be monitored more frequently, & by horse people well versed in helping severely neglected horses restore their own health. Throughout the examination, I stayed close to the horse, stroking his neck & talking to him. He eventually began to respond to this & willingly moved closer. If I moved away, he instantly followed suit, so as to remain close at my side. The result of this made it quite easy to re-load him; all I had to do was head for the trailer, with a horsey glued to my hip!

Yet another uneventful trip followed, & I was greeted by the barn owner as I wheeled into the driveway. Despite her experience with abused & neglected horses, she winced at the first sight of the horse as we stepped off the trailer. She led the way as we walked slowly into the barn & headed down the aisle to a large stall. We set about once again to examining the horse, this time with an eye on assessing the approach to rehabilitating him. Despite his frail stature & having feet malformed from neglect & wading through a mire of his own feces, he was of splendid conformation. As we inspected the horse, I began to relate the conditions under he was found. There was neither food nor water where he was kept, & the tongue marks on the walls & lack of manure told at least part of the story of how this fellow survived being entombed; he licked at the condensation from the walls in an effort to satiate his steadily growing thirst, & had eaten his own feces when there was nothing else left but the dirt floor on which he stood. As near as could be determined, that horse had been boarded up inside that barn for several months. We could only speculate how long he’d been left without food or water.

As would be expected, a small crowd gathered outside the stall as we looked the horse over. Each new face that peered over the doorway reacted with more or less the same degree of horror, save one young girl who simply stared at the horse with a blank expression. We all went on discussing his condition, until someone asked, “What’s his name?” I had no idea, but one of the shelter volunteers had begun calling him “Little Richard”, for lack of another name. So we more or less agreed that would do. The young girl continued to stare at the young horse, and on leaving much later in the evening, she followed us out to the parking lot. We all bade one another good night & were about to leave when the girl suddenly spoke up; “How about we call him Noel?”, she asked. When someone asked why, the girl simply replied; “Because he’s our Christmas Pony!”

On thinking about this I realised that girl had a better understanding of that aged story than the rest of us. That little horse brought something with him to our neighbourhood tonight; following doggedly in his footsteps is hope.
Hope that we can help to repair at least some of the damage to his stunted body.
Hope that one day someone may be deserving of his trust.
Hope that in time he may leave the nightmares of his ordeal behind.
Hope that those who did this to him come to understand what they have done, & in doing so resolve to never allow it to happen again.

So to Noel, our Christmas Pony I offer thanks. Thanks for giving us hope.

December 5, 2008

Noel has already begun to come ’round. He is looking much less gaunt, after being so horribly dehydrated for so long, we are worried about renal failure, & this is still a very real possibility.

He offers a nicker to whomever comes over to his stall to say “Hi”, & has become the hit of the barn where he is being cared for.

Falon has graciously donated the winter blanket which was originally donated by Val Woida of Horse On Course. Sheryl at Cedar Creek made Falon a lovely custom winter blankie, because after reaching a somewhat more “matronly” figure, the previous one no longer fit Falon, so she wanted Noel to have it.

One thing Noel will need in the spring is cryptorchid surgery. His testes have not dropped, and the procedure is rather costly, but necessary to his continuing health. He will need to regain his strength, so the operation will likely not be booked until March or April.
There will be a fund set up for this cause, the target for which is $1,000. Anyone wishing to donate please contact me for details. A tax receipt can be arranged.

Once again, I want to extend our gratitude & heartfelt thanks for those who have called & written to help this very special little horse! There will be ongoing expenses & needs, so everyone’s continuing support is very much appreciated!

December 6, 2008

Sherri & I spent part of the day with Noel today. He is slowly responding to the care, but is still dangerously weak. His feet are of course in terrible condition, & he experiences considerable pain when trying to walk.

He refuses to lay down, either from apprehension about being in new surroundings, or the pain in his feet & legs could be so severe that he may not feel confident that he can get up again if he does lay down. Poor little guy just grunts whenever he tries to take a step!

Noel’s feet are in the best hands! Christina Cline has offered to undertake the project of restoring his feet to something resembling “normal”.

Noel also now has a lovely new leather halter, his own grooming kit & a complete array of his own buckets. (I couldn’t resist! Love shopping for ponies!!)

The last thing Noel did before I left his stall was have a little nap with his head resting in the crook of my arm. He is a very loving & appreciative soul!

December 7, 2008

I’d like to thank all those who have contacted me offering blessings & well wishes, services & goods for Noel’s recovery. Your overwhelming support is touching & very much appreciated by Noel’s caregivers.

Thanks to the many merchants & private folks who have contributed in their own special ways, Noel will want for very little while he recuperates. All he will need after he’s back in good health is a loving home.

A partial list of merchants contributing to Noel’s recovery follows (some have requested to remain anonymous). I urge everyone to return their good spirits by patronizing their businesses:

Wrayton Transport Ltd, Langley – (Hay sales & transport)
604-539-2304

Vanderveen’s Hay & Feed, Cloverdale
604-576-1177

Klieder Veterinary Services
604-888-7565

Christina Cline – farrier services & spiritual support!
604-835-1700

December 10, 2008

An amazing couple of days since I was away on a trip to Alberta …

One of my clients called to offer a considerable sum towards Noel’s surgery & ongoing care! I was absolutely stunned! Apparently they had a very good year & wanted to share their good fortune with our little Christmas pony. This individual has asked to remain anonymous, so no one but Noel & I will ever know …

Another barn owner e-mailed to say they (the ENTIRE barn!) wanted to adopt Noel & make him their mascot. His duties would include accompanying the show horses to events & be an ambassador for rescue efforts. They have offered to set up a permanent account at their bank for donations, and the kids at that barn presented the owner with a list of regular fundraising events they wanted to put on each year to raise money for horses like Noel.

I got a call from a writer who wants to do a TV news series based around the challenges of successful rescues, starting with Falon & Noel!

Who knew one little pony could reach so far into so many hearts …

December 11, 2008

Noel’s caregiver felt confident enough that he could stand a bit of exercise, so he was led out to one of the paddocks closest to the barn, & turned loose there for a while today.
He did nothing to begin with, just standing near the entrance surveying the area seemed to be sufficient at first. He seemed unsure of what to do next, when finally either instinct or rapture took over. The next while Noel fairly exploded with activity! He romped (as much as was possible for him anyway), tried out a few bucks & even had a good roll.

Leading Noel back to his stall, everyone discovered an entirely new horse. He whinnied to the rest of the horses as he returned, & entered his stall with a spring in his crooked steps. The light slowly returning to his eyes shone a bit brighter tonight, revealing yet another layer of who we are starting to discover is a most unique individual indeed.

Last night he laid down for the first time in the week since his rescue. The morning crew came out find shavings all over Noel’s side, & a compressed area of bedding to one side of his stall. I never thought I’d be so happy just because a horse laid down!

December 12, 2008

I’ve received the OK to publish a photo of Noel. It was a difficult decision, inasmuch as I want to illustrate how inhumanely Noel was treated, and the physical effects this cruelty has had on this wonderful young soul. I think better to concentrate on his emotional scars though. As he is is slowly improving in a physical sense, his spirit seems to be unquenchable. He returned from his outdoors sortie yesterday a changed individual, proving there is will present.

So, without further rhetoric, here is one shot of Noel I will share. This was taken 24 hours after I picked him up. You can make out his lips still parted from dehydration, tissue around his ears & pole is sunken, as are his jowls & neck. Be thankful the blanket covers the rest …

Noel, the Christmas Pony

December 14, 2008

Due to the low temperatures & Arctic outflow winds, Noel’s outdoors sorties have been curtailed, much to his chagrin. He let everyone know how displeased he was at this development. Sucks to be a convalescing pony …

Christina Cline comes tomorrow to have her first go at Noel’s feet. I will out of town until Thursday, but I will post as soon as I return.

Thanks once again to everyone who has called offering support & well wishes for Noel’s recovery. Your calls, e-mails & PM’s are heartwarming, to say the least. Noel’s story has reached Eastern Canada, I got a call from a TB breeder in Ontario today asking what they could send for him!

December 16, 2008

Christina Cline had a go at Noel’s feet on Monday, & made considerable progress for her first visit. Although Noel’s feet were quite long, Christina was able to take over an inch & 1/2 of toe, give him a more natural roll (which will make walking much easier); all without drastically changing his angles (which will need to be done very gradually.

His strength is still an issue, and as he could could only balance on 3 legs for a few moments at a time, the trim took the better part of the morning! Subsequently, Noel is moving easier now, & his next “playtime” in the paddock is sure to be a show!

Might be a while for that, as the temperatures are still too low to risk letting him outside for long. Perhaps if we get a mild moment or two, someone might sneak him outside …

December 18, 2008

Apparently the pony is starting to feel better … at least well enough to begin acting like a stallion again. Remember the old saying, “Tell a gelding, ask a mare, discuss it with a stallion”? Well Noel REALLY doesn’t like anyone fussing about around his nether regions; as one might when one is trying to do up leg straps on his blanket. So, we had a “discussion” about that.

We counted on an eventful recuperation for Noel. His ordeal notwithstanding, he is still a stallion & as such he will of course follow his natural tendencies. Despite this, he remains affectionate & appreciative, but his “social skills” are almost non-existent. I’m hopeful we can find a safe match for him so he can learn how to be a horse again. If we have to wait until he’s been gelded to begin his “re-education”, then so be it. So for the interim, he may just have to live the life of a stud. There may be a hint as to his incarceration here. It’s not a stretch to imagine his previous owners either lacked the experience or fortitude to deal with a maturing stallion & either out of frustration, anger or fear decided that walling him up in a barn was justified.

December 20, 2008
Noel had his “official” examination today, compliments of Dr. Nick Klieder of Klieder Veterinary Services. Dr. Klieder graciously offered to see Noel while on his holidays, & donated the examination as an early Christmas present for Noel.

Dr. Klieder’s estimation of Noel’s condition was unsurprising in that he saw a severely malnorished horse, but one who has managed to put on some 80 pounds since his rescue earlier this month. As part of the exam, Nick checked Noel’s teeth, which he found to be in need of attention. There were pronounced spikes & hooks, which were filed down to make chewing easier for Noel. Our Christmas Pony was also given a full compliment of vaccinations, incvluding his tetanus & flu/rhino. Noel was also evaluated for his upcoming crypto surgery, which in Dr. Klieder’s estimation Noel should be strong enough to tolerate within the next month. We’re going to play this one by ear; watching Noel’s behaviour carefully. If he begins to display aggressive tendencies as his health improves, we may have ot look at scheduling the surgery sooner, in the interest of both Noel’s safety & that of those working with him. He may just be a pony, but he’s still a stallion!

During the examination, I pointed out that Noel still has 2 of his juvenile incisors, while the rest are his adult teeth. This in conjuction with conventional aging estimations led us to agree that Noel is somewhere around 3 years old. We could safely assume his birthday to lie in the months of March or April, given those are traditionally the heaviest foaling months. Rather than just pick an aribitrary date, I thought it might be fun to let everyone pitch in to choose a birthday for Noel. If you have a favourite date within the months of March or April let me know why that date is special to you & why you think it should be Noel’s birthday! The “winner” will have their reasons posted here!

December 24, 2008

We certainly can’t let Christmas Eve go by without an update on Noel!

As his health improves, he is apparently able to set the mares to being mares. Noel enjoyed some out time yesterday, & the mares were beating each other away so they could take turns singing to Noel. Well, not really, but you know what mares do instead …

One by one, the mares are all cycling, so the barn staff will have their hands full now with “perky” horses …

Noel apparently has elves on his side, as they deposited a nice gift for the barn owners yesterday. Noel wanted to thank them both for the love, attention & efforts they have already put into helping him recover.

Now is an opportune time to reflect on a few things:
Here’s my list …

I’m going out to the barn tonight & hug Falon, George & Kooter. Not that I don’t every night, but I feel so very fortunate for their company. Having the willing companionship of a horse should never be taken for granted.

Looking back over this years’ “crop” of neglected, abandoned, abused & even tortured horses, I am all the more determined to increase my vigil for more. I know we will never stop mistreatment of animals, at least not in my lifetime, so the next best thing we can do is to never stop watching out for the ones who need us.

Sherri & I are both thankful as well that we have been able to do our part for horses like Falon & Noel, & the countless others who’s lives have touched ours, if only briefly. Our hope is that we can continue to help wherever it’s needed.

Merry Christmas to all, and from us deep appreciation & thanks for your support for Noel, the Christmas Pony.

January 8, 2009

My apologies for the lack of updates .. life gets in the way of living sometimes.

This is what 5 weeks of love, attention & a carefully structured rehabilitation strategy can do …

Looks like we’re going to push Noel’s surgery up as soon as possible. He is rapidly becoming quite a handful (giving us some insight as to perhaps why we was imprisoned in that barn).

Christina Cline performed the second trim on Noel today as well, and his feet are almost “normal” now. One more trim should bring him back to the point where he can be put on a regular 6-week schedule.

We are still short for the money needed for Noel’s cryptorchid procedure. The account is active at the CIBC now, so any donations deposited through there can receive non-taxable recognition. H4 Services & The Horse Protection Society will also accept donations on Noel’s behalf.

Thanks for taking the time to look in on Noel!

January 22, 2009

OK, it’s official; as of 10:30 this morning Noel is an “it”. As it turned out, the cryptorchid procedure was not necessary after all. Dr. Klieder was able to perform a regular castration on Noel, which we all very happy about! This means we will have enough money to see Noel receive anywhere from 2-3 months of professional training.

Jill Hartzenburg of Hillside Riding School has graciously agreed to help Noel begin his journey towards a more secure future by taking the “first shift”; arguably the most difficult in Noel’s case! There have been other tentative arrangements made to further Noel’s education, but for now we’ll see how he takes to “kindergarten”. Jill will continue to work with Noel throughout this coming spring after which we will all assess his progress before making further plans.

For now, we’ll just be happy to let Noel take the rest of the winter learning how be a horse. As soon as he is ready, he will begin increasingly longer turnout sessions with mature geldings who have demonstrated the attributes needed to help assimilate Noel into a herd setting. In other words, he’s getting a few “uncles” to show him how to behave like a horse!

March 22, 2009

I know, I know … no news for two months. Bad Kevan …

Noel has gone through some interesting challenges in the past several weeks. He recuperated from his operation in record time, & with no complications whatsoever. Unless you consider that he suddenly decided to be morbidly afraid of pretty much everything, including his own hair. We may never be sure just what sparked his decline into fear, but as his health improved, Noel’s confidence shrank exponentially. It got to the point that he refused to leave the barn unless he had the luxury of following another horse outside. It took everyone’s most supreme effort to help Noel through this strange period, but he is at last beginning to show that he has emerged from yet another dark episode in his eventful life. He doesn’t spook at his own hair anymore, daylight doesn’t seem to as daunting, & he he regained much of his eagerness & curiousity.

Noel is learning to longe, and taking to the exercises quite willingly. He responds appropriately to walk & trot, but canter seems to flip on the afterburners … might take a bit more work there. He enjoys being in the indoor ring, & regards it almost as a sanctuary, where he has enough space to kick up his heels, but is still “inside”. We’re not sure how long he will be afraid of the outdoors, indeed thanks to his ordeal he may never feel completely comfortable outside; our only hope at this point is to continue trying different approaches & try to expand his comfort zone a bit at a time.

The best news is how he’s looking now! Feast your eyes on these pix!

June 4, 2009

I know, I know … no news for two months. Bad Kevan … (is there an echo in here … ?)

Had a few “firsts” recently. It was bath time at the OK Corral. No pix of that, as Sherri & I kinda had our hands full! But you can see what we accomplished after a few hours of patience.
He learned about cross-ties as well; not too impressed by that, but at least now we know he can be tied without losing his mind.

“Clean ‘n Shiny!”

“Cross ties just suck … ”

Our little boy is growing up!

Noel is now pastured with an older gelding named Bart, who has taken the youngster under his wing, heart & soul. When I arrived & walked into the pasture, Bart actually blocked me from getting near Noel!
“I don’t know you, & I’m not sure I trust you with my little buddy!”

The entire time we had Noel out being bathed, Bart paced, whinnied & fretted until we brought him back. The instant Noel was back, Bart herded him away from me, as if to say “He’s mine again!” After I put Noel back into his pasture, I cleaned out the water trough & re-filled it. Noel was thirsty but wouldn’t go anywhere near anything that had a hose sticking out of it. He waited until I was done before venturing closer to take a drink. As he reached the trough, his chin brushed against the fence, making him leap backwards trembling. Sherri commented on what it must be like to live one’s life in constant fear of EVERYTHING. We can only ponder on what must have been done to him to elicit such a terrified reaction. The only time he seems to be almost at ease is when we’re working with him. He craves a “job”, & dives into the tasks we set out for him with everything he can muster. Admittedly, sometimes that’s not much, but this little guy gives 110% of himself, even when he’s scared spitless.

June 23, 2009

Noel came over to visit Falon & the boys yesterday. Here’s how that went …

George spent 5 minutes trying to grab hold of Noel’s halter to drag him around. Noel finally had enough of that nonsense …

Meet “Larry, Moe ‘n Curly” …

Falon’s take on the whole thing; “We are NOT amused … ”

Noel spent part of the day in the trailer, as I delivered horses locally. The idea is to get him used to trailering, and hopefully help him to realise that big tin box isn’t going to eat him. By the end of the day he was still nervous, but had definitely gotten over most of his fears.

Noel has blossomed unbelievably, particularly in the past month since being pastured with Bart. By his actions & behaviour, it’s evident that he has never had this sort of interaction, so we feel it’s an important phase of his education to just let him spend the summer learning how to be a horse.

July 13, 2009

After a respectable introduction period, during which all the boys got to know one another from their own sides of the fence, we decided it was time to let George, Kooter & Noel have a run in the back pasture together.

Noel had to ham it up a bit first …

… put the boys in their place next …

… then show them some new moves. I’m not really sure what you’d call that, & by the look on Kooter’s face, neither does he! Boy, would that pony make one heckuva cuttin’ horse!

It would appear there’s some Arabian in there somewhere …

Then again, maybe we’ve got 3 Arabians

We’ve been concentrating so hard on placing challenges in front of him that it came as a surprise when we noticed he’s not reacting to “other stuff”; gateways, rubber mats, shadows, movement, etc, etc.

It was tough to figure out what he wouldn’t freak over, as there were just too many things that scared him. He’s actually taking more things in stride, and more so on his own as well.

Sherri worked him over a minor obstacle course yesterday, including a cavaletti & a tarp. He took everything as though he’d been doing it all his life. So while his alertness is leaps & bounds (pardon the pun!) above most horses & he’s still ready to bolt at any second, he’s at least learned that it’s OK to investigate something first.

Noel knows how to transfer what he’s learned to other situations, & even shows evidence of being able to combine lessons to address completely new scenarios. In other words, he’s a smart li’l feller.

August 11, 2009

George & Kooter have not only taken Noel under their wing, but done so in a manner more common to mares adopting orphaned foals. Their level of attentiveness & protection for Noel is amazing! I truly believe they know from whence he came & are simply offering everything they can towards Noel’s healing process.

Noels’ new nickname is “BooBoo”; that little horse is a walking Band-Aid! Now over many of his fears, his curiousity abounds! It’s like he has this amazing new world begging to be discovered, & he’s intent on taking all in at once. In his rush & subsequent deep concentration, he sometimes forgets where all of his body parts are … hence the “boo-boo” part

Another pivotal moment for Noel came yesterday during a visit from friends. They brought their kids over, and since Noel seems to harbour a deep distrust of children (we believe much of his mistreatment may have been at the hands of youngters intent on tormenting him) I was wary at first. Noel took me by complete surprise when he not only readily accepted our friends young son, but proceeded to follow him around faithfully! The only urge Noel displayed towrads this young boy was to get closer to him; this is a cautious stance, but we may have just witnessed yet another dissolution of Noel’s many fears.

While working aorund the barn yesterday I noticed what appeared to be a spot of blood in Noel’s mouth. Attributing that to yet another of his “boo-boo’s”, I wasn’t too concerned as I asked him to open his mouth so i could check thigs out in there. I was so unprepared for what was there that I had to take a second look to be sure of what I was seeing; Noel had lost a boby tooth, but on the lower jaw! This is where initial inspection had indicated adult teeth, but in fact what we saw must have been juvenile incisors exposed from the gum more than usual due to the extreme state of dehydration he was in at the time of his first exam. On closer inspection, it would now appear that Noel may have deciduous teeth in both upper & lower outboard incisor positions, which would put him closer to 2 years of age, & not older than 2 & 1/2. Some pony breeds such as Shetlands are known to have their adult teeth erupt later than the average for horses, so because we know virtually nothing about Noel’s lineage it may be impossible to ever accurately assess his age. If he’s only two, he’s sure coming along fine for a youngster!

First we play …

… discover new things … (yup, he drank that birdbath dry!)

… then we work a bit. This was Noel’s first try at ground driving. He had the rein cues figured out in about 10 minutes.

Amidst enthusiastic praise from Sherri, a horse who 3 months earlier was too scared to walk through a doorway now navigates an obstacle course with confidence & ease.

That was all really hard work …

The journey with Noel has been eventful to say the least; every step of his salvation has given up not only progress for our Christmas Pony, but lessons for everyone around this wonderfully talented pony. He has truly given up every bit as much as he has taken in from us, making this relationship a true synergy.
The most recent chapter in Noel’s amazing story comes as a complete surpise to everyopne invloved in his rehabilitation …

First came in the form of “closure”; those responsible for Noel’s abuse were finally brought to justice! Pleading guilty to multiple charges of animal cruelty, Bob & Brandi Ganzeveld of Chilliwack were convicted of causing animals to be in distress & were handed down sentences including fines & prohibitions from owning or caring for animals. It doesn’t make any difference to Noel, but it helps those us who worked with this very special soul to know that not everyone who would hurt animals gets away with it!
When Noel was first taken in there was really no “plan”, I simply knew i could not allow him to enter the normal adoption program in the physical & mental state he was in at the time. So on a whim I impulsively agreed to adopt Noel myself, and worked on a plan afterward. Sherri was quick to support my decision & immediately took on the task of Noel’s physical needs. We agreed then Noel would onyl remain until a suitable home could be found for him. As time passed, I interviewed scores of potential homes, finding several good prospects. Curiously enough the one situation i had not pursued turned out to provide a dream come true for Noel!. Jonathan Field has worked with Noel on occasion, & I have gone to him seeking advice on some of the thornier issues we’ve helped Noel through. Much to my surprise, Jonathan called me one evening to ask me what my plans were for Noel; no sooner had I told him about the “screening process” he came straight out & asked me if i would consider letting him have Noel! I was stunned! I could not dared hope for such a place for Noel, so immediately agreed!
So Noel will quite likely spend the rest of his life with Jonathan & Angie & their boys, and Jonathan has big plans indeed for that little Christmas Pony. Two years almost to the day from when I pried boards back from a decrepit old barn to free this pony he has stepped from our lives to brighten more than I would thought possible. Thanks to my friend Jonathan Field, a young soul has been assured of a life he would otherwise never had a chance at.

Here are some videos posted on Jonathan’s YouTube page about Noel:
The Arrival
“I Found a Horse!”

So as another soul passes on, so closes yet another chapter in the never-ending story of salvation, rescue, rehabilitation & souls helping each other discover what they can do together. Thank you Noel, for everything you have given …

Kevan Garecki

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  • An Overview of Horse Riding Bits

    by on June 21, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Before buying their own horse, many horse riders don’t get a say in what bit they get to use. If you’re like most others, the owner of the horse you were riding made that decision for you. You may have tried straight bits, D-ring bits, or jointed mouth pieces without really ever understanding why. When […]

  • The Missed Horse Show or How to Bypass the U.S. Entrance Ban

    by on July 21, 2017 - 0 Comments

    While going to Minnesota from Montreal might seem to be a long shot to some, if you are a big horse show fan, you are ready to travel just about anywhere. In fact, I had several good reasons to travel this far. One of them was to look at the show participants and choose my […]