Scout relaxes in our pasture with the Grand Teton in the background. The east edge of our 253 acres borders Grand Teton National Park, ten miles north of the town of Jackson in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson is the town; Jackson Hole refers to the valley.
Scout is now Jonesy's preferred mount, my good buddy. Scout came to us as a scrawny wild yearling and just mowed our pasture for two years.
Then I, Jonesy, started working with him and Scout became a real horse. He has a ton of energy and if there is mischief afoot he will be right in the thick of it.
One frosty fall day I saw the horses running fast across the pasture. I went and climbed on the corral fence to see what was going on. Scout was in the lead of 15 horses and they were in hot pursuit of a mama grizzly bear and her two 7 month old cubs who were fleeing for dear life. I'm sure the grizzlies came out of the river bottom, tried to cross the pasture, and bumped into the horses. The horses were likely curious and trotted closer to get another look. The bears got nervous and started running. I'm sure Scout said, "Hey guys! This is fun! Let's see if we can catch them!" Nope. Grizzlies can outrun a horse. I, Jonesy, am witness to that.
Jackson Hole Horse Rescue is located at Trinity Ranch, a private retreat owned by Sun Pacific Group who grows the Clementine Cuties seedless mandarines that you love so much. They farm 40,000 acres in California and grow fruit and nuts including the "Cuties" and Kiwi fruit "Mighties". Trinity Ranch is a private retreat for employees and family of the owner.
When I, Jonesy, was hired as manager and caretaker in April 2011, the boss generously donated 40 acres of irrigated pasture to the Horse Rescue in exchange for us taking his guests on horseback rides with our rescue horses. So we keep some rideable horses on hand for that purpose. Some horses are not rideable and will either be adopted or live out their days at the Ranch.
Horsie Heaven. Also Jonesy's piece of Heaven.
Here are some of the horses in our care now.
Nova, 20 year old mare rescued from a "kill pen" at an auction.
Stormy is about 15 years old. She has a tendency to get too fat. Very gentle and reliable. She had a torn ligament in her right shoulder when we got her, which finally healed.
Chief, a 19 year old gelding that was rescued from a local riding stable. He had been lame for quite some time and so they called us. When we picked him up the wrangler said, “Don’t give up on this horse. He is a great horse.” The veterinarian could not find anything wrong; “Maybe he has a pulled muscle deep inside.” After a year and a half Chief was sound and so we now use him in our string for rides.
Belle, a genle old mare. A good addition to our string.
Dawn is a 22 year old mare who we rescued in 2018 from a "kill pen" at an auction. She is very loving and gentle but obviously hadn’t been ridden before. She didn’t know the first thing about a bridle or how to go or turn or anything. She didn’t have any buck to her but didn’t know a thing. A couple of volunteers have been working with her.
Pal, a twenty-something mare. I, Jonesy, have had Pal for twenty years. She’s part of the family. She is the only original horse that we had before starting the Horse Rescue in 2008. The others have eventually gone to that "Great Pasture in the Sky.
Copper really had trust issues when he came to us. But lots of TLC has gentled him down. Volunteer Sean has fallen in love with him.
Rooster is a big roan gelding. Solid and reliable. We acquired him in 2018. His owner died and the family gave him to Jackson Hole Horse Rescue.
Cheyenne, a 20-something year old gelding who goes lame if used on a long ride.
Butter belongs to a local gal who needed a place to keep her, so we took her in, in exchange for riding her with our guests.
On Feb. 2, 2018 some folks called me and asked if we could take in their 13 year old mare, Sierra. She had some kind of issue with diarrhea and swelling on her brisket and belly. They’d done all they could and spent a LOT of money on her with veterinarians over the past several months. So I drove 50 miles to Alpine and met with them and the brand inspector.
Sierra with her swollen belly.
So we consulted with three other people who have had a lifetime of dealing with horses. We decided on a therapy for her; lots of exercise and rough feed. I called the Rancher in Crowheart, Scott Maller and his wonderful wife, who have taken care of our horses in the winter for years. Jane adopted our old mule, Lulu, a couple of years back. I discussed the situation with them. Scott agreed with our assessment and we agreed to give it a try.
We postulate that Sierra has had hay and grain and hasn’t had much exercise for a long time. So, perhaps, being out where she can run and get rough forage would help with her diarrhea and reduce the fluid buildup and swelling. See photo above of the swelling on her belly. See the ridge at the bottom side of her belly? It is on both sides and extends to her brisket.
So I took her over to the Mallers near Crowheart, 105 miles over Togwotee Pass. Scott and Jane and I led her out among our 11 Horse Rescue horses that are there and let her get acquainted with them. Then we turned her loose in Scott’s very large pasture. The horses did the usual thing, threatening Sierra and basically trying to decide where she fits in the pecking order. I was really pleased that she turned her tail toward them and kicked at them to show them she wasn’t going to be bullied. Rob and Colleen had said she was timid, but my observation was that she will hold her own. Then she went running and bucking and kicking out over the 200 acres, jumping the ditch, rolling on the ground, and running with the others. She was obviously overjoyed to be “free” again.
Colleen Sierra and Rob Rich
Rob and Colleen were teary-eyed when they said goodbye to her. This was their first horse and they enjoyed riding her for a year or so before she started with her issues. They are really in love with her.
After getting Sierra settled in to her new paddock with Shadow and Rusty (the old guys), Johnny (who is on our Board of Directors) and I did some brainstorming about what could be her problem. I told him her history and told him what Rob and Colleen had done and what the vet said. We agreed that another visit to another veterinarian wouldn’t accomplish much. Below; the “Horse Senior Center” at Johnny’s.
Scott and Jane agreed to keep a very close eye on her. She fit in with the other horses and they accepted her. The swelling went down but some is still there. The dry grass in the field did her some good as well as the exercise. She definitely has a new lease on life. Thanks, Rob and Colleen, for giving this horse a chance. And thanks for your monetary donation to support the Horse Rescue.
Update: We brought Sierra back to the Ranch in Jackson Hole in the spring of 2018. By the middle of the summer she was doing so well that we tried her out with a very loose double-cinch and a very small rider. The swelling is almost gone. Just a bit left between her front legs, on her brisket. She is doing well. Sierra loves to go on our trail rides. Another update: Rob and Colleen came and rode with Jonesy and Colleen rode Sierra. Just to know that Sierra has found a forever home and is now useful and happy means the world to them.
Folks, THIS is what horse rescue is all about. A horse that had problems and is now enjoying life to the fullest.
Sierra runs free!
Buddy is a Large Black Gelding rescue from Cody, Wy. 6-5-2019, 21 years old, a bit lame right now but there is a very good chance he will recover and become sound. After a day in a paddock to get a feel for his surroundings and the other horses he joined the herd. The initial encounter is common and things settled down within an hour. Go to our Videos page to view Buddy's first interaction with the herd.
We have several more horses not listed here.
Sierra runs in the open pasture for the first time at our winter ranch. She was SO HAPPY!