Pet of the Day

April 13, 1999

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Flower, the Pet of the Day
Name: Flower
Age: Ten years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Morgan Horse
Home: Purcellville, Virginia, USA
   What makes Flower special: Flower was part of one of the largest equine rescues in the US. 31 pure breed Morgans were rescued in 1991, Flower being the weakest... she couldn't even stand on her own, and had to be carried from the horse trailer by her rescuers. She recovered and became the "posterchild" for the Equine Rescue League which had saved her. The Morgans' case was heard in court and the man who had owned them got the harshest sentence that had ever been given for the abuse of animals. Flower overcame her fear and distrust of humans and is today a sweet and loving pet, and an educator against horse abuse and neglect. She has been in HorsePlay magazine twice and is featured in a book called The Magic of Horses: Horses as Healers. I adopted Flower four years ago and she has been my best friend ever since!

    Her physical rehabilitation took almost a whole year. She had so little nutrition that she had stopped growing a coat, and when she first started getting fed on a regular basis, her old dead coat fell out and she was bald! Luckily it was during the summer. She also coliced very badly from suddenly getting food. By a year later though, she looked like a totally normal three-year-old, with a beautiful shinning coat. The emotional damage was much worse however. She was terrified of everyone and everything! I worked with her on the ground for a full two years before she was able to be taken into a boarding situation. She is now completely approachable by strangers, and is actually very friendly. I cried the first time a complete stranger walked into her paddock and Flower went over and demanded a scratch and/or treat!

    She starting her riding training last summer and is doing very well! She is a very good jumper, and really excels at dressage! I ride her four to five times a week. I am amazed at the condition of her body after such abuse - she has always been in perfect health and has never been lame. She has the toughest hooves I've ever seen and has never needed horseshoes. She hasn't had any problem with colic after that first time. My only concern with her is to keep her from getting too fat!!

    Flower's favorite game is "feed Flower treats" followed closely by "scratch Flower's bottom!" She likes jelly beans, sugar cubes, peppermints, carrots, apples, pears, oranges... !!! She also likes to play our version of "Simon Says." I will walk and she will follow me, if I jog, she will trot, when I stop, she stops, etc.

    She is an excellent representative against horse abuse. (The photo I sent is actually not the worst, she had been rescued for some time at that point.) It makes a great impression on people to see her before picture, and then to see her in the flesh... and to touch her. She and I go back to the rescue league that saved her for their open houses and I have actually used her for pony rides, where the children can sit on her and be lead around. The effect she makes on people is profound, and I am not exaggerating when I say that people come up to me and hug me with tears running down their faces after petting her. They look at her with awe, and touch her carefully, as if she may break. Most people know me as "Flower's Mom"... she is pretty well known in this area!!

    Visit Flower's Barn on the Web for more info and photos.

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