Magic Ribbon H.
Magic Ribbon H. 2009..at the age of 22 1/2 years
We first met Ribbon at a Foxtrotter dealer's place in 1995. She
was one unhappy mare and didn't mind telling everyone about it. She was standing
in a small stall in an open shed. There was a pesky gelding in the next stall
and Ribbon did not want that boy around! She was snapping at him like a dog would
The gate prevented us from getting a good look at the mare
but Carl was already smitten by her. When she came out of the stall we were aghast
because she had whip lash scars all down her front from her throat to her ankles.
stands 15.2 hands and when first we saw her she was piggy fat. Her massive tail
was bagged up in a tail bag that drug on the ground three feet behind her! I never
could understand why anyone would want a tail that long but none the less hers
was. She was nervous as a cat and tense as a bow string. No matter all those red
flags, Carl had to have her. I was not so certain that was a wise choice but it
was his choice to make.
We purchased Ribbon. She became our second
Foxtrotter following three months after our purchase of Gambler's Jasmine. At
that time we were boarding at the same facility from which we purchased Ribbon..
We had been flooded off our own farm and the damage to our home was too extensive
for us to ever go back. Therefore, we boarded at the stable a little over a year
while we located and prepared another farm for us and our horses.
Ribbon at age 9
Ribbon was so up tight she was a nervous wreck.
AND she was pacy as can be. She was high energy with very little regard or liking
for humans even though she did nothing aggressive toward them. From the look of
her condition she had reason for all these things but it was evident we were buying
a handful of problems that would need to be worked out.
sometimes take offense to suggestions from wives I stayed out of the situation
and left things to the trainer and Carl to sort out. After a month, however, no
progress had been made. Both trainer and hubby were ready to toss in the towel
and move on. Ribbon had bested them at every turn and was not one whit more relaxed
or amiable after weeks of daily work with the trainer !
It was then
I took Ribbon over. Having worked professionally for many years retraining horses
and modifying equine behavior for two ranches in California, I was not intimidated
by her. She was to have no contact with anyone but me for 3 solid months.
my! did she have a bag full of tricks. Behaviorally she was sly and cunning as
a fox but I'm certain she had learned to be that way in order to defend herself
without becoming aggressive or defensive outwardly. Not once did she ever attempt
to kick,strike, bite or bully me, but she was an expert at evasion, deception
and passive resistance!
Within two weeks I had figured her out and
we developed a communication between us that has lasted nearly 14 years. Ribbon
began to respond to quiet, respectful handling and to give of herself more and
she began to stop playing tricks.
Much of Ribbon's problem is that
she is so sensitive she simply cannot abide heavy handed treatment. She is so
responsive and light to be less than light with her is a total overkill. She would
do anything I asked of her so long as I asked with finesse and a light touch.
She absolutely cannot be forced to do anything, she must be asked. I suspect many
people did not realize that because once communication was established she became
a perfect citizen and a willing partner!
After a chiropractor treatment
she stopped pacing and was no longer bracing in the neck. She became the most
agile, supple horse I've ever had pleasure of working with and she has a drop
dead, fabulous foxtrot.
Ribbon's gaits do not end there however.
This mare performs every gait known to horses and she performs 8 of them on cue.
No matter what gait she is working at she is like riding a cloud or a jet stream.
Absolutely smooth and floaty. Effortless and efficient.
We had been
told that Ribbon had not been ridden in a number of years. Her papers showed she
had been sold several times. No doubt her behavior was at least in part the cause
of that. When she came to us she found her forever home. We grew first to appreciate
her and then to adore her! She taught us many things but above all she taught
us that horses have feelings and though many are tolerant and suffer in silence,
some horses branded as rogues are actually horses demanding kind and quiet treatment
Ribbon age 12 parked out.
When we first mounted Ribbon she
would freeze up. She was tense as a statue and nearly paralyzed. It was not that
she didn't want to move, she was utterly petrified at the thought of moving. Just
what had caused THAT little quirk I have no idea but once she got unstuck she
would tuck her fanny and drop down in a weird sort of crouching posture and just
scuttle along like a dog afraid of being swatted on the fanny. She would walk
out of it in a few minutes but every time we mounted she did this. It was evident
she was expecting to be whipped and was more or less compacting her body to avoid
it. Very odd behavior.
The only way she was going to get over it
was to be shown no one was out to hurt her and let her work her way through it.
She never offered to buck or rear or lay down or anything like that. She was simply
With time and patience she worked out of that. Lots
of arena time and relaxing things. We made it a point to come take her for walks
and groom her a lot She loves to be groomed and soon learned every time we came
to see her was not just for work or in her mind torture. Eventually something
settled in her mind and she began to relax just a little bit.
we began to ride Ribbon it was very obvious someone had put some time and effort
into her at some point. She was very light in the bit though at times she tended
to over flex. She side passed beautifully and without any form of resistance.
She backed up like a charm. She half passed like a champ, performed shoulders
in and shoulders out without a hitch. She was push button for responding, yet
a total bundle of nerves. As some would say, Ribbon had all the bells and whistles.
She would even park out on cue.
1995 Carl's first ride on Ribbon
Her short comings were that
she was car shy and timid on the trail...or at least that is what SHE wanted us
to believe. One of her "tricks" was to refuse to go forward. If asked
she would start backing up. The mare can actually run backwards. Rather daunting
to the faint hearted and it was clear someone had let her get away with such behavior.
day I took her to the trail. The first time she acted up and started the backing
up thing, I decided to let her back up until she was tired of it and then make
her back up some more. That day we backed up several miles! Up hills, down into
ditches, up the trail... I kept my feet out of the stirrups in case she happened
to fall but that mare is as sure footed as a goat. Finally after more than an
hour of going backwards Ribbon decided going forward when asked was not such a
bad thing! After that she never pulled the backing up stunt again.
didn't like going through water and would vault even the slightest trickle of
water. I can ride a jumper but it is nonsense for a horse to jump over puddles
etc. so I bided my time. In Washington there is generally not a shortage of puddles
but I needed a good BIG puddle for my task. Finally I found one. It was at least
20 feet across and there was no way to get around the side of it.
Ribbon to it, I felt her gather herself... sure enough she gave a mighty leap.
SPLASH!!!! She landed right in the middle of that puddle. What a hoot. I felt
her body give a shudder and that was it. She just stood there for a minute and
then I asked her to walk. We walked around in that puddle, backed up in the puddle,
went from side to side in the puddle. In short we played in the water for half
an hour. Then I asked her to step out and back in for another half hour. After
that she never jumped water again!
She is a powerful mare also and
utterly tireless. She will go for days on end without slowing or tiring and shows
no ill affects of her labors. One of her quirks is she hardly ever lays down.
For the first few years we owned her she never did lay down. She actually passed
out twice from being so tired and she fell splat on the ground. She was so insecure
she would not sleep. No one knows what traumatized her to that degree but it is
evident something did!
Some would ask why anyone would take the time
and trouble with such a screwed up mare. The answer is in her ability. Ribbon
is the most amazing horse to ride. In all my decades of riding professionally
as well as for pleasure there has never been a more supple, responsive, agile
horse. She is incredibly smooth, fast, sure footed. She will go up a seemingly
impassable hill and she will traverse the most difficult footing without a hitch.
She is endlessly tireless and she is elegant and light on her feet.
also is a very fast mare at the gallop. When she was 12 years old she outran a
4 year old, stakes winning Thoroughbred mare right off the track. Ribbon left
that mare standing in the dust and reached the finish line so far ahead the other
mare should have just stayed home.
Ribbon is also a powerful speed
racker and has the most amazing dressage trot. In short every move that mare makes
is superior and glass smooth. Had she been treated right or fairly she would have
been a totally different animal.
Ribbon would likely have ended
up in a dog food can had we not come into her life. Many people would not take
the time to reclaim such a horse even if they knew how. It is a lot of work but
she was entirely worth the effort. It was a human who messed Ribbon up... she
deserved a chance to redeem herself and she has done so many times over during
the fifteen years we have owned her!
Over the years Ribbon finally
came to trust us a bit. She mellowed with age and has gotten over most of her
idiosyncrasies. She is an extremely responsive and respectful mare and is a dream
to handle on the ground. She is one of the only horses I've ever had that never
leans on the doors or bothers anything in her stall. She never crowds my space.
She is a very regal lady with a good set of manners.
Rain Dancer the day after his harrowing birth in the rain
decided we wanted to breed Ribbon but before we did so, there were some questions
we needed answers to. You see Ribbon has a slight deviation in her front leg right
below the knee that we needed to know the cause of. There is a large scar on the
leg as well but the deviation was not caused from the scar.
deviation was a genetic thing we would not want to breed that into the next generation.
SO we located the original breeder/owner. The woman explained that Ribbon was
born in Oregon where there is a selenium deficiency. Because of that Ribbon's
legs had grown less than ideally straight. The growth plates were not growing
evenly so they had her leg pinned which is a way to allow the one side of the
growth plate to catch up with the other so the leg will go straight. Before the
job was complete however, the pin blew out leaving the scar and her leg not quite
To verify this further, we located and examined
all of Ribbon's siblings, dam and sire. We also were fortunate enough to meet
the dam's sister. All had perfectly normal legs and the dam and sister to the
dam were successful show horses.
Satisfied that Ribbon's legs were
genetically sound we decided to breed her. Her first mate was Cloud's Perfection
A. A direct son of Black Cloud C. Cloud was a big black stallion with a kind nature
and a handsome way of traveling. He was not nearly as smooth riding as Ribbon
but in our area the selection of Foxtrotter stallions was very limited. We deemed
him to be the best of those available for matching with Ribbon.
first bred Ribbon as a 9 year old. She was a maiden at that time. She had a very
tough heiman which the vet had to break. Needless to say Ribbon was not very happy
about that. She became a difficult breeder and was a terror for the stallion until
we learned her ways. She only breeds on the day she talks during her cycle and
that day and only that day she will breed quietly. So we only breed her that one
day and she conceives. It isn't that she is so ornery, she just has her ways and
we had to learn them. She knew what she was doing. We didn't. We just had to learn
what she was telling us!
Her first foal was due and she was going
long. The weather was a fright with storms and heavy wind. I had Ribbon palpated
on day 366 and the vet said she was at least two weeks off and that the foal was
very small. All the same I sat with her through the night. About midnight I got
really cold and went briefly to the house for a cup of hot cocoa. I was only gone
maybe 15 minutes.
Through the howling wind and rain I heard our
stallion, Toy Boy screaming. Toy has a whole range of calls he uses to communicate
and I recognized this one as a distress call. I raced out in the dark, pouring
rain. By the light of our yard lights I could see all the mares standing outside
their stalls looking toward Ribbon's stall! Ribbon's stall was on the end of the
row next to the road and out of reach of the yard lights.
down to her stall, there was Ribbon ALSO looking out toward the street. I flashed
my high powered flashlight in that direction which is down a pretty steep slope.
There waving in the air was a set of white feet! Ribbon had foaled! The silly
mare had found the ONLY place where I had not blocked up the bottom of the fence
with boards. A square only 9 inches by 12 inches! That space was in the corner
where the gate and fence met. She must have lain with her fanny right at the hole
in the fence because the placenta was outside the fence also!
and Rain Dancer day 2, 1997
Opening the paddock gate I raced
down the slippery slope to find a colt laying on his back in a dip. He could not
get up and was already so cold he was weakening. In truth I don't know where the
energy came from but I picked that colt up and carried it up that hill to the
barn. There I scrubbed it off with hay and then slipped off my raincoat and coat.
Taking off my sweatshirt I put it on the baby before putting my coat back on.
The foal was too weak by then to suck. His mouth was cold and he had
lost the instinct. He could not stand and he was so cold he felt like an inanimate
object. Racing to the house I alerted Carl and we carried milk jugs full of hot
water to the barn where I 'd packed hay over the foal for added insulation. We
placed the jugs along the colt's back with a layer of straw between so the heat
from them could bring up his core temperature.
All that time Ribbon
stood patiently over the foal. She was concerned yet knew we were helping. The
foal needed milk but could not stand to suckle even if he had the sucking reflex
so it was necessary to milk the mare and somehow get the milk into the foal. When
I began to milk Ribbon she was perfectly cooperative. Using a milking syringe
I filled a bottle with warm colostrum but the foal was still too weak to suckle.
Soon the vet arrived. He put a tube down the foals throat and poured
the colostrum into his stomach. I milked Ribbon dry and we put it all in that
foal. Then every hour I milked her again and again. Soon the foal was able to
drink from the bottle so the tube was taken out.
By morning the
foal was able to get up with just a little balancing to aide him. He went right
to his mom and began to nurse normally. We were all delighted and very much relieved!
It is odd that a month before that foal was born, Carl had selected
Rain Dancer for its name! Carl never names the foals yet he had told me he wanted
this foal named Rain Dancer if it was a colt! The colt really lived up to his
name for sure!
After Rain was weaned we rode Ribbon for another year
before we bred her again. This time we bred her to a Clarkson stallion we owned
by the inauspicious name of Wildfires' Socks. He was a lovely stallion and half
brother to Toy Boy. From this mating we got Foxvangen's Millenium.
the late term of this pregnancy is one of the two times Ribbon passed out from
fatigue. The mare utterly refused to lay down to rest and simply passed out from
exhaustion. She landed on her belly which turned the foal. After a very prolonged
labor which included a mal presentation, Millie was delivered. She was strong
and healthy thankfully and soon became a hit with all who visited the farm.
and Foxvangen's Millenium 1999
Millie's birth, Ribbon finally began to relax and settle into her life with us.
She became far more friendly and less suspicious of humans. We were able to see
her actually lay down occasionally even though not often. She began responding
to our affectionate handling and on rare occasions began to seek our attention.
That was real progress for a horse that had been so aloof for her first ten years!
is one mare no one would ever know was pregnant right up to the moment of delivery.
She carries very high and never gets a belly. Even when she carried twins she
just looked a tiny big rounder than normal for her. She does not show signs of
labor either other than to stretch just before she breaks water. She looks the
same after she foals as she did minutes before she foals! She is ideal for a brood
We bred Ribbon back. This time
the sire was our current senior stallion, Toy Boy who had finally matured enough
to use. Toy Boy is an utterly confident stallion without any hang ups and he carries
some of the most superb bone and joints and feet in the breed. We felt he would
make a good modifier for Ribbon's weaknesses and calm some of her over abundance
That cross worked very
well. The resultant foal was Foxvangen's Braveheart Two. He was born in 2000.
Right from the beginning he showed a great mind but he retained Ribbon's agility
and suppleness as well as her exceptionally smooth way of moving. He was sensitive
and intuitive but not to the same degree as Ribbon. He was willing to please and
easy to work with. He also enjoyed human contact.
after Braveheart Two was born my health went south in a hurry. We were advised
to move to a place where the air was friendlier for me and where I could be away
from crowds, pollution and groups of children. I had been a preschool teacher
for many years during which time I owned and operated my own childcare / preschool
facility. Now I was being told I had to stay away from children because for so
many years they had come to school carrying viruses, my immune system had been
depleted. It was life threatening. I was given only two years to live if I didn't
totally change my life! SO, we moved to Arkansas where the air is friendly and
where there is space and we could live rural enough to not be exposed to so many
We bred all the mares to our
jr. stallion, Montana's Blue Nugget P. before we moved because we could only bring
one stallion with us. Once all the mares were checked in foal, we made our move.
We arrived in Arkansas in July 2000. We had bought raw land so there was a huge
amount of work to turn it into a working farm!
in 2001 just prior to foaling Que Se Ra
2001 we completed construction of our new barn. It is not a huge barn, only 9
stalls with a tack room. Each stall 12x16 and has a 12x40 foot paddock. The paddocks
on the south side all open onto a common turn out area which in turn opens onto
The very day the last
gate was hung on the paddocks a student arrived with two horses for training.
Initially the student and her horses were coming for gait training however as
soon as they arrived it was evident they were not gaited horses! They were a pair
of domestically bred curly Mustang horses but neither of them performed a four
The student was given options.
She decided to stay for the two weeks and learn to ride gaited on one of our horses
and also receive lessons and some corrective measures for her horses because they
were in pretty stiff condition needing suppling and balancing.
very first night they were here the two broke out of their shared stall and paddock,
bending the brand new gate on their paddock. That would have been bad enough,
however these two decided to break IN to the mares' paddocks. They bent every
gate on that row of 5 stalls but as luck would have it, those gates swing up hill
so they did not manage to get them all completely open. Therefore they could not
get in! Unfortunately that was not the case in Ribbon's paddock.
had foaled only a few days prior. Foxvangen's Que Se Ra was the foal. That first
night the Mustangs were here, they managed to get into Ribbon's paddock and thus
trapped her in her stall where she was guarding and defending her foal!
Ribbon 15 years old, 4 months after the attack. Note the indent to the haunch
where the hamstring was torn and the swelling still in the hocks as well as the
loss of condition and dropped fetlocks due to the attack. This mare went through
a terrible ordeal!
It must have been
her worst nightmare come true. Ribbon had always had such a fear of being trapped
and was always on guard... now here were these two savage horses attacking her
in her very own stall!!
At the time
our house was located on the lower part of our farm which is down a fairly steep
hill and across the road from the barn. We could not hear what must have been
a terrible ruckus going on in the barn!
next morning when I went up to feed what I found was total carnage! The stall
was torn apart with holes in all the walls, the gate looked like a pretzel and
the evidence was clear there had been a horrible fight that had to have lasted
a good long while.
But the bulk of the
damage was to Ribbon herself. The poor mare was bloodied and broken in so many
places she looked like she had been chewed up and spit back out. She was in such
pain she was standing with her head hanging while she still attended and guarding
We immediately called the
vet. Ribbon had saved her foal from harm but in doing so she had been so badly
beaten she would never be the same again. By time the vet arrived she was so swollen
and still bleeding that we were not sure we could even save her. The vet just
whistled and looked at her to see where to even begin to help her. In truth had
she not been nursing a brand new foal, we would have had her put down right there.
She was that bad off.
Ribbon had taken
such a beating that she had ruptured the suspensory ligaments on both hind legs,
she had torn her flexor tendons, ruptured the bursa in both legs, sprained her
ankles, and hyper extended her hocks.
had sustained direct kicks to both hocks, her right stifle, her right hip and
her vulva. She had gashes in her shoulders, and required stitching in several
Ribbon suffered a chipped hip
and a chipped pin bone. She also sustained a torn hamstring. There were also multiple
contusions and lacerations that needed cleaning up but didn't require stitching.
The vet was astounded that she had
survived at all much less that she was still on her feet. Some of the holes in
the walls were nearly 5 feet off the floor! A brand new stall looked like Swiss
cheese it had so many holes in it. There was blood everywhere and yet the filly
had not one mark on her. Ribbon must have fought like a mother tiger to protect
It took many weeks to get
Ribbon where she could even walk without great effort. She was so swollen and
sore she was kept in a deeply bedded stall and was on antibiotics and pain relievers
in massive doses. She was on anti-inflammatory drugs as well as joint compounds
to attempt to take down her pain level and aide in the healing process. ALL this
and she still had to milk for her foal!
hocks and stifle swelled up so bad they looked like water balloons. The chips
in the hip and pin bone the vet thought would calcify back if she was kept quiet
for a few weeks. He did not want to risk surgery in her guarded condition. Her
vulva swelled so bad she looked like she was carrying a cantaloupe under her tail.
The vet conferred with another vet.
Both agreed that Ribbon would never be sound again. The damage to her hind legs
and hip was just too extensive. Hydrotherapy and wrapping was used to try to keep
some support to the legs but they warned us that her suspensory ligaments would
never be right again. Her fetlocks had already dropped and though there was surgery
that sometimes helped they did not recommend it for Ribbon because she was already
14 years old and with so many injuries one more open wound would be asking for
more trouble. AND most of the ligament surgeries are not successful.
we had all this to do over again there are things we know now that may have helped
her more. Maybe they wouldn't have also but it would have been nice to try at
least. You see no one told us just how these injuries heal or what the importance
of all that was. It was before everyone had fingertip research available via computer
and none of my equine vet books covered the subject.
were never advised to put support boots on Ribbon. Had we done so along with all
the other things she was getting it may have helped support her legs while the
healing process went on in the hope that the fetlocks would not let down so badly.
But alas, no one suggested that and we were so concerned about all the injuries
she had sustained and keeping her as quiet and comfortable as possible we simply
didn't focus on that one particular injury
Ribbon and Trade Winds just home from California.
a result, Ribbon's fetlocks dropped. Oh we know full well there are some who view
her and think she has DSLD but she doesn't. Not all horses with dropped fetlocks
have DSLD... there are countless thousands of horses with suspensory ligament
damage due to injury. Our Ribbon just happens to be one of them much to our regret.
is a degenerative disorder ( see article on articles page) which progressively
gets worse as time goes by and it affects far more than just suspensory ligaments.
It affects all connective tissues and many organs including the heart. Horses
with this disorder progressively deteriorate into a very pain-filled state whereby
they become unwilling or unable to move. They do NOT improve.
Ribbon's case, her INJURIES did heal even though the tendons and ligaments never
went back to their normal, elastic state. She improved to a point where she is
pain free and able to move freely. She is on no medications for pain or inflammation
After better than 8 years her
body has held up well. At her advanced age she is now getting arthritic and the
right hip still bothers her some on real cold days but she is not in abject pain
or unable to function at all. A horse with DSLD would long since either have died
naturally or been euthanized due to it's suffering.
Ribbon began to heal, the vets allowed us to let her out in turn out for short
periods of time each day. Gradually she got to where she could move pretty well
without limping and from then on she just continued to progress and improve until
other than seeing her dropped fetlocks and the groove caused from the torn hamstring,
no one would know she had been so terribly and brutally attacked.
Trade winds and Ribbon one week after coming home. The "wild" foal was
tame and willing to please. Ribbon was relaxed and relieved to be HOME
2002 Ribbon foaled Foxvangen's Moonlight Serenade sired by Toy Boy. The pregnancy,
delivery and post delivery were perfectly normal. Ribbon and her foal enjoyed
romping and playing along with the other mares and foals.
winter of 2002 however, Ribbon began having difficulty getting up. We had been
told she would develop arthritis and assumed this was what was going on. If she
laid down on the side where her hip had been damaged she had a dickens of a time
getting back up. Though she rarely laid down to sleep or rest she was prone to
getting down to roll .That winter for some reason she began to lay down in the
loose hay next to the round bale during the day to gather sun.. We also caught
her laying down napping in the hay around the round bale during the day which
was out of norm for her. When she would try to get up however she would have to
rock and rock before she could push herself up and then she would shake and stretch
her bad leg way out behind her as if to try to shake away the pain. After a few
minutes she could walk away normally.
occurred to us the cold ground and the cold weather was having a negative affect
on her joints. She was not happy and we were not willing to have her put down
because in warmer weather she had none of these symptoms.
the day Ribbon and Trade Winds came home from their ordeal! I haltered Trade Winds
on the truck and within just a few minutes handling she was gentle as a lamb.
that winter we were approached by a woman in California wishing to make a trade
for Ribbon. We felt that would be an ideal solution to her troubles since it does
not get near as cold in California. We explained about her hip and her difficulties
in getting up. We also explained about her injuries and the residual affects.
But the woman still wished to trade.
was wanting to trade a young stallion for Ribbon. We needed another stallion like
a hole in the head considering at the time we already had three which is more
than we needed on a place the size of ours with so few mares. But we felt for
Ribbon's sake she would be better off in a warm climate.
explained about her disposition, her needs, how to handle her etc. The woman still
wished to trade. She was to include two months of saddle training on the colt
in exchange for the foal Ribbon was carrying.
agreed that in the spring when the roads were safe to cross the Rockies, the exchange
would be made.
Ribbon and Trade Winds an hour after arriving home! Ribbon is striding fully and
not the least stiff! Over 2,000 miles nursing a foal and bouncing all the way.
shipped Ribbon in the spring. She arrived in great shape and the lady went on
line publicly stating what great condition the mare arrived in and the fact she
was not stiff or limping as we had thought she may be after such a long haul.
She went so far as to label us fools for having parted with Ribbon.
were delighted Ribbon arrived safely and waited patiently to receive the colt.
We planned to give him a test breeding year and if he didn't work out he would
be gelded. We had lined up some breedings for him to help defer the cost of transport.
But he never came! We waited and waited..nothing.
was nearing time for Ribbon to foal when I received an e-mail from the woman stating
that Ribbons "feet have fallen off". GOOD GRIEF! I envisioned they had
allowed Ribbon to founder. The woman said Ribbon had to be in a stall with over
a foot of straw on the floor and special shoes on her feet. We were so upset.
Had we thrown Ribbon out of the frying pan into the fire so to speak?
woman kept telling us that the trainer was tied up and not available to put the
training on the colt, but after months of waiting there was still no progress.
SO, we offered an alternative. She could keep Ribbon's foal in exchange for one
of her breeding since she had some old bloodlines we lacked and she lacked those
of ours. She agreed readily to that plan but still did not send the colt.
was to notify us as soon as Ribbon foaled. We were very worried about our old
mare and asked to be kept informed as to her condition. We got no information
from her at all.
Ribbon at age 17. Look closely and you can see the beginnings of the calcium deposit
o her pin bone starting to show..
one day on one of the Foxtrotter lists, she announced she had a wonderful new
filly! Ribbon had foaled. She posted two photos of dam and filly clearly showing
Ribbon looking healthy and proud of her new baby! Her comment to the list was
that Ribbon had been down for 6 hours post foaling and the foal didn't stand for
Having first hand experience
with this mare we knew these comments were false. If they were not false then
she was painting herself in a rather dubious light. ANY half intelligent breeder
would surely have called a vet if a mare failed to rise after foaling or the foal
didn't stand and suckle within an hour! Clearly the lady likes to sensationalize
and fabricate stories for the affect and response she gets over the internet.
A day or two later she emailed me demanding
I send Ribbon's papers to her. That would have been very ill advised considering
she had the mare and foal yet had still failed to send the colt! SO I told her
we would send the papers as soon as she sent the colt. He was supposed to be a
two year old.
A couple days later she
emailed to say if we refused to send her the papers by the next mail then she
was going to take the mare, foal and colt all to the local auction and sell them
as unregistered horses! EEGADS! Our trusting ways had landed us in a very difficult
That day I raced to Ava, Missouri
and registered the foal in our name. We made a file notebook with all the emails
between the woman and ourselves and then put in photos, registration papers, etc
etc to prove our ownership of the mare and foal.
next called the Sheriff's department in the county in which she lived as well
as the Brand Inspector and asked them to meet Carl and our friend Al in order
to go to the woman's place and retrieve our horses! We wanted legal witnesses
there so she could not claim the men did something improper or wrong. We were
determined she was not going to get away with stealing our horses and we refused
to be blackmailed by her.
to Nevada to meet our friend Al. Al had a horse trailer and truck ready to go.
Together they drove to California where they met with the officials and caravanned
out to the woman's farm. There they retrieved our mare and foal.
Ribbon saw Carl she was all excited! She could hardly contain herself and virtually
ran to get into the trailer. The foal ran along beside her and just jumped right
Ribbon had not been trimmed in
all the months she had been there. The woman had been in trouble with authorities
before for not keeping her horses feet trimmed and most had platter feet that
were quite ghastly.
Ribbon post weaning at age 17 still striding out!
did not want Ribbon to have to haul thousands of miles on feet like that so the
men stopped in Nevada and had Al's farrier come trim her. The woman's assertions
that Ribbon's feet were "falling off" were so absurd but we also wanted
an official report on the condition of her feet. The farrier swore if he could
clone Ribbon's feet he would glue them on every horse he worked on. She has fabulous
Meantime I had gone on line and
asked my lists if there was anyone in route that could offer a rest stop for the
men and horses. Right away one of our list members in Colorado offered a place
for them to offload the mare and foal in a grass turn out and they even offered
a hot meal and lodging for the men! Wonderful people who were willing to go out
of their way to be of help.
kept tuned into the progress the men were making. It was like having a back up
support as many people offered various types of assistance and encouragement.
It made us feel good to know that there were others out there who supported us
and were privy to just what was going on. It was all so bizarre to me that someone
would even contemplate doing the things this woman was doing and telling the lies
she was spouting quite frankly it all took me by surprise! Having my list people
rooting for us gave me a morale boost. I had begun to think the world had gone
off it's rocker!
The men took advantage
of the rest stop to clean the trailer and let Ribbon and the foal run around in
a grassy turn out for several hours before loading back up for the last leg of
They arrived home in great
shape. Ribbon came off the trailer in fine shape and the foal, that had not been
handled, was gentled down in a matter of a few minutes! We named that foal, Foxvangen's
Trade Winds. It is a pun to remind us that trades can sometimes go bad but Trade
Winds are always welcome winds. Windy as she was nick named was always welcome.
She now is a grown mare belonging to a friend of ours who gives her royal treatment
and care. She is a beautiful mare with a gentle spirit and a lovely way of moving.
learned a lot from that experience and later heard from several people that this
particular woman had done similar things to others on more than one occasion!
We also found out that the colt she so willingly offered in trade was not a two
year old at all, but nearly four and that he had a deformed mouth. She claimed
he was kicked as a foal and that may be true but she never disclosed the deformity
to us at any time.
Ribbon age 18. She was ten months pregnant here.
woman involved has spread many different stories regarding this situation but
we have all the official reports, emails, contracts etc that prove our point.
We are certain some will follow blindly along a political path because it is human
nature for some to do so. That is a shame really but it is those people and the
ignorance that allows for such ill informed people to make judgments without so
much as hearing two sides to an issue that cause so much discord in the world.
feel the woman is her own worst enemy and does not need more. We have long since
forgiven her for her lies and deceit and left it up to the ALL MIGHTY to determine
how such deliberate and willful wrongs shall be judged.
good thing is that Ribbon never again had trouble getting up! We think the long
trip bouncing around and jiggling in that trailer may have adjusted whatever was
giving her trouble to begin with. She has no trouble moving, laying down, getting
up or anything even though over the years she has now developed arthritis in her
hocks and hips. She also has a calcium deposit on her pin bone where it was chipped.
That deposit is about the size of a fist. Her hocks are calcified and capped due
to her injuries and the onset of arthritis yet she still can flex those hocks
and move with her amazing stride and smoothness.
that misbegotten event Ribbon has produced a number of other foals. Most have
been sired by Toy Boy. In 2008 when her foal, Foxvangen Ribbon's Beau was being
weaned, poor old Ribbon just would not settle. She lives for her foals and has
to either be pregnant or nursing or she is not happy! We had thought to retire
her since she was getting on in years and had produced so many foals. Ribbon had
other notions however!
wean at six months and we wean side by side so the mare and foal can see and touch
one another but not nurse. It is an easy way to wean without anyone getting upset
or overly worked up...except Ribbon.
runs the paddock fenceline performing slide stops and roll backs constantly. She
will not stop to eat and rarely even drinks. She digs deep holes on both ends
of her paddock where she spins around and she sweats gallons. She goes through
lactation in very good condition but will drop over 200 lbs during weaning just
because she will not stop running!
Ribbon at age 19, post weaning. Her hocks are capped and her fetlocks still dropped
but she is spritely and in no pain.
it was in 2008 when we attempted to wean Beau. Ribbon was so frantic that after
three weeks of that and her now looking like a skeleton we gave in and put Beau
back in with her. She immediately stopped fence running and went to eating. BUT,
Beau was a healthy colt and needed to be out with other colts romping and playing.
We kept him with her for six more months but during that time we bred Ribbon.
She still had a fit when Beau was weaned but he sold and left the farm so she
could not see him. In a few days she settled into her matronly state of pregnancy.
In 2009 she foaled a darling palomino
colt sired by Foxvangen's Solaris. Solaris is grandson to Toy Boy and son to Braveheart
Two. His dam is Foxvangen's Belle Lyra. The new colt is named Foxvangen's Hobbit.
We have decided that it is kinder to
continue to breed Ribbon even though at some point she may actually leave this
world either during pregnancy or foaling. We truly debated about this because
we want what is best for this great old mare. After much deliberation we concluded
that to make HER happy and content meant allowing her to have another foal. Therefore
when she comes in season again we will take her once again to Solaris. We will
let Ribbon tell us when she is ready to stop being a mom.
Ribbon post weaning at age 20, still going strong! As typical for her she had
dropped weight during weaning but she is still upright and very healthy despite
her dropped fetlocks and calcified hocks!
together Ribbon has produced 9 living foals. All are very nice horses with great
gait and conformation. Three years ago, Ribbon foaled a set of still born twin
fillies in the 10th month. Had they lived she would have mothered 11 foals.
She has had a very eventful
life to date. She has gone through a lot of trauma
and caused a lot of debate, yet she is still the Queen
of our farm at the age of 23.
2009, at age 22 and 9 months pregnant, Ribbon
is still cantering and playing in the field with her pasture mate.
As we have been told Ribbon's
arthritis and the wear to her ankles is beginning
to show some. Mares who have carried many pregnancies
are prone to this due to packing so much weight on
the hind quarters. She gets around just fine as can
be evidenced by the photos above but her legs look
awful due to calcification and the scar tissue that
has built up in the ankles. She has full flexion and
is able to gallop, canter, slide stop etc just as
she always has which is pretty remarkable considering
the extent of her injuries and her advancing age!
Ribbon foaled her 9th live
foal on October 1, 2010. She had aborted ten month
twin fillies in 2006 which would have been her tenth
pregnancy and 11 foals. Ribbon does not generally
ever look pregnant even at term and she gives no outward
indication when she is ready to foal. Her only clues
are the fact she bags up and gets milk. When she goes
into labor she will stretch and then just go lay down
and foal. She has done that time and again.
This time, Ribbon did not
bag up! She was at the normal gestational time for
her but since she had no milk we felt she still had
a week or maybe two to go. Ribbon had other thoughts.
I came into the stall early in the morning and saw
Ribbon standing in an odd place! She had the typical
"mother" pose. I looked over the wall but
saw nothing yet I was sure she had foaled! When I
opened the stall door, there he was! A pretty little
Palomino colt all folded up like a pretzel. It looked
as if he had worn himself out trying to get up.
He must have been born during
the night some time because he was dry and very very
weak. He should have been suckling for hours by then.
He was in sad condition and Ribbon still had no milk!
This was not due to fescue because she had been dry
lotted. I believe it was simply either due to her
age, or perhaps she had a slight placentitis. In any
event..there was one exhausted and very weak little
guy laying there needing help.
I rushed in and unscrambled
his legs and made him more comfortable. Then I raced
to the house and mixed a bottle of milk replacer for
him. The important thing at that point was to get
him hydrated and some nutrition into him.
He guzzled the milk down
and was happy then to lay back and sleep while I ran
in and called the vet in West Plains which is 60 miles
north of us. As luck would have it they had a bag
of mares colostrum in their freezer. So I sent Carl
on a race for it. We had no real idea how old the
foal was and it's imperative they get colostrum within
the first few hours after birth if they are to survive
without a transfusion.
I also asked Carl to get
1cc of Fluphenazine while he was at the vets. He was
home a few hours later with both the mares colostrum
and the Fluphenazine. Meantime I'd fed the foal several
bottles of colostrum replacer and some foal boost.
He was doing much better but still having trouble
getting up on his own.
When Carl arrived home I
immediately warmed the colostrum and fed it to the
colt. Then I injected Ribbon with the Fluphenazine
Normally that will bring milk down in a matter of
24 hours. In her case it brought her milk down in
less than 12. Hallalujah! We had lift off!! We named
the foal Hobbit because he looked like a little gnome
when he was going through so many contortions trying
to get up.
Evidently Hobbit had exhausted himself during
the night trying to get something to eat. He was quite
weak and unable to get up on his own by the time I'd
found him. It took several bottles and assistance
getting him to his feet during the first two days.
Once Ribbon's milk came down he latched right on and
after that was just as normal as any foal.
It was a very close call though. Thankfully it
had a good outcome!
Once Hobbit was strong on his legs we let them
out in the mare/foal turn out for a romp. Ribbon was
proud to show her new son off to the mares in the
adjoining pasture as she romped around the turn out
with Hobbit. Normally her foals are chestnut so she
was quite keen on her little palomino baby!
Ribbon and Hobbit walking
together. Ribbon 23, Hobbit 4 months.
Ribbon really bonds to her foals. She a very good
mother and milks well. If she has a weakness in the
mothering department it is that she is over protective.
She has a hard time letting her foals just go out
and explore.She worries and frets over them.
Hobbit at 5 months with
are proud of our old girl and forever thankful to have owned her. Over the years
she has finally come to trust us and welcomes our attention. She shows affection
and is very kind and amiable with us. She will live out her days with us as happily
as we can make her. Below are her foals as adults. She has done a very good job
in our opinion. When her time comes to move on to greener pastures across the
rainbow bridge she will be sorely missed.
we wanted from Ribbon to add to our bloodline was her stupendous natural foxtrot,
her amazing speed, her outrageous agility, her unending endurance, her ability
to speed rack, gallop and running walk as well as foxtrot, her strong prepotence
and her style. We also want her larger, solid feet.
we want to add to Ribbon would be more bone, larger joints, a little less sensitivity,
more symmetry in conformation.
Foxvangen's Rain Dancer..Ribbon/Cloud's Perfection A. V-120.... Now in Chicago
where he is treated like a king by an adoring owner.
1999, Foxvangen's Millenium....Ribbon/ Wildfire's
Socks...V-102....Lives with us where she is a valued part of our breeding program
after a few years with Marge Murdock in California. Millie didn't produce curly
foals for Marge so we jumped at the chance to get her back! We are sorely glad
we did... see her page to get a look at what she has produced!
Foxvangen's Braveheart Two..Ribbon/ Foxvangen's Toy Boy..V-109. Now lives in Germany
where he is used for pleasure as well as a breeding stallion.
Foxvangen's Que Se Ra..Ribbon/ Montana's Blue Nugget P. V-97. Still lives with
us because we did not want to part from her. See her page for more information
on this lovely mare!
Foxvangen's Moonlight Serenade..Ribbon/ Foxvangen's Toy boy ...V-109. Last known
owner in Tennessee.
2003, Foxvangen's Trade Winds, Ribbon/ Foxvangen's
Toy Boy ..V-109..all grown up. Lives in Jasper, Arkansas with a wonderful owner
who adores her.
2004, Foxvangen's Captain
Midnight, Ribbon/ Foxvangen's Toy boy V-109. Last
known owner in Tennessee (see article on
DSLD and Sickle hocks)
2007, Foxvangen Ribbon's Beau...Ribbon/ Foxvangen's
Toy boy V-109. Owned and loved by the same owner as Foxvangen's Rain Dancer...lives
2009, Foxvangen's Hobbit...Ribbon/ Foxvangen's
Solaris V-96. Ribbon's latest foal born only one month before this site was completed.
Here for Pedigree