Category Archives: Animals

Articles that concern animals in some way, shape, or form.

Retired Racehorse Metro Meteor Paints for Charity

A combination of two of my favorite things: horses and art! It doesn’t get any better than this, does it?

Check out the original article here:

Racehorses Paintings Compared to Jackson Pollock : Discovery News.

The famous racehorse art is being compared to famous abstract impressionist paintings. Racehorse Metro Meteor is now retired and painting after bad knees ended his racing career.

retired racehorse paints for charity

Metro Meteor painting for charity!

His owners taught him to paint with treat training techniques. After Metro’s success in painting, his owners realized that this could help all racehorses. Money earned from Metro’s paintings goes to a racehorse adoption program to help retired horses find a safe haven. Horses are rehabilitated and placed into adoptive homes.

I wonder if I can teach any of my horses to paint? This horse is amazing! Not only is he getting crafty, but his art is helping fellow retired racehorses stay out of slaughterhouses and auction. Kudos to Metro and his wonderful owners!


Rubber Fencing?!

I recently discovered this company that recycles old racecar tires and makes them into fencing material. Intrigued, I scoured their website for weeks until I decided to ask for a free sample of the material. Check out their site for yourself (below)!

We Recycle Tires – Home.

Once we received our sample in the mail, I was even more impressed. The rubber material is durable, strong, and SAFE! There are no sharp edges and I have been unable to think of any way a horse could injure themselves on this fencing material. Plus, it’s recycling–or upcycling?–old tires that would likely end up in a landfill anyway.

Okay, so I must admit I was sold on it at this point…but I had to convince my loving husband. When I checked the prices, my jaw hit the floor. Not only is this material incredibly safe and eco-friendly, but it is cheap to buy and claims to be easy to install!

If you’re in the market for safe, affordable horse fencing, you NEED to look into this product. We put in an order for enough material to fence a small 305′ x 290′ rectangle paddock. Our order will be delivered next week!

You can bet I’ll be posting about installation of this fence. If all goes well, we will continue to use this product! Stay tuned to see how this fencing project goes. 🙂

17-Year Cicadas are Coming Back this Spring!

The cicadas are coming back out this year! We haven’t seen this variety in 17 years. Since I first heard about it, I’ve been worrying about our fruit trees. After reading the article below, I’m thinking we’ll be alright. There are going to be LOTS of cicadas, but supposedly they do not eat the trees.

17-Year Cicadas to Emerge in Central Virginia – NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather.

I haven’t seen these bugs since I was in elementary school. Boy do I remember them well! They come out in masses and they are LOUD! Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get some good pictures of them while they’re out. Check out these pics I found online–they look so creepy!


close-up cicada

17 year cicadas

17 year cicadas

Have you seen cicadas before? Apparently this 17 year variety is unique to the eastern US. There are other kinds as well, such as 13 year cicadas and another variety that appears in smaller numbers every summer.

Doug’s Transition Back to Health with CVHR

Can I get a round of applause for the hard work and dedication of CVHR’s founders, volunteers, and supporters? Check out Doug now! Here he is the image of a happy, healthy horse ready to learn his job in the world. Doug has been evaluated under saddle now and he was an absolute gentleman!

Doug CVHR rescue horse

Doug April 2013

Doug has come a LONG way since his arrival to Central Virginia Horse Rescue. Doug is not the first horse to come to the rescue in such poor condition, and he won’t be the last. Thankfully, the good people at CVHR know how to rehabilitate horses incredibly well. This rescue truly gives every horse taken in another lease on life. Check out Doug’s transition over the past several months below:

Doug CVHR rescue horse

Doug’s transition back to health

I support CVHR because I can see the difference this organization makes every day. You can literally see your donations at work as horses are rehabbed, trained, and eventually adopted out into loving forever homes. Thanks for all that you do, CVHR!

Want to help the horses at CVHR? Donations are very much appreciated! Donate to CVHR via PayPal at or via snail mail to 389 Boydton Plank Road, Brodnax, VA 23920.

Raw Meat Diet for Your Dogs?

Wolves eat raw meat and bones as the main source of their diets. What about our domestic dogs? Genetically, dogs and wolves are practically identical. Heck, my dogs hunt voles, rats, squirrels, and even birds down all the time! Stray domestic dogs hunt and scavenge anything they can find to eat and survive, too–including raw meats and animal carcasses.

Would you feed your dog a diet of raw meat, bones, and forage? The article below considers the issue.

The Raw Diet for Dogs | Marks Daily Apple.

I’ve found that two of my dogs, Malachite and Bandit, have some kind of allergy to several commercial dog foods. Their skin gets dry and itchy and their fur turns coarse and wiry. Sometimes we’ll be feeding the same thing for months before they have a reaction, other times it is as soon as they start eating it.

Meet my puppies!

sandy yellow lab

Sandy (yellow lab)

sage german shepherd lab mix

Mama Sage (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

butters german shepherd yellow lab mix

Big Brother Butters (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

malachite german shepherd lab mix

Daddy Malachite (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

bandit german shepherd yellow lab mix

Little Brother Bandit (Sable German shepherd X yellow lab)

Corn, soy, gluten, chemicals, preservatives, and lots of other ingredients in commercial dog food can be troublesome to sensitive dogs. I’ve also heard of popular brands being recalled for making dogs get very sick and die all across the nation. Plus, the hubub about GMO corn and soy is enough to make anyone want to go organic.

We usually supplement our dogs’ dry food with leftovers, raw fresh fruits and veggies (like apples and carrots), rice, and olive oil. I think this helps keep them healthier and they certainly appreciate the taste!

german shepherd lab mix sleeping

Malachite snoozing with my niece

german shepherd lab mix

Butters and me

We often buy “soup bones” at the grocery store for them. My mom used to get these for our dogs when I was a kid, too. They are usually cow or pork bone with marrow and sometimes even a little meat left on the bone. The dogs LOVE them.

Mom likes to cook hers, but I leave ours raw. The marrow cooks out and the bone splinters easier when you boil them. Plus, I always figured it would be fine raw because…well, wolves and coyotes chew on raw bones and survive. Our dogs also get dewormed and vaccinated regularly, so I’m not worried about them getting “something” from the raw bones.

german shepherd lab mix

The boys hanging out in the snow

german shepherd yellow lab mixes

They loved hanging out in the snow

german shepherd lab mix

Bandit, Malachite, and Butters out in the snow with the kids

german shepherd lab mixes

Sleeping brothers Butters and Bandit

Anyway, I’ve been seriously considering this raw diet “fad.” There seems to be pros and cons on both sides, but  my intuition tells me that natural is healthier. What do you think? Would you give the raw diet a try with your dogs?

Derecho Learning to Lead

As you may recall, last summer a loose stallion turned up at my farm. He was surrendered to CVHR and is being fostered here indefinitely. Derecho has settled in nicely and is learning how to be a polite horse.

stray stallion cvhr owner surrender

Derecho July 2012

He came with very little, if any, training. Derecho was pushy and did not understand how to give to pressure. After just one short week, he is now respecting my “space bubble” much better and very sensitive to the slightest pressure. He isn’t scared of anything and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Derecho is one of the sweetest horses I have ever encountered.

Teaching an 1,150 pound 3 year old stallion to lead is NOT easy. We had foals when I was a kid and I helped teach them to lead…but this was a completely different task. Derecho knows he is bigger than me and did not like the idea of being led around. Although he wanted to follow me around like a puppy dog, he didn’t like being tugged on with a lead rope.

Since he resented being pulled forward so much, I decided to work on other directions first. We have nearly perfected backing already! He willingly moves back a step at a time with the slightest touch now. I can get him move away from me to the left and right, although he is much more supple to the right than the left. Derecho also lowers and raises his head easily for me with gentle pressure either on his poll or under his jaw.

When I want him to move forward, I began by simply encouraging him to follow me with the lead rope long and loopy. He does well following at a respectful distance most of the time, but occasionally he still gets too close and I have to stop and send him back a few steps. After a week of practicing multiple times a day, he took his first willing steps beside me moving forward. I was thrilled!

We made 3-4 large circles in each direction in his paddock. I began by walking beside him and apply the slightest forward pressure to the lead. Derecho followed the pressure willingly and lead beside me like a champ by the end.

Check out the rest of his year in pictures below! He’s adjusted really well and is a super nice boy.

Derecho makes a great gelding

Derecho in his recovery stall after being gelded.

Derecho with other horses at feeding time

Derecho finding his place in the herd in the lower field–after he became a great gelding, of course!

Derecho giving me a cuddle

He is such a sweetheart! ❤

Derecho the stray stud is a great gelding

Derecho saying hi to Annabelle.

Derecho loves Coda

Derecho and Coda having a drink in January 2012.

Derecho in the snow

Derecho and his best girlfriend saying hello during our March 2013 snow storm.

We’ve been letting him take some time to be a part of the herd since he learned how to lead. He has also learned how to pick up all 4 feet, behaves politely for the farrier, and stands nicely to be groomed. This spring we are planning on starting him under saddle. Stay tuned for more Derecho updates!

Custom Fleece Helmet Covers are AWESOME!

It’s Cyber Monday! Are you partaking in any holiday online shopping today? If so, you should definitely consider searching for handmade items to support artisans that make a living right here in the USA.

A good friend of mine makes so many FABULOUS items as a side business. She makes western show shirts, saddle pads, saddle covers, fleece sheets, scarves, and so much more!

Today I am trying to help her promote a very popular item, her custom made fleece helmet covers! They are super warm and so cute! These would make a great gift for any equestrian and come in a variety of colors. They are handmade right here in the USA, which is fantastic! Support small, local businesses and buy handmade this year!

If you want to see more of what HeatherWear has available, check out the links below:

Fleece shop – HeatherWear

HeatherWear on Facebook

Blog Inspiration: 11th Picture in a Google Image Search for the Term “Derecho”

This activity was fun and inspirational! I enjoyed seeing the different photos of the Derecho and writing about the 11th one for this prompt.

Derecho storm over Kansas

Amazing clouds from the Derecho over the summer!                                                                                         (Image Credit:

Today I did a Google Image search on the word “Derecho.” I chose this word because we were affected by this type of windy thunderstorm back in June. That storm inspired me to name our “stray” stallion Derecho.

The 11th picture on the image search is an amazing photograph of a Derecho sweeping across the plains of Kansas (above). These storms are absolutely incredible to look at because they are an eerily beautiful phenomenon. A Derecho is basically a huge storm system that moves rapidly across land in a straight line. The after effects of a Derecho are often catastrophic, leaving trees uprooted, debris everywhere, and many people without power.

Power lines down in Crozet, VA after the Derecho!                                                                                              (Image Credit:

We decided to name the stallion (now a Great Gelding, thanks to CVHR!) Derecho because he showed up a few days after the storm. Fortunately, he is not wild and crazy like the storm was! He is just a beautiful creature that happened upon us one summer morning.

Our Derecho!

Do you remember the Derecho from earlier this year? Were you affected by it? It certainly was scary for us here in Virginia!

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Miniature Horses from Person County | Central Virginia Horse Rescue

CVHR helped with an Animal Control seizure in Person County, NC and took in 15 miniature horses. Over 100 animals were seized from the 10 acre residence.

Of the minis CVHR rescued, they are all in poor health and 10 of them are stallions in need of gelding. Initial vetting is expected to cost over $200 PER HORSE! The gelding surgery costs $250-300 per stallion.

CVHR expects costs to reach over $5,000 in the first month while rehabilitating these ponies. These minis need our help–please network and share, we can help them if we all work together!

Miniature Horses from Person County | Central Virginia Horse Rescue.

Have You Ever Found a Stray Horse?

Stretching awake in the early morning hours a few days ago, my husband noticed that the horses were calling out more than usual. Money was squealing and carrying on, so he went to investigate. That’s when Eddie noticed the strange horse loose in the yard.

A big bay beauty was prancing back and forth, touching noses with Money and pawing at the fence. We rushed outside to try to catch this mysterious horse. With cookies in hand and a halter and leadrope over my shoulder, I set out towards the field after Eddie.


The horse was very frightened when we approached him. After closer inspection of the horse, we realized he was a stallion. He did not let us get close enough to touch him, only close enough to eat a treat before running off in the other direction. After several unsuccessful attempts at catching the horse, we decided to call some backup. Eddie went to call the neighbors and Animal Control while I went and awakened our closest neighbor to ask him to help out.

After an hour of chasing the “wild” stallion around our yard, Animal Control finally came. I was relieved because I thought they officer was going to help us catch this frightened horse. The stallion was frantically running up and down the fence line, occasionally trying to jump into the field with our mares. The officer walked towards us, snapped a photo of the stallion with his phone, and left us with the animal to go and try to find the owner.


Although I was shocked that he did nothing to help us catch the horse, I didn’t have time to worry about that. It was up to me. We had tried herding him, tempting him with grain, feeding him treats, and even just chasing him to wear him out. None of it was working. I decided to try something different.

With just a rope and a treat, I practiced a give-and-take approach. I would walk towards his shoulder and based on his reaction either continue forward, stop, or turn and walk away. Soon I was able to get close enough to let him sniff my hand. After he sniffed me, it was only about five minutes before I was able to fasten a rope around his neck.

I tried to put a halter on him next, but he shied away from me and cantered off. After he calmed down again, I was able to approach him. I chanted, “Shh, shh, shh, easy boy,” in a low tone as I stroked his cresty neck. I tried to halter him again, but he ran. Finally, I was able to slip the halter on and he was caught!


It was immediately apparent that the stallion did not know how to be led. After some circling and coaxing, we managed to lead him from the yard to the quarantine paddock on the other side of the house. We gave him some hay and water and he settled right down. I was able to do a brief evaluation on him once he was contained. The stallion appeared to be a 2-3 year old Quarter Horse. He did not seem to be halter broke at all, but he was very friendly and curious.

The rest of the day was spent trying to locate the owner of the stray stallion to no avail. I spoke to Animal Control, my vet, and others throughout the day. By the next morning, the owner found us!

The owner gladly surrendered the stallion to CVHR because she didn’t want him anymore. He had been loose several times and was becoming too much for her to handle. Now, the stallion is being fostered with us while we get him cared for and trained.


We have been trying for a couple of days to name the stallion. I think we’ve decided on the name Derecho, after the unusual storm we had in our area just a few days before he appeared on our farm.

In the meantime, we are trying to raise funds for the stray stallion’s vetting and care. He has never been vetted or had a farrier work on his feet. His shots, coggins, gelding surgery, and hoof trimming is going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500.

CVHR is trying to raise funds for the gelding surgery and is working towards starting a Great Geldings program. If you would like to help CVHR, donations are greatly appreciated via PayPal at Volunteers are also needed to get the gelding program underway!

Stay tuned for more updates on Derecho!

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