If you’ve ever fallen in love with an animal and then had to leave them behind,
you’ll have an idea of how hard it can be to connect with each and every horse I meet on my courses and clinics, especially the ones who have uncertain futures and no established home. The wild foals course is likely the most challenging, as my heartstrings are pulled on endlessly. You bond with horses and foals when you work with them and speak their language. The connections are palpable, and for many, it comes as a relief as if they are finally being heard by someone who knows how to hear them.
When I walk away from them, I do so knowing that both myself and our students did our very best to ready each and every foal for a forever home. When things go well, ROTH is able to make sure that there is no foal left behind. We like to see each and every one of them adopted before the course concludes. The following are some stories of foals that captured our hearts on some of the foals courses and where they are now. These successes make it possible for me to keep holding these courses, hoping and praying that each foal will find themselves as fortunate as these few have.
Meet Keanu of Widget Creek and Carolina Bartsch in Wickenburg, AZ
There was this little bundle of black, brown, and white, unsure of his new environment and about ready to climb the panels. Thankfully, he found his way into an Anna Twinney course at three months of age after a rough start. He just lost his mom and experienced a kid’s wrestling rodeo. Not the best introduction to humans for sure! He realized pretty soon that a new, kind wind was blowing in this facility. Plus, he was together with a bunch of other beautiful Warm Springs foals his age.
I was at that course too. Ready to take another step towards my Trainer’s Certification, I was allocated “Keanu”. The name comes from his white spots looking like Hawaiian Islands on his shoulder. We had a wonderful week and he graduated like all the other foals and stepped into a trailer to move to his new family. Foal gentling classes are heart breaking! I shed some tears as I said goodbye. Anna told me to give the new owners my phone number, just in case! I ran after the truck and did just that before they left the premises. A couple of weeks later I got a call. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they could no longer keep little Keanu. Of course, I said YES! He was still not well enough to be transported across state borders. Renegade Equine in Bend, OR, offered to take care of him until he was ready to come home. He received the very best care anyone can imagine! They gave him a great space to be a foal, nurtured him back to health, and prepared him for the long trip in a scary trailer. Finally, in January all the pieces fell into place. Katie Dixon from Renegade loaded him onto a transport and I bit my nails for the next 48 hours.
In the meantime, I found Friday. He is a little tri-colored BLM mustang, one month younger than Keanu. I did not want Keanu to grow up with adult horses and humans only. He needed to be a foal and play with foals! When Keanu arrived, Friday was ready to be his twin brother for the next few years. They grew up together with a Percheron mare who was excellent at keeping the rambunctious duo in line and teaching them a thing or two about respect. Keanu showed at a young age that he was born to not be a follower. One time I observed him giving his “mother” some teenage rudeness. She whipped around and scolded him perfectly. Hard enough so he could feel it, but soft enough and placed perfectly not to cause him any harm. He learned. This was necessary because I wanted to keep him a stallion for a couple of years until he had a chance to develop.
Finally, a few months before he turned three, it was time to have him gelded. My neighbor is an old-school vet. He just swung by one morning, tied Keanu loosely to the fence, gave him a local anesthetic, and completed the procedure in 15 minutes while Kenau was just standing there. This was about as non-traumatic as it could be. On top of that, another ROTH student with a healer soul was visiting at the time. Karin brought out some essential oils and treated Keanu daily with the oils and her magic hands.
Keanu had become quite an interesting young man. He is very observant, rarely taking no for an answer, and he loves to be involved. He got himself into trouble a couple of times exploring. My vet had several opportunities to stitch him up. Friday, who also is game for everything, is much more aware of boundaries and managed childhood without a single incident. At three years of age, they were released out into the “big” herd, consisting mostly of Mustangs. This was another learning curve because the leader of the group made sure the two newcomers observed the boundaries! For a while, they looked like old wool sweaters being eaten by moths. Especially Keanu was not very impressed by the continuous reminders that he was supposedly low in the pecking order.
After being with us all his life after BLM, the herd leader moved out to his owner just a month ago. I thought I knew who was going to take over for him. Not so fast! It starts looking more and more like Keanu is in a playful way telling the much older horses that his ambitions are way more passionate than theirs. I think he might just take over in the future. First off though, is colt starting. Temperatures have finally dropped here in the desert and Keanu, as well as Friday, have fun times ahead getting under saddle. Both love interaction with various humans. I sure am looking forward to this next phase in their lives!
As you have probably figured out by now, Keanu is a master manifester who just seems to be arranging his life perfectly, piece by piece. The pictures only show you some of who he is. You are – of course – welcome to come and visit him any time! He is a tall hunk with a dark wavey mane and dreamy eyes, earning him the nickname Orlando (Orlando Bloom). With his intriguing and commanding personality, he earned himself the title Prince, making him “Prince Keanu Orlando”.
Meet Ruby, then and now…
Ruby was first featured on a ROTH Foals in Training Course two years prior and was adopted. We assumed that she had found her forever home and that her ROTH methods were serving her well until she was discovered in terrible condition and in need of rescue. ROTH Certified Trainers, Jill Haase and Lani Salibsury, of Redmond, WA, organized her recovery and she has been with them ever since! “Coming back to us in the fall of 2018, under 2 years old with various owners and inconsistent, poor care, Ruby spent her first year with us receiving better nutrition, time to grow, and learning manners and basic skills: haltering, leading, hoof care, trailering, vet prep and ponying out on trails. This past year, Ruby enjoyed considerable time at pasture with a familiar herd continuing to mature and grow – allowing her body time to catch up. She looks fantastic, well-muscled, and almost 14 hands! Ruby continues to make the most of any situation: harassing our older horses, taking down our electric fence, & generally looking for action. She is a daily reminder of the possibilities within a horse. Utilizing ROTH’s philosophy and methods: accepting her for her best qualities, being creative with training, and tolerance for her learning style, Ruby consistently demonstrates a steady mind and brave demeanor. Harsher and less flexible methods would yield a very different horse. Her current goals include obstacles at liberty, acceptance of the surcingle, and developing skills long lining. Next stop – colt starting with ROTH this summer!”
For more details on joining us to audit this year’s foals in training course, go here: