Stan, the man and the donkey

One of our favorite rescue agencies is the Save Your Ass Rescue Long Ear Rescue in South Acworth, New Hampshire.

Executive director Ann Firestone relayed this heart-warming story of a recent new addition. We especially liked the dedication to Stan’s brethren during World War II. Read on for the full scoop.

Stan, with matted tail and depressed demeanor.

Stan, with matted tail and depressed demeanor.

Firestone writes:

Stan came into the rescue in pretty rough shape. He was not at all friendly and wanted nothing to do with people or the other donkeys. He was covered in burrs and his poor tail was so matted it looked and felt like a club. His forelock and flanks were chock full of burdocks stuck tightly to his skin. He was examined by our vet and it was discovered that he is blind, with large cataracts in both eyes. He was also in dire need of dental work – it’s doubtful that he had ever had dental work in his lifetime. He had such sharp points on his molars that they actually punctured his tongue, and he had so much tartar build up on the outsides of his molars that the inside of his cheeks had become ulcerated. Every time Stan moved his jaw he must have been in excruciating pain. No wonder he was not friendly.

Dr. Lea Warner sedated him and floated his teeth. My helpers Annie and Hannah worked on getting the burrs out. Our farrier, Matt Caprioli, worked on getting his feet trimmed while Stan was in la-la land.

Stan, looking good!

Stan, looking good!

In the weeks following, Stan has blossomed. He is a new man. He must feel so much better! He is now friendly and seeks attention. He did not want to be touched when he first arrived and now he enjoys being groomed and has a big honk for me in the morning when I go out. He gets on very well considering his age and disability.

I decided to call him Stan, named after the father of a dear friend. She related this story:

“My father, Zbigniew Stanislaw “Stan” Jaworski, fought in one of the bloodiest, decisive battles of WWII in Monte Cassino, Italy. He was a Reconnaissance “point man,” locating and mapping enemy lines for the Polish Army.

The Monastery, where Nazis were nested, stood at the top of a steep hill, accessible by

Pack animals during WWII in Italy

Pack animals during WWII in Italy

treacherous, narrow paths. Mules, horses, and donkeys were the only means of supplying Allied troops with essential supplies.

My father was given orders to scale up the hill to a bunker and determine Nazi location for artillery fire. As he began his trek up the hill, a pack of mules and donkeys entered the path from another end of the canyon, which raised serious concerns for Stan. The animals were loaded down with water, food, medical supplies, and ammunition and led by Greeks.

They passed by a huge stockpile of munitions at the base of the hill when Stan encountered the pack. Suddenly, the Nazis launched an attack on the encampment and hit the ammunition pile with a huge explosion. Shrapnel flew in every direction. Stan was knocked down under the weight of one of the pack animals. The donkey took the shrapnel hit and saved my father’s life.”

Read more about SYA.

Read about War Horse, the Broadway play

Read about Woods King, mounted soldier and general during WWII.


Save these dates!

If you live in southwest Colorado, this fall will bring you two outstanding educational opportunities.

close-up-copy-300x225If you do not live in southwest Colorado, let those two outstanding educational opportunities be your best excuse to visit the region, where we like to say “The West Still Lives!”

Randy Rieman, a renowned colt starter and clinician, will visit the Durango area on September 24-26. The Dorrance protégé has received high praise for his clinics. His well of knowledge runs deep with expertise in multiple disciplines including horsemanship, stockmanship, and roping. Read clinic feedback here.

Register here for Randy Rieman Clinic.

Consider staying the week as Rieman, also a renowned cowboy poetry reciter, will join fellow performers at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, September 29-October 2.

Also in the area, Dr. Steve Peters and Martin Black will give an Evidence-Based Horsemanship seminar, November 18-20.

Register here for Evidence-Based Horsemanship Seminar.

Peters and Black

Peters and Black

In the morning sessions, attendees will learn all about horse brain structure, development, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, how horse behavior relates to brain function, and how to apply that concept to proper training and management practices.

The afternoon sessions will be spent in a controlled environment (round pen or arena) to reinforce the concepts learned in the morning sessions.

Participants will observe demonstrations and learn directly from Black’s hands-on lessons using evidence-based methods, and will have the opportunity to put the concepts to use themselves (subject to number of participants). Read seminar coverage here.

Save the dates!

We’ll post more information, including registration forms, costs, lodging accommodations, and extracurricular ideas (sight seeing, etc.) soon.

Welcome Denim Express

denim expressWe welcome Denim Express to our fantastic family of partners and advertisers!

Finding quality jeans is becoming as challenging as chipping frozen, cemented manure out of stalls and paddocks. The days of grabbing your favorite style off the rack at your Main denimStreet store are gone. Most websites make more promises than they can keep, stun you at check out with lofty shipping charges, or promote what you want in every size but yours.

What’s a hard working gal to do?

Denim Express has become the Go-To website for ordering my personal favorite, all cotton Wranglers. The small business, located in Wabash, Indiana, offers free shipping (on orders over $70) and no sales tax (unless you live in Indiana). That means I can get two pairs of Wranglers’ Ultimate Riding Jeans for less than eighty bucks. denmYahoo!

More than once, I’ve had a persnickety question and emailed Denim Express customer service, expecting the response I usually get from customer service email departments: no response or a useless, auto-reply. Instead, I received a timely, helpful reply. And when I emailed a follow-up question, I got another timely, helpful reply.

Denim Express carries dozens of styles of Wrangler, Cruel Girl, Carhartt, Lee, Ariat, and many more. Looking for those handsome twill and denim work shirts by Wrangler and Carhartt? They got them.

Looking for a Made in America jean? Denim Express makes them.

Click here or call (800) 824-9622.

Happy shopping!


Valentine’s Day gift ideas for us horse lovers

vdayValentine’s Day is around the corner and we’ve got some great ideas for the horse-inclined. Feel free to share this post with your loved ones with the subject line: “Hint, Hint!”


  • Beautiful and meaningful jewelry and fobs made with your own horses’ hair. Brittany Fantarella has a diverse array of items she can create with mane and/or tail hair you send to her. Check it out here.


  • New jeans! Denim Express has Wranglers, Cruel Girl, Carhartt, and even its own Made in America brand. Free shipping on orders over $70. Read more here.

v day ideas

  • Books and Music: Current favorite CD’s are Wylie Gustafson’s Hang-n-Rattle and Paul Zarzyski’s double CD of poetry and music, Steering with my Knees. Feeling more contemplative? When you order A Rider’s Reader: Exploring Horse Sense, Science & Sentiment, we’ll include goodies like bumperstickers and lip balms. Holiday special, just $15. Order here.



  • Why not shoot for the moon? Western Sky Saddlery has the best prices on the best saddles around. Elaine and Terry Welland are wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable. Check out your options here.


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