Percival Pintomint and Hweehehe Whinny Wooly Wildfire
Once loved and provided for, the senior owner's ability to care for them had declined along with his health for the past
decade. Percival Pintomint (the pinto pony's new name) and Hwee Whinny Wooly Wildfire (the black mini's new name)
are older than originally thought (both well into their 20's), their teeth had not been touched for many years, their feet
desperately needed trimming. But they had an owner, they were together with their friends (an older gelding horse,
sheep and goat) and they were loved in the ways their owner had been able to do. Then he passed away. His animals
were left alone in this world, with no one except "Jan" and "Iva," concerned neighbors who compassionately stepped up
to advocate for them. Without the kindness of those people, we are not certain where these lost souls would have
ended up and we suspect, based on their age and condition, it would have been nowhere good.
Our friends at The Dorset Equine Rescue posted an appeal for a home for them. And while both our organizations would
have liked nothing more than to step up for ALL of them, limited funds, space and time meant neither group could do it
alone. TOGETHER, however, we could rescue three of the five, so we joined forces to make a difference. Separated, but
safe from harm and warm with the love and dedication of rescue, together TF&S and DER opened our doors to equines
in need. Together, we posted the sheep and goat pair who, we are happy to report, were adopted into good private
homes. Dorset offered a new beginning for the kind, senior gelding. We picked up the pony and mini on the day of the
Winter Solstice 2017 and shuttled them to Board Member Sarah's (thank you) for quarantine. A quick evaluation there
determined they were indeed in serious need of dental, farrier and vet care. They were underweight and a special diet
of soft food and chopped hay and a healthy dose of TLC was started. Attentive care, supplements, medications and
frequent vet visits were going to be essential to their survival. Even worse than all that, our vet and x-rays confirmed
that poor little Hwee has painful rotation in all four feet, the result of years of untreated chronic laminitic episodes…
something that cannot be cured but sometimes can be made less uncomfortable. They were both in desperate need of
dreams-come-true and so we asked our dedicated supporters for donations of any amount to ensure these very bonded
little seniors received whatever they needed (and will continue to need). Quarantine completed, we welcomed them to Tomten in early 2018.
We are committed to helping animals and helping humans one life at a time. While we are saddened by the death that
necessitated our actions, we hope their late owner is looking down at his beautiful neighbors Jan and Iva (below) Dorset
, Tomten and all of you who donated to help. We hope he is finding peace and comfort knowing he did all he could with
the knowledge and financial resources that he had and that all of us are ready to take it from here—to carry on and do the rest. His animals will never be alone.
*Note: Percival Pintomint and Hweehehe Whinny Wooly Wildfire's availability for Sponsorship, Adoption or TaDoption
are dependent upon their recoveries and will be evaluated at a future date. For now, they remain in the security of Sanctuary here at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary.
Special thanks to kind neighbors, Jan and Iva.
Long neglected teeth make it difficult
for Perci to eat and require a special diet.
After many episodes of laminitis, Hwee
often finds it painful to walk and stand.
Little Hwee thanks Board Member
Sarah H. with kisses on rescue day.
Taabe Summer Storm and Tindra
Just before foaling, "our" new senior mare traveled all the way to New England from Texas where she had previously had SEVEN babies. This
is her story.
Here at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary we do not often step up for owner surrenders, choosing instead to rescue horses closer to the end of the
line, those at auction, the invisible horses that remain unseen, those that fall through the cracks. However, there are occasions (like this
one), a case of true immediate need (versus a desire to upgrade, a lack of responsibility or a disinterest that has taken over) where there
is love and sadness and honesty and we cannot turn away.
While we would never pass along details of previous owners, I think it is safe to publicly say that those of these two
mares and their babies were in trouble. Yet, when push came to shove and a deadline loomed, they chose to put these
horses first. Although they could easily have made a quick sale with a dealer, shipped both mares and foals to auction
or weaned the foals too early for a quick sale, they did not, nor did they threaten to. They simply, humbly, sought
alternatives in an effort to keep the moms and their respective babies together—in an effort to give them a future. And
for the sake of these horses, I am grateful for their love and generosity toward these animals. Two mares and two babies were at risk.
Their rescue required teamwork. We stood tall and determined beside our Vermont friends at Dorset Equine Rescue
who led the way. We are proud to have worked together, to have gone above and beyond together to be certain these
horses eventually end up in the right homes. I truly think that is what Rescue is really about—Rescues helping Rescues,
Rescues helping animals, Rescues helping people— all of us doing more to make Peace, Protection and Possibility a
reality. And who is more deserving than a mother and daughter in trouble? Dorset stepped up for one mare and foal and
Tomten stepped up for the other mare and foal. Together, we helped all four of these beauties find safety as they faced
an ominous situation that required a quick, yet safe solution. It truly was the kind of emergency situation that puts any horse at risk of landing in the wrong hands.
By opening our farms to these horses in need, we had the opportunity to take our time to get to know them, to allow the
babies to mature with their moms, to evaluate each individual, to advertise appropriately and thoughtfully, to invite
potential adopters to meet them, and work to match potential adopters with the right horse. By stepping up, supporting
one another and thankfully, being supported by you, we had a chance to keep them safe. We had a chance to be their Tomten.
Safe at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary,
Taabe and her filly Tindra.
Dorset Equine Rescue stepped up
for this mare and her foal.
Taabe has been TAdopted and will remain in sanctuary at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. And what a happy
story it is! Click here for details.
Tindra has been adopted and we couldn't be happier with this matchup. Read her happy story here.
As many of you know, we value all life here at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. We always strive for two saves per auction and try to balance our rescues.
(equine auction rescue)
Equine auctions are filled with a variety of horses—young, sound, old,
crippled, educated, green, purebred and grade—all are deserving of shelter. Often, we return from sale with one animal most would
consider quality, (perhaps sound or educated or young), and another that is considered broken or used up, a horse that a dear friend would
say, "has more past than a future."
It is hard to choose and though this balance has worked for both my heart and my brain, deciding who to save and who to leave behind is
always agonizing. Fern Raventail* is the latter, scarred and unsound. I first saw her standing quietly tied in a corner. She had a nice disposition
. Someone, somewhere had loved her and handled her well. I put her on our possibility list, right near the top.
She received few bids, none from private buyers, never a good sign at
an auction where, I was told, that 80+ horses (out of approximately 130) were sold to the two main kill buyers the evening before. We lifted our
card and welcomed Fern with open arms knowing her physical limitations would significantly shorten her life span. They will, but for
now she is happy and although she cannot be ridden, she walks, trots and canters with the herd. We watch her
vulnerabilities and keep in mind her quality of life. While she rests more than the others and has a few off steps when
rising, she is comfortable and content. Her back may not be good for riding but her presence is good for our hearts.
Fern Raventail is part of our sanctuary herd.
*Fern is named after E.B. White's character, the young girl in Charlotte's Web, who fought for the life of a runty
pig, a life others deemed without value. "But it's unfair! If I had been very small, would you have killed me? ...
.This is the most terrible case of injustice that I ever heard of!" ~ Fern from Charlotte's Web.
Meditation: Only those who have seen
better days and live to see better days
again know their
Part of the herd now, Fern has true
friends who always have her back.
Fern would not be here today, developing lifetime friendships and enjoying the gifts of peace, protection and possibility
without you and without quarantine/foster provider, Christine. Below is one of her status reports passed along to us
while Fern was in her care. Making dreams come true, it's what we do. Thanks, Christine and Gardner, and thank you all for helping to make Fern's dreams come true.
Autumn 2014: Known then only as #6790, this senior gelding was in the upper level of the sale barn, where he stood quietly tied throughout the
day and into the evening as horses and humans shuffled around him and the animals one by one, or group by group ran through the auction
ring. There was no hay in front of him, no water available and I am certain he had no idea of what lay before him. For sure, only a handful
of the 75-100 horses and donkeys that were there that sale day found private homes and a future.
(equine auction rescue)
We did our best to evaluate every equine, taking notes, triple checking
our choices and all the while trying to maintain the composure that would prevent us from being labeled "bleeding heart Rescue girls" and
potentially getting bid up. As we made decisions that would determine not only who was saved but who would be sentenced to an unfair end
of their days, my heart filled with tears that would never wash away the sadness.
"Our" unnamed appaloosa made our long list and then our short list.
A little background about auction: At that time, far fewer kill buyers had
embraced the concept of making money off of rescues and horse-loving individuals; many had yet to master the concept of pulling on
heartstrings and making a profit through social media. Horses ran through for sums lower than they do today. As always, we had agreed
to step up for horses in order of need and purchase the first at-risk animal that made our short list. That day, that meant any horse that
was $300/$350 or under. Why $300 you ask? Well, the theory at that
time was this: since meat buyers usually get paid by hanging weight (what is left after the unusable parts are trimmed
off), they prefer horses in good condition. If a contractor buys a horse for an average of 30¢ per pound and the average
horse weighs about 1000 pounds, that means anything going for under $300 is at risk. There are exceptions of course
but at that time, when horses were selling for $350, $400 and up, we assumed that they were probably going to a
private home or dealer and not the kill buyer so we typically saved our bid. Those horses may have ended up back at
auction and may have gone for less the next round. But for that day, they were "safe" and on that day, the senior appaloosa was not.
What we know about this horse now: He is stable, willing and friendly. He likes mints, scratches and lots of hay. He
stands quietly tied, lifts all four feet, lets you play with his ears, in his mouth and loads and unloads easily. He greets
you at the pasture gate. In other words, he is the perfect horse to help teach Tomten Farm and Sanctuary volunteers
learn about equine care. What is a nice horse like this worth, you may wonder?
We saved THIS horse's life for a mere $275 bid (plus Coggins and fees). The auctioneer said he was a "nice horse who
had been in the same home for ten years." While one never knows the whole truth about an animal, it does makes you
think. Ten years in one home and then he received the gift of "retirement" a one-way trip to the auction house. I can
only wonder who and why and how that happens. Somehow he had fallen into the wrong hands and hard times, his
teeth have not been done in a very long time, he was underweight and had quite a bit of scarring on his nose that has
never gone away. He was introverted, obedient and as I look back now, unhappy.
From auction, he went directly to Board Member Sarah's Vermont farm for 30-day quarantine. While there, he grazed,
gained some weight, was vet-checked and had visits from the farrier and equine dentist. He was also given a fresh new
identity… a real name. Sarah started calling him Pippin Longstocking. It just seemed right to her. And from my brief
interaction with him at auction, I knew that the name fit him perfectly. But, since we both already knew a "Pippin" we
hesitated to use it. On a whim she looked up the full name of the original Pippi Longstocking and it is "Pippilotta
Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking." Hmm. I looked it up too and guess what? The author of the book, Pippi Longstocking, is Astrid Lindgren, the same author of The Tomten after which our farm is
But, wait. How did his name go from Pippilottalongstocking to PippilottaSPOTSlongstocking? We have one of our
Facebook followers to thank for that. Jean P. saw a "lotta" spots on his rump and very cleverly suggested we incorporate
"spots" into his name. So Pippilottaspotslongstocking it is.
Pipp is now forever safe, in sanctuary here at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary. He is enjoying his retirement—best friends
with Taabe Summer Storm, loved and treasured by all.
From a 4-digit auction number to a
27-letter name inspired by love
at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary.
TF&S—where being "put out to pasture"
is a wonderful thing.
(equine auction rescue)
Say hello to auction rescue, Annabella, our young 10-hand Shetland pony.
Who would send such a sweet little girl to auction? We will never know but she ended up at the Camelot (NJ) auction (see photo below)
desperately needing someone to notice and remove her from this perilous situation.
She came to us with a full winter coat which later shed out to reveal she is actually a pretty dun, complete with full dorsal stripe.
Annabella had to learn many skills since arriving at Tomten... how to
cooperate with the farrier, the basics of Natural Horsemanship and discovering just how pleasurable a spa treatment from our volunteers can be.
She is typical of what often happens when you give a chance to an animal that someone else has given up; when you save the life of an
animal who is so much more than just a price-per-pound and the auction number that is glued onto her rump.
Our large resident pony, Mr. Noodle, has taken Annabella under his
wing, taking great delight in tutoring her in how to get away with being a pushy, mischievous pony. The two are always seen together, often in
the company of former nurse mare orphan foal, Mary Matilda.
Annabella alone at auction.
Annabella has lots of ground to cover in her new life.
Mary Matilda began life in 2010 as a nurse mare orphan foal.
(nurse mare orphan foal rescue)
Most people have heard of the plight of Premarin® foals, but few have
heard of nurse mare foals. They are a well-kept equine industry secret.
To be eligible for registration, Thoroughbreds require live cover (being
exposed to a stud VS artificial insemination) when breeding. Often, when a fancy broodmare has a foal, her owners are reluctant to ship her
foal with her when they ship her out to be bred again (to make their endeavors profitable, that is often at her first heat after foaling).
Therefore, with Mom leaving town, a nanny mare—a nurse mare—is called in to nurse the baby she leaves behind. In order for the nanny
mare to produce milk however, she also was bred and therefore also has her own foal at her side. Sadly, when she is shipped out to nurse
the valuable foal, the nurse mare's own foal becomes a by-product, born for the sole purpose of making the nurse mare start lactating. That
job accomplished, the nurse mare's foal is orphaned. It is discarded usually at days or weeks of age, slaughtered for meat or a skin made
into a pony-skin handbag. Because of the fragile state of these by-product babies, the high cost to raise without a Mom and the low
worth of these foals, thousands are killed each year via inhumane practices and neglect and only a small number are saved.
Mary Matilda was one of the lucky ones. Now an adult, she started life
as an orphan nurse mare foal, separated from her mother at just four weeks old. To put that in perspective, traditionally foals are weaned at
about six months and, if left to the mare, weaning occurs naturally at about 10 months old. Mary was part of a group that was saved by a
local MA Rescue. She was named "Cinnamon," fed round-the-clock by the Rescue's dedicated volunteers and then put up for adoption. We
fostered three of them at our small MA farm. Two were adopted.
"Cinnamon" stayed. Her looks and personality made her stand out in the crowd. She has grown from a gangly
moose-faced youngster into a big beautiful girl whom our vet thinks may be at least part Cleveland Bay. We renamed her Mary Matilda.
Mary Matilda enjoys the company of resident pony, Mr. Noodle, and rescued pony Annabella. Especially rewarding,
however, is that Mary Matilda is also part of the Tomten Farm and Sanctuary People Project. Read more about Matilda and her special person, Laima here.
While we don't have any orphan foals at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary right now, we enjoyed fostering three in the past.
Once our barn is built and we have the funds for a full-time staff member, we would love to, once again, welcome some
in the future. Interested in finding out more about this unique type of save? Check out Last Chance Corral in So. Athens Ohio, one of the biggest orphan nurse mare foal advocates around.
Originally called "Cinnamon,"
Mary Matilda was a curious filly,
here meeting the late Sonia
Hard to imagine this beautiful mare was
nearly tossed away, never to reach maturity.
Animal Sponsorship Program
Sponsor an Equine
Become an Honorary Tomten
When you sponsor Pippilottaspotslongstocking, Annabella, Fern Raventail or Mary Matilda, you become an Honorary Tomten,
helping us provide peace, protection and possibility while getting to know "your" horse or pony—even if you live thousands of miles away.
Your one-year Equine Sponsorship gives Honorary Tomtens an opportunity to make a
direct impact on the lives of their favorite animal. You'll receive lots of updates beyond our traditional public posts. And while you may
not be able to be here personally, we will make sure you feel as though you are with regular photos (including a few surprise videos) sent to
your phone or email all year long!
Here's How Sponsorship Works:
Sponsors make a one-time tax-deductible
donation of 50% of an equine's total estimated yearly care expenses. Tomten Farm and Sanctuary applies those funds to the daily care
of the sanctuary animal you choose to help. Upon receipt of your donation, TF&S removes the equine from our "animals available for
sponsorship" list. Then comes the exciting part: our resident Tomten waves his magic wand and makes you an Honorary Tomten!! Next, we
announce the exciting news to TF&S supporters via social media including Facebook, Instagram and this website. (To ensure your privacy, we
will share your first name, last initial only). We also encourage you to share the story behind your sponsorship choice. And, if you like, you
can also send a photo of yourself to post on this page with "your" horse or pony. We guarantee that your equine be kicking up his or her heels!
Your one-time tax-deductible donation of $1800 will sponsor a Tomten horse (Pippilottaspots
-longstocking, Fern Raventail or Mary Matilda) and you will receive Honorary Tomten status for one year. That amount is your half of the
expenses incurred to support that animal—your special gift to The other half is paid by a second Honorary Tomten (Sponsor) or Tomten
Farm and Sanctuary if no one else cares to step up for that animal. However you look at it, $150.00 per month, $34.61 per week or $4.93
per day, sponsorship s an amazing way to provide peace, protection and possibility to animals in need and make a difference all year long.
And no, we didn't forget our adorable Shetland pony, Annabella! This playful little pony's
sponsorship costs less than you might think! Just $1200 per year! That comes out to $54.16 per month, $12.50 per week or $3.28 per day.
Want to Start Today?
Simply go to the Donate button on the bottom of this column and indicate you want to donate
either $1800 for a horse sponsorship (Pippilottaspotslongstocking, Fern, or Mary Matilda) or $1200 for pony Annabella's sponsorship. Be sure to tell us which horse or
pony you want to sponsor and our Tomten will wave his magic wand making you an Honorary Tomten this very day!
More Ways to Help
You can also donate as little as $10 per month toward supporting any animal (not just horses
and ponies) that you choose OR donate to our General Fund. We offer all kinds of other tax-deductible donation options. Click here for details.
*Sorry, we know everyone has their favorites but since each sponsorship is for 50% of care,
only two Honorary Tomtens per equine per year are available and are selected in the order they were received. Also, since Taabe Summer Storm
has been TAdopted (YAY!), she is not available for sponsorship. We are still evaluating our newest rescues, Percival Pintomint pony and
Hweehehe Whinny Wooly Wildfire mini to determine what option is best for them: Adoption, TAdoption or Sponsorship. Watch our Facebook page for details.