Meet The Horses and Ponies



Mary Matilda


Pippilottaspotslongstocking (rescue)

When we met Pippilottaspotslongstocking at the Chambers Livestock Auction in Unadilla, NY, we knew him only as hip #6790, just one of the 100 or so horses tied up, waiting to be run through the auction. Our limited space and financial resources permitted us to rescue only one from row upon row of drafts, horses, ponies, mules and donkeys. While dozens of needy equines tugged at our heartstrings, we selected this cute senior appaloosa—Number 6790— soon to be called the unique 27-letter name of Pippilottaspotslongstocking.

"Pippi" was a little thin and definitely not a spring chicken. (The equine dentist estimates him to be about 21 years old.) Surprisingly though, he rode through the sale under saddle. 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).

From auction, he went to a friend and supporter'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, his gracious temporary caretaker, 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 small farm is named!

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.

We've started teaching Pippi some basic natural horsemanship skills and he is a very willing student. He is enjoying his retirement at Tomtem Farm and Sanctuary where he is loved and treasured by all.

when he was just a number, #6790.
One of over 100 ill-fated equines
waiting to be run through the Chambers
Livestock Auction in Unidilla, NY.

Saved! What a difference 24 hours can make.
Just hours from being loaded into a truck, shipped
to Canada and slaughtered, #6790 suddenly finds
himself 250 miles away, embarking on his 30 days
of quarantine in a beautiful Vermont pasture.

The end of the line and the start of a glorious
retirement... Tomten Farm & Sanctuary with all
the love, tenderness and attentive care that
its community is happy to offer.

Circle of Peace Certified Acupressure practitioner
and Reiki Master/Teacher Linda Crabtree donated
her expertise to help Pippilottaspotslongstocking
relieve his stress and ease his transition in his
journey from uncertainty to sanctuary.

Want to help take care of Pippilottaspotslongstocking?
Click here to see how!

Annabella (rescue)

Say hello to fall 2013 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 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 (see photo).

Annabella has learned 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 and the two are always seen together, often in the company of former nurse mare orphan foal Mary Matilda.

Annabella waiting to go be auctioned
off and face an uncertain future at
New Jersey's Camelot Horse Auction.

Annabella enjoying the story on
Tomten Farm & Sanctuary's Kids' Day event,
"Read to the Animals."

Safe! Volunteers Amy and Sarah
give Annabella some TLC
at Tomten Farm & Sanctuary.

Annabella with friend and
fellow rescue, Mary Matilda.

When Annabella shed her thick
winter coat, we found a surprise...
her black dorsal stripe!

Want to help take care of Annabella?
Click here to see how!

Mary Matilda (rescue)

Mary Matilda began life in 2010 as a nurse mare orphan foal.

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. A nurse mare is a fertile mare that is bred every year for the sole purpose of forcing her to produce milk. The foal she ends up nursing, however, is NOT the foal that she has just given birth to. Instead, the nurse mare is shipped away… hired out to nurse a more valuable foal that has been separated from his mother because she is being sent away to be bred again.

So what happens to the newborn foal left behind at the nurse mare farm?? Since nurse mare foals are viewed as merely a means to an end, they have no value to the nurse mare farm beyond a price-per-pound or a pelt that can be made into handbags and jackets. Without intervention from compassionate Rescues, most of these fragile foals are discarded, left to die or dumped at auction, which, because they are newborns, means almost certain death.

Mary Matilda was one of the lucky ones. She was part of a group that was saved by a local Rescue, fed round-the-clock by the Rescue's volunteers and put up for adoption. We fostered three of them and adopted Mary Matilda. Her looks and personality made her stand out in the crowd. She has grown from a gangly moose-faced youngster into a big (currently 15 hands and still growing!) beautiful girl whom our vet thinks may be a Cleveland Bay.

She enjoys the company of resident pony, Mr. Noodle, and 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 person, Laima here.

Natural horsemanship starts early at the farm.
June 2009 and nurse mare orphan foal
Mary Matilda's 2nd week here and she was
already being exposed to scary new things...
like tarps!

With nurse mare orphan foals, genetics are
always a mystery. Originally known as "Cinnamon,"
Mary appeared to be many to perhaps
be half moose/half draft.

From moose to magnificent...
Not just a pretty face, Mary Matilda has
blossomed into a kind, beautiful mare who
charms every visitor with her outgoing personality.

More than anyone else, Mary
loves her People Project partner,
volunteer extraordinaire, Laima.

Want to help take care of Mary Matilda?
Click here to see how!

Did You Know...

Horses are measured in "hands," each hand measuring 4". So when we say Mary Matilda is 15 hands tall, that means she measures 60" from the ground up to the top of her withers. Ponies can be up to 14.2 hands (or 4'10") tall. Anything taller and they move into the horse category.

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