Friday, November 13, 2009




Ci Ci is like the horse you dreamed about as a child: Gentle, kind, white, soft, fuzzy and sweet. She floats along when she trots, her feet scarely touching the ground. Ci Ci will stand for hours while you brush her or braid her mane. Ci Ci loves people and loves attention.

She is just a wonderful, wonderful horse!


Ci Ci lunges well. When you say "whoa" she comes to a stop, and turns to look at you quizzically. She is giving walk/trot lessons to 7 and 8-year-old girls, both of whom adore her. Ci Ci is safe for beginners but also fun for more advanced riders.


Cheryl Krug, a local riding instructor and trainer, has been kind enough to donate full board and training to Ci Ci. Cheryl trailers Ci Ci out on trail rides and says that Ci Ci loads easily into the trailer, rides quietly, and is calm when they unload at the park.

Ci Ci, although not yet very fit, takes a 2-mile flat loop around the lake with Cheryl. She is calm with bikes, strollers, hikers, and dogs. She likes to go on trail rides and will be a wonderful trail, dressage and pleasure horse for a petite adult to youth up to 130 pounds.


Although she is 21 years old, Ci Ci is sound and healthy and looks to have many years of good riding time ahead of her. Her knees and hocks have very good flexion, her legs are clean, she has GREAT feet and is currently barefoot. Ci Ci is nicely put together and will look ever better once she has more muscling on her topline and more weight. That will take time; Ci Ci was very thin when she came to the CHANGE Program in June 2009.



Here is Ci Ci with her trainer, Cheryl. Ci Ci is about 14.2 hands and a petite build. She's very calm and obedient under saddle, and she tries hard to do what you ask. Ci Ci has three lovely gaits with good suspension. She would also excel in lower level dressage.

This dear, sweet little mare is ready for a forever home with someone who will love, cherish and enjoy her. We can't say enough good things about Ci Ci! For information on adopting Ci Ci and other CHANGE Program foster horses, please contact Katie Moore at (707) 544-7584 or email

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Crystal Home at Last!

Well, it has been a long and difficult couple of days, not only for Crystal, but also for the CHANGE board and Crystal's foster parents. As you can read below, Crystal was able to go to UC Davis to have laser surgery to remove melanomas on her tail region thanks to a generous private donation from Bev Palm. This act of gratitude motivated Dr. Michael O'Connor or Sonoma Marin Veterinary Service to donate money for a second trip up to UC Davis. Dr. O'Connor has also overseen Crystal's rehabilitation free of charge.

Yesterday, Crystal was trailered up to UC Davis to be seen by Dr. Melinda MacDonald for laser treatment. Dr. MacDonald did an amazing job, and kept costs incredibly low to help the program. Unfortunately, later that day, Crystal began to show signs of colic.

Strictly defined, “colic” is described as any episode of abdominal pain. About 95% of the time in horses, the abdominal pain is coming from the gastrointestinal tract. There are many types of gastrointestinal colic. The most common is impaction colic. With impaction colic, feces get lodged at a tight turn in the large colon. The feces cannot proceed forward, and the result of the back up is distention and pain in the gut. Colic is life threatening in horses because they are unable to vomit. Because they cannot vomit, they cannot relieve the pressure of the backed up digesta. The potential result of this inability to relieve the distention is rupture of the gut inside the body. COLIC IS ALWAYS AN EMERGENCY.

Early signs of colic include some, but not necessarily all of the following:

1. Horse will not eat
2. Horse is laying down
3. Horse is quiet or lethargic and does not seem like himself
4. Horse is standing alone away from others and is reluctant to move
5. Horse turns its head around and looks at its stomach.
6. Horse has not defecated within the past few hours
7. Horse stands in a “rocking horse” posture and appears to be stretching out its abdominal muscles.

Signs of advanced colic include:

1. Horse is getting up and laying down incessantly
2. Horse is rolling and thrashing on the ground violently
3. Horse has shivers and muscle twitching all over its body
4. Horse is sweating excessively
5. Horse is pawing at the ground violently and repeatedly
6. Horse is biting at its abdomen

You can probably imagine how all of our stomachs fell when we got the call... Crystal was down and laying flat out in her stall. Dr. MacDonald admitted Crystal into the ICU and treated her aggressively with fluid therapy and IV medication. She had ups and downs throughout last night, and at moments things looked like they were going to be ok. But this morning, she was still showing signs of pain.

After dozens of phone calls back and forth, criss-crossed and sideways, the CHANGE Board decided that it would be best to let UC Davis keep Crystal for the day today and then plan to pick her up tonight if she was comfortable. Luckily, Crystal made good progress throughout the day today and was able to make the trailer ride home.

Late tonight, I met Crystal back at her foster home as she got off the trailer. She looked exhausted and could not stop yawning when she got into her stall. I made everyone leave the stall and shut off all the lights to give her some peace and quiet! Her loving foster mom is going to check on her all night tonight and feed her handfuls of green grass every 2 hours! What dedication!! We are not out of the woods yet, but we are headed in the right direction.

We are all so relieved that Crystal is home again... and I think that she is the most relieved of all!