Sadly, Gypsy crossed the rainbow bridge on 12/31/16
Gypsy was among the horses we took in from Kern County Animal Control in early 2012. She had been seized by Animal Control from her owner, along with Mea Ola and four other horses, in November 2011, for reasons of cruelty and neglect. When she was seized, she had a filly by her side, approximately 4 months old. In January, when we were doing evaluations of the horses, we learned that Gypsy was spoken for, and her filly had already been adopted. So on January 6th, 2012, we took the sixteen we had agreed to rescue, and left Gypsy for her new owner. However, I was contacted a week later with information that the person that was going to adopt Gypsy never came to get her. They asked if we would take her, and we did.
She spent the first few months with a foster family, while we had her vet-checked, had her teeth floated, and made room for her at the ranch to be with the rest of the herd. We were very busy with the sixteen we had brought home on January 6th, and I knew this mare would need more one-on-one attention than we would be able to provide right away. This delay was unavoidable, but must have been hard for Gypsy. That first group of sixteen we had rescued in January included a two-and-a-half-year-old colt of hers, so I was anxious to get her to the ranch so she could see that her friends and colt were all safe and happy.
Three months later, after we had placed a few horses, clearing space for her, Gypsy finally came home to MOP. What a glorious day that was! I am still moved to tears remembering her colt whinnying to her as she came up the road in the trailer. He tried to break out of his corral when she was unloaded. Though Gypsy seemed more happy to see her mare friends, we had to put her in the corral next to his because he would NOT have it any other way, and the next morning, I found him IN HER CORRAL! (You can find Hank Jr. on our Adopted! page.) Needless to say, the next day, we had to exchange the pipe panel between their corrals for a taller one, with less space between the pipes. We surely did not want him hurting himself trying to get into her pen. We didn’t want to keep them together either, as Gypsy wasn’t too keen about sharing her food with a son she had already weaned two years before.
(For casual followers of horses, I should mention that taking care of horses involves many other things besides feeding, grooming, and riding them. Even those three chores take time and money. In addition, horses need to be wormed periodically. Most vets recommend doing this three to four times a year, depending on where the horses live, what they are exposed to, and if they are on pasture, etc. They need to have their feet trimmed every six to eight weeks by a farrier, and their teeth "floated" by a veterinarian. Some horses need this done every year after about the age of five, while others may only need to have it done once or twice in their lives. They should be examined by a veterinarian once a year, and have their teeth checked. They also need yearly vaccinations to protect against disease, and again, a veterinarian will recommend what types of vaccines a horse should have based on lifestyle (show horses and horses that travel frequently are exposed to more than a backyard horse), and what region they live in. If they are kept in stalls in a barn, the stalls must be supplied with bedding of some sort--there are many to choose from--and this must be replaced when scooping up the soiled bedding has reduced the remaining bedding to a too thin layer. In hot weather their water buckets may need more frequent refills, and sometimes they need fly spray to repel flies and a fly mask to keep the flies out of their eyes. In cold weather they may need to be blanketed. All of these things are required which makes volunteers to help with the grooming, walking, scooping stalls, etc. so appreciated by Rescues caring for large numbers of horses. For hands-on interactions with horses, consider volunteering at a local Rescue or Shelter.)
Gypsy has some lasting effects from her former abusive life. She can still become frightened when someone just walks up behind her, or even goes from one side to the other by walking behind her, as if she has had a flashback of being whipped. Not, surprisingly, Mea Ola had this same reaction and flashback early on. She would shake and run if I walked behind her. Since they came from the same place, they probably endured many of the same abuses. However, Mea Ola is a fighter, much the same as Tilly, whereas Gypsy has a strong flight instinct, similar to Babs. I have found that fear is easier for a horse to conquer when the fight instinct is strongest.
Much like Mea Ola in the beginning, Gypsy generally prefers men. Roy Oliver did amazing work with her when he was here in the spring of 2014. However, she does have a love affair with one of our female volunteers, a young woman named Holly. Holly can do anything with her, much the way I can now. But, because Gypsy is so particular and untrusting, we are very strict about who can work with her. We don't ever want her to have another bad experience in her life, real or perceived. To our surprise and delight, Gypsy was able to be used in therapy this past fall. She “picked” a person in the therapy group and we allowed her to be used for therapeutic exercises with this person. It was amazing. If Gypsy picks you, she trusts you.
Because Gypsy is so particular about who she trusts, she has been hard to place. Furthermore, she is believed to be twenty-three years old this year (2015). We would only allow her to be adopted out as a companion horse, and only if SHE picked someone. So far, every person she has chosen is not looking for a horse to own. We are okay with that. Gypsy will have a forever home here if the right person for her doesn’t come along. She spends most of her time hanging out with her best friends, Rosie and Mea Ola. These three share a special bond and had probably been together many years before coming to MOP, and we are in no hurry to break up the threesome except for an exceptionally good home.. All-in-all, Gypsy is happy and content with her life these days.