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Tribute - June 11, 2019

He was the guy for the experienced. He did kid's camps, trained new volunteers, went on trail rides, drove people, loved the ADD kids, was used in therapy. He was an extrovert and 'the jokester." He was the "Landshark" at feeding time. His daily antics are sorely missed. I thought losing Mea Ola was bad...and it was/is, I still can't do a tribute to her. But Merlin...aka Trooper? He was the class clown. He was known and loved by everyone. Mea Ola was an introvert and basically only showed her real self to me.
This horse was a showman. He was strong, opinionated, and the ultimate character! Part of why I hurt so badly was because of the vulnerability he showed me during his last few days. Gone was that strong , confident individual. He looked to me for his security.
Those of you that knew him will understand.

Champion horse saved at auction. Headed to slaughter. Even if he had never won a ribbon or a trophy... He was a CHAMPION rescue at Mea Ola’s Place. 💔❤️😇 Rescues are not trash. No one wanted him because he was old. He had Cushing’s. But his life mattered and the last 6 years of his life here touched MANY.

Merlin, RIP my friend. I love you with a love that is never ending. I accepted you "as is" and never asked you to change. I am honored to have been able to be there for you and honored just to have known you. Run free. Run hard and fast. Take those breaks and "smell the roses." I will be forever changed because of you. We WILL meet again!

Please read Merlin's story below.


Merlin's Story

Merlin was rescued at an auction in the spring of 2013 by my neighbor, Mary Brown.  His rescue  is another miraculous one, based as it is on a coincidence.   Mary was at the auction that day with a friend who was looking to buy a horse.  Mary has shown and bred Morgans for 35 years, and she recognized Merlin right away when she saw him.  She had known Merlin from the show circuit when he was younger and winning just about every pleasure driving class in which he was entered. Back then in his prime, he had been a top contender in Western Pleasure classes as well.  Now, at 22 years old, he was being auctioned off, and kill buyers were bidding on him.  If they were successful in winning the bid, they would send him off to slaughter.  (Sadly, this is an all too common fate for no-longer-active--and thus-unwanted Show Horses and Race Horses.)


Mary did not have room at her place, nor the funds to take on another horse, so she called us to see if we would take him in after she and her friend outbid the kill buyers and bought him.  She agreed to a partial sponsorship for Merlin until we could find him a forever home. We said "yes," and that is how Merlin came to Mea Ola’s Place.


He was a little underweight, but otherwise seemed to be in good health. Once he was acclimated to the ranch and had regained his weight, we started driving him and let some of our guests ride in the cart and drive him as well.  A driving-harness takes some time to put on and adjust, but Merlin was so patient while being hooked to the cart, that right away, I knew he was a great horse. He was patient with the people who had never driven a horse, and he was a great teacher to them!  However, I recognized that he was burned-out and bored with it. So, we stopped driving him because, although he was very obedient and patient, it was just not his favorite job anymore. We started teaching him about trail riding. Chris and I even took him on a weekend camping trip with my horse, Romeo.   Merlin loved it! 


We did have interest in a possible forever home for him. However, about two weeks before we were to have him meet someone who had applied to adopt him, Merlin was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. That first summer, he had not shed out his heavy winter coat properly, and I was worried that it might be for a medical reason such as this. He also had excessive fat deposits along the crest of his neck which were brought to my attention in another Merlin coincidence by a Senior Saturday attendee, Ms. Betty Gaule. This was also a sign of Cushing's, so we tested Merlin. 

Cushing’s Disease is a fairly common metabolic disease that can develop in horses, especially older ones.   Their metabolism changes as they age, and with Cushing’s, they produce too much cortisol. Left untreated, these horses suffer with laminitis and will eventually die of a stroke if they make it through the laminitis. It requires the horse to be on a special diet to reduce carbohydrate intake and a medication called Pergolide. These horses need to be tested at least twice a year to make sure they are getting the correct amount of the medication. This is done with a blood test. The test is expensive and so is the medication.  With the proper diet and medication, Cushing’s horses can continue to live a normal life for many, many years.  


Today, Merlin is one of our best therapy horses. This guy is an extreme extrovert and NOTHING scares him!  Well...except for fireworks. We have to sit with him every fourth of July when the fireworks start…poor baby. He loves to lick people and I have no idea why.  (Maybe in his former live(s) he was a Golden Retriever.)  In his presence, you cannot help but smile as he is as silly as they come with his antics. He is demanding about getting attention, and has to have some every single day, or we will hear about it. He will bang on his stall until someone gets him out for some time and attention.


He is our go-to horse for kids with ADD or ADHD.  He actually enjoys their busyness because he is the same way.  Yet he can have a very calming effect on people even though he is so extroverted.  I have witnessed this with sexual abuse survivors, as well as with the children.  Kids can run circles around him; they can be loud and all over the place, in his space, and he doesn’t flinch.  Merlin is very expressive and when he is groomed he always lets you know how wonderful it feels with silly expressions, his neck stretched out as far as it will go, and even non-horse people understand his “language."

Merlin is here to stay. His diagnosis with Cushing's disease took him off the list for adoption, and he has become a permanent resident.  I hope you can meet this Morgan-Pleasure-Class- champion, sweet goof-ball someday.


March 2018 - The best way to describe Merlin is Mr. Comedian! He is 32 years old this year. This boy has now been at MOP for almost 5 years. He still loves to drive people around the ranch (at a walk), he is used in camps every year, and he is one of our go-to horses for therapy. He is still especially great with very busy and loud children. As you can see...he is still so useful and Merlin LOVES life.

June 11, 2019 - Merlin crossed the Rainbow Bridge. (Merlin was fully sponsored by Diane Ostrow. Richard and Julie Whittingham

and Theresa Allen were contributing sponsors. Thank you.)

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