Cinderella (Cinders)

What kind of a founder of The International Blessed Broodmare Project would I be if I didn't adopt a blessed broodmare myself?!  The minute I saw Cinderella ("Cinders" for short) on the Animali site as being one of the many mares that would go to slaughter if she wasn't adopted, I knew I had to save her. I felt an instant 'heart-connection' with her that was overwhelming. I already have too many horses, so I held off, hoping someone else would adopt her....after all, what was I going to do with a half wild pregnant draft horse mare? As her deadline approached and no one took her, I knew she was being 'reserved' for me. So what else could I do?! With the help of the many wonderful angels from TIBBP, I was able to get her adoption fee together and bring her home. On the left is how Cinders looked when she was in Canada on the PMU farm, and on the right is what she looked like when she arrived in California at the Animali Farm a few months later. What a difference! The PMU farmer had hastily named all the mares in order to identify them for sale, and he dubbed Cinders as "Smokey".  I saw Cinders as a princess from the very beginning, and a 'rags to riches' princess as well, so "Cinderella" became her name long before I even got her home.
Quite naturally, Cinders was pretty wild when she came to Animali. We could hardly get near her and she was huge!  I was pretty worried about what I had gotten myself in for. But, an amazing blessing came my way. Famous horse whisperer, Monty Roberts lives near the Animali Farm and often uses the wild PMU horses that they get in to train students to work with difficult horses. I was beside myself with joy when Cinderella was picked to attend their horse-shoeing and trailer loading seminar! They kept Cinders for two weeks and gave her intensive halter training, hoof training and loading in the trailer. All for free in exchange for using her! Cinders was their "star" and they even gave me videos of her early handling. That's me with head trainer, Maya there with Cinders at The Flag is up Farm the day we picked her up. She was like a completely different horse. Very calm and gentle and happy to do anything you asked of her. Totally amazing transformation after only two weeks work. She walked right into our trailer, and we drove her home.
Cinders finally came home from Monty Roberts in November of 2007. I could lead her and pick up all four hooves. Pretty amazing considering she had been wild all her life and that was only a 2 week seminar!  I think she knew she was "Home" for good and that I was her special human...my goodness we bonded immediately and became best friends. I really do kiss her goodnight every night! She's a giant horse...almost 17 hands! The biggest creature I have even been this close to. And only 2 1/2 years old!!
We spent the winter and spring of 07 getting to know our new draft horse princess. At only 2 1/2 years, she was confirmed in foal to a Reg. Thoroughbred. Not what I would have chosen for her, but that's how she came. She was due to foal in May. She was SUPER gentle and allowed me to climb all over her and drag her all over everywhere. And just look at how pretty her mane and tail are getting!
Cinders spent the month of March with my niece, Charity, for 30 days starting training. Charity professionally starts Quarter Horses, so Cinders was a different cup of tea! Charity lives in Creston, about a 30 minute drive from me, and she would load Cinders in the trailer and bring her home for me every weekend, then pick her back up on Monday morning since I missed her so much!  It gave Cinders some extra trailering experience as well as a GREAT start with someone who understood how special she is to me. Charity kept her so clean and happy and rode her in the Salinas river several times. Quite a change for this wild draft mare from Canada only a few months ago! But she really seems to understand human affection and she never expects to be hurt or mistreated, so she's extremely trusting. She was VERY cooperative even when she didn't understand what was being asked of her. Charity gave her a GREAT start and I'm so happy that Cinders has a good solid foundation for learning with her experience with Monty Roberts as well.
I spent the month of April just playing with Cinders since she was getting so big in foal. Alot of people came to visit her since we've never had a horse this big or this gentle, so everyone wanted their picture taken with her. That's my sister, Terrie in the red jacket, me, and Charity there with Cinders, then the blond lady with Cinders is my friend Nanci. Isn't that a beautiful shot? Cinders is so gentle, I'm thinking of charging people to have their picture taken with her, and then donating it to TIBBP!
While we wait for the baby horse to come, here's a look at his 'family'. That's Grandpa Husted Lance in the upper left hand corner, Cinders father. He was  a registered Percheron 'herd' stallion on the PMU farm. Next to him is Grandma "Little Blue Skye", Cinders mother. "Skye" is also a purebred Percheron and  one that the PMU farmer liked and actually gave a 'real' name to. She is an ultra sweet mare, one that the PMU farmer kept till last and is now adopted by TIBBP member Christine Harris. We hear that Skye is doing very well. On the lower left corner is the baby horse's father, a registered Thoroughbred named Equistone. He was 17 hands tall!He was a herd stallion on the PMU farm for many years and was reportedly very gentle and easy to handle. He was euthanized last year due to an injury. And of course, there in the right hand corner is beautiful Cinderella and her pure silken tail!
It's BABY TIME! Oh my goodness, what an adorable colt!  The PMU farmer didn't have an exact date for Cinders birth, but he knew she was born in May. So we chose May 11th, Mothers Day for her third birthday.  Five days later, she gave birth to a lovely colt whom we named Bandero. For being only a 3 year old baby herself, Cinders was a perfect mother. She was kind and attentive but a firm disciplinarian. She taught Bandero respect and manners and has made our work so much easier! She had no problems with birthing or nursing and was gentle and patient at all times. She's a great mare. She has amazing animation at the trot, which she passed on to Bandero. Someday I might breed her again, and I dream of breeding her to an American Saddlebred next time!
 
When Bandero turned 5 months in September, we decided to wean him and send Cinders to a popular dressage trainer in this area for 30 days. I was so excited about this...I had been saving all year long for a slot with this high-profile trainer. It turned out to be a disaster however and it taught  me a bitter lesson. The picture of me on Cinders in the upper left is how Cinders looked one week before she went to the trainer. The picture next to that is how Cinders looked when we dropped her off at Lou's. The ones on the bottom is how my princess looked two weeks later.  A few days after we dropped Cinders off at the trainer, I came down with a bad flu. I wasn't able to go see Cinders for a while, but I kept in touch with Lou, the trainer, by phone. She assured me that Cinders was doing well and was a "Really nice mare". Finally, after two weeks, I still wasn't over the flu but I missed my girl so much, Randy and I drove out to see her. I was appalled to find my beautiful Cinderella filthy and unbrushed and terribly terribly skinny as if she hadn't eaten for the entire two weeks. I was furious and shocked to see this since this is a prominent trainer here and all the rest of the high-profile Warmbloods on her place were handsome and clean and obviously well cared for. I canceled my contract immediately and took Cinders back home.  Yes, those are her sharp hip bones sticking out in that lower right hand corner. It is a good thing I was still so sick as I would probably be looking at a lawsuit for assault if I had been stronger.
The trainer doesn't think she did anything wrong. She fed hay cubes and apparently Cinders didn't like them. I was/am crazy with grief over this but if there's one bit of advise I can pass on, it is to CHECK up on your horse if it is with a trainer. One man's treasure is another mans trash, and in this case, the trainer valued the expensive Warmbloods far above my lowly PMU mare. My money wasn't as good as theirs either, apparently.........
Once we got Cinders home, I spent many days and nights in tears over what I had allowed to happen to my precious, precious mare. The vet ran extensive blood tests to make sure she wasn't sick since she looked so bad....fortunately she wasn't....just very run-down and anemic. So the vet gave her a triple dose of Vit. B-12. In my frenzy to make those ribs and hip-bones disappear, I pounded Cinders with all sorts of feed and supplements. She had every kind of food in front of her 24-7 that you can imagine, all topped off with a HEALTHY serving of "Red Cell" iron tonic for horses. She was so glad to be home, clean and loved again.
 Ha!  Within one month of all this high-power feeding, Cinders began to feel "wonderful" and while she still wasn't back to her good weight, she became so high spirited, I could barely control her. She was running, bucking and acting completely wild. So one day I turned her out in the big arena to run off some of that excess energy and she jumped straight over the five-foot gate and took off for the barn!  I was able to catch her, but since then, I had to cut back on all that "Nitro-feed".  Doesn't she look happy in these pictures? I still have to be careful with Cinders in the arena. Since she was successful in clearing that gate, she see no problem with trying it again! At some point, I'll have a video here of her on a lunge line and you'll be able to see just how high spirited and animated she is. She's like a giant Arabian!