In the past 7 years, the LRF has helped almost 100 Lipizzans; 30 of which we have placed in loving homes.
Here is the background of Rhett aka Prince and then Darly as written by Susan Castle for United States Lipizzan Rescue Foundation Spring 2014 Magazine...
"In August 2013, Natural Horsemanship Coach Karen Jones, of Newnan, Georgia, became the proud owner of a horse called “Rhett”.
A gorgeous baroque horse, Rhett’s Lipizzan and Andalusian heritage blessed him with exquisite bone and an exotic look. Not quite seven years old when Karen met him, Rhett‘s beauty was timeless, and everyone who saw him agreed the gelding was a “stunner”.
Rhett’s journey to Karen was a long, complicated one, however, with many foster homes and rescues involved in his short life. His early years were said to be horrific. He lacked any rudimentary positive human contact, and when he was rescued through Central Wisconsin Save the Animals group and later adopted out, he was doing poorly, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
When his adoptive home could no longer care for him, she contacted Lipizzan Rescue Foundation (LRF), and LRF began the slow process of searching out a forever home for this traumatized animal.
At this point, Rhett’s early years had caught up with him. Emotional scars from his early years made him distrustful of people, disrespectful of space and terrified of even the simplest activities. His absolute - falling down - terror at anyone putting a rope near his hind legs supported the theory that he’d been broken, and likely abused, through hobbling or whipping. He was poorly socialized and traumatized by confinement of any sort.
Through LRF’s angels, Rhett was moved to foster care, so he could be kept safe and secure until his forever home was located, a happy event that began in mid October, when Karen picked him up in Murfreesboro, TN.
Then, as Karen has reported in a daily blog about Rhett, the play began! Rhett’s first two weeks were largely spent by introducing him to her other horses, slowly and carefully, in group and individual situations. This was to help Rhett gain confidence and learn positive social interactions with other horses as he had always been kept alone. Karen was pleased that Rhett was curious and careful, earning a comfortable place amidst her herd of four.
Next, Karen focused on space and boundary issues through confidence-building games. Many, many baby steps yielded incremental improvement. Mindful of his past trauma, Karen posted a saying on her Facebook blog that read: “Healing doesn‘t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.”
A friend who observed Rhett’s training said Rhett seems to have “never known boundaries, rules, structure, tough love or freedom to make decisions…he is really coming around…a kind soul who is trying his hardest to process it all.”
Near the end of October, Karen initiated clicker training with Rhett, using positive reinforcement techniques. Her goal was to present Rhett with a variety of puzzles, giving him the freedom to select his own correct course of action. She simulated conditions that bothered him: small spaces, blanketing, touching the “yea-but“ areas of his body and trailering.
Throughout this process, Karen listened to Rhett very carefully, slowing her training when Rhett indicated he “just wasn’t ready”. He progressed very well, nevertheless, and Karen excitedly announced on November 20th that Rhett would “begin his foundation journey under the tutelage of a Master Horseman”…unfortunately, this ‘cowboy way’ that has worked very well with other horses, didn’t work well for Rhett. Karen brought him back home and has renewed their way of positive reinforcement, patience and more than anything, encouraging a partnership of mutual trust and respect. Karen’s training philosophies are based on thoughts from the masters such as “the horse is never wrong, “take the time it takes and it will take less time”, “hurry up and slow down” and her favorite “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Karen feels that she and Rhett are playing both the roles of student and teacher for each other on their horsemanship journey.
“Look deeper than the skin, look through the eyes and into the soul and you will see your kindness mending a broken heart!!” ~ Karen and Rhett
Can they do it? Why, yes they can! "
A little background first: Gabriella II was part of my breeding program from 2001-2003. She came on lease from Charlie Horse Acres, later Noble Lipizzans, for three foals; when she arrived, she was in foal to Favory II Bonasera III. That foal was a beautiful tall filly, and I bred her to my stallion, Pluto Carrma III, for another lovely filly. And then she went back to Washington to be bred to Neopolitano Slatana II—again, a filly. A trifecta!
I loved that mare and cried when she left, but she belonged on a larger and more active breeding farm, where she could continue to produce beautiful babies for our breed. Her Pluto Carrma daughter was sold, but I kept the other two. I kept track of her, and hoped someday she could come back.
In 2010 I received an email from Cele Noble. Gabriella, who had moved on from Cele’s farm in the intervening years, needed a home fast. Could I take her? The economy had not been kind to me or to the farm, and Cele suggested that I contact the newly formed Lipizzan Rescue Foundation to see if they could help ship her down from Oregon to Arizona.
A rapid email exchange followed. The clock was ticking. The LRF stepped up, and we rushed through the paperwork, booked a shipper, took lots of deep breaths and tried not to panic. And ten days later she was here.
She arrived in the middle of a White Horse Herd Yoga session, covered in mud, dazed and a little wobbly. The herd welcomed her, running to the fence to watch us come in. The yoga ladies surrounded us as I led her down from the road and settled her in a paddock to rest, and little by little she started to breathe more easily. The life came back into her eyes. She was home.
When I contacted the LRF about the rescue, I promised them that if she could come to me, the placement would be permanent. She would never be sold or sent elsewhere. I meant every word. I love that mare in a way that Lipizzan people truly understand. She’s a heart horse, and when she was gone for all those years, I missed her terribly.
She’s had some adventures over the years. Saddle fitting for this very round, very short- backed, very big-shouldered mare was even more than the usual nightmare; at long last we found her a plain old Wintec AP with a wide gullet, and she could finally be ridden regularly. She is not fond of ring work, and at 24 and after making so many babies she’s entitled to decide what we do. And that is trail riding. She loves trails. She goes out two or three times a week with her buddy the Lipp-Arab gelding, and if we miss a ride for weather or human error, she lets us know how disappointed she is.
There are a few health problems as she ages. She has internal melanomas, and is being treated for them with mega doses of cimetidine (tagamet). She colics in the fall when the heat breaks; we’re making plans to avert that this year. She wants a blanket in the winter nights, never mind how warm it is compared to where she comes from. So she has a wardrobe just like our delicate flower of a stallion, and gets her choice of blankets every night (and some stormy days) from October to May.
It’s all worth it. When she arrived, she had a bit of a rep as an “AlphAAAAAA,” as Cele put it, but she has made a conscious effort to fit in. If that means taking bottom slot in the herd order, so be it. Whatever it takes.
She doesn’t let herself be pushed around, but she stands back and lets the kids have their day. And lately, as our senior mare Pandora enters her dotage, she’s been the big lady’s caretaker and protector. It’s quite amusing to watch the 16.1-hand mare follow the 14.3-hand mare around like a giant foal. But Gabriella’s a mom. She’s good with it.
We love her dearly and hope she’ll be with us for many years to come. Thanks to the LRF for making that possible, and for bringing my sweet girl home to me.
My George. Indeed, I can call him this name now. But, before George’s adoption can be delved in to, events that led to this decision need to be explained. She had me at “Hello”. The first time I laid eyes on a Lipizzaner was the day I was hooked. Opinionated, regal, and of course full of herself were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Purchasing Baxtera was never a question of if; it was when. This happened about two years later and I spent one full year taking weight off of my girl, and then bred her to one of Jennifer Roth’s stallions. She had a filly and then it was my turn. Several years went by and Baxtera developed melanomas on both sides of her lip; which were removed, and under her tail. The melanomas progressed under her tail, and I began to think about her future and mine. Paperwork was filled out, and I was put on the list for a possible Lipizzaner adoption. Last year Baxtera’s tail was 95% cracked, and the melanomas were enormous. Given a good amount of observation and thought about what needed to happen with her; my vet drove an hour to my farm, put her down, and my heart was buried under a tree. As I compose this, my eyes well with tears. Events lead now to George.
The Lipizzan Rescue Foundation contacted me a few times for possible matches for adoption. After talking with a few owners, I knew that a connection was not yet found. Last October, LRF called and visited with me about George. It sounded promising, and I talked several times with his owner, who was downsizing her herd. A trip was planned for me to meet him and have a lesson. Nearly a full day was spent with George and several other Lipizzaners. Plans were made to bring George and a three year old mare I bought to Texas. My husband and I made a second trip and returned with two horses. George was now my boy, or so I thought.
Adjusting was a priority, so I let George have a few weeks off and then began to take him across town twice a week for lessons. It became apparent that he was hypersensitive to sound. As soon as a theraplate was turned on or a UPS truck drove by, George would explode into a Levade, or canter, or Spanish walk. This happened repeatedly only with sound! Feeling like I had no choice, I spoke with his owner and Lyn and made a decision because I still wanted to keep him.
I had given much thought to George’s behavior and most of all considered his eyes. This may seem silly, but was oh, so important to me. George’s eyes were rock hard and cold. Obviously, he was not comfortable or happy with his current situation. Every fiber in his body said, “Where am I and what am I doing here?” At that point, my decision had to be to let him be for a while. I groomed him, called him by name, and let him settle in to a barn routine without even riding him. It was a good decision and little by little his eyes began to soften and turn in to those liquid brown eyes that said he would let me in. He did indeed get accustomed to his shortened pasture hours due to a metabolic issue, and the company of a pony in the stall/turnout next to him. At that point I began to lunge George just to further my education with him, and to see how he would behave under saddle with the sights and sounds of my barn. We both are progressing nicely, although he is still quite sensitive to sounds and new sights. For example, a bicycler passed by his pasture and George was so freaked out he began to execute nice half passes while no other horse really even noticed.
This makes the trust issue on my part quite sensitive still. But, every single day he seeks my attention and loves to have his ears rubbed. I never have to physically walk through his pasture to bring him in; he knows it is time and comes to greet me. With my other horses,
I had never noticed the back and forth pumping of ears as gulps of water are taken in. This action has given me a sense of enjoyment and peace about George. We two are a work in progress. My pet names for him are “George of the Jungle” when impatient for his morning feed, “Boy George” when he freaks out about a sound or sight, and just plain “Georgie” on an ordinary day. I hope it sounds like I treasure this horse, because I do! For me, it is not occupying a heart space of a horse long gone; it is opening my heart to a new adventure and horse to love. Give an adoption of a Lipizzaner a try. They are ready to fill a space in your heart!