Summer of Change

February 13, 2011

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name.

Psalm 105:5

As Spring fell away into Summer, there were all kinds of critter activity surrounding us on our little piece of heaven here on earth.  As I look around me at the glory of God’s creation, I am thankful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the Salvation I have in Him.  He is my Rock.  And without Him, I would be lost.  I am so thankful to Him for all that he has blessed my life with.  The beauty that surrounds me reminds me of His Love every day…

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds

Red Fox youngsters

Female American Goldfinch

Image and Ember

A pair of bluebirds gave one of our nest boxes a try.  The female must have not liked her experience, because they only stayed a few days before moving on.  A family of  foxes played in the tall summer grasses of the pasture.  Goldfinches recycle the sunflowers that gave us beauty throughout the summer.  In turn the sunflowers will give them the nourishment they need to go into the cold winter months ahead.

Image has continued to gain strength and muscle tone.  He started to thrive in a way that I wasn’t sure was possible.  He continued to run and play and he LOVED it!  It was a thrill to see him enjoying himself so much.  Ember loved it too!  As I have said before, that girl was born to run!  She has a sassy spunky side of her that is so much fun to watch.  That same side of her requires a lot of time and patience when teaching and learning.

The summer temps were high and the humidity levels were off the charts.  The air was so thick that at times I thought if I had a spoon I could scoop it up.  We had gotten enough rain throughout the summer to keep the grass green and all of our horses happy with the grazing our pastures provided.  We are very fortunate that the creek that runs through our pastures has never gone dry, despite droughts in past years.  There are always places for the horses to wade into, roll in if they so choose, or just splash around to find relief from the summer heat.  The creek also provides  fresh running water to quench their thirst.  Image and Ember soon realized that the big noisy thing in the barn was another source of relief from the heat.  Our other horses were already well familiar with the big barn fan.  But it took some courage for Image and Ember  (Who both possess a very natural instinct to flee from big noisy things) to get close enough to the fan to be rewarded by the relief it gave from both the heat and the flies.  It did not take them long to join the others in encouraging us to turn the fan on when the heat of the day became oppressive.

Ember along the creek that runs through our pasture

Ember and Image enjoy drinking from the creek


Ember runs by Shy Ann


Ember and Image in the late afternoon sun


Our herd

The summer was filled with fun learning games with Image and Ember, when time allowed.  My heavy work schedule kept me from spending as much with them as I would have liked.  But we are not in a hurry.  It will all happen in due time.  We are all learning so much from each other.  They teach me to be still and be patient.  The more I am with them the more I learn from them.

Me and Image

They each have their own unique horse-anality that I find fascinating.  When they came to live with us, Image was the underdog, the scrawny little fella that everyone had picked on.    Ember felt very comfortable bossing him around.  She told him where to go and how to do it.  As time has a way of doing, their roles have changed.  Image became the dominate one of them and Ember found herself answering to everyone else in their new herd.  Even knowing she was lowest in the pecking order, she still held her head high and held her position on the bottom with as much dignity as she could.

Me and Ember

As the summer months came to a close, our Alpha female Shy Ann became very sick.  Despite our and our vets best efforts to get her well, she continued to become more sick until we made the very difficult decision to end her pain and suffering.  We laid her to rest not far from where she was born in our pasture.  That had to be one the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.  The pain is still very real and very difficult to talk about to this day.  I am not going in to any more details as this has been very heartbreaking for us…….

Shy Ann, our Alpha female

As the alpha female of our herd, Shy Ann had taken her job very seriously.  She made sure everyone knew their place at all times.  She ruled with authority and backed up her demands, either with gestures or action.  She was always quite serious about it.  We have had several people ask us how the other horses are doing with the loss of Shy Ann.  Sadly, she ruled them so strongly, that I don’t think they have missed her very much.  For the first few days, the others all kind of did their own thing.  There was no one there to tell them what to do, where to go, how far to go, when to lay down, etc.  After a few days, Abi (our 9 yr. old mustang) started to take on the role as Alpha, yet always conscience of giving respect and space to Touchy, our 28 yr. old.  Touchy really wanted nothing to do with being alpha.  But as a senior, she still commands respect from the others.  Image started to question Abi’s authority.  He knows she is the new boss, but he tests her on a consistent basis.  Ember quietly accepts Abi in her new role.
Every now and then Image and Ember will test Touchy’s patience and she has to back up her position with a nip or a bite.  But all in all, they are getting along very well and are seldom apart.  For the very first time ever, they all laid down at the same time very close to each other.  They had never been allowed to do this before.

Abi, Image, Ember and Touchy completely relaxed

One of Abi’s strategies as the new alpha has been to put herself in between Image and Ember by belly-bumping her way in between them.  They have not seemed to mind this.  For the most part they are accepting of her as their new alpha.

Ember, Abi and Image





  1. Deb,
    I am so sorry for your loss of Shy Ann. Thanks for keeping us posted on Image, Ember and the rest of your herd. Image has a special place in my heart and I’m glad he has you.

    • Dear Donna,
      Thank you. Image is pretty amazing! He is so lovable and huggable.


  2. Dear Deb,
    Thank you so much for sending the latest journal with the updates and beautiful pictures of your
    “family”. They look great!
    It was so wonderful to read about them and how they
    are getting along. It was nice to see you on a & Prayers, Nancy & Betty
    picture too.
    We were so sorry to read about Shy Ann, but you did
    what had to be done. Hang unto the beautiful,warm
    memories of her.
    Sure would love to see the herd sometime again.

    • Thank you Betty and Nancy,
      We would love to have you gals over sometime to see our kids. Please let us know if/when you are passing through our area.

      Love ya,

  3. Hi Deb,

    Thank you for letting us enjoy your pictures. Your stories continue to educate us of God’s amazing work in the animal kingdom. Your passion for horses continues to stimulate us to love His marvelous creation. Thank you!

    Po Wan

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your stories and pictures of your beautiful kids. I always love hearing about them and seeing them grow up. I was just talking about Image and Ember yesterday and how Image was my absolute FAVE up on the mountain a few years ago. He’s grown into such a handsome boy – a spitting Image of Cloud!

    • Thanks Nancy,
      I remember you saying up on the mountain that Image was your favorite when he was just a month old. I wonder what he would have been like as a bachelor stallion on the mountain? And then as a band stallion?


  5. Dear Mrs. Little,we loved reading your update.The horses are huge! They have grown a lot since we were there.How are all the horses? (They look fine.) And how are you? Can’t wait for the next update.

    Love,Sarah and Hannah Holtz

    • Dear Sarah and Hannah,
      Thank you so much. And yes, they are getting HUGE! Everyone is doing great! We have a big surprise that I will announce in my next update…… I can’t wait for you and you family to come over and see Image and Ember again!

      Love and Hugs,

  6. Im so sorry that Shy Ann had to be put down. Is Abi the mother of Shy Ann?

    • Thank you Jonathon.

      Losing Shy Ann was very difficult. Still is…… Abi is a mustang that was born in Nevada. We adopted her about 8 years ago when she was just 10 months old.


  7. Hi Deb,

    I am so sorry to hear about Shy Ann. It’s never easy to have to let one of our “kids” go, but I also know it’s the best thing to do under certain circumstances, even of it breaks our heart. You have my deepest sympathy and I pray the pain of losing her will ease with every day that passes.

    Thank you so much for continuing to share your wonderful stories about all the horses!


    P.S. I absolutely love the closeup of Image!!!

  8. Hi Deb,
    Thank you for the update on your “kids”! They seem to be very happy, and of course as beautiful as ever. I am so sorry for your loss of Shy Ann. I am the decision was made to end her suffering. God bless you and all of your four legged family!

  9. Is Ember, Image, Abi, and Touchy missing Shy Ann and were they grieving for the loss of their leader?

    • Hi Jonathan,

      Abi was probably the closest to Shy Ann. I really think she knew what was happening and I think she felt the loss. A few days later Abi became the leader of our herd, with Touchy a close second. And then Image and finally Ember. It was interesting in that Abi, Touchy, Image and Ember all became closer together with each other after losing Shy Ann. Abi is not the strict leader that Shy Ann was.


      • I think when Image’s grandmother Sitka died, Cloud might have been missing her a lot. Cloud and Sitka were a good team and Sitka steadied Cloud. Are you going to adopt another wild horse?

        • Hi Jonathan,
          Cloud and Sitka were very close and they complemented each other well.
          At this time, we are not planning on adopting any more wild horses.

          • Was Shy Ann born at your farm and did she have her mother with her? What was wrong with Shy Ann? I had to say goodbye to my two guinea pigs because they had cancer and had to be put down. How come you wont be adopting any more wild horses?

  10. The beauty of your art coupled with the sharing of your adventure with these magnificent animals make your blog outstanding.

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