Levi & Willow

Levi & Willow

Levi & Willow

319230732 683105903359179 8488185079984234171 n (1)

 

    Name: Levi

    Type: Miniature Donkey

    Color: Spotted

    Markings: Donkey Cross

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 07/20/2017

 

 

    Name: Willow

    Type: Miniature Donkey

    Color: Spotted

    Markings: Donkey Cross

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/2017

 

Meet our little surprises! Levi and Willow decided on their own to join the Red Bell Run herd. During their first year at our North Carolina facility, we had a small herd of jennies and foals that lived in our “nursery”. They had a nice large shelter and plenty of paddocks and dry lots to raise their babies. All jennies were accounted for with foals at their sides, and were confirmed not in foal by our vets. The donkey nursery backed up to a neighbor’s pasture, so it was perfect for our little ones and their moms! One morning, Red Bell Run’s Founder, Mary Adams, received a frantic call from a barn staff member…”There are two new baby donkeys in our nursery herd!” Mary knew that was impossible and raced to the nursery where sure enough, there were two adorable little spotted donkeys in the center of the herd, happily munching away. Where in the world had they come from? They weren’t newborns, but they were clearly very young to be away from their moms!

We called Animal Control because surely someone was frantically looking for these two bundles of cuteness! People who know donkeys will tell you that there is absolutely nothing cuter than a baby donkey, so we just knew there was a heartbroken owner somewhere. Our Animal Control Officer came over and informed us that she’d look for the owner, but if no one claimed them, in three days Red Bell Run would be considered the owner. Meanwhile, we made arrangements with our vet to take the two little donkeys to the vet clinic to be thoroughly checked out. It turns out that the little ones, a jenny and a little gelding (who had been castrated way too young) were very wormy and would need some attentive care to thrive.

Our vet concurred that they really were too young to be weaned. We brought them back and put them in one of our stalls in the Main Barn to wait for their owner to claim them. So, how in the world did this happen and how did they find their way to our herd? Well, it turns out that our sweet neighbor had purchased two donkeys, supposedly standard size “guard” donkeys for their cows, and the seller had simply dropped them off while she wasn’t there, after telling her that they would be fine with pasture and water. These two tiny miniature donkeys were in no condition to be dropped off in a huge pasture and totally unsuitable to guard anything! Donkeys do NOT guard livestock; they are territorial which is a completely different mindset – and one of the reasons we have a large donkey herd of failed “Guard Donkeys” at Red Bell Run. They guard their territory and oftentimes newborn calves, goats, etc., are considered to be invaders and the donkeys will often attack them. This isn’t the donkey’s fault. This myth of donkeys guarding livestock persists, however, and is not a good situation for the donkeys or the livestock they’re supposed to be guarding.

The donkey’s owner, contacted through Animal Control, literally flew back from her home in Florida and was appalled that these tiny donkeys had been just left in her pasture. She told us they were named Levi and Willow. Somehow, they found their way across an eighty-acre pasture, and climbed through barb wire and wood fences to the safety of our herd! Because the owner doesn’t live here full-time and they were certainly too young to be thrown out to fend for themselves, Levi and Willow became beloved members of our “nursery herd.” Today they live at our HeeHaw Hideaway Barn as part of our “Spotties” group and entertain us all with their antics.

 

 

428413218 1726041937882550 3283566102614683397 n
Polo

Polo

Polo

362235271 668823994636200 5005354838250233311 n (1)

 

    Name: Polo

    Type: Westphalian Horse

    Color: Bay

      Markings: Star, 4 socks

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 1/1/1997

 

Polo is that horse that dreams are made of. Despite his name, he was trained for the sport of dressage, not polo, and he did his job! In California, Polo was the sports partner of a devoted owner. Due to an illness that left her disabled and unable to ride or care for Polo, she leased him to a dressage rider who needed a new partner. His new rider loved him devotedly, but – as happens to all of us – Polo was getting older and was no longer up to the rigorous demands of dressage, an equine discipline that demands a high level of physical fitness from its equine participants. 

However, Polo had a legion of fans; former owners who heard of his plight and were determined that after his years of service, Polo would have the retirement he deserved! Polo is one of the lucky ones – the people who owned him from first to last stepped up and made sure that he didn’t end up shuffled from home to home. Horses like Polo who are at the end of their careers with the resulting arthritis and age-related issues, can and do end up in less-than-ideal situations and are sold off from place to place. Polo, who had done his job well for his owners throughout his life, didn’t suffer this fate, but he still needed a place to go. His owner, now completely disabled, was very worried about him. That’s where Red Bell Run stepped in. A woman who had owned Polo in his youth contacted Red Bell Run, explained the predicament of Polo’s owner and asked if it would be possible for Polo to be brought from California to North Carolina.

Polo did his job – now it was time for us to do ours. Polo’s fan club donated the funds needed for him to be flown from California to Kentucky and then vanned to Red Bell Run. Polo, it turned out, had a few quirks which made the choice of Red Bell Run his best option since we specialize in special needs equines. He had EOTRH, a dental disease where teeth are reabsorbed into the bone. In his pictures you’ll see his tongue hangs out of his mouth. He’s not being rude – since the disease is sometimes painful, his front teeth were removed to make him comfortable. EOTRH (Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis) is more common than you might think which is why it’s so important for equines to have dental exams each year. Amazingly, Polo had no trouble grazing, eating his hay or his special mashes.

However, it turned out that our Polo also suffered from some neurotic behaviors which became evident shortly after he arrived. Puzzled, because there seemed to be no reason for this, our vet consulted a veterinary behavioral specialist at Cornell, who diagnosed him and prescribed a medication to help. As long as his schedule remains stable, Polo is a very happy camper, lazing his days away in his private paddock, stall and dry lot being cosseted by our staff. He is quite the character too! The video of Polo below was viewed over 100,000 times on TikTok. Polo, with all of his quirks, his adorable face with that tongue permanently on view, will always be a Star at Red Bell Run! 

Jewel & Gemma

Jewel & Gemma

Jewel & Gemma

337561309 954286892398834 617824906057814857 n (2)
Ark Watch logo 2022

 

    Name: Jewel

    Type: Belgian Draft Horse

    Color: Flaxen Chestnut

    Markings: Blaze

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/1993

 

 

    Name: Gemma

    Type: Belgian Draft Horse

    Color: Flaxen Chestnut

    Markings: Blaze

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/17/2022

 

In late October 2021, a photo of an old Belgian mare came to the attention of the Ark Watch Foundation. She had been unceremoniously dumped in the Bowie, TX kill pen by her Amish owner when she was no longer of use to him. The mare was terribly emaciated. Her ribs were clearly visible and her hipbones were protruding through her skin. She was blind in one eye from an old injury. The mare’s back was severely roached from pulling loads heavier than she should have been asked to pull. Celine Myers bought the made thinking she was a euthanasia case, intending to save her a horrific trip to a Mexican slaughterhouse and instead humanely end her suffering. The mare came with paperwork that showed her registered name was “Sandhill Jewel”. Celine expected the vet to say Jewel was in pain from the deformities in her back and needed to be euthanized. Surprisingly, x-rays revealed Jewel had some remodeling to her spine but the vet did not think Jewel was a euthanasia case. Jewel was put on a refeeding protocol and, in time, slowly gained weight. Once Jewel was healthy enough, she was given mild dewormings, essential vaccines and some dental work.

At about 11:30pm on the night of January 17th 2022, animal rights champion Betty White’s birthday, the very elderly Jewel laid down and gave birth to a filly. Jewel had been recovering well from years of abuse and neglect, but her body was not prepared to nurture a foal. She did not have any milk to nurse the baby which meant she didn’t have the colostrum the foal needed. The placenta showed signs of placentitis. Blood tests revealed the baby was born with an infection and she had no immune system to fight it. Thankfully, the vet at Reata Equine Hospital had dealt with these issues before. The clinic had colostrum and plasma banked for just such an emergency. Very soon after her birth, the filly was given colostrum from a bottle, the first of two plasma transfers and antibiotics to treat her infection. Jewel was treated with a hormone injection to jump-start her milk production. By morning, Celine had a Facebook photo of Jewel and her foal waiting, along with a message that read, “Jewel gave birth to this little gem last night”. And so, Celine named the foal “Gemma”.

Little Gemma wasn’t so little. Thankfully, she was a large, fully formed foal. Jewels’ milk bag was beginning to fill and the baby was nursing. Jewel was an experienced mom! Within about a week, Gemma was thriving. Jewel did persevere, despite her age and previous neglect, probably because she had Gemma to live for. Gemma was born with an umbilical hernia that was repaired. Almost a year later, Red Bell Run was asked to take this pair so that Gemma could have the room she needed to grow and thrive, and Jewel (who has turned out to be 30+ years old) could get the specialized care she needs. Jewel is a “jewel” and sweet as can be. Her badly damaged eye has been removed so she is more comfortable. Gemma is quite the character and keeps her poor mom busy with her shenanigans. We’re happy to say both are now doing well in our Hilltop Barn! 

IMG 3740 (1)
IMG 3707 (1)
338903880 738791124456536 4588064204518789463 n (4)
Punky

Punky

Punky

373033065 6454990401222910 7014368271687010540 n (1)

 

    Name: Punky

    Type: Miniature donkey

    Color: Grey

      Markings: Donkey cross

    Sex: Jenny

    Birthday: 1/1/2014

 

Our little Punky (named after Punky Brewster) came to us from a horrific hoarding situation in Oklahoma. We were advised that Punky and a group of other donkeys, some pregnant, were on a property without any feed source, no running water, and no care. The lady who had them meant well, but suffered from several issues and was in no position to care for herself, much less a herd of donkeys. Once again, the Circle of Friends Rescue Group in Oklahoma came through. After much convincing, the owner agreed to release the donkeys and a hauler was dispatched immediately. It was a truly pitiful group. One of the older, pregnant jennies went down on the trailer on the way to the quarantine farm. She survived, but it was touch and go. Punky, although skinny, wormy and with feet that had clearly not seen a farrier in a very long time, recovered with good vet and farrier care and a good nutrition plan. After several months and a lot of false starts, Punky and her friends arrived at Red Bell Run. 

Today, Punky, who is a miniature donkey, lives with her buddies at the Longears Lodge barn and track system. She can usually be found buddying up with one or more of her herd. She gets along well with the other donkeys, several of whom are always around to take care of their little friend! Affectionate and a little clown, Punky is a staff favorite and good equine citizen, easily handled for vet and farrier, and always willing to come up for a treat! 

345638459 977532243240866 4720400179439407621 n (2)

Soletta

Soletta

Soletta

369527041 988324469169793 5525944325825524991 n (1)

 

    Name: Soletta

    Type: Horse

    Color: Amber Champagne  

      Markings: Blaze, dapples

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/2019

 

Sylvester

Sylvester

Sylvester

375753109 1524743361601441 3404835606641658145 n (1)

 

    Name: Sylvester

    Type: Donkey

    Color: Brown  

      Markings: Donkey Cross

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 11/13/2015

 

 

Join our mailing list to receive news and updates from the Red Bell Run team.

You have successfully signed up!