A place like this depends heavily on several people whose help is central to the health and care of the animals. Meet some of them below!
We have extraordinary vets who regularly take care of all the horses' and donkeys' annual vaccines, skin conditions, castrations, stomach issues, dietary needs and so on! And because there is lots of "so on" at The Farmette, having such attentive, patient vets is an incredible gift!
Dr. Steph is always just a text away. Her experience ranges from serving racetrack horses and huge horse farms to working for rescues and small, private barns. The care she provides each animal is the same no matter their monetary value.
Dr. Acland is farther away geographically but helps us in all kinds of ways. She has often helped us with castrations that were logistically or medically challenging for one reason or another. She has also been a super helpful second opinion on various cases.
Our vets share with us all the ups and downs of Farmette life, laughing over the crazy donkey antics, worrying about a condition that isn't responding to treatment, celebrating surprise rescue births, and shedding tears over the loss of wonderful animal friends whose earthly end they are mercifully able to make as painfree and peaceful as possible. We are truly grateful for them.
Dr. Steph and Manny had a very special connection. He even smiles when their picture is taken together!
Horse and donkey hooves need regular trimming in order to prevent all kinds of painful, and even fatal, conditions including the irreversible rotation of equine foot bones. Kevin McIntyre, our talented and knowledgeable farrier, has faithfully served some of these Farmette animals for almost 19 years. He lovingly refers to the smallest Farmette donkeys as his "ankle-biters" (despite the fact that they have never even considered biting him!). As you can see in the photos below, he is a barn favorite, especially with the donkeys! Kevin has gotten us through recurrent hoof abscesses and has patiently brought neglected, overgrown feet back from the brink of disaster. Through his gentle but consistent manner, he has also won the hearts of both horses and donkeys whose past experiences with farriers were all negative. And he even forgave the horse that kicked right through his thumbnail before she learned that he was her friend! It takes an especially patient person to trim donkey hooves. A good farrier also has to be flexible to be successful, and Kevin puts up with lots of donkey antics! While he works on one, another often "visits". The visitor chews on his straps, licks his head and sometimes walks off carrying his tools!
Equine teeth continue to grow throughout an animal's life. Each year they can develop points and sharp edges that require special attention called "floating," a process aimed at ensuring a balanced bite that involves filing the animal's teeth, including those farthest back molars in the mouth. Understandably, some animals do not appreciate the head-vibrating (!) process and they require mild sedation in order to stand still enough to get the necessary job done. But Lisa Wasmer, our dental expert from Horse Teeth Matter (443-756-4946), has developed a trusting relationship with each Farmette animal one-by-one, and also takes on the challenge of helping new rescues who are completely new to any dental experience. Her patience and talents are remarkable.
As the saying goes, "hay is for horses!" It's also for donkeys! We get hay from more than one source. Arland delivers over 80 bales of hay each time he comes to The Farmette. He backs his loaded truck as close as he can up to the side of the barn and stands on the top of the highest bale to open the barn's hay delivery door. After untying his load, he then throws the 30-50 lb bales into the barn's hay loft. By the time he reaches the lowest bales, he is standing on his truck bed but he still tosses them over his head into the barn so we don't have to carry them up there! Needless to say, Arland has never needed a gym membership! Our other regular hay source is Wes. He usually comes with some young guys who are able to empty their truck in no time and stack it all in the barn. The horses and donkeys often gather in the barn during the process, nickering and hee hawing (respectively!) in great anticipation.