Sugar Plum

When I moved to this farm I took home 3 ponies from a rescue I worked at, Viking, Butterfly and Sugar Plum. Sugar Plum was an older, black mini, so tiny and precious. Despite being the tiniest little girl, she played a huge part in my life and our whole farm.

I met her first when a was a little pony-smitten girl, she was given to the rescue I volunteered at. My mother always told me I couldn’t have a horse because it was illegal in our town, but even at my young age I looked it up and found out that I could have a pony if they were under 34” tall! When I got to the rescue and found Sugar Plum there I knew she would be mine. When I got home I cleaned out my grandfather’s garage and filled it was bedding and a nice water bucket. A perfect home for this little pony. Of course this didn’t change anything really, I still couldn’t take her home. Heartbroken, she was adopted by another home. 12 years later she was returned to the rescue when her owner’s health was failing. So was her own.

Due to poor breeding as many minis are, her teeth outgrew her head and all fell out. She lived on hay-soup and mooshy treats. She was Butterfly’s best and only friend. She had also suffered repeated foundering (when the bone rotates inside the hoof) which is extremely painful, leaving her very lame for the rest of her life. We were able to relieve a good deal of her pain with the use of special orthopedic boots. While she had much pain she was still a sweet, happy little girl. Finally, as an adult, I got to take my tiny childhood dream pony home with me. And I loved her as much as my childhood self ever could have! It turned out Lyme disease was behind much of her health issues, treating this relieved a great deal of her pain – but not all of it. She spent the rest of her time here with us teaching the youngest and the smallest all about clicker training. Larkin was her special friend and she taught Larkin a great deal about what unconditional love really means. Sugar Plum had little but love to offer Larkin, she couldn’t be ridden, or move very fast, she often preferred to sit alone – so Larkin learned how to love a horse for who they truly are, not just what they can do for you. Together they won an unmounted clicker training competition! They were truly a special pair.

While Sugar Plum was living with chronic issues, her passing came as a harsh shock to us all. One day, when she was feeling good, she came trotting in to slurp down her 3 bucket of soup of the day. Then she stopped and looked scared. She was choking. Choke is dangerous and scary for horses, but rarely becomes life-threatening. We called the vet immediately and started working on massaging her neck and keeping her head low. She sneezed out all the soup she’d drank but was still choking. We spent the next 9 hours tubing her, flushing with water, trying to push or pull the blockage, trying to dislodge it anyway we could or dissolve it. Anything. Hours and hours we struggled, but the blockage was something solid, something that wasn’t dissolving or breaking down – then it hit us, she had swallowed a tooth. Having seen the size of the teeth she’s spit out in the past, I knew this was a large blockage. We had hoped to dislodge it, but in the end she fell into seizures and we had to let her go. It was officially the worst night of our barn lives. We were crushed. Just crushed. It was so much work to tend to her needs, putting on her boots, making her 5 buckets of soup a day, but it was never a burden. Our precious little girl was such a huge part of our farm and family and will be forever missed. Larkin has built her a magnificent Fairy Garden where she’s buried, and planted forget-me-nots and bleeding hearts for her sweet self.

Meet the Rescues: