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OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse

JenEllen 01 Jul 02 - 07:22 PM
wysiwyg 01 Jul 02 - 07:45 PM
Amos 01 Jul 02 - 07:50 PM
Genie 01 Jul 02 - 10:38 PM
CapriUni 01 Jul 02 - 10:54 PM
katlaughing 02 Jul 02 - 01:14 AM
SharonA 02 Jul 02 - 10:49 AM
mousethief 02 Jul 02 - 11:30 AM
SharonA 02 Jul 02 - 11:32 AM
wysiwyg 02 Jul 02 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,vixen @ work 02 Jul 02 - 12:54 PM
SharonA 02 Jul 02 - 12:56 PM
Lonesome EJ 02 Jul 02 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Sonja 02 Jul 02 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Sonja 02 Jul 02 - 01:09 PM
SharonA 02 Jul 02 - 01:12 PM
wysiwyg 02 Jul 02 - 01:12 PM
CapriUni 02 Jul 02 - 08:38 PM
wysiwyg 02 Jul 02 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,vixen @ work 03 Jul 02 - 08:37 AM
CapriUni 03 Jul 02 - 09:05 AM
Peter T. 03 Jul 02 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Genie (my cookie done gone) 03 Jul 02 - 04:20 PM
SharonA 03 Jul 02 - 04:37 PM
CapriUni 03 Jul 02 - 04:39 PM
katlaughing 03 Jul 02 - 05:32 PM
Amos 03 Jul 02 - 07:23 PM
CapriUni 03 Jul 02 - 08:14 PM
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Subject: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: JenEllen
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 07:22 PM

Forwarded to me over the weekend:

(from Ellensburg Daily Record, June 29th, 2002)

"Rosie The Guide Horse Dies"
The guide horse that was featured in the May 27th Daily Record has died. The miniature horse was named Rosie, and she lead Cheryle King, who is blind, around ellensburg and could even fit into the back of a compact car.
The reason, said King's former caretaker Jenny Cahoon, is a halter was left on the horse. She said rosie became snared and is unsure whether the horse choked or broke its neck. "Even out of tragedy, people should learn from the incident--you can't leave a halter on a horse." Cahoon said.
Rosie was trained by the Guide Horse Foundation, a non-profit agency based in North Carolina, and given to King for free after a lengthy application process. People in Ellensburg often saw rosie, who wore silky red panties, inside stores, supermarkets, the hospital, and other places, much like a guide dog.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 07:45 PM

Aw gee!!!!

~S~


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 07:50 PM

Oh, Jen, I am so sorry to hear this!

She was in our community heart. How plain awful!!

Corragio,

A


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: Genie
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 10:38 PM

Oh, no! I feel like I've lost a friend, myself. Rosie endeared herself to us, without even knowing it, through Áine's Song Challenge! and our reading and writing songs about her.

What terribly sad news, Jen!

Genie


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 10:54 PM

Damn!!!

Not much else to say, is there?


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:14 AM

Shit! I can hardly believe this! Thanks for letting us know, JenEllen. Puir Rosie.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: SharonA
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 10:49 AM

Yes, indeed, poor Rosie. And poor Cheryle (Cherry) King must feel just awful.

This is quite a setback for the guide-horse charities as well. A sad lesson for these charities to learn, that they must be extremely careful to teach people to care properly for their ponies, especially people with no prior experience with horses.

I have to wonder if, after all, ponies are just too sensitive in nature for the task of guiding the blind. In the SONG CHALLENGE! - Part 84 thread, I linked to an article describing a guide horse (perhaps Rosie) who had been frightened by some skateboarders in a Montana "market" area and had kicked at a glass window, fortunately not breaking it or injuring herself. But my thought is that a guide dog is trained not to be "freaked out" by other people's antics.

I have an acquaintance who is blind, and I've driven her and her guide dog home from a couple of songwriters' meetings to which she has traveled by train. Her dog has always been just as placid as could be, on the train and at the meetings and in the car, and has never had an "accident" or needed a doggie-diaper. Even when my car is full of stuff, and the dog has been crammed in wherever she'll fit (last time, it was the passenger-side floor under my friend's legs, breathing on my leg as I drove!), she lies perfectly quietly for those hour-long trips. I just can't imagine trusting a pony to do the same, no matter how docile their reputation! I freely admit that I have no experience with horses or ponies, which contributes to my distrust; maybe it's unfounded, but this story and the Montana story make me doubt the suitability of a pony for the needs of the blind.

It's true that the Guide Horse Foundation (www.guidehorse.com) stresses that guide horses are not for everyone, but I do hope that in the future they'll be absolutely certain that any person to whom they donate a guide pony knows beforehand all there is to know about the nature of ponies and their needs, even down to seemingly innocuous things like learning that you don't keep a halter on a horse.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: mousethief
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 11:30 AM

How sad! I'll bet the owners are just devastated. Horses are such wonderful animals, it's sad to read about one that suffered unnecessarily.

Alex


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: SharonA
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 11:32 AM

Sorry, I should have said "...things like learning that you don't leave a halter on a horse."

Anyway, thanks, JenEllen, for sharing this sad news, but also for sharing the inspirational story of Rosie's life and lifework with us all.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 11:57 AM

For non-horse-folk, the argument for halters left on is that if your horse gets loose, how are you or anyone else gonna grab it to catch it? There are breakaway halters, though, made strong enough that a struggling horse can pop it, but not a human pulling it or, presumably, the weight of a human being dragged around by an uncooperative horse.

Me, I'm for those breakaways, but that's because I had a head-shy horse who, if she had gotten loose, could not have been expected to cooperate if I carried a halter to catch her and tried to get it on her. I'd have rather left her loose, but it wasn't my fence and I could not be sure it was tight each and every day I wasn't there to see it.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: GUEST,vixen @ work
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 12:54 PM

This is fascinating--I didn't know horses were guiding blind people...

I do wonder about their suitability...horses, after all, are near the bottom of the food chain, and share many of the flight reflexes of other prey.

Dogs, on the other hand, are predators, and tend to share the fight reflexes of predatory species.

I can't imagine the horror of being blind and dragged through an unfamiliar area at high speed because my guide horse spooked at something silly. Breakaway harness would essential equipment!

Police horses are trained to be virtually unspookable, but virtual *is* unreal, and I'd think twice before entrusting my entire physical safety to a horse. This from someone who's been regularly riding and caring for horses of all sorts for more than 25 years.

my $0.02...fwiw...

V


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: SharonA
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 12:56 PM

Hmmm, breakaway halters... Are these similar to the breakaway collars they make for cats, to keep tree-climbing cats from hanging themselves if the collar gets caught in a tree-branch?

And do they make breakaway pony halters that require less strength to pop them than a halter for a full-size horse would require?


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:01 PM

Rosie is gone but not forgotten. The following sums up my feelings...

Oh Rosie
Oh Girl
Oh Rosie
Oh Girl
Steal away now
Steal away
Why don't you come to me Darlin?
Steal away
Little Robenitally(?) wants to
Come and play
Alright!
Alright!
etc....


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:04 PM

Being dragged at high speed by a miniature horse? Remember, folks, we're talking about a creature that's only about 2 feet tall, right? I'll bet a German Shepherd could drag its owner as fast.

~SWO~


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:09 PM

For folks who didn't get to read about Rosie before this, here's the link to Song Challenge! Part 84, where there is more information about Rosie and links to articles about guide horses, etc.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: SharonA
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:12 PM

Being "dragged through an unfamiliar area"... reminds me of that old Saturday Night Live bit (I think it was SNL) with the "advertisement" for Seeing-Eye Cats. The cat was leading its "blind" owner under rosebushes as it hunted for prey, and walked on the tops of walls, and ran away from a dog that was chasing both the cat and the "blind" guy... Yep, some animals are better suited for the work than others!


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:12 PM

Sharon, on your two questions-- Yes, and I would hope so.

I have also known owners to use leather instead of nylon gear, because it will break when nylon will not. I have also known an owner to saw partway through one of the leather pieces of a halter, so that it would give if needed. You would leave intact (but loose) the part that goes over the poll (top of the head), because as long as that part is intact and loose it can be used to control the horse... and other parts can be made breakable that would then let it slip off if twisted, as a struggling horse would do.

Actually, I am not sure what is available nowadays, because I am unhorsed (a sad state believe U me). But long ago I used to sell tack (gear), and I remember also breakaway and quick-release tie ropes for trailers, and so forth. The release mechanism is usually in the hardware that connects the parts. Sometimes a horse accident is such that it would be too dangerous or impossible for a human to get to them to turn them loose, and sometimes they are safer loose than tied or corralled. The breakaway is like a fail-safe.

The sad fact of equine ownership is that there is no way to make them as safe as you would like to, in your heart. They are big and strong, and only smart enough to be partly trained or tamed.... they do all kinds of goofy things even after a lifetime of reliable service.... and they are so vulnerable to accident, whether in the wild or, more so, once we pen them up or try to manage them. So safety is a hope, never a certainty, and accidents are a risk we take when we own one. You have to be willing to shoot them yourself, or be able to wait for help and then authorize it done, because the most awful thing CAN happen and you can be there hearing your beloved friend scream and thrash as they tear themselves to bits.

BUt-- good news-- I knew a very delightful mare that was a dream to ride and a sweetie to manage. One day the owner woke up and the mare was out int he pasture, disoriented.... and stone blind, overnight. Maybe it was a lightning strike in the night. No injury could be found, no diagnosis possible. She adopted a pasture pal as her personal guide right off the bat, and in no time was perfectly at home in the pasture even by herself. The other horses, even ones just added to the mix from time to time, kind of looked out for her and never kicked her or played rough or tried to dominate her. Eventually she resumed being a trail horse! Yup! As long as there was another horse there, known or new to her, and a human she knew and trusted, she would be just fine to walk around on, and she would even trot or canter if the rider was brave enough to ask! She got another nine or ten years of good life, and foster-mothered everything else stabled with her.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: CapriUni
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 08:38 PM

Thanks for that story, Susan! That blind mare is an inspiration to all of us -- four and two-legged!


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 08:56 PM

Well, ya gotta balance the awful stuff with good stuff, or go under, eh?

Her name was Misty, and she was a smallish, rusty, soft-spotted Appaloosa.

~S~


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: GUEST,vixen @ work
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 08:37 AM

Two things--

1) my "old guy," Corey, a Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse cross, age 26, was, as of March '02, teaching a blind student to ride. Both horse and student compete with the Kutztown University Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Equestrian Team. I do believe that horses are exceptionally suited for this kind of work, for a variety of reasons. Like almost all other situations where horses are working with people in therapeutic contexts, however, both horse and rider are always supervised. A guide horse (mini or not) would, by definition, be supervised only by its guidee, a vulnerable and risky proposition to my thinking.

2) I'd be interested to see the speed trials of a mini horse versus a german shepherd or labrador retriever...the difference is that usually the horse is running *away* from something it perceives as a threat, while a dog generally runs *toward* something it perceives as food. (the predator/prey distinction) In the ancient struggle for survival in the wild, it's only the weak, lame, aged, injured or otherwise compromised horse that succumbs to a pack of coyotes. A healthy horse can outrun the coyote pack which makes me believe that even a mini horse will beat a dog in a fair race. (a healthy horse is more vulnerable to the attack of a single big cat, usually from above)

Just some random thoughts...

V


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 09:05 AM

Yes. Horses, to my mind are a miracle.

They are a prey animal.

We are predators (and in some parts of Europe, horse meat is still seen as a delicacy).

And yet, with a little patience and trust, horses let us up on their backs, and serve us to the best of their ability.

That would be like a human letting a tiger ride its back...

I know first hand the gifts of therapy horses... I have cerebral palsy, and therapeutic riding and hippotherapy is my therapy of choice (the former focuses on riding skills that happen to be therapeutic, the latter is more traditional therapy that just happens to be on the back of a moving horse).

The neat thing about horse riding is that the movement of the horse's back at the walk matches perfectly the movement of a normal gait of a human's hips at the walk (the left-right/up-down movement), something that simply cannot be reproduced with any other form of technology or method... The blind, particularly blind children, tend to move through the world in a self-resticting way, and get into limited muscle habits. Getting up on a horse, and moving freely through space can help break them out of that mode.

That said, I suspect the miniture horse (which are not ponies, as I understand it) as guide horse movement is an attempt simply not to be seen as entirely yuppie and frivolous. Personally, I think breeding animals simply to fulfill human whims (miniture horses, hairless cats, etc.) is almost criminal...

No offence to the spirit of Rosie, however...


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 10:39 AM

crumbs. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: GUEST,Genie (my cookie done gone)
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for that information, Capri. I'm inclined to agree about the "designer critters."

It all makes me wonder, since no one's going to be riding the miniature horses (except the occasional toddler), what the rationale is behind training them as guides for the blind instead of using the usual canine types.

Genie


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: SharonA
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 04:37 PM

Genie wonders "what the rationale is behind training them as guides for the blind instead of using the usual canine types." According to the Guide Horse Foundation website (www.guidehorse.com), the "Ideal Guide Horse Owners" are:

* Horse lovers - Blind people who have grown up with horses and understand equine behavior and care are ideal candidates.

* Allergenic people - Many people who are severely allergic to traditional guide animals and find horses a non-allergenic alternative for mobility.

* Mature Individuals - Many people report difficulty dealing with the grief of losing their animals, and  horses tend to live far longer than traditional guides. 

* Physically Disabled folks - Because of their docile nature, Guide Horses are easier to handle for individuals with physical disabilities. They are also strong enough to provide support, helping the handler to rise from their chair. 

* People with a Dog Phobia - Individuals who fear dogs are often comfortable working with a tiny horse.

* Outdoor Animal Lovers - Many individuals prefer a guide animal that does not have to live in the house when off duty.

(copied from the website)


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 04:39 PM

I heard a report somewhere, somewhen,that talked about guide horses...

Some of the resons given for choosing a mini horse as a guide animal were:

That hooves were less tender than paws -- didn't get cut up on pavement and such...

Horses have more stamina to go long distances than dogs (But they wouldn't need to have more stamina than their human guide-ee, anyway)

Horses have a life span closer to humans, so that a blind person could have one partner for life, whereas dogs get too old to do the work around 12 or so...

But of course, this last one only holds true if the human partner knows how to take proper care of them... :-(

All in all, sounds pretty bogus to me...


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 05:32 PM

Horses are highly intelligent; I read a story about one which typed out answers to questions on a giant, specially built typewriter, true story. I also have known horses to whom I would trust my life, totally. One got me home when I was a young child and lost. She knew what needed to happen; I just held on and cried. I don't think of them as lower food chain. I think they are "fey" in that they are highly sensitive, seeing and sensing things we know not. Sometimes that may make them seem silly or stupid.

The cowboy author who illustrated his own books, Will James, told a story in Horses I Have Known about an old rancher who suddenly went blind for no discernible reason. His sons trained a saddlehorse to be his eyes, so that he could still feel useful by checking fencelines and finding downed calves, etc.

One day, while he and his horse were on the other side of the "crick" the sun got very hot and melted a lot of the snow in the high country. As the day went on, the creek began to rise from the runoff, so that soon the rancher could hear it had become quite a torrent, a real flashflood. He decided to head his horse down to a nearby railroad tressle and try to cross over to home that way. As they neared the bridge, he could hear what sounded like large trees and other debris slamming against its foundations so he knew there was no time to waste.

He urged his horse to step out for the crossing, something they had done many times before, when the horse refused. Thinking the water and noise had scared it, he urged it once again. Again, it refused to step foot on the bridge. Finally, the rancher insisted and the horse gingerly stepped out. Going slowly, they worked their way across. About halfway, all of a sudden, he heard a train whistle. It was coming towards them and by the time of day he knew it was a passenger train. Knowing they wouldn't be able to stop, he knew he had to get off the tressle, so he tried to get his horse to jump off into the water. The horse, still with a mind of its own, refused. The rancher stood up in the saddle and waved his hat back and forth, hollering at the train to stop! Then, he gave his horse its head and that horse fast walked across the rest of the bridge, jumping off just as they heard the train come to a screeching halt just shy of the bridge.

They later determined that had the horse done what the rancher wanted, i.e. jumped off, the train would not have stopped AND the bridge would not have stood up under its weight; all would have been swept away. The rancher also had his vision back, apparently from the high-fright of such an event.

kat


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 07:23 PM

Holy Moly!! What a day he had, huh??? Dang!

A


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Rosie, the Guide Horse
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 08:14 PM

While we're on horse stories... As I've said, I've ridden for therapy for a long time.

For those who can't walk, there is a special kind of mounting block which allows the rider to wheel a chair (or walk up a flight of shallow steps) right to the hieght of the saddle...

Anyway, one time, I was riding independently around the indoor ring and just happened to slip from the saddle (into a nice, deep, mixture of sawdust and composted manure). The two volunteers who were there rushed over and helped me to my feet, and dusted me off... then looked around for the horse.

On his own, while the humans were making all the fuss, he'd gone over to the mounting block, and was standing in the perfect spot for me to mount him again.

~~~

Of course, not all horses are so sensible, and some are silly -- just like human people. And just like human people, good sense seems to come with age. As I understand it, Rosie was not that old... Sadly...

~~~

For those who put stock in these kinds of comparisons, btw, I've heard it said that horses' intelligence falls between the range of a 4-6 year-old human child...


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