Rejected by his mama, a miniature horse foal is destined to be therapist for people

By Hunterdon County Democrat

“It’s always a pleasure when ‘Feel Good Sunday’ rolls around and this installation will surely warm your hearts as well as your souls.  Keep the Faith my friends.” ~ R.T.

“The responsibilities of Koal’s care is a huge team effort between family, friends, and new found friendships,”

Koal, a miniature horse foal that was rejected by his mother is happy to have human companions. ~ Dawn Fry

Koal, a miniature horse foal that was rejected by his mother is happy to have human companions. ~ Photo by Dawn Fry

KINGSTON, N.J. — After coming home from work one day, Dawn Marie Fry of Flemington, N.J. was surprised to find a small black newborn miniature horse foal — no bigger than a greyhound.

Fry had no idea Koal’s mother was pregnant as she had only recently acquired the mare. It was luck that both the mother and the foal were perfectly healthy after birth as miniature horses have a harder time having a successful birth than normal horses, according to Fry.

“Koal,” as he has been affectionately named, was rejected by his mother only a week after birth. “We learned through video surveillance the first time mother would pick Koal up by the neck and toss him, kick him, and would trample him causing him to roll in the dirt and get stepped on,” Fry said.

Fortunately Koal suffered no serious injuries although his caretakers were faced with many obstacles. Without his mother’s care, Koal needed around-the-clock feedings. Fry worked full time, but fortuitously at a horse farm in Kingston called Hasty Acres. Every morning Fry would drive Koal to work in her car where he calmly fell asleep on the seat next to her.

Koal learned to drink formula from a syringe. At night time, Koal was kept inside Fry’s kitchen, often accompanied by her children who fell asleep on the floor together with the foal. Koal wore a diaper in the house and slept on warm blankets on the kitchen floor.

Koal is old enough now that he is no longer on milk pellets and lives outside with his goat friend, Iggy, eating “big boy” feed. “Koal has been practicing leading and he will proudly walk all over my property with me. He loves to get the mail with me too,” Fry said.

At Hasty Acres, Koal has touched many lives. “He is awe-inspiring with his small size and attracts visitors far and wide who would come to see the miracle foal,” Fry said. She encourages everyone who stops by the enter Koal’s stall and to pet him.

Initially after losing his mother, depression set in but with the help of friends and strangers who would come soothe and feed Koal, he soon thrived. “The responsibilities of Koal’s care is a huge team effort between family, friends, and new found friendships,” Fry said.

Koal enjoys playing with children. “The joy on the children’s faces is priceless as they frolic through the fields together,” Fry said. Koal follows his new “parents,” Fry and any other person he deems fit for the title, all over the farm like a shadow. Koal is fearless from being hand raised and handled by humans mostly of the time, he rarely shows any nervousness.

Fry encourages everyone to interact with Koal to get him accustomed to human touch so she may use him for therapy when he is full grown. She runs a therapeutic riding program called Heads Up Special Riders, Inc. which currently teaches therapeutic horseback riding, and equine assisted psychotherapy for battered/abused women. She hopes to extend the programs Heads Up offers and help more people — using Koal to launch a new program.

Koal will one day become a certified therapy animal and visit nursing homes and hospitals.

Not long ago, Koal made a trip to Petsmart in Raritan Township for training to get him used to automatic doors, meeting new people, animals, lights and just being in a new place in general. “I bought him little sneakers for his hooves (dog sneakers – very stylish) so he would not slip on tile floors for our visits. Not one single person could walk by us without saying hello and getting their picture taken with Koal. The store associates said they have never had a horse in their store before!” Fry said.

Koal also made a guest appearance at Eno Terra’s in Princeton Farm to Table Event. Proceeds benefited charity and Koal was one of the star attractions.

To learn more about Heads Up Special Riders see

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Happy Birthday, Terry!

All of us at Wild Horse Freedom Federation want to wish Terry Fitch a Happy Birthday!

Thanks for all that you do for the wild horses & burros, Terry, and also for being a great friend!

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation at Palomino Valley

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation at Palomino Valley

Terry and R.T. Fitch ~ "Thank You for Who You Are!"

Terry and R.T. Fitch ~ “Thank You for Who You Are!”

Help Save the 189 American Wild Burros from being sent to Guatemala

News Flash from the Equine Welfare Alliance

Wild Burros in BLM holding ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Burros in BLM holding ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As many of you are aware, the BLM was going to send 189 burros to Guatemala after removing them from their homes. There is an effort underway to keep the Guatemala 189 burros in the US. At last count, only 25 remain without homes. We bring this to your attention because our president, John Holland, will be the proud owner of one of the burros. John has been heartbroken since he lost Selina (pictured above) so we are trying to help with the efforts in Selina’s memory.

For more information on adopting a burro and the BLM adoption paperwork, visit the facebook page here or contact Elaine Nash,   

Please share and help turn this into the Guatemala 0.

Letter to BLM’s Chief of Wild Horse & Burro Program & BLM’s failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands

We are publicly posting this letter that Grandma Gregg sent to Joan Guilfoyle, Neil Kornze, Ed Roberson and Sally Spencer:

Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief
Division of Wild Horses and Burros
20 M Street, S.E.
Washington, DC

I strongly oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to send 100 federally protected wild burros—at taxpayer expense—to Guatemala, where they would become working animals.  Once outside the U.S., the fates of the burros would be unknown – forever.

This idea flies in the face of the BLM’s legal mandate to care for and protect these cultural treasures here on U.S. soil.  It is not only cruel and a waste of resources—it also fails to address the ugly reality that led to this misguided schemethe BLM’s wholesale failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands.

As for BLM’s Guatemala proposal:

First off,the Guatemalans will slaughter some (and eventually all) and I doubt they will give anyconcern about their slaughter methods but it won’t be humane.

Second, the burros are wild and although eventually could become pack animals with humane training and care, the typical and historically forceful methods to train equine that most people use in this and other countries is inhumane.


(photo: *

Third, I can tell you that nobody is ever going to check on the welfare of these burros – ever.  As a BLM adopter of two wild horses, BLM never checked on them until finally after two years; and then only because I pestered them about getting my ownership papers. In addition, they never checked on the wild stallion I bought – never. If anyone thinks that anyone is going to check on those in Guatemala … think again.  And even IF someone tried … how could they find a hundred burros that had been dispersed throughout the country?  They could not.

Fourth, by agreeing that it is acceptable to send our wild burros to another country we are setting a precedent that allows these American wild icons to be disposed of to another country and that is an unscrupulous precedent – if not illegal.  They are to be protected per the United States Congress.

Fifth, our burros do not belong to BLM or the government – they belong to the people of America and BLM has no right to sell our burros overseas to an unknown future.  They are not a livestock commodity.

Sixth, the most important issue is to again articulate to our government (BLM) that there are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land that was (per law) given to them principally for their protection.  To agree to anything less than what is really true and legal and correct is a betrayal to the wild horses and burros and the American people who own these wild equine.

With about 50,000 wild horses and burros stockpiled in BLM holding facilities, clearly the BLM’s wild equine program needs a complete overhaul.  Rather than continuing to round up and remove horses and burros to holding facilities while instituting no legitimate on-range management plan, the BLM must first realize and admit that there are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated legal land.

The recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no evidence of excess wild horses and burros; because the BLM has failed to use scientifically sound methods to estimate the populations (NAS, 2013).

The NAS cited two chief criticisms of the Wild Horse and Burro Program: unsubstantiated population estimates in herd management areas (HMA), and management decisions that are not based in science (NAS, 2013).  Shipping our protected equines off to other countries is the very opposite of proper management.


* The photo above may not have been taken in Guatemala, but illustrates the point of how equines are mistreated in other countries.


New Research Published to Help Working Equids’ Welfare


New Research Published to Help Working Equids' Welfare

Scientific research often has direct practical applications that can be of immediate benefit to working equids.

A new collection of free research articles, published online this month by the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) and sponsored by World Horse Welfare, aims to build greater understanding and encourage collaboration in addressing the welfare problems of the world’s working equids. Future research articles will be added to the collection as new data emerges.

In July more than 150 representatives from 27 countries attended the 7th International Colloquium on Working Equids to discuss the plight of the estimated 100 million working horses, donkeys, and mules who sustain human livelihoods around the world. A key outcome of the event was the recommendation that broader access to research would encourage greater worldwide collaboration.

In response the EVJ, with support from World Horse Welfare, has published a compendium of eight diverse research papers with plans to grow the collection year on year to form an exclusive free resource for all practitioners working in equine welfare. The current collection addresses clinical problems such as lameness, husbandry, tack-related wounds, gastric ulceration (to which donkeys are prone), parasite infestation, and the risks associated with the meat and milk of the working equid in the human diet. It also includes a summary paper on the recent Colloquium on Working Equids.

“To improve the effectiveness of programmes focused on working equids globally, we need to share information globally,” said Roly Owers, MRCVS, chief executive of World Horse Welfare. “Research builds the evidence base for better interventions and helps improve collaboration between equine charities and veterinary organisations, with human development organisations, universities and governments. Wider access to relevant research should make an even greater, sustainable impact for working equids and World Horse Welfare is pleased to support the EVJ in helping to achieve this end.”

Prevention and treatment for common welfare problems start being addressed through knowledge and education.

Photo: World Horse Welfare

Scientific research often has direct practical applications that can be of immediate benefit to working equids. Through World Horse Welfare’s recent work, owners in Central America now know that the severe hoof separation and mouth lesions in working horses are not caused by a local species of spider biting or urinating on the area. Similarly horse owners in Honduras are learning that the lesions near their horses’ eyes are not caused by flies, but could be the result of inappropriate whip use with the injuries then exacerbated by flies. Prevention and treatment for common welfare problems start being addressed through knowledge and education.



Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Publishes New Book

It is with a great deal of pride that Wild Horse Freedom Federation announces that Carol Walker, our Director of Field Documentation, has published a new book. Congratulations, Carol!


501 MUSTANG [ATL].indd

Mustangs: Wild Horses at the Heart of the American Legend is released today in France by Edition Glenat.

This is a 192 page hardcover coffee table book featuring 200 images by Carol Walker. Journalist Cecile Plet wrote the text, which is in French, and the images star the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin in Colorado, Adobe Town and McCullough Peaks in Wyoming and the Pryor Mountains in Montana. This is Carol’s third book, her second about wild horses.

The book is available in Europe, and also with surprisingly reasonable shipping through Amazon France:

To read the French Press Release, click HERE.



Carol’s passion for photography started at an early age, with animals as her favorite subjects. She studied literature and photography as an undergraduate at Smith College, and continued her education in photography after graduating, studying portraiture and nature photography. She has traveled all over the world photographing wildlife for the past 30 years.

In 2000, Carol started her business Living Images by Carol Walker, specializing in photographing horses. Carol’s images illuminate the relationship between horses and their people, as well showcase the beauty of horses with her stunning images of horses at liberty. She teaches workshops for amateur photographers on equine photography. She markets her fine art prints from her website as well as in several locations on the Front Range of Colorado and has won numerous awards with her artwork.

Ten years ago, Carol began photographing wild horses. As she followed several herds in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana, she became aware of how precarious their situation on public lands has become. Since then, she has dedicated herself to educating people with her photographs and stories about the wild horses. She is one of the leading advocates working to keep America’s wild horses wild and free on our public lands. Her award-winning book Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses was released winter of 2008 and is currently in its second printing. Carol’s second book, Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers is in its second printing as well.

For the last five years, Carol has produced a wild horse calendar for the Cloud Foundation with 50% of the proceeds as a donation to that organization. Proceeds from the sales of Carol’s artwork and books fund her work to keep America’s wild horses wild and free.

Carol is the Director of Field Documentation on the Board of Directors for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, which is dedicated to stopping the roundups and keeping our wild horses wild and free.


Elaine Nash of Fleet of Angels & Marjorie Farabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., Oct. 22)



WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen Live Here!

Call in # 917-388-4520

This is a 2 hour show. Please call in with questions during the 2nd hour of the show.

The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime. Our guests are:


ELAINE NASH, founder and Director of Fleet of Angels, a grassroots movement of horse lovers who own trailers and are willing to help transport equines to safety when their lives are in danger.

Fleet of Angels has helped to Keep America’s Wild Equines in America, by helping to find homes & transportation for 100 wild burros that the BLM had planned to ship to Guatemala to become beasts of burden. Continue reading