Teddy, a lonely mini-horse who had a hard time befriending another horse at the sanctuary due to his fiercely protective mother, eventually warmed up to the dogs that live on the ranch and developed a special bond. with them.

“At this point, when Teddy is running around the paddock with the dogs, you wonder if Teddy thinks he’s a dog or if the dogs think they’re ponies,” Stacy Rolfe, founder of The Epoch, told The Epoch. R&R Ranch Miniature Horse Sanctuary. Time.

(Courtesy of R&R Ranch Minis)

When Stacy and her daughter Belle welcomed Teddy’s mother, Eleanor, 23, to the ranch in September 2019, the horse was in a sad and scruffy state.

Partially blind in one eye, she had a long, shaggy, unkempt mane. On the right side of her face, she had an open facial wound, which Stacy says was inflicted by a human.

The “loving, gentle, kind horse,” Stacy said, had an aged look about him, which was no doubt a reflection of his previous life before he was purchased at an auction.

“She was sad, complacent and seemed to approach things with a ‘here we go again’ attitude,” Stacy said. “How many times has that poor horse been bought and sold in all these years?”

Given Eleanor’s advanced age, Stacy didn’t think to check on her pregnancy when she arrived. However, during the hot summer weather, when her winter coat was cut off, an extra-large belly was revealed. The vet did an ultrasound and they found a foal was on the way within four to six weeks.

The ranch crew immediately moved Eleanor to a temporary stall inside the garage, and exactly one week later Teddy was born.

“I found them both when I walked in to feed her in the morning and was absolutely stunned,” Stacy recalled. “We didn’t expect the baby to be born so soon and yet he was there.”

Teddy was born prematurely, so he was immediately hospitalized with Eleanor, who had several colic pains after birth. According to Stacy, Teddy was so small it was hard to believe he was a horse, as he could fit in a tiny mess.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of R&R Ranch Minis)

After Teddy’s birth, the journey was not “all smooth”. Given Eleanor’s age for foaling, Teddy received extra milk from another mare. However, despite this, she took great care of Teddy and was always by his side, being very protective.

“She would kick any of the other horses, our dwarf miniature horses, that paid attention to her,” Stacy explained. “If they wanted to sniff him, ‘talk’ to him, or dare I say play, Eleanor would come out of nowhere, ears pinned, neck outstretched, to bite the assailant or kick him.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of R&R Ranch Minis)

So the other dwarf horses on the ranch began to ignore Teddy, fearing that if they paid attention to him, they would resent his worried mother’s wrath.

“Teddy literally had no friends in this world,” Stacy said.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of R&R Ranch Minis)

It became even more difficult for Teddy when he was 3 months old, as Eleanor became very ill and had to be hospitalized. Since her caregivers didn’t know what caused her condition, they had to keep Teddy away in case she was contagious.

“It meant that Teddy no longer had a mother to comfort him, nor did he have any friends to play with or comfort him, as they were all shunned by his loving but fiercely protective mother,” Stacy said.

Witnessing Teddy’s loneliness, the team began presenting him with the same booth as the others. Although Eleanor was not present, they always kept their distance.

“During the day he would run outside, trying to get them to play, with no success,” Stacy said. “At night you could see all the dwarves sleeping in a cozy little pod and Teddy was on the outskirts, all alone. It was heartbreaking.

However, soon after, the golden retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs who also lived at the ranch came to her rescue. While Eleanor was getting treatment, Stacy and the team were able to introduce them to Teddy.

“None of the dogs were allowed near Teddy when he was a baby,” she said, “while Eleanor came to us with a fierce fear of dogs and would kick them. foot if they approached.”

When Teddy was first introduced to the dogs he was a little aloof, but eventually his baby attitude won them over and he was genuinely happy spending time with the dogs.

Over time, the golden retrievers who accompanied Stacy to the barn had developed a special relationship with him, playing and racing in the paddock.

Also, over time, the other horses began to realize that since Eleanor wasn’t around to bite them, it was safe to be friends with Teddy. Nocturnal sleep has become a group ritual.

“We were thrilled once we saw Teddy sleeping side by side with others,” said Stacy, who founded the sanctuary to provide lifelong homes for neglected, abused and abandoned miniature and dwarf horses.

Today, she describes Teddy as the antithesis of her mother: young, playful and mischievous. He really enjoys playing chase with dogs, especially Handsome.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of R&R Ranch Minis)

“He’ll chase Handsome and then veer sideways as if to say, ‘I could have grabbed you if I wanted to,'” Stacy joked.

Witnessing Teddy’s growth, Stacy said: “I don’t think anyone who didn’t know Teddy’s story from the very beginning would believe he’s the same little, tiny horse that was born so small. “

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