Horses have a special place in the hearts of the viewer. A graceful, royal figure which reminds us of running free, strength and reliability. They are stuff of stories, poems and films. For these reasons the story of Yanaha might be hard to believe, yet reality is often much weirder than fiction. Yanaha and her sister were in a disgraceful state when they arrived at the Rosemary Farm Sanctuary. Both horses were starved and quite literally covered in ticks. They were being eaten alive!

Both horses need immediate medical attention with the vet performing a full evaluation and treatment program. With all the care, love and medical aid, it was not enough for poor Yanaha's sister. The sweet little one could not survive as she had pneumonia and a broken foot, in addition to the starvation and tick infestation. Sadly, Yanaha’s sister was laid to rest 36 hours after arrival. This was only the beginning of the story, however, as the Sanctuary and the medical staff continued to fight to save Yanaha’s life.

After several days of constant care and many vet visits, Yanaha made some small improvements and was well enough to have full blood work done. These tests, rather than showing hope and recovery, revealed she was suffering from a nearly fatal depletion of her red blood cells. Thinking quickly, the team made an emergency journey to Rhinebeck Equine Hospital where the medical staff were ready and waiting to do an emergency blood transfusion on Yanaha. Throughout the nerve wracking night Rosemary Farm Sanctuary’s founder, Dawn, waited along with her team. By morning there was good news, Yanaha had started to show improvement.

The tick infestation was next on the list to be conquered. It was not a mole hill of a job, but more like a mountain after the Rosemary Farm Sanctuary picked off a staggering 500 ticks in the first few days. While the beautiful girl stayed with the talented healers at Rhinebeck, she was treated with a topical solution to kill the remainder of the ticks. While there, she was also placed on a course of antibiotics to arrest the tick-borne diseases she was incubating. Yanaha didn’t just get the much need medical assistance though as there were moments of pampering for the lovely girl as the hospital has a fully heated facility with wash stalls. She got to enjoy a much needed bath. 

The rescuer for the fair Yanaha, Rosemary Farm, is a sanctuary for horses which ISF has granted before. Dawn says “Horses do not even have a shelter to go to when they are thrown away...like dogs and cats.”  Therefore, Rosemary Farm Sanctuary was born with its mission in life. Thinking how hard shelters are for animals, to know not even this basic service exists for horses shows us the desperate state of affairs for our four legged friends, our trusty steads. Dawn says, “Being a sanctuary is our gift to the horses here. We cannot welcome them all. But the ones we take in become family, and we do everything we are capable of to allow them happiness.”

Yanaha had so much to overcome, her will was iron strong as she was surrounded by love and support. Not only did she fight back against the ticks and low blood count, but she was also suffering from pneumonia and developed a heart murmur as a result. There was a large untreated wound on her leg which needed care and she had intestinal worms. ISF helped with some of these costs with a Medical Emergency Grant.

What an amazing animal, as she had the strength to heal. Yanaha, also now known as “The Princess”, recovered beautifully. Her shiny new coat has come in and she has put on weight and looks fantastic. She is eating well and growing daily. Due to the weakened state of Yanaha, she could not exercise with the regular group of horses in the beginning. The Rosemary Sanctuary assigned a mare to be her foster mother. There aren’t many horses willing to leave their friends for such a job, but enter the beautiful Honey Pie. 

Honey Pie is another wonderful furry friend who has received love and support from an earlier ISF grant. Honey Pie, having made her own recovery, was the model of the “Pay It Forward” spirit as she stepped in to help the baby. The two have become quite bonded to one another and it gave Yanaha the much needed family and comfort she required for her recovery.

Princess Yanaha made a full recovery over the summer. She has regrown her shaved coat, built up muscle and became more confident. Her primary early influence was Honey Pie. Honey Pie took to the tiny filly as her own, giving her guidance and confidence as she recovered. As summer progressed and Honey Pie had a new medical issue requiring surgery, they added another horse, Applejack, to the tiny family. These horses influence had a huge part in Yanaha’s recovery, giving her training no human is capable of. She began to meet and integrate with other horses, making friends and by fall was a member of the herd, sound and happy.

The future is bright for this filly. A previous adopter visiting the Sanctuary became smitten with the Princess. They were a great match because the adopting person was an experienced owner with a small group of horses and a family inclusive of three young children so Yanaha would have the attention of horses and humans for the rest of her life. 

Yanaha didn’t leave her sanctuary and her friends behind though. It happened the adopted family didn’t just want one trusty stead but a matching pair. Who better than one of Yanaha's own herd, Riley. Riley, another quarter horse youngster who was saved from slaughter in 2014 was to join her in the new family. Plans were made and the pair of youngsters travelled on Christmas Eve to their new home. The Ian Somerhalder Foundation could not be happier for their future and in the part we played.

Written by Eve Capper