(Adiel's Stetson X W A R Valkyrie)
2002 black mare, 14.3, 100% Foundation

I have been a member of the Yahoogroup Forever Morgans since it was formed. They also have a Facebook group that is pretty active. Forever Morgans is an organization of Morgan enthusiasts who rescue Morgans who are in dangerous situations. Due to overbreeding and the downturn in the economy,  there is a seemingly never-ending supply of horses streaming through various  auctions nationwide. Often the Forever Morgan "saves" are from what is termed a "kill lot"- a horse broker who buys horses cheaply at auction, tries to flip them within week or so for a profit, and if that doesn't happen, sells them to slaughter, which nets him a profit as well. One such broker operates in SE Pennsylvania and purchases horses from the New Holland auction each Monday.

The now-disbanded rescue Another Chance for Horses went to this broker's barn the day after the auction each week, and videoed and photographed the available horses. They then put them on their website and Facebook page in the hope of getting them a home... instead of a one-way ticket to a Canadian slaughterhouse. While I'd been tempted by some of the Morgans that came through AC4H over the years, I already had 7 horses and really did not need another. So to keep my rescue instincts in check, I told myself if  "the one" ever came through that fit my criteria- female, black, pretty, sweet, correctly put together and from bloodlines I like and use in my small program- that would be the ONE horse I'd have to make room for. Fat chance it would actually happen, right?

AC4H's Morgan listings from this particular broker appeared online late Tuesday night, November 8, 2011. There were FIVE Morgan mares this week, and one of them, W A R Adikyrie, caught my eye instantly. She was black, she was pretty and her prefix stands for the Warner Angus Ranch of Kansas, well known breeders of beautiful old type black Morgans and other black livestock. The note that her Amish owners had sent with her to auction seemed to indicate she was sweet as well:

Next I checked out "Kyrie's" other pictures and the information that AC4H had on her. My heart started racing when I saw that her sire was Adiel's Stetson, a beautiful black stallion I had much admired- and wanted to breed a mare to- before his too-early death from colic. Stetson was from the same breeding program that produced Adiel's Casino Gold, bloodlines we have used here in the last ten years with much success. Kyrie's dam was W A R Valkyrie, a well bred black mare from the older WAR lines. I hurried to the AMHA's online registry database to look up the rest of her pedigree, and discovered it was, as I had hoped, 100% Foundation.

I was sunk- this one had ticked all my boxes! I sent in an adoption application for "Kyrie" immediately. Meanwhile I spread the word about the mare on Facebook and my Morgan Colors Yahoo email group. Donations came pouring in for her from friends who knew how much I hoped to adopt her, and to whom I am extremely grateful for their generosity. There is no way I can ever thank you kind folks enough.

By Friday, enough had been raised that Kyrie was safe (and with a cushion to spare!), as were all the other Morgans at the broker that week. And I was approved as Kyrie's adoptive home!

Kyrie next went into quarantine at Cindy Noll's farm in Manheim PA. Cindy sent many updates, photos and videos over the three weeks that Kyrie was in her excellent care- thank you Cindy! 

Kyrie is exactly as the note that was sent to auction with her stated- kind and gentle. She is quiet for hoof trimming (a good thing since I am doing that duty now!) and has a very sweet, somewhat timid personality. She probably had been taken to auction due to her left hind leg, which was swollen.  Once Kyrie was seen by our vet we learned the swelling is from scar tissue due to an old, badly healed suspensory injury. She is not currently lame on the leg (it does swell up again if she runs around the field very much, and when she is stalled for any length of time).

It's always wise to isolate new horses until you are sure they are not carrying any respiratory or other infectious diseases, and until you can get them thoroughly dewormed.  We ended up building a paddock especially for Kyrie, which you can see here, to serve as her temporary home until she went out with the rest of the herd in the spring.

Kyrie spent the first 9 months here being very leery of people. She wanted to be friendly, but any  move that was perceived by her as threatening, and she got frightened and would leave, if possible. The simplest things, such as putting fly spray on her without haltering her first, were very difficult. She was not scared of the spray if she was haltered, but when loose, would flee at the sight of the sprayer in my hand. I got the impression that she had some not-so-nice treatment in her past. One day in August 2012  it was like a switch had been flipped and Kyrie decided I was not so scary. She started seeking out affection and generally acting more trusting. I had just about given up that she would ever act like the rest of the herd, who have been raised with kindness. I do think that somewhere along the way she had some good handling, as she is very easy to groom, bathe (she LOVES water and will "volunteer" to be hosed while loose in pasture) and trim. She still startles easily at quick moves, as if she is expecting to be hit.

Kyrie's feet were in horrible shape when she arrived, from years in shoes and neglect of basic hoof care, with advanced deep sulcus thrush and contracted heels. Her hoof rehabilitation was an interesting learning experience for me. I chronicled the progress in pictures of each hoof, which can be seen below her pedigree.

Adiel's Stetson

Sweet's Classy Zip Sweet's Classy Boy
Sweet's Dixie Donna
D's Ebony Lady T-Bone Bimbo
Sweet's Jo Jo

W A R Valkyrie

W A R Monzda Western Mansfield
DD Dina Belle
W A R Toscadero WAR Omega Bird
WAR Tosca Tola

Kyrie's extended pedigree can be seen here.
There are pictures of many of her ancestors there as well.

Kyrie's hoof rehab

I have long been a barefoot advocate. My own horses are always barefoot and are ridden that way; they also showed barefoot back when we were showing. I learned to trim my own with the help of a very good farrier and lots of study and practice, and have been trimming our horses' hooves for almost 20 years. We ran a large boarding/training/lesson stable from 1984-1997, and it was amazing how many of our boarders' horses (of all breeds) could also be successfully transitioned to barefoot. Transition from shod to barefoot takes time and patience, though, and sometimes a little interim help with the use of boots. It can take a year for the horse to grow out a new hoof.

I have always wanted to take a series of pictures over time of a horse we've successfully taken from shod to barefoot. Kyrie provided such an opportunity!

Here is the best picture I have of where we started. These are Kyrie's front feet on November 23, 2011, as her shoes were being removed. Here the left front shoe has been removed and the hoof trimmed. The right front shoe is still on. Notice how tall the feet are, and how narrow the heels look. Shod hooves can get this way because the coffin bone descends over time to a lower position in the hoof capsule, and the shoe keeps the hoof from contracting and expanding as it normally does when in movement. Even though the hoof (particularly the toe) still looks too long, it could not be trimmed any shorter at this point in time without making the horse lame. I wish I had pictures of the bottom of her hooves, but I don't. This picture is courtesy of Cindy Noll, who kindly quarantined Kyrie until we could transport her to GA.

June 14, 2012, front hooves- And here is where we are after 7 months of rehab. The defect in the hoof wall on the left fore is from an injury that happened to Kyrie before we got her. It may have happened if she got the foot caught in a gate or a wire fence; the scar wraps around the back of her pastern. Such injuries often leave a defect in the wall like this. Many farriers will say you cannot take such a horse barefoot. But can you imagine what nails through this defect must do to an already weakened area? It will chip if left too long, but a light rasping to keep the area smooth, so it doesn't catch on things, is all that is needed. As you will see in the pictures of the bottom of this hoof, the defect does not go through the entire wall. This injured foot is the flatter of the two feet. The right foot is more upright. Many horses have this kind of disparity. Whether it is due to early neglect of the hooves, sidedness, injury or heredity is difficult to say.

In looking at this picture I think I could have taken a little more toe back on the left fore (trimming from the top).

You can see how much shorter the hooves have gotten as they've recovered :-)

June 14, 2012- Here's Kyrie's hind hooves. You may notice the growth rings about halfway down. They are a sign of change or stress and likely coincide with her auction experience, the pulling of her shoes a week or so later, and her trailer trip to Georgia from PA a week or so after that.

The swelling on the left fetlock is Kyrie's old suspensory injury that happened while she was with the Amish. Often the fetlock is less swollen than this, looking almost normal, but she had been stalled for awhile on this day.

LEFT FORE: progress pictures- I WISH I had thought to take pictures of the bottom of Kyrie's hooves when she arrived in early December, 2011. I mostly left her to settle in, though I did roll her front toes once during this time; there was nothing on the bottom of the hoof to take off, despite them still being very long. The first picture was taken before her first "official" trim here in January 2012. What can I say about the condition of this hoof? Can you recognize the diseased frog, in tatters, no integrity to it at all? The central sulcus (cleft in the middle of the frog) is nothing but a "butt crack", it is so full of thrush. A 50/50 mixture of Athlete's Foot Cream (Clotrimazole) and triple antibiotic ointment, a concoction invented by barefoot expert Pete Ramey ( www.hoofrehab.com, an INCREDIBLE wealth of information), was started at this time. The 2nd pic was taken 2 weeks later after daily treatment of the deep sulcus using a curved tip syringe to pack it in with. By the 3rd picture you can really start to see how the frog is more in one piece, the sulcus is opening up, and the heels are widening. And then, here we are now. I treated the hoof every day with "Pete's Goo" from January through March. It is no longer needed :-).

You can see on the right side of the hoof where the defect from the old hoof injury is (see previous pictures for a side view of the hoof). It does not extend completely through the wall on that side, so it is rather more cosmetic than anything.

RIGHT FORE: It's pretty much is in same awful shape the left fore was in- well, ALL of her feet were in horrible condition, as you will see. But look at the progress- that central sulcus is so wide open now you can fit two fingers in it :-) No more "butt crack" up the back of the heel, no more contracted heels, although the foot is still narrower than it would have been had it never worn shoes. It should continue to widen, especially at the heels, over time.

RIGHT HIND: Kyrie's hind frogs were particularly diseased. I felt so bad for her when I'd clean her feet, as she'd flinch at the touch of the hoof pick due to the pain from the thrush. A lot of folks don't realize that thrushy, contracted, tattered frogs HURT. They can actually make the horse lame. Shoes will mask the pain somewhat until it gets very bad. But look at the foot now- NO MORE THRUSH and wide open, properly shaped TRIANGULAR frog, in one piece, not tatters! I swear it's almost a miracle- if it were not so darn simple to fix!

I notice that the bars look like they need to be trimmed better in some of my pictures. I will work on that- there's always something to "do better", no matter what the task is :-) On my other horses I use the dremel for trimming bars, but Kyrie is terrified of it (and clippers) so that will have to come later. I am not adept at using the hoof knife- tendonitis in my right elbow and wrist make it hard to use effectively, especially on rock hard feet like we get when we don't get enough rain. I will use the nippers to trim bars somewhat but really need a pair of half rounds to get at them effectively.

LEFT HIND: UGH- can you see that deteriorating frog, in layers, in the first pic? Just horrible (can you imagine how bad it looked while she was shod? The first pic was taken almost 2 months after she was de-shod, so the foot has already recovered a bit, such as it is!). You can't really trim a frog in this shape without hurting the horse. You just have to treat the thrush (that curved tip syringe and Pete's Goo is essential to get it IN there where the thrush is hiding) and let the frog heal. And VOILA!

More photos of Kyrie
(click on a thumbnail to enlarge)

One of the many pictures that AC4H posted of Kyrie. This one was amazing to me- as a friend very astutely commented, "how many horses can wear two crappy, poorly adjusted halters and STILL look so pretty headed?" Kyrie's quality definitely came shining through! Photo courtesy of  AC4H.

Many of the horses that come through New Holland are worn out and look pretty bad. They are often very thin and with muscle development in all the wrong places from the odd postures they adopt to avoid pain. Kyrie actually looked pretty good, considering her previous job, and though her legs show signs of use, she appeared to have been well taken care of. Photo courtesy of  AC4H.

A cute and funny video taken by Cindy Noll, who fostered Kyrie through her 3 week long quarantine at her farm in Manheim PA. Kyrie has personality, for sure!

November 16, 2011- Kyrie and Polly Trout, a friend of Cindy's, giving Kyrie some grooming and love. Kyrie had been at Cindy's for two days when this was taken. I am sure she thought she'd died and gone to heaven!

November 19, 2011- Kyrie and her friends Skye (Paint) and Charlie, who are owned by Cindy and were New Holland rescues just like Kyrie.

November 23, 2011- Kyrie getting her road shoes removed and a trim. She was very well mannered, a good thing since an old lady (me!) will be her farrier now! Her hooves (particularly the fronts) will have a long recovery period to de-contract and for the frog to widen and become thrush free. She will never wear shoes again!

Kyrie on her way to Georgia, December 5, 2011. Kyle with Pine Valley Acres Transportation, based out of New Jersey, brought her to us. Kyrie arrived happy and feeling good!

December 6, 2011- Kyrie in her new pen shortly after arrival, already digging into her hay- she is a MORGAN after all!

More of Kyrie on her homecoming day. We have a rain system moving in so better pictures will have to wait a few days. Excuse the red clay- she's a Georgia girl now!

I know I will be taking many pictures of this pretty head!

December 13, 2012- Kyrie has been here one week today. She has settled in like she's lived here forever. Her favorite thing to do besides eat is stand in the warmth of the sun in a spot on a small hill in her paddock.

December 16, 2012- My friends Doug and Susan Norton, fellow Covington residents who live about 10 minutes from us, came to meet Kyrie and Rosie (who they hadn't seen yet). Doug and Susan own some amazingly beautiful Saddlebreds, one of which I was fortunate enough to show for them 20-some years ago. It was a beautiful day, 70 degrees and sunny- can't beat that for December weather! Kyrie is a bit apprehensive at first with new people but she warms up quickly. We are looking forward to more visitors over the next few weeks!

I didn't have any pictures of me with Kyrie yet, so Susan kindly took these pictures for me :-)

12/19/11- On my way to the barn last night I noticed Kyrie on the hill in her paddock, silhouetted against a beautiful sunset. I went back in the house for the camera and tried to get a shot of her whole body, but there were too many trees and fence posts in the way to make a clean outline. I managed to sneak into the paddock without her coming to meet me at the gate, and got a couple good pictures of her head with the colors of the sunset behind her. I was pretty happy they actually came out!


1/1/12- Kyrie has been in her quarantine paddock for almost 4 weeks. The fill dirt in the ditch in her paddock became saturated after heavy rains and incredibly sloppy. I know in some places horses live like that much of the year, but I couldn't stand it. Poor Kyrie had tried her best to stay out of the mud long enough. Since most of her round bale was finished, I figured it was time we quit calling her The Swamp Thing, LOL! After a quick hosing of her legs, here she is in her new paddock, a much drier environment- grass! Lots of new sights for her in here! This will be her home until spring, when we'll get her in with the rest of the herd.

The lighting was crappy today (overcast and gloomy) so I just took lots of pictures figuring most of them wouldn't come out any way. I was right :-( But this one I took of Kyrie was kind of cool, with the backlighting from the setting sun.

April 12, 2012- Kyrie out with the rest of the herd in the big pasture for the first time.

April 28, 2012- Kyrie (right) and her friend Rosie sharing a pile of hay. Usually by now we aren't feeding hay because our pastures are so lush. But we've had a very dry spring and are headed towards a drought situation here.

May 19, 2012- Moved the horses to a new pasture- sadly, this is all the grass that grew in 3 weeks' time between pasture rotations, and it will only last a few days without rain once the horses are on it. Kyrie is happy to have some green regardless!

September 2012- In early July it began to rain almost daily- sometimes several times a day. Our parched pastures responded and soon looked as beautiful and lush as I can ever remember them looking. Here is Kyrie enjoying the tall grass. I think about where she was this time a year ago and it makes me happy to see her so happy.

Black and "white"... Coral and Kyrie together. A little bit of contrast! Surprised that the camera handled it. Kyrie has quickly risen up the ranks in the herd and now ranks second only to Coral in the pecking order.

Yes, LOTS of grass!

October 2012- Topaz (buckskin), her daughter Coral (palomino) and Kyrie. Kyrie is wondering what I am doing with that sheet (my attention getter)!

Kyrie's movement is looking better than when she came almost a year ago, but she is still pretty stiff and moves very hip high. When she gets up from lying down, she is very lame at first. Coming down a hill she often racks, though I've not succeeded in getting a picture of it yet.

May 26, 2013- A very shiny, albeit ungroomed, Kyrie.

May 29, 2013- Kyrie and her best buddy, Rosie, mutual grooming.

November 2013- Even though she is pretty hairy, I loved the fall colors and the pretty blue sky.

December 25, 2013- My niece Josie Behning and Kyrie. Kyrie is always a bit timid with new people, but she was butter in Josie's hands. They had quite a long chat together. It is very heartwarming to see Kyrie continue to gain confidence and trust in people.

October 25, 2014- A candid taken while getting video. She is a little sunbleached!

June 6, 2016- I was searching through my photo files, looking for some pictures of Kyrie to send to Dr. Sponenberg for possible inclusion in the revised edition of his book EQUINE COLOR GENETICS, when I came across pictures of Kyrie when she first arrived. I did not even recognize her at first! I have to say, all my horses are a bit rotund, and Kyrie now fits right in. Gone is the gaunt, drawn up look she had when she came here five years ago.

September 1, 2017- Last fall, Dr. Phil Sponenberg, author of EQUINE COLOR GENETICS, contacted me about using some of my photos in the fourth edition. Of course, I was thrilled! Equine Color Genetics is the oldest authoritative book on horse color, and to be featured in its pages is quite an honor. Today my copy arrived! Ten of my photos are in the book- three of my own Morgans (including Kyrie, pictured above) and seven of my friends' Morgans, im pictures I took, made the book. Charli's full brother Unconventional (bred/foaled here) also was included! To see all of the Morgans pictured in the new ECG, you can visit my album on Facebook here. The album is public, so even if you don't have a Facebook account you should be able to see the pictures. WAY cool for the breed! This is the THIRD major book on equine color that our Morgans have been featured in! To purchase the book- it is pricey, but worth every penny- go here.

October 20, 2019- I looked out from the back porch at the horses just now and Kyrie looked so pretty I snapped a pic. Our pasture had 3.5 inches of rain dumped on it yesterday via a tropical system that blew through, but I think it's too late in the season for the grass to recover this year. It looks pretty dead. We'll be seeding rye in a few weeks for their winter grazing pleasure!

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Learn more about the very rare silver dapple gene at the Silver Dapple Morgans Project.

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Jim and Laura Behning
75 Glass Spring Rd.
Covington, GA 30014
(770) 385-1240
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