Category Archives: The Menagerie

Happy 16th

July 3rd is Sammy’s birthday. Today he would have been 16 years old. In honor of my most amazing Sammy boy, here is a page out of one of my old scrap books (yes, I was a scrap booker) of baby Sammy. He was probably 3 here, and I was, erm, 13 I think. Happy birthday, Sammy! I miss you to pieces.




Welcome Cor de Fe!

No matter how many years go by, no matter how many times I’ve been told “it’s different when they’re your own,” I’ve never wanted children. But ever since I was 12 years old, I’ve wanted to breed event horses. Fast forward many years, and I finally had the opportunity.

Cor de Fe is a miracle baby bred by Elisa Wallace, another student of Mrs. Gosch’s, who owns Camden (Cor Magnifique), the last living stallion from her program. Camden is like the quintessential combination of all Mrs. G’s years of breeding. He is by Boc and out of Cor de Rose, who is by Mrs. Gosch’s other foundation stallion, Johnny Can Hop. Fey’s mother is Leap of Faith (Malthus x Marty My Love), a Holsteiner/TB mare that Elisa competed to the three-star level. Fey is her first filly.

Baby Fey!

I’ve been keeping an eye on Camden and his kids for many years. I remember when Fey’s birth was announced on Elisa’s website. I checked regularly for updates on the little red filly, but there were none. Then one day last year I connected with Elisa at a horse trials. She told me Fey had sustained a hock injury in the pasture that would prevent her from being a performance horse, but she would likely make a lovely broodmare.

And I picked her up last weekend. 🙂



Fey is a delight. She is incredibly sweet and loves to cuddle. She is very curious but very trusting too. She’s all legs and looks a bit like a deer sometimes, yet she is lovely to watch move and is certainly built and bred to jump. She is technically Sam’s niece, as Camden and Sam were half-brothers through Boc. She has that very distinct Boc eye, and her being an elegant, feminine chestnut mare makes me think of Breezy.


Fey is four this year and has some growing left to do. I tentatively plan to breed her in spring 2015, which gives me time to save some coins and research stallions. I have not 100 percent decided which direction to go with a cross… more TB or more Warmblood. But I’m already thinking of names!

I’m excited but not without reservations. This is really scary to undertake! I’m not independently wealthy. There is always the possibility of millions of things that could going wrong. One side of my brain (the practical side) tells me I’m nuts while the other says give it a shot (it will be fun!).

Before making a decision about Fey, I spoke with Denny Emerson. His breeding program also stems from Cormac through Royal Core, the sister of Boc’s dam. He said that I may as well give it a shot now while I have the chance instead of waiting and being disappointed later in life.

So I’m going for it. It’s a big new adventure and we’ll just see what happens.

I told Katie, the barn manager where I board the girls, that it was very exciting but nerve wracking too. She replied, “Good things usually are.” I like that way of thinking. So here’s to new adventures and our newest addition to the menagerie.

Fey and the pony. My girls! They are in love.

Willow and Fey

Welcome Soot!

After sharing menagerie photos yesterday, my mom fussed that I did not include anything about the newest member of the menagerie, Soot!

photo 3(1)

Soot had been at the local shelter since last March. He’s as sweet as can be and very sociable at all the adoption events, but for whatever reason, he just couldn’t get placed. Mom’s boyfriend felt pity and and told mom to go get him and bring him home, that eventually he can go West and be Gracie’s companion.

photo 2(1)

But when mom brought Soot home (his original name was Inky or something. Soot is much better) he bonded instantly with Friendly. They are about the same age, play fiercely and cuddle all day, and mom just couldn’t bear to separate them.

And so Soot joined the Threlkeld Menagerie.

That’s six cats, now. Six.

photo 1(1)


One Big Happy

One of the pages on this blog is title “The Menagerie,” introducing all the animals that we have owned, past and present. It does not include all the animals that have actually moved through our home as fosters. For that, I’d have to write a book.

Though I am surrounded by silly dogs, an opinionated barn cat, and several horses every day on the farm in Virginia, I love snuggling with the Menagerie back home in Georgia, no matter how much it makes me sneeze. This holiday season was packed with puppy love and kitty cats.


Batshit – happily licking a plastic bag. Oh to spend an hour in her head.


My aunt and uncle have two young Goldens. This is Cosmo.


We bonded.


No! My human! She’s going to pet ME!


My little brother’s Weimaraner, Rip.


Two of the newer members of the Menagerie – Friendly and Annie.


Itty Bitty!


Itty Bitty in a bowl!


The oldest members of the Menagerie – sisters Joan and Jenny.


Zebbie’s kitty Jem says “Stahp!”


Mr. Mel. The barn cat. He’s always glad when we get back because he gets to come inside a dog-free zone.

+ Two

We have two more to add to the Menagerie page! One has actually been with the family for, oh, a year or so, but mom is just getting around to admitting it. The other is a fairly recent newcomer that took much less convincing for mom to welcome home.

Meet Annie….


So Annie was a rescue, as they all are. Mom and Sue picked her up on Hopewell Church Road. She didn’t have any tags but she was clearly in good health and well cared for. So mom took her in as a foster.

“Oh, you got a new dog?” I said.


“Sure, sure.”

It went on like that for months.

Because John was a bit old and fragile and Annie was the complete opposite, she had to stay in the crate when she was inside and didn’t get a whole lot of personal attention. Mom did try taking her to the barn with her for exercise.. but one too many “goose incidents” and Annie was banned from the barn. Efforts to find her original owners in the meantime were a complete failure. It appeared she had been purposefully abandoned.

So mom sent her to doggie boarding school. It’s the wildest thing. It’s like 24/7 behavioral school for dogs and the parents come on the weekends to learn all about the dogs’ new tricks and how to communicate with them.

Annie is, in my limited experience with her, better. A bit. Except her name has been changed to Pistol Annie, so…

Since John passed away, Annie has gotten full house privileges, more attention, more exercise, AND she’s even allowed back at the barn.

And yes, mom has finally admitted that she owns a coon hound. (She’s going on the Menagerie page, Ma! There’s no going back now.)

So now let’s talk about…Friendly!


Friendly showed up in June, and he just wanted to hang out. He got his name because, well, he was just so gosh darn friendly! Mom fed him, made a bed for him in the garage at night, but he left after a week or so. Unbeknownst to me.

Two weekends ago I went home to for some “continuing education and research” at Poplar Place. I rolled into the driveway in my sweet rental, parked, and started unloading. Having the feeling I was being watched, I looked up and there is a little orange cat studying me very intently. As soon as we made eye contact, he started scooting the opposite direction. I called to him, he turned around, and I knew instantly who it was.

“Oh, your Friendly!”

“Why yes, yes I am friendly!” he seemed to say as he trotted over for cuddles.

I was unloading my bags inside when mom screeches into the house, “Friendly’s here! Friendly’s here!”

“Oh yea, he met me when I drove up.”

Once again, I hadn’t known he’d disappeared since June. Mom had all but given up on him. So she put some food down, cracked the garage door, made his bed (which he instantly parked out on), and she contemplated taking him to get fixed.

But see, Friendly looked great. He didn’t look like a stray. He looked like an indoor/outdoor cat that likes to visit friendly neighbors that feed him. And maybe, that smart cat has been spending the summer time indoors in the AC.

“Well I’ve asked around. No one seems to know him,” mom insisted.

I asked if she had spoken to more than just the immediate neighbors. I think her response was, “want another beer?”

In the end she decided to take Friendly to the vet’s to get fixed at the very least. And when I promised I wouldn’t make fun of her for “another failed foster” she very quickly made plans to integrate him into the family inside, a task which has apparently gone off without a hitch.

So there you have it. The menagerie grows.


I have been putting off this post for a long time, but I’m having this moment of “just rip the band-aid off and write the thing.” So here goes, short and sweet-ish.

The Menagerie page has changed significantly. Three of our furriest family members’ photos have been moved to the “Gone Away” section of the page.

Mom and I lost Plumpy the cat, John the dog, and Sam the horse between December 2012 and May 2013.

Plumpy developed the kitty version of breast cancer and underwent chemo treatment, but it didn’t work. I saw her at Christmas, knowing it was probably the last time I would see her. She slept by my ear as she always does, and was happy to sit with me at the table. Usually she tries to snatch food off my plate, but she wouldn’t even eat eggs offered to her. After I left, she went downhill quickly, and the tumor had grown considerably in just a few days. She wouldn’t leave my room, she didn’t want to be touched, and she wouldn’t eat. There was no question it was time, and Mom promised me she told Plumpy I was so sorry I couldn’t be there.

John defied the odds of big dogs and his breed, living until the very old age of 16. Besides being stiff and slightly senile, he was in fairly good health well into old age. But when he started losing control of his hindquarters and getting up and down became difficult… at least he wasn’t in bad shape for very long. John was the last of the original canine crew. He passed on May 2nd. Because I was in the midst of making tough decisions about Sam, mom waited 10 days or so before she told me about John. I was slightly furious, because by not telling me, I wasn’t able to be there for her when it was most painful, but I understand and appreciate her attempts at giving me one thing to deal with at a time.

The most shocking and by far the most difficult loss for me was my sweet Sam. I can’t bear to speak about it much just yet, but as we were treating a stubborn ethmoid hematoma, he developed an undifferentiated sarcoma that had begun to invade his brain. His vet said there is no medical link between the two… it’s just an unfair coincidence. He was having extreme neurological symptoms. We got him home, just barely, he picked a shady spot by the drive, and we gave him a glorious send off. May 3rd was the day.

In the last year-and-a-half, we’ve lost four animals to cancer: Joey, B, Plumpy, and Sam… John has been the only one to see a very old age and a natural decline. It seems very much like a rude coincidence from the universe, but we know all our animals come into our lives for very good reasons. Maybe the powers that be, whatever they may be, know we are the right people to care for them until the very end of their days. Though it goes without saying, the world is more empty without each one of them.

Twinkle Toes

sams foot last

I haven’t spoken of Sam’s foot in a while, not since the wound closed up in June and I quit treating it. A reader asked if I had recent pictures, I just happened to have taken some the other day! The battle has been giving him enough support at his heel while the hoof itself grows back. It was June when I stopped treating it with Equiaid. Here it is December it still doesn’t look totally normal, and it probably never will. But through amazing attentiveness from my farrier, an aggressive supplement regime, and the careful selection and application of specific to the status of the hoof wall oils and hardeners, we have getting-there-healthy feet, read: we don’t walk out of them every day and they don’t feel like butter to drive a nail through. Hooray!

He’s in a balance that I’ve never felt from him before. It seems as though he is moving more freely than I recall from years past and is miles different from how he felt during our first day of attempting trotting on the hills by the farm (sad). We are still being diligent with shoeing, massaging, and oiling, and my farrier has started building a clay hoof wall where he had his injury in order give him a bit more heel, thus more balance. I’m amazed and grateful for all the support!

sams foot first

Sam has extra hoof wall built up on his heel with a clay-type substance. You can kind of see it on the far right.