My Funny Valentine

This Valentines Day was spent with an elderly male unable to stand up on his own. My daughter, Alexis and son-in-law, Mike, spent the day with Ranger, 36-year-old gelding and seeing eye horse for his girlfriend Mystery, a 22-year-old Appaloosa mare. We had been fostering these two lovebirds since September. They were former “A Chance For Bliss” residents that had been given to the Placer County Humane Society due to ACFB inability to care for them any longer. We had assumed all care and responsibilities, they contently remained in the nice level, rented pasture, near where our other horses were being boarded. My daughter paid all expenses, while she, myself, and another volunteer, Lydia, would take a drive, twice a day check on them, bring a few thermos’ of warm water to soak their pellets, make sure their blankets were on or off (weather depending), brush, talk, hug and kiss these sweet old horses, Ranger loved his hugs, he would lean into them to make sure you felt the hug back.. Because of their age, we needed to soak their pellets in warm water, also, Mystery had a choking incident soon after we started their care, a visitor had stopped by the pasture and fed her an alfalfa cube that had been left in a barrel from previous guardians, ACFB. We were very panicked, when a horse chokes, it can be very life threatening. Alexis and her friend immediately called the vet out, it was touch and go, a lot of blood, but obstruction finally dislodged. Alexis and friend shared the cost since, Placer County Humane Society Officer had declared early on, she would not cover any costs to save these horses.  During these several months, there was much discussion of where these horses, along with several others that had been seized from ACFB, would be able to go to permanently. We had offered to adopt, but were hoping for a least a small portion of the monies still being collected from sponsors to help out for their care temporally, but would never get an answer, nor an answer when we would ask for Ranger’s history/medical records, (we knew Mystery’s, she had been boarded at our barn previously before she had been abandoned). In late January, the HS Officer continued to ignore our plea to adopt, Mike and I had spent a few hours on a cold day with Jim at the Hartsong Sanctuary to ready for the horses pasture. It was then how much we realized, It was a long and windy drive to this new place. The holidays came, things were put off for a while, in the meantime we were getting very attached to these sweet old horses, and they had come to trust us, before this, they had trusted no one for at least a year being out in that pasture without much care. We came to realize that these horses were too old, fragile, and attached to us to move them and change their happy home. We again, pleaded our wishes in written letters, along with others that knew these horses well, advocating it would be very dangerous for these old and disabled horses to travel 60 miles up a very windy road, but were denied by PCHS Officer, Rosemary Frieborn. We were very frustrated by given no respect for our knowledge, care and love for Ranger and Mystery. She made her decision, told us her vet okayed them for the trailer ride. When we could no longer argue, we gave her a number to a trailer person that we had been speaking with, insisting that these horses have box stalls and have great care. That was somehow lost in translation, and even though we had made every effort get to the pasture on moving day, the horses had been already loaded and trailer guy had taken off immediately upon my arrival.  We were led to believe that these were experts who knew what they were doing with these animals. I quickly drove up to Hartsong, praying for the best the whole way there, the trailer guy had taken a different route, (not as windy), several of us were already there and waiting. He showed up about a half hour later, and continued up the wrong driveway at a very fast rate, while we were trying to flag him down, all the while I was hearing bang, bang, bang on the bumpy, unpaved, narrow drive..he had turned around and come down the road to where we were, and I was sick when the trailer door opened, Mystery was standing and ok, but Ranger was cast up against the back of the trailer, and we were told he had gone down half hour ago..Alexis and I were immediately questioning how did Rosemary administer the Ace to Mystery, she did not give a clear answer, but suspected it was fed to Mystery in a bucket and then not attended, which Ranger might have access to..

After over an hour now, he can’t get up, Rosemary sends her helper to get a dose of Ace, (or another?) Then they pulled him out,

After several hours, he was able to get up,

The next 2 weeks Ranger, was up and down, down mostly, we had vet advice everyday, Kathy put him on Previcox.

This had been published at a good point,

Most days Alexis, Mike and/or I would go visit Ranger and do whatever we could, vet’s advice was focused on letting him rest from his injuries sustained from the trailer ride, and to give him stronger pain med’s , we switched to a stronger medicine, and at one point added steroid shots when nothing else seem to be working, everyday was an emotional roller coaster, one minute thinking he was getting better and the next he was not..

This was Ranger and Mystery the day before the move:

Two days before he died, Alexis, Mike and myself spent the day taking turns physically holding Ranger up, keeping his front R leg from buckling, while Mike and Jim fixed a nice warm stall for Ranger to be able to lie down in comfort on a bed of shavings, that night he got his first injection of steroids and it helped him stay on his feet, by morning he was still on his feet, we all felt so positive for the moment, but then at 9am he went down again despite the steroids and pain medicine. Alexis went to stay with him in his stall to make sure he had access to his food and water. This was the moment that we started working on the idea we had been discussing of getting UC Davis to loan s a sling to hold him up, and ask the media to run a story with photos of the event to see if we could get help from the public. So myself and others that were now being drawn into this panic to save this horses life, we were on the phone all day, 2 news stations were going to run Rangers story of UC Davis loaning him the sling, all the while Alexis stayed at Rangers side until late in the afternoon when she left for work. Stephanie, (Friend and previous caretaker of Mystery) went in the evening to help Cathy try to get Ranger up on his feet, he had been down all day seemingly in much pain despite his medication. They were able to give  him his steroid shot and up on his feet and we all felt very hopeful that he stayed that way through the next morning at breakfast time, when he was like his old self, knickering at Cathy when she came to feed him. All we had to do was wait for the team at UC Davis to come and we could keep him up while we could get him healthy again, but as Cathy was alone that morning, (Jim off on a sales call) and many other animals to care for, she would check every hour with Ranger until UC Team would arrive at 2pm. Alexis was at work preparing to go up to help and looking for information she thought of during the night of Ranger at ACFB from a few years ago, as she was leaving Cathy a message, she had found this information of his history of his Laminitis  and will bring with her to show vet from Davis, while at the same moment, Cathy was leaving a message for Alexis that Ranger was dead. Cathy had made the dreaded call to euthanize Ranger after the UC Davis veterinarian examined Ranger and realized all his vitals were very bad and failing..

Day before:

The feeling of Devastation st in Ranger went from this, to this because he HAD TO BE MOVED

For what political reason?

Why did the Placer County Humane Officer not take the time to learn this 36 year old horses medical history, share this information and make a different & sound judgement for the best interest for Ranger… Mystery is devastated, she looks from her new hilltop home across from where she was with Ranger, protecting him, and hugging him as she knew he was injured and sick She misses him dearly, many people have felt the pain of what has happened to Ranger, a few more than others, Alexis and I felt bonded with him and are devastated we did not insist somehow NOT to move him…

Mistakes Rosemary made that led to …
1-When she agreed to let us foster them we asked several times about what they were being fed, also when was acfb going to stop taking care of them. We found out they hadn’t eaten in over a week. What about water?
2-Mystery choked due to her feeding alfalfa cube.
3-Did not give us medical records on Ranger or any information.
4-Administered ace sedation without even telling us the caretakers, horse can choke can’t be fed hours before and after.
5-Did not check out the sanctuary she insisted on sending them to.
6-Was told by sanctuary the pasture was not ready. Also they did not have funds to take on these horses.
7-Day she went to move them she attempted to give mystery alfalfa cubes to catch her knowing that’s what she choked on.
8-Sedated a blind horse that was going to be trailered when everyone was against this(big no no).
9-Did not get the 2 box stall trailer that was recommended.
10-Put them in an open stock cow hauling trailer that they had nothing to lean up against.
11- Did not follow the trailer guy.
12- Administered sedation ( vet has to administer).
13- Did not call a vet out after he was injured.
14-Failed to come check on him or help the last two weeks.

My Questions are:

  • Who is Rosemary Frieborn legally accountable to?   No one knows.

From: Jennifer Fearing          Sent: Mon, Mar 5, 2012 22:43:28 GMT+00:00                                                                     To: Halo Salon                                Subject: RE: Humane society officer                                                                                      


To clarify – my organization has nothing to do with Rosemary’s organization. We simply aren’t the same group and we at HSUS have no authority whatsoever over humane officers in California. That’s the basis for my encouraging you to seek private counsel.


  • Does Rosemary Frieborn have the right to seize people’s property based on her judgments solely and from whose legal guidelines has she followed?
  • What professional services can she provide relevant to the nature of the work ? ex: Box Stall Trailer, Horse Sling, ect.
  • Was/Is her non-profit collecting monies for Ranger and Mystery while Alexis Reynolds was paying all expenses for Ranger and Mystery?
  • Did she have the legal right to take possession of Ranger and Mystery after 5 months in Alexis Reynolds custody?
  • Had she mislead us and the public and other animal owners that she is associated with the Humane Society? (see name is misleading )

Specific Act’s that she did to cause Ranger’s Death:

  • Did not take the responsibility to learn Ranger’s medical History, had she did, she would have discovered his Laminitis condition. It is well documented that Laminitis can be brought on by Stress, Trailering and Diet changes, all 3 of which Ranger suffered due to moving him.
  • Neglected to understand Horse’s medical and safety needs after 4 Equine Experts disapproved of this move.
  • Neglected to communicate with the person trailering what the horse’s special needs should be. It had been previously been discussed he and Mystery would need a “Box Stall” to minimize any chance of Mystery’s equilibrium in balances from her blindness, and Rangers weakness due to his age( we were unaware of Ranger’s medical history at this point)
  • Neglected to follow horse trailer and be prepared to accommodate any problems.
  • Neglected to fully understand the seriousness of stress levels that trailering can cause an elderly fragile horse and that Horses have very complicated systems and are highly sensitive animals.
  • Failed to call Veterinarian at the time of Ranger being down in the trailer or any time thereafter.  Ranger had gone down several times during his 13 days at Hartsong, Alexis, Mike, Stephanie were the only ones there helping Kathy and Jim Hart with Ranger. Kathy had tried to contact Rosemary several times during this time.

This is of serious concern that someone who is held to a standard of professional care for Animals, does not understand the importance of her responsibilities to take well informed, well thought out what is in the animals best interest, not for her organization to sensationalize events that pretend to save an animal to its detriment for purposes of satisfying potential donors.

I would ask that Officer Frieborn be suspended from making any decisions regarding the health and safety of any animals until she has completed whatever additional training is available to her to gain a better understanding of what has to be considered in making decisions that can cause an animal’s death. No one that helps animals is exempt from making mistakes in judgment from time to time, but this was a common sense, uneducated and irresponsible action that caused Ranger’s death, myself, daughter and a few others that didn’t even know Ranger are devastated that this sweet old horse would be happily grazing in the sun right now, living out the remainder of his life, instead of lifeless in the cold ground earlier than necessary.


10 thoughts on “My Funny Valentine

  1. I am deeply moved by this story. Those of you who cared for these wonderful senior horses are to be commended, The forces of inertia, if not worse, among the “officials” you were dealing with are all too frustratingly familiar to all of us who care for the welfare of animals. Rest in Peace, Ranger, and all you involved in making the efforts you did please give yourselves a little self forgiveness that everything didn’t work out as you had hoped. It rarely does and never forever in our present far from perfect world. Namaste’

  2. I am in tears, remembering the blow by blow of each traumatic day and hours of Ranger’s life and death.. My heart is so broken for the wonderful sister friend who loved him and his beautiful Mystery soul mate…there are just no words for the tearing of a heart….only the constant slow beat…for the heart that stopped beating, but, never ever stopped loving. Good bye, Ranger…run wild free and young once more on the Other Side. Comfort your beautiful Mystery, as life has gotten much harder for her without you.

  3. You are as free as the wind now, sweet boy, and you never felt better! Kick up your heels with your beloved Mystery, and know that we will all be together soon. You are sooooo loved and will be very sorel missed.

  4. Let this be a huge red flag…Humane Officers do not answer to any one. It’s a glitch in the law. Frieborn does not work for Placer County, she works for Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills. There is no affiliation.

    Sent: Fri 12/02/11 8:15 PM
    To: rfrieborn@*******
    Hi Rosemary, I wanted to update you on Ranger & Mystery. They are both doing well. Alexis, Mike and I will be going to Heartsong this Sunday to help prepare the pasture for whom ever ends up taking that spot. In my last message, was our concerns of the trailering of R & M. That road to Heartsong is not great to trailer a healthy horse, but concern that Mystery’s balance could leave her to panic and/or be very unsteady on her feet for the ride, and Ranger is so old and with weak legs from past laminitis..we worried and researched for a professional transport that had a box stall and could understand the complexities of trailering these two. We have made contact with someone that can do this now. So, let us know, if the funds for this have been reached for any of the animals to go to Heartsong. Also, have been reading the issues that are being discussed in the media of A Chance for Bliss, let us know if there is anything more we can do. Thanks,

    Dominique Landis

  6. This is a case of someone putting their agenda, be it personal or political, above the care of the beings they are sworn to serve and protect. A horse suffered and died when he should have been adopted to the people that loved him to live out his days in a safe, happy and familiar environment. Without having anyone to be accountable to, it seems that these Humane Officers have a bit of the big G complex with not only the lives of the animals but those that want to care of them. This incident needs to be investigated and if this stems other investigations that seem to form a pattern then there are bigger problems – the animal community is very large in this area and could really make some changes if banned together. It is a shame Ranger had to die the way he did, his death has left a hole in many hearts. Let’s hope he didn’t die in vain and whether an investigation finds Rosemary innocent or guilty – it will at least she should think twice before making another decision with her ego.

  7. There was no Monday morning quarter backing, we were there, you were not..we have done more for animals than you can understand. The photos of Ranger down with the blanket on were taken the day before he died. If you do not like the contents of MY Blog, do not read it, and feel free to talk with my attorney.

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