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This month ERAF is proud to recognize and honor Arthur and Patricia Cox for their commitment to ERAF. Pat and Arthur are not attention seeking people but when you read their story perhaps you’ll agree that what they’ve done is noteworthy.
Pat & Art found us in 2013 shortly after the sudden death of their long-time friend and companion Arabian. Unfortunately the death of a prized animal is almost always a part of the ownership experience that we go through. The grieving process was long and painful but at some point the Cox’s came to understand that it was time to move on and find another horse to save and love.
Apparently at the right moment a friend of theirs asked Pat if she had ever heard of ERAF. Before long they were in the car headed north from their Jupiter home to visit our barn.
It’s easy to fall in love with a horse if you’re a horse person. Strong, sleek, visually stunning, what more could anyone want?
However, the real measure of a horse person/lover is a person who pulls an animal close to them that’s not strong, not sleek, and not visually stunning. A person who can see the potential and a person who understands that this horse needs me.
During their visit to our barn they came across Soda. A horse with remarkable blood lines but a horse that had a significant issue with his leg. The Veterinarians spent many hours trying to get him better but it was a formidable task due to the severity of his injuries.
The Cox’s were immediately drawn to Soda and began caring for him and sponsored him to make sure that he got the care he needed.
For months Pat would travel from Jupiter to Palm City to take care of Soda. Month after month she found the strength to make that trip one more time. She was thinking that if she could ever get him well she would adopt him and bring him to his new home.
Unfortunately Soda’s injuries were extremely slow to heal but Pat would not yield an inch and continued to care for him.
On one trip a friend who came along with Pat asked her to come out to one of the paddocks. There stood Joey. Perhaps a bit underweight but still a striking horse. Another story of love at first sight happened and next thing you know they were backing the trailer up to take Joey down to Jupiter where he still lives happily ever after.
Soda was still healing so now the Cox’s had a horse in Jupiter AND a horse in Palm City to care for. They are obviously from hardy stock because they did it and did it well.
Soda eventually healed and joined Joey down on the Cox’s property in Jupiter. During a recent visit by one of our Board members he was reportedly doing excellent.
This was a long story but it was also a long journey for the Cox’s. Their efforts helped save two horses in desperate need of their love and attention.
For their commitment to Soda and Joey we honor them and thank them for helping us create a happy ending for those two wonderful horses.
Please take a little extra time and read a wonderful piece written by Barbara Alesi about Soda.
Thank you Pat and Arthur!
My sire was “Nariadni” and my dam was “Supra Sundae”. They were purebred Russian Arabian horses, a very special breed, I am told. Breeders, initially, tried to import them, by boat, from Russia in the early 1900’s but many of those early horses did not survive the dangerous journey. There are only several hundred of them in the United States, today. They are recognized for their fine features, their elegant lines, grace of movement and courageous temperaments.
Nariadni, my father, was born in Russia and was a remarkable specimen of the breed. He was noticed by an American, who travelled behind the iron curtain to Tersk Stud to purchase him in the late 1970’s. He sired more than 500 foals, many of them champions. My name is “Azda Soda Nay”, “Soda” for short, and I am his son. This is my story…
I was born on July 13, 1995, so I am 20 years old now. I am a chestnut Russian Arabian Stallion, standing 15.2 hands and I am registered with the Arabian Horse Association. When I was young, my breeder began training me as a Dressage Horse. I loved to perform dressage and I competed successfully in many horse shows. When I moved, the air flowed through my mane and tail and I was weightless and graceful, like a ballet dancer. I felt regal, like the special horse that I was, back then, and people stared at me as if I were a god. Like Icarus, it seemed that I could fly. Those were the good days….
Something must have gone terribly wrong. Nobody was riding me or paying attention to me, anymore. There were no more rides around the arena, no more shows, no more luxurious brushings and bathings and no more treats. I must have done something bad because, suddenly, I was in a pasture, all by myself and not getting enough food or water and never getting shelter from the rain or the hot sun. I got weaker and weaker, every day. My once beautiful coat had open sores all over it from the rain and they hurt, all the time. My top teeth had been worn down to nubs from my chewing on the wood fence. I had tumbled from those once, lofty heights down to the depths of the dark sea; I didn’t think that I could go on much longer.
Then, one day, in October of 2013, a very kind man from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, came to look at me; he must have decided that I didn’t look very well because, the next thing I knew, people came in a trailer to take me away. I later found out that they were from Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation, Inc., a place that rescues abused, abandoned and neglected horses; I guess that’s what I was, then.
When I arrived at ERAF, I thought that the barn was very beautiful, I had a nice large stall filled with lots of soft shavings and they gave me delicious hay and let me graze in their green pastures with the other horses. Although I wasn’t feeling too well, I was glad to be there. Then, suddenly, one day in December of that same year, while I was eating that delicious hay, I started to choke and couldn’t breathe. I was rushed to a veterinary hospital where they were able to save me. That was lucky; but, the sad news was that I couldn’t eat hay anymore. They said that my esophagus had been so badly damaged by so many choking incidents, in the past, that I could not digest dry, solid foods anymore. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t graze in a pasture with other horses because they were eating hay and, if I ate any of it, I could get sick and choke, again. So, I spent a lot of time, alone in my pasture.
After I started to get healthier and put on some weight, the people at ERAF let me go into the big pasture with another horse named “Rupert”. We used to have a grand old time, running around after each other, kicking up our heels, nuzzling the other horses over the fence, rolling in the dirt and, generally, having a ball. Then, suddenly, one day when I was running around, something happened and I fell to the ground and could not get up. They brought me to my stall and called Dr. Carolyn Todd, BVMS MRCVS at Harbour Ridge Equine; she said that I had broken my olecranon, a bone in my left front leg, and that I had to be on barn rest for 90 days. My fun days with Rupert were over. I was tied to a wire in my stall and I could not move freely or lay down; I could not see my horse friends outside or feel the sun on my face. All I could do was stand still all day, every day, day in and day out and eat the mush food that they gave me. No hay; no treats. I became very bored and very, very sad. I started to lose a lot of weight; I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go on.
The people at ERAF felt very badly for my situation and they rallied around me. They came to my stall every day to pet me and brush me and tell me that, one day, everything would be alright, again. I wasn’t so sure…I had been down this path one too many times in my short life. But, they wouldn’t let me give up. They brought me treats of carrots and sweet potato mash (that was delicious!) and they talked to me, every day, telling me to be the courageous Arabian that they knew I was and not to give up; they kept saying that they were with me all the way; that they would never let me down. Finally, I started to believe, again.
As my leg was healing, a very compassionate woman came a few times to give me “light treatments”, which found the sore places in my body and help them heal and feel better. An acupuncturist also came to treat me and that really helped me feel better, too. Finally, when my leg started to heal, the people at ERAF took me outside and led me to good, green grass, so that I could graze a little in the sun and watch some of my old horse friends. That was terrific! I started to feel better and better, every day.
After about 4 months, I was permitted to go out to the pasture on my own. It felt so good to be free again, able to stand on my own four legs, nuzzle my horse friends over the fence and roll in the grass, if the urge came over me. Life was starting to get good again; but the best was yet to come.
A couple who live close by, in Jupiter, Florida, adopted one of my horse buddies, Joey, back in January. I watched Joey go off with them in a trailer to a new life. I knew that it was going to be a good life because these people were so kind and I heard that they had a beautiful farm with big, comfortable stalls and green, green pastures. Then, the unthinkable happened…they kind of fell in love with me, too!! They saw me tied in my stall with my broken leg, my protruding ribs and my head hanging low and they decided that they could love me, too. So, in late May, after my leg was healed and I had put some weight back on, they came in a trailer to get me. The women at ERAF took me out for a long walk that morning, gave me my carrot and sweet potato treat and brushed my coat and combed my mane and tail until I glistened. Then they had a party for me with pizza and a cake that said, “Bon Voyage Azda Soda Nay”.
So, here I am with Joey and another “mini” horse, getting lots of attention, as much food and delicious treats as I want, a big green pasture in which to graze with my horse buddies, a warm, dry barn to rest myself at night and more love than I ever could have imagined. I am so happy, now; I am home.
In my life, I have had many troubles and sadnesses; there were times when I didn’t think I could go on…didn’t want to go on. But heaven sent many angels my way…the Sheriff who rescued me, the women at ERAF who loved me and nursed me back to health; the veterinarians, acupuncturists and others, who treated my sicknesses and injuries and my new “forever family”, who believed in me and gave me another chance at a good life, one that I can, finally, look forward to… and I do.
That is my story….
Soda’s Story: Written by Barbara Shaheen Alesi, a volunteer at ERAF*