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home : current news : current news August 28, 2014

9/17/2013 12:58:00 PM
Recovered mare debuted in Sisters
Courtney Haber with HoneyBadger, Samantha Fairfield (and Zahra), and Karen McCarthy. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
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Courtney Haber with HoneyBadger, Samantha Fairfield (and Zahra), and Karen McCarthy. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

Last November, on a cold Thursday morning, Karen McCarthy of Madras opened her door to find Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Skidgel.

"The deputy had found an injured mare standing very still, below the 97 highway. It was right near our property line," said McCarthy. "We are horse owners so he thought it could have been one of ours."

McCarthy and her partner Dave Kaiser are hay farmers and experienced horse people, so they took in the young (7- to 8-year-old) mare.

The mare exhibited severe injuries and an underweight body condition. McCarthy and her mother Charlotte Devaney began round-the-clock treatment to her wounds under the instruction of Angie Kemper, DVM of Madras.

"She had head and leg injuries mostly on her right side," McCarthy recalled. "At first she wasn't getting a blink response in her right eye from the head injury. We had to give her eye drops every two hours. Finally after two weeks the eye healed.

"We named her HoneyBadger because a real honey badger is a tough little critter deterred by absolutely nothing or nobody."

HoneyBadger also suffered deep right-front-leg injuries and needed to be wrapped above the knee.

"My friends Pat Ingram and Linda Hanson were instrumental in helping me with HoneyBadger for the first two months," said McCarthy.

"Karen and Dave had a hay barn with a dirt floor for the mare. We would bring her in Dave's large workshop to clean and wrap her leg because the lighting was so good. HoneyBadger would stand amongst the tractors and air compressors while I cleaned, wrapped and rewrapped the wound all the time until it healed," recalled Ingram.

Winter set in and HoneyBadger slowly recovered.

"We gave her a warm waterproof blanket because she was underweight," says McCarthy. We found out fast that she was a gentle mare, just a little timid at first. The first two-and-a-half months I kept her in the stall. She just needed time to heal."

McCarthy slowly turned her out to pasture with her other horses on her 80-acre farmland.

"During this time we tried to locate HoneyBadger's owner unsuccessfully. We will never know what really happened to HoneyBadger," said McCarthy.

"I ended up paying the state of Oregon $25 for her purchase because she was found on 'Unclaimed Property on State Land.'"

Throughout the mare's lengthy recovery period, friends and members of the equine community helped with financial contributions and volunteered hands-on assistance. They became HoneyBadger's team, helping the mare heal and gain weight.

Seven months from the day HoneyBadger was found, Dr. Kemper DVM gave clearance for the rehabilitated mare to begin saddle training.

McCarthy found a trainer at SGF Sportshorses on Cloverdale Road near Sisters. Under the guidance of head trainer, Samantha Fairfield, and her assistant, Courtney Haber, HoneyBadger began her development.

The training of a horse and rider begins at a slow pace with an emphasis on building confidence and strength.

"HoneyBadger arrived here for basic training when my baby Zahra was just five weeks old. We started HoneyBadger out by walking her around a lot to establish the ground rules and to find out more about her. She's a strong mare and likes to lead on a trail. Yet she's super gentle with a calm disposition," said Fairfield. "I walked her, and my assistant Courtney would ride her in the beginning and then we shared the saddle training."

After three months of training, HoneyBadger's entire rehab team invited the public to SGF Sporthorse barn on September 13 to meet her. The mare was transformed from a severely injured underweight animal to a healthy, strong and graceful horse.

Honeybadger is now for sale and needs a very special home. Send inquiries to

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Article comment by: Karen McCarthy

Thank you so much for writing such a nice article about Honeybadger's story*. I just wanted to make sure that my email address was corrected. It is:
(*Honeybadger thanks you too!)

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