“It starts with the horses and was inspired by Daisy, our namesake. Daisy was born in my arms with a heart on her face and love in her eyes, little did I know she would take me on this journey. At 5 months old it was determined that Daisy had a genetic disorder called cerebellar abiotrophy that would deem her “useless” in the horse community. She is far from useless and has inspired Daisy Chain.” Susan Parker
Daisy is the inspiration of our entire organization! Here is the story as told by our founder and executive director, Susan Parker.
Daisy is the daughter of Bobbie, my beloved horse for over 14 years. Daisy was born in my arms at about 1am on December 8th, 2007 during an out-of-this-world experience watching the emotional birthing process with Bobbie. She was the cutest little foal I had ever seen! It was amazing to be there to help Bobbie with the birthing and for all my trepidation I was ecstatic to meet Daisy! At 3 days I put a halter on her and at 2 weeks she was ponying with Bobbie and I so we could start training for the endurance season.
We rode along the High line canal and Daisy loved to follow along! I did everything you could do with a foal to teach her manners and “sack” her out so that nothing scared her.
It was a fun 4 months. Until it was time to wean her. At 4 months I moved Bobbie to the other side of the ranch to wean Daisy. It is a very stressful time for both the mare and the foal. As I was leading Bobbie away, she acted very weird even more so than any mare I had weaned before. She would stop and just stare me in the eye, almost like she was trying to tell me something. It was her first foal, so I didn’t think anything of it until the next day when I was checking on Daisy and it seemed something wasn’t right. She had this weird head tremor that I had never seen before. It was very subtle, but it was there. I called my friends in Washougal to tell them that I weaned her and to discuss sending her up there to live until she was 3 and mentioned my concern about the tremor. Julie asked me to send her some video and started to do some research.
The News You Don’t See Coming…
What she found was devastating… Cerebellar Abiotrophy a recessive genetic disorder found primarily in Arabian horses. This is a disorder that most breeders would try to hide if their horses were carriers, putting the foals down immediately so no one would know that their stallion or mare was a carrier. There was even a geneticist at UC Davis working on finding a marker to test for the gene. This changed everything! I was sad and anxious and couldn’t send her to Washougal anymore as they thought I should put her down. I called every rescue within a 3 state area and couldn’t find one to take her. She was useless, and they didn’t want her to take the spot of a horse that could be rehabilitated and re-homed. I had anxiety attacks daily, one person recommended I sell her before it could be confirmed, many others said to put her down. I just couldn’t do it. She is like family to me. So when I decided to keep her and have a very expensive pet my anxiety attacks went away.
This research made me realize that there is a huge need for horse rescues for all horses let alone ones that are “useless” like Daisy. That is the goal and essence of Daisy Chain and how we are building a sanctuary to connect horses to individuals and the earth.