Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Different Sort of Rescue Story Part 2

Be Prepared the picture of the stallion is disturbing and graphic.

Part 1

First off, let me say that I am recounting this story as I remember it. I'm pretty sure I will make some mistakes and be going back to correct them later. Hopefully this case will have a direct impact on how rescue horses are handled in the future so bear with me as I try to sort through all the details and give you the real picture.

I received an email with pictures about these horses within a day or two of their arrival at my friend's farm. I think from the start Rose could not stand not knowing who this Arabian stallion was. She made it her mission to find out who he was and where he'd come from.

In an email from my friend, On Jan. 3rd, three days after we picked up Teddy and Valor, in a meeting with Pierce County Animal Control (PCAC)
I was told we could adopt the 2 horses if the alleged abusers, after 15 days, did not post bond and no criminal charges were filed.

During this same time that video posted on YouTube of the rest of the herd stuck and uncared for in those muddy paddocks had caused a huge uproar. The resulting public outcry was difficult to ignore.There was so much back lash over those poor starving horses that the county was forced to take action.

Unfortunately our county is not set up with a plan to deal with horses needing rescue. Our animal control agency has no clue about horses, let alone their care or resources to even find the appropriate information. Somehow they found and hired Hope for Horses.

Again in an email from my friend The other 13 horses were impounded on January 7th one week later. Those all went to Hope For Horses.

I actually saw the 2 horses at Creekwood Farm about a week later. I was there for a board meeting for the Daffodil Arabian Horse Association. We couldn't help but talk about these horses and their situation at the meeting. Afterward we went to the barn to actually see them.

While there, the stallion was turned out into the arena for exercise so we could see how he was beginning to play. I remember clearly the way I felt as I saw this seriously under weight horse turned loose. My feelings were all over the place between feeling angry at what had been done to this horse, sorrow that any horse should have to live through such a thing and relief he was finally safe and responding so well.

While I personally have limited experience caring for a rescue horse that had been starved, I have friends very active in the rescue movement with loads of hands on experience. Through them I have seen and experienced enough to be informed about rescues and their needs.

I know first hand that the pictures never show how really bad the horses are. I also know what to expect in their recovery. How different horses respond in different ways and have different needs. Because of that I am aware of what the horses go through (both physically and emotionally) and the people who help them as well.

Watching this Arabian stallion in the arena I could see how happy this horse was to finally be getting the attention he believed he was due. Despite still being terribly thin, the horse strutted his stuff, tossing his head and moving about the arena trying to show us onlookers how cool he was. His regal carriage and charisma shone through despite his protruding ribs, exposed hips and infected penis. This horse was emotionally responding to the loving care he was getting.

Physically there were also visible changes. There was a marked improvement in his weight. He was clean from head to toe. Also there was less redness and swelling in his penis.

The horse's penis was requiring very special treatment. Not only was the horse getting antibiotics, there were dressing changes several times a day. After the penis was cleansed and treated, it was tied up with a support to help protect the sensitive nerves.

Without that support the added weight of the horse's infected penis flopping around could cause irreversible nerve damage. If the horse suffered nerve damage he would be unable to ever retract his penis. Not many people want to own male horses with their genetalia hanging all the time. It was extra important that this issue be dealt with faithfully for the well being of this horse.

The costs of this treatment were astronomical. Just the amount for bandages along was through the roof. Since I sat on the Region 5 Arabian Horse Association Board of Directors and have been involved in appropriating money to help with the rescue of Arabian horses, I advised my friend to request funds for the care of this horse. We went over what she would need to make that request at the upcoming board meeting.

During that visit I also looked at the other horse in his stall.When he'd first arrived he was afraid of humans. Out in the field they had rescued him from it had taken them hours to even catch him to take him in the first place.

The teenage daughter had made this little horse her pet project. Through many hours of loving care she had convinced him that she was worthy of being trusted. Now he walked right up to us, total strangers, to see what we had for him. In this short time it was remarkable that he'd decided maybe people weren't so bad after all.

I looked at this foal evaluating him with the kind of eye a breeder who cares about foals would do. He was smaller than my Arabian horse twins had been at this age. His poor little legs went in every direction. Because of my experience with the twins, I easily recognized the symptoms of the angular limb deformity this foal suffered.

Just as my twins' issues with development in utero had been affected by lack of nourishment, this foal had suffered similar issues because of his malnourished dam. Although the lack of proper nourishment had different causes, the end result was the same. The symptoms associated with premature or dysmature foals were definitely present in this little horse. The short stature and angular limb deformities of this foal were part of those.

Unlike my twins, this foal had received no medical assistance, proper nourishment or care for this issue since his birth. Now that he was rescued it was late to be starting on these things. My friend and I talked some about those issues, their cause and prognosis. It would be a long road for this horse as well.

To be continued............

Photo credit on the top photo of the appy/qh foal (Teddy) goes to Bruce Smith of the Eatonville Dispatch. The second photo (Valor) was taken by Rose Corey of Creekwood Farm

Another Seizure

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  1. Such a shame what happened to these poor horses. I'm glad they got help. I'll be waiting to see what else comes up.

  2. "My horses are fine, they just have soft hooves!" that owner is stupid. She was just standing there all calm like nothing was going on. I would have been crying and screaming and calling the police if people showed up at my house and started loading my horses up. But then again, I feed and take care of mine.

  3. So so so sad, this is just a drop in an ocean of deglect all over this country and world wide, it makes me crazy, I just wish my circumstances were better I would be like that woman who is getting in on the fate of the 30 000 mustang in holding facilities in an effort to save them from all being euthenased. It almost seems too good to be true.

    Waiting for the next instalment, but dreading it at the same time.

  4. i'm glad i wasn't there when that owner showed up or i'd probably be facing criminal charges too. she must be a real piece of work to show up like that and pretend nothing's wrong while her horses are suffering.

    good for you for getting involved. i know how hard it can be. rescue is such a complicated issue. i've always been involved with rescues in one way or another, and even personally rescued or bought horses out of bad situations, but i will have to do more research about what's entailed here in my area and make sure i'm on some sort of volunteer list in case any situations like this come up. we've always got space and time for horses in need...