Bronco's story as it appeared in the January 2022 newsletter. January 1999 HPS took on the care of 34 Saddlebreds on Orphanage Road, Concord. HPS brought the first felony animal charges in Superior Court in North Carolina against Carol Lewis. She was found guilty!
I received a phone call from a gal that we had placed three Saddlebred horses with 23 years ago. One of the horses, under her care, died and that left the other two geldings. Bronco is now 31 years old and Rising Star is 25 years old. For many years the horses were well cared for. The last few years brought changes in the person’s life and also her daughter’s life, who had always helped with the horses.
Joyce and I went to check the horses so we would have an idea of what we were dealing with. The 12 acres had overgrown and there were only small open areas with pathways around the rest of the property. There was no grass for the four horses and the indication was that the horses may have been stool eating. (A healthy horse will produce 35 to 45 pounds of manure a day. There was nowhere near that amount found on the property. ) The two younger horses on the property didn’t look in bad shape, but we did not do a hands-on check. The daughter’s plan is to complete the fencing on her property and then move the two other horses home once we have taken the two Saddlebreds to the sanctuary.
Because of Bronco and Rising Star’s age, and condition, refeeding has to be done slower than I would like. Bronco is swaybacked and has a heavy long coat. We need to have a Cushing's test done, and a complete examination by a veterinarian. The rain rot along both sides of his topline should be easy to treat. It has to be done with care so Bronco won’t lose all of the hair on his back. He has what looks like a huge goiter under his throat latch.
Rising Star is thin and needs to gain weight. He has a huge crack that runs up the front of the hoof and runs around towards the back of the hoof. Rising Star came up to me and several times put his nose in on the top of my head. I had a distinct feeling that he remembered me. The daughter was very surprised about this when I told her. The two horses have been on the property for 23 years and any change is stressful. It is dangerous to rush the veterinarian and farrier to work on the horses, but is hard to have patience! It is helpful to observe the horses to determine any other issues we may see before the professionals are called. (I was stressed waiting for Sunday to pick up the Saddlebreds.)
Finally, it was time to pick up the two horses. Richard was driving the truck and trailer, and Rhonda and Joyce were going to take pictures. Christina and Grace were to first get the two horses that were staying into stalls. Then to build trust with the two Saddlebreds to be able to put a halter on each. We were bribing them with a few alfalfa pellets and bunches of hay. Rising Star was first to be caught as Grace put the halter on as Christina fed him. Bronco was slightly harder to catch as he was smart enough to slip away from the halter after getting treats. Christina slowly continued to approach him while gently stroking him and getting him to trust her. After a few minutes, she gently slipped the halter on and both horses were ready to be trailered.
The boys were well mannered and led very easily towards the trailer. Rising Star was loaded first followed by Bronco. Christina and Grace took the leads off and got off the trailer. It was then time to bring the boys back to HPS. After arriving we had let then settle a while before taking them out and bringing them into the front pasture. Christina and Grace got the boys and unloaded them and showed them around the area before releasing them. The boys trotted around for a little bit, but after a short time they settled and started nibbling the hay. The boys and the volunteers made for a smooth trip and we are glad to have them back so they can be cared for!
Bronco (left) with pal, Rising Star!