Chuckles' story as it appeared in the October 2015 newsletter! A kind, concerned gal emailed us a picture of a starved colt located in Rowan County. Her email was heart wrenching considering she is not a horse person yet was still able to recognize that the owner needed help. It is easy for things to get out of hand when a breeding program is started in a slow economy and there are limited funds to care for the mares that now have foals. There were seven horses on the property, including a spotted Tennessee Walker stud who was in then same pasture as the mares and their foals. The stallion was in the best condition and the owners were trying to keep him in a separate pasture, but he would break through fences to get in with the mares and foals. There was no hay available and the large field was so overgrazed it would barely support one horse.
We were able to arrange to meet with the owners who were very open to help since they felt overwhelmed. We picked out the two of colts that were in the worst shape and an agreement was made for them to come to the sanctuary. The owners delivered the colts, who had barely been handled, to us just before dark and they were unloaded directly into the round pen.
Both colts had been abused by the stud. The sorrel and white colt was still with its mare and nursing, yet his tail reached the ground suggesting he could be close to three years old! He was very tiny for his possible age and had a body score of a one. Without the correct nutrition no horse will reach their full growth potential. The stallion saw the young colt as a threat and would kick him unmercifully which left colt’s tiny body covered with nicks and scrapes.
The little black and white colt was so very tiny, and we had no idea how old he is. His tail was at his hocks and he still had his foal hair. This could be from a huge overload of parasites that can kill a young foal and getting the dewormer into them was a big challenge. Syringing the wormer down their throats would only further their immense trust issues, which would cause it to take much longer for them to bond with people, and we could not find anything they would eat with the medication.
The little black and white colt’s mare had been given away, leaving him no protection from the stud who kept chasing him away from the herd to an area where there was no grass. This is the natural action when there is not enough food, to push the weakest member out of the herd. Both colts had undescended testicles, this condition is known as Cryptorchid. The condition requires expensive surgery to solve the issue and could not be considered until their health greatly improved. Foals are always more difficult to bring back to full health.
The colts have transformed into the most gorgeous geldings and their personalities continue to develop every day! The sorrel and white, Chicklet, remains a bit more cautious of people than the black and white, Chuckles, who simply cannot get close enough! These flashy boys bring wonderful energy to the herd and never miss a chance to stir things up!