Ginger's story as it appeared in the January 2019 newsletter. It was later in evening and the phone rang. I checked the number before answering. It was Iredell Animal Services, so of course I picked up. “Two horses were in trouble north of Statesville. Would we take them in?” We have always felt it was important to help the animal controls whenever possible. It makes their job easier if they know there is a place for the horses to go. There was a slow cold rain all the way to the property where the horses were located. Jared, Christina and I were making the trip. It was supposed to take about an hour. It helps if the property and condition the horses are in is looked over as carefully as possible. This can provide important insight in the future.
The two horses were in a small area surrounded by three strains of electric fence, approximately 75’ by 100 feet. That is less than 20% of an acre. There were once trees in the area, but they were all dead. The horses had reached many feet above their heads and eaten all of the bark off the trees. There was no manure in the area and even though there were trees all the way around the area, there were not many leaves in there. The ground outside the fenced area was littered with leaves. The horses’ corral was nothing but mud. The small water supply was full of green slime. Of course, there was no shelter for the horses. After all, the owner has only had eight years to build a small barn for them. Just think about if you were outside for the last eight years with no shelter.
The mare was about 12 years old with a new filly at her side according to the owner when they arrived at his property eight years ago. The young mare is about eight and the older mare is about 20 years old now. The younger mare may have been getting most of the feed that may have been put out. She is about a high 3 to a low 4 on the body scoring. The old mare has very prominent spinal vertebrae. Her winter coat is hiding the thin body that lies underneath. She seems to be approximately a two on the body scoring. The two horses’ manes reminded me of the wild horse with long dreadlocks hanging down. It was time to put on halters and leads and the owner was making talk, like this was not going to be easy and he seemed apprehensive almost frightened. Jared had been giving the two small amounts of feed and alfalfa pellets. They seemed at ease with him. I suggested for him to start with mama. This went very well and then the owner held her while the more difficult younger mare was worked with. The owner was holding the older mare in a death grip that was upsetting her.
The pretty little eight year old mare has not had much, if any training. He told us that he use to ride her all the time years ago. Jared slowly pursued baby mare and she realize he was not going to hurt her and the halter and lead were slipped on. The owner and Jared lead the two into the trailer and Christina and I closed the back doors and tail gate. It was still raining when we arrived back at the sanctuary, hay was put into the two stalls, but neither one would go in. Christina and Jared worked with the two and little by little they finally stood with their heads in the stalls, but still wouldn’t go completely in. By the following morning, the two were fully in the stalls and finishing off the last of the hay. They didn’t venture out until it stopped raining. Both will have a stable for Christmas for the first time in eight years and it may have been even longer. We don’t know what life was like for this old girl before this owner. How about a couple of Christmas spices? The 20 year old mare is named Nutmeg, and the little eight year old mare is Ginger.
Ginger (left) with her pal Dallas.