Sunshine's story as it appeared in the October 2020 newsletter. We received a phone call from a concerned member who saw a horse advertised on the Internet. One look at the ad and I knew we needed to get the horse under our care. She looked like a one on the Henneke Body Scoring scale. I called the stable and told the manager that we would be willing to take in the horse. It didn’t take long to get the okay from the owner of the starved horse in Iredell County. The owner signed the horse over to the stable and as soon as we were notified, Melanie and I were on the road to make a pick-up.
We never know what we will be facing upon arrival. The stable is owned by new folks and sometimes when a business changes hands, the new owner may inherit problems. It was never clear, but it sounded as if the owner was responsible for the feeding of the horse and that was not happening. The stable owner was wise to try everything to get the starved horse off their property. Animal Control can look to the stable owner as responsible for the care of the horse regardless of the agreement between the stable and the owner.
While I was talking to the stable manager and getting our release form signed, Melanie quietly headed over to put a halter and lead on the mare. We had already opened the back of the trailer. Our new skinny 21-year-old mare showed more energy than expected loading into the trailer.
Sometimes the horses that come to us are unusual. The tall mare is a strawberry roan and also a tri-color. Her face is all white and called “Bald Face,” both back legs have full stockings, and the mane and tail are tri-color. Now it gets really different, she is a registered Tennessee Walking Horse. I have never seen or heard of a TWH with markings like this mare. There is a rumor that she was a show horse.
Her body is covered with fungus, and she will need another fungal bath on the next warm day. Her hooves are in good shape, but there is an issue with her teeth. She can slowly mash up the expensive chopped alfalfa, but can’t manage normal hay. Along with her feed and supplements, we are also giving her three large helpings of soaked alfalfa cubes during the day, which she devourers. She was not gaining weight in a way that we would expect, and a full blood panel only revealed low iron.
Sugar's story as it appeared in the December 2022 newsletter. Once again, another rescue referred a person in need to HPS. Folks can have such terrible problems to deal with at times in their life. These owners were doing their best, but their two horses were not getting the care they needed. They found a new home for one of the horses, and because the second one had breathing issues, it was not possible to find her a home in the standard marketplace.
The owners had Sugar for years and years. She is a Quarter Horse-Appaloosa cross, between 18 to 20 years old. The owner could not name a veterinarian that had ever taken care of Sugar.
Under these circumstances, the owner is responsible for trailering the horse to HPS. When the horse arrives, we like it to have a quiet time before being unloaded. Have you ever stepped off a boat before you were acclimated to the boat stopping and your legs felt like rubber when you stepped to land? That can happen to a horse if unloaded too quickly.
When Sugar arrived, the owner entered the trailer and started slapping her neck hard enough to bruise her. She told me that Sugar was apprehensive about being approached in a field or stall; can you understand why? Some people think slapping an animal shows affection, but we are predators. Horses are prey animals and do not like this kind of treatment. (I will keep talking about not slapping horses until the last person has learned to be gentle.)
After her arrival, we immediately put Sugar on medication for her breathing issues, which is helping. She shared the side field with Santana, and they did great together.
She has gained weight and has joined the Herd.
Sugar will have a Merry Christmas because we were able to say "Yes," and welcome her to the sanctuary.