Horse Rescue Stories
In reality, ALL horses rescued are success stories. However, some are more involved. Some of our
incoming horses are in such bad shape when we get them that the change we see, with a little love, care, feed and water, is AMAZING!
Bonus was four weeks old and laying in a pen with a stallion who was trying to protect her and a bull. She couldn't raise her head and all of her natural sucking mechanism was gone. She was too dehydrated. We believed it was too late to save her.
I insisted she come home to die in loving arms and stayed with her and continued giving her goats milk until she fought me. After ten days and a lot of salve on her nose for the blisters from dehydration it was clear that she wanted to live.
The first picture is after three weeks. I think she was rotten even then. Bottle babies form an attachment with what they think is their mother and she did just that. Too young to know she was a horse, she still thinks she is a human. She is up for adoption if the right person with enough attitude to match hers comes along. Until then she can be sweet, she can be rotten, and she can be both at the same time.
Our beautiful rotten cremello baby with the prettiest blue eyes!
Bug came to us through our local humane society. When she arrived she was just skin and bones. She would not have made it much longer if not for the rescue. She was so hungry for a scratching that you couldn't get rid of her, hence the name "bug". Her owner had not cared for her and she had not had her teeth done, probably EVER. Besides doing a general "float", we pulled one nasty infected molar that was poisoning her system.
Within three months she had put weight on except for her topline which comes slower when they are older. Bug is easy to catch, loves to be touched and rides nice but she may not be suitable as a child's horse.
Callie was a sheriff's pull from another rescue. She came to us starved and dehydrated, covered in rain rot, and scratches on all four legs. Even with all of those issues, she has shown a great will to survive. Here at Spring Creek she has healed and grown. She has learned to halter/bath/trim/ride and is happy to be alive.
Colton came to us three weeks after a dog had chased him through a fence. He was half the size a yearling should be, severely starved, terribly
scared of humans, in pain from his injury, wormy and dehydrated.
Our vet cut off the flesh from his wounds, cleaned
up what was left of his back legs and left us with LOTS of antibiotics. Never having been handled, the activity in the barn sent him to
the corner to cower. Although he moved away from any human, he watched with amazing interest everything going on. When his legs had
started to heal and the weather grew warmer, it was time to start haltering, handling and worming. Some of the other colts were first,
Colton stood in the corner of the barn and watched. After three of the other horses were introduced to the chute, haltered and touched, the humans
were tired. We figured Colton had already been through so much that we would leave him for another day. As we began to put things away, pleased
with the progress the other colts had made, Colton came forward, looked at us, and put himself in the chute! The intelligence and
understanding he demonstrated was AMAZING. Although he cringed when touched, he dropped his head, licked and chewed, and let us groom
both sides and halter him. After six months his legs are still healing. He'll never grow to his full height due to early malnutrition but can be happy and healthy living here at the rescue.
Update: Colton became a gelding on 1/07. He has become one of the most social horses at the rescue and is our greeter for every new
horse that arrives, especially the ladies. He now asks for attention from his human caretakers, likes to be groomed, and hates to be
ignored. We expect him to really blossom this summer and become all that he can be.
Updated - May 2008: At this time Colton still has big trust issues and continues to have a fear level above normal.
For the time being he will continue to be a permanent resident here at Spring Creek until he can trust multiple people.
Update - February 2013: Colton has matured in size and really looks like a horse now. His call still sounds like that of a 2 year old, and he still does not trust everyone, but his fear level tapers as the years go by.
Update - January 2015: Colton has matured into a great looking gelding. It’s hard to believe he is 10 years old now! He has mellowed some with his age, but can still be quite a booger to catch (when he's in the mood-ONLY). The Rescue is in a quieter place now and his attitude reflects this. He is not quite as spooky and not quite as fast to just run when he encounters something he's not quite sure of. He’s still very social but still has the fear of being hit - although it is less. He still loves his butt scratches and begs for attention from ALL - not just his "person" - so we are gaining.
Darla and her daughter Strawberry came to us from a home with good intentions but little experience in horse ownership.
Her owner first contacted us to tell us that Darla probably needed to be put down but she couldn't bring herself to do it. She
asked if we would use our knowledge to try to save her or at least alleviate her pain. The owner had given up.
Darla had gotten tangled in a fence a few years ago. Tragically, she had completely torn the heel bulb off her left front hoof.
The injury exposed her to the elements and infection. She also developed a very deep crack on the inside of this foot from
exposure. The owner's farrier told her Darla had thrush and someone else had told her to treat it with bleach. This type
of treatment kills any healthy tissue. The owner applied bleach every day for years. In addition, the farrier had been putting
shoes on both her front feet that were two sizes too small for a 1300 pound horse. After a few years of mis-diagnosis and improper attempts
to treat and cure the problem, the hoof deteriorated to the point of putting Darla's life in jeopardy.
When Darla arrived at the rescue, it was discovered that a nail had been driven directly into the crack in her hoof. Thus, irritating her entire foot with each movement. We called our vet, who pulled the shoes, cut away at the crack, and was able to find healthy tissue.
He also declared she had white line disease, not thrush. The leg was x-rayed to determine how extensive the damage was. Our farrier
arrived the next day. He put on backwards shoes to support the heel bulb that was missing, and we soaked her foot twice a day for the
infection. Our farrier declared her fit to ride as soon as she had enough foot to support her.
After a long time of care to improve her health, she has been adopted by Chip Burkett. Darla has a forever, loving home with
people who care for her damaged hoof as part of her daily routine; when it is wet they keep her in the barn to prevent further
deterioration; they pamper her like the queen she is and are THRILLED with the new addition to their family. Her hoof has grown out
completely and they are able to enjoy riding her. Our farrier continues her care, as well as that of a second horse who is Darla's
companion. For the previous owner, a novice working with unskilled people, Spring Creek made it appear easy. However, with skilled
farriers, vets, and knowledgeable horsemanship skills, this story has a very happy ending!
This wonderful 12 year old quarter mare came to us as an owner surrender. Her owners had no money for feed
and she was terribly emaciated. As I walked into the dark barn she turned towards me and her look told me she'd given up.
Delta was severely dehydrated and in desperate need of food. Every bone in her body stood out. Reportedly pregnant, we knew
it was a desperate situation. Not having been wormed, the feed she needed could only help so much but worming her in the shape
she was in could have killed her. After three months of tender loving care, enough feed and double the water intake of a normal horse,
she finally decided she would stay with us. Everyone that meets her falls in love. She knows she is in a safe place but is still
looking for her forever home.
Update: Delta has been adopted by Gant and Melissa Renick!
Run through the local sale and purchased by "a dealer," Pearl saw seven homes in two years. She was labeled as "hard to handle" so we kept tabs on her has she went from home to home. Eventually she was abandoned because her owners felt it cost too much to feed her so we sent someone to pick her up. Not knowing what to expect the first day, we were very cautious of this beautiful, 2300# Percheron mare. She spent her first night in quarantine and the next morning needed a "once over" and a good grooming.
The only words we could use to describe her for the first three weeks were "dang she's hard to handle." We actually called her “hard to handle” for a while. But, as it turned out, she was only hard to handle if you wanted to trim her feet. Often, brood mares are just turned out to have their babies and don't get the same care or training as riding horses so pearl had never been taught to have her feet trimmed.
Pearl is now 23 and stands for the farrier and teaches the many groups of kids and adults that come to visit that she is indeed a "Gentle Giant."
Tara KNOWS that Pearl is her mama and they are soooo similar it's uncanny. Both will stand in their water tanks and dump them when given the chance. Both LOVE attention and to be groomed and loved on.
A very elegant Polish mare who came to us when she was 16 as an owner surrender.
We found out later that she was
grass foundered at about 6 years old.
When she arrived, she was wearing shoes that had been on since the previous year. They had to come off,
and when they did her feet turned to baby powder. She then developed one of the worst abscesses we have ever seen.
Her whole heel separated with an infection that would not go away. While soaking her foot three times a day, she
rotated the coffin bone.
In the meantime, she was roaring and seemed to have uncontrolled fits. She also had cysts on her
ovaries from being on Regu-Mate during her show years. The abscess finally cleared so we could put a shoe on her, and then
she developed an abscess on her other front. We kept thinking WHAT NEXT?
While watching her napping one day she
appeared to go to sleep standing up and then fell over. Our vet diagnosed her with narcolepsy.
We were all wondering how much more of this Ptara could take.
After a year of care, and one thing after another, Ptara was
finally well again. She is now the sunshine for Kim, who is her best friend, and her other horse friend Lady.
Please don't call me "Sam" or you will see the MOST Indignant look you can imagine coming from a horse. My name is SAMUEL!
Samuel was "taken in" by a horse trader and "adopted" to his 3rd home when we learned about him. The non-horse people had turned him out with their cows in a pasture that was high in selenium. His hair was patchy, his tail was gone, and his feet looked like waves in the ocean.
But let’s back up. Samuel is an ex-roper, a high dollar one by the way he's put together. But, his knees were the size of grapefruits when we met him. When we were asked to take him, knowing it would be a long recovery if at all from selenium poisoning, we asked if he was safe around kids so we could use him in our kids programs. Once assured that he was, we said yes.
To meet Samuel is to love him, most of the time. He is an all boy, I'm in charge kind of guy. All 1400 pounds of him!
We thought he would not make it through his first winter because of his knees. But, even though you have to nip his toes on the ground because he doesn't bend at the knee very well, it's his hips that are his biggest problem. He likes to buck and that throws his hips out. His knees have not had any heat or swelling and never needed any pain reliever but he does have the aid of a great chiropractor for his hips.
His coat has all grown back in, his tail almost reaches the ground and his feet look like nothing ever went wrong. He is now 40 years old and enjoys every day to the fullest. He has not lost any of his top dog attitude and LOVES when the kids groom him and ride him.
Rescue comes in all shapes and sizes!!!!
Ms. Tar Baby came to us through the local sale barn when she was three months old. The previous owner had lost his stallion after many years of breeding and took his mares and babies to the sale. Tara was quite crippled from being in a pen with many horses beating on one another. At the sale, no one would bid on her, not knowing for sure if she would be permanently crippled. So, she was being loaded on "the truck" through no fault of her own.
Unfortunately, we couldn't make room for the others, but we brought Tara home and converted our tool shed into a baby pen. The next morning, our vet and farrier both came to do X-rays and a hoof trim, quite a lot for a baby that was born in pasture and had never been handled! During the exam, we surmised that she had stepped in a prairie dog hole and not been attended to.
Currently, her left rear foot needs trimming every six weeks but she moves freely without pain and is quite active, quite the looker, and a very special part of our rescue. She is now being started under saddle and is doing wonderful. She is looking for her forever home in light dressage.
Tom is a 16 year old Clydesdale gelding and was part of a foreclosure. After the owners left the property, many horses were left in stalls with someone who promised to feed them and didn't. Tom had already suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on his left side. He acquired bastard strangles while confined to a stall with no food and water. The starvation in itself was enough to recover from, let alone the stroke and paralysis.
Never have we seen a horse with so much determination as Tom. He has come through everything with an attitude that just keeps boosting everyone around him. He is full of himself (that's an understatement) and lets you know everyday how happy he is to be here.