Skip to main content

Nah.

 photo DSCN4719_zps2eed6626.jpg

In this case, the horse came to see us - about himself.

That is, about helping him actually, you know, not die a horrible death.

He was left on Wings's family land, immediately adjacent. [Yes, we know who it is. No, that person did not get his permission. No, the issue is not lack of money to care for the horse - not when the person has bought a new SUV.]

Actually, he was left there - with no grass, nothing but chamisa winter scrub to eat.  And with no access to water.

A few days later, he staggered to a downed section of fence and crossed to our side.

And he knew he was safe.

Warning: There are two very graphic, heart-hurting photos over the jump. They are interspersed with newer, much happier photos of a horse growing increasingly healthy. But if seeing the version of this boy from three weeks ago will give you nightmares, I recommend skipping the rest.

He showed up here on April 17th. The grass was already up by then, but that week was cold and windy and blustery, with intermittent snow and sleet and ice pellets whipping down out of the sky. He wandered hesitantly across the boundary line, looking around as though expecting to be chased off or worse, and then surreptitiously grabbing mouthfuls of grass here and there. Once he realized that we'd seen him and were leaving him alone, he began to graze a little more confidently.  

He was too weak to lift his head.

I've seen some animals in really bad shape. We've rescued a few over the years. But only once in my life have I ever seen a horse that was this badly off: a horse that, while it might hang on for a few more days or weeks or even months, is already dead. All that remains is the pain and misery of the dying itself - horribly.

And on April 17th, this boy was death on four legs; the damage would most likely have taken its final toll in a matter of days.

So on April 18th, we took matters in hand.

First, a glimpse of what he looked like on April 18th [graphic photo]:

 photo DSCN0002_zps49b592bc.jpg

This photo doesn't really begin to show the extent of the damage. He was nothing but bones:  hip bones jutting several inches above his skin; spine a bony ridge; ribs a washboard with more than an inch of depth visible between each bone; his head a skull with skin stretched over it.

But that was only the beginning. His abdomen was horribly bloated, a side effect of prolonged starvation and its effects on the equine digestive system. His front hooves were so long that they had nearly flattened out completely - it's only by the grace of something that he's not foundered. He had lost patches of hair due to malnutrition, and others had been scraped and torn off, the exposed skin angry and inflamed. And he was infested with, literally, hundreds of ticks, everywhere on his body - including some truly unmentionable internal places. Everyone who's ever owned a male horse will know exactly what I mean.

He was too weak to run from me, or even to balk when I haltered him.

And this is him on May 6, two weeks and five days later:

 photo DSCN4718_zps0c49d2c1.jpg

Again, on April 18th [graphic photo]:

 photo DSCN0001_zps483d8402.jpg

And again, on May 6:

 photo DSCN4720_zps1b5c2148.jpg

Got that? Two weeks and five days. This is not rocket science.  It's basic common sense.

Well, that and actually giving a flying fuck about your animal's welfare.

Then, you get an animal that looks a more like this:

 photo DSCN4725_zps2bfa715b.jpg

Add continual access to fresh water, daily grain, and high-quality alfalfa (we grow several fields' worth of it here every year). Add an initial de-worming treatment and rabies and West Nile vaccines. Add natural insecticide spray, a de-ticking scrub bath (Wings did that, bless his heart; all I had to do was hold him still); and more natural insecticide spray. Add salt and mineral blocks and plenty of exercise.

Add currying, including combing and detangling his mane and tail (Wings did all those things last Saturday).

Add a hoof trim on Monday so that he can walk properly and with less pain.

Add humans who recognize certain signs.

He's head-shy. He loves being stroked, but he has to fight the urge to flinch, especially if I go to stroke his forehead or muzzle. Once he remembers where he is, he settles in, relaxed, enjoying the fact that a human is touching his face in way that's not abusive.

He doesn't like my scarves that flutter in the wind. They spook him. They seem to be reminders of things inflicted on him. So I take them off before I go out to see him.

He will [mostly] stop when I ask him to stop; he will [mostly] come when I ask him to come. He knows that the round pen is his current home, and he will go into it in the evening when it's time.

But if I approach him wearing sunglasses, he will run. Oh, he'll run straight into the round pen, as he knows I want, but he runs away from me. If he's standing in the pen, he'll turn and walk to the other side. It only took two days of the same reaction for me to realize what was happening.

Now, I put my sunglasses on top of my head before approaching him. And he's fine.

I've rehabilitated enough abused animals. I know the signs. Too well.

 photo DSCN4728C_zpsd5cd42c8.jpg

We've kept him segregated from the other four so far. Mostly, because we didn't know what communicable diseases he might have picked up, or what conditions he might transmit. That no longer appears to be a concern.

But two of the mares are very dominant, and would bully him within an inch of his life.

We think he's been bullied enough.

So for now, he has the round pen. If he's still here when it gets hot, we'll build him an enclosure to escape the elements.

 photo DSCN4727C_zpseb052e70.jpg

He has life again, and love.

And he has a new name.

We call him Miskwaki (Red Earth).

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Sharoney, a gilas girl, Caipirinha, Pat K California, Renee, ginabroom, JekyllnHyde, OkieByAccident, buffalo soldier, RF, Bill in Portland Maine, Odysseus, MadRuth, murphy, ferg, teacherken, Christin, TrueBlueMajority, NYmom, mimi, Avila, Shockwave, just another vet, Fishgrease, Pescadero Bill, Charles CurtisStanley, mslat27, eeff, Mnemosyne, elfling, acuppajo, Ahianne, bumblebums, expatjourno, Creosote, geordie, shermanesq, cinnamon68, opinionated, bronte17, missLotus, evilstorm, rktect, BlackSheep1, susakinovember, srkp23, CalNM, Aquarius40, roses, mollyd, fumie, navajo, dylanfan, hopeful, sele, aitchdee, lulusbackintown, Lilyvt, NMRed, Oke, edrie, Getreal1246, psnyder, NYC Sophia, Farugia, brainwave, Noodles, TiaRachel, kj in missouri, cosette, texasmom, HeyMikey, Catte Nappe, betson08, annetteboardman, RebeccaG, Timbuk3, riverlover, BlogDog, AllisonInSeattle, zett, zerelda, bobnbob, parryander, KayCeSF, hayden, Steven D, xyz, American in Kathmandu, Jen Hayden, Josiah Bartlett, roxy317, Gowrie Gal, Dirk McQuigley, vcmvo2, Skennet Boch, jabney, Bluesee, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, Jeffersonian Democrat, ichibon, UFOH1, BluejayRN, JanetT in MD, Shrew in Shrewsbury, democracy inaction, Militarytracy, offred, Alice Venturi, citizenx, YucatanMan, Kevskos, ratzo, owlbear1, SaraBeth, Pam from Calif, Sun Tzu, GreyHawk, jcitybone, ladybug53, Burned, Overseas, lotlizard, Ice Blue, Ozymandius, kaliope, brentut5, Ginny in CO, Floja Roja, FindingMyVoice, coolbreeze, bookwoman, the fan man, Ekaterin, JanF, RainyDay, noweasels, begone, alrdouglas, kishik, Jennifer Clare, BachFan, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, vigilant meerkat, RAW, Clytemnestra, edwardssl, tobendaro, rl en france, bastrop, raptavio, Audri, deha, bubbanomics, tommyfocus2003, sceptical observer, llbear, IL clb, Sardanicas, democracy is coming, CA Nana, shaharazade, DanC, SeekCa, postmodernista, slksfca, OHdog, ZenTrainer, Thinking Fella, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, Sapere aude, pgm 01, timewarp, pfiore8, Habitat Vic, blue armadillo, tgypsy, camlbacker, ColoTim, FishOutofWater, la urracca, tbirchard, suejazz, joedemocrat, second gen, crose, cyncynical, jhop7, gchaucer2, hopi13, Got a Grip, bewild, Jamaste, South Park Democrat, vet, also mom of 5, JeffW, gfv6800, TheFatLadySings, GAS, Youffraita, cindymutti, Involuntary Exile, dadadata, skohayes, Old Lefty, Buckeye Nut Schell, treesrock, lineatus, alasmoses, moose67, MrJayTee, pickandshovel, TokenLiberal, Horsefeathers, petulans, Piren, msdobie, Executive Odor, dmhlt 66, Anjana, legendmn, maggiejean, multilee, bluemoonfever, litoralis, greengemini, divineorder, nchristine, LinSea, dharmasyd, banjolele, maryabein, Norm in Chicago, janmtairy, earicicle, Bonsai66, moonbatlulu, bfitzinAR, Denise Oliver Velez, Shelley99, RoCali, DaNang65, jfromga, catilinus, BlueOak, smileycreek, niaman, Raven in Philly, indie17, Susan Grigsby, michelewln, CS in AZ, angelajean, jakedog42, Polly Syllabic, alguien, freeport beach PA, renzo capetti, tellthestories, tb mare, Lady Libertine, paradise50, ramara, DiegoUK, NYWheeler, Yasuragi, orlbucfan, DrTerwilliker, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, not4morewars, Actbriniel, indubitably, translatorpro, Onomastic, meralda, speak2me, zooecium, StateofEuphoria, bgblcklab1, vahana, BlueJessamine, asterkitty, lexalou, Sand Hill Crane, princesspat, Ebby, smiley7, mrsgoo, marleycat, Cinnamon, thomask, Ojibwa, muddy boots, MuskokaGord, peregrine kate, chira2, sound of progress, poliwrangler, Wood Dragon, Merry Light, stevie avebury, Marihilda, Book of Hearts, DRo, SouthernLiberalinMD, Rashaverak, allergywoman, Azazello, Laurel in CA, YaNevaNo, SuWho, livingthedream, jacey, Anti Em, Heart n Mind, anodnhajo, sow hat, leathersmith, cwsmoke, TheLizardKing, wordfiddler, DrLori, AnnieR, swampyankee, FloridaSNMOM, Yonkers Boy, congenitalefty, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, This old man, Mr Robert, peachcreek, carolanne, belinda ridgewood, Free Jazz at High Noon, radical simplicity, BRog, doroma, rebereads, jennyp, arizonablue, LoreleiHI, Glen The Plumber, dotdash2u, Kayjay, mumtaznepal, AZ Sphinx Moth, left rev, Stills, allensl, GoGoGoEverton, TheLawnRanger, Ray Pensador, Blue Dream, OrlWriter, nomandates, MishaBrewer, jusjtim35, countwebb, wozzlecat, jbob, remembrance, weck, Rileycat, GwenM, ggfkate, ORswede, itzadryheat, howabout, Avilyn, ModerateJosh, peterfallow, ET3117, blue91, Expat Okie, sjburnman, The NM STAR Group, Jason Hackman, ruellia, Gardener in PA, silentpawz, eagleray, OldSoldier99, Elizaveta, Fish Man

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site