This is Amazing Grace.
Shocking, eh? How on earth can an owner do this to a horse? How can they not ask for help? I suppose all the angry questions in your mind will never be answered… I don’t understand and I will probably never understand until I die and God gives me some sort of superhuman compassion. Because I’m sure I don’t have it now.
And, the oddest part… her previous owners have three other horses who are all in good weight. Wha?! But, whatever, now Grace is outta there and in the nurturing hands of Darla Clark from Strawberry Mountain Mustangs. Darla has re-fed starved horses before and two in particular still live with Darla to this day. One is 30 and the other is 40!. If Grace is going to win this battle, she has a great Lieutenant by her side.
A neighbor alerted Animal Control about Grace. On August 12th, when AC visited the location, they immediately seized the mare. Yay! The nameless mare was taken to the local equine hospital. AC called Darla. Darla conferred with the Center for Equine Health at the University of California, Davis regarding the proper re-feeding program for a horse in this condition. (Davis is right near me. They are excellent.) The vet felt the mare had life in her eyes and fight in her heart. So, AC gave the mare to Darla to give the mare her best shot. Darla christened her “Amazing Grace”.
The attending vet in Oregon who was the first to examine Grace said that on the Heineke scale she is below a 1 (the lowest number). He said she should be a .5, but the scale doesn’t go that low. The vet remarked that he cannot believe a mare this skeletal was alive and actually capable of recovery. All of her bloodwork came back showing no organ failure. This was a huge surprise. In his mind, this is improbable but feasible. So, the next phase is gentle re-feeding.
GRACE IS AMAZING
Darla has only had Grace for 3 days and 4 night. But, already, this mare has won her heart. According to Darla, Grace nickers at her, has bright eyes and follows her around! Darla gave Grace a cooling and refreshing bath and I think the mare looks really much better!
Here are Darla’s words to me via a FB message:
“Grace weighs 560 lbs, is 14.2 hands tall, girth circumference is 63 1/2 inches and a flank circumference of 52 3/4. She is visibly more skeletal than 90% of the horses used as a visual for the Henneke “1” body score – the lowest on the scale. Our vet would have liked to score her a .5 if possible.
We are following the UC Davis program for re feeding, small meals every 3 hours today, very carefully monitored. No supplements, wormer, vaccines etc for some time yet.
The most amazing thing is how alert and vibrant she is. She follows you everywhere (food or not), yet moves off to avoid being caught if you have a halter. ha! She lies down and gets up on her own which is absolutely INCREDIBLE. I’ve had horses HALF this bad who had to be assisted, or who refused to lie down at all.
Wanted to tell you though – vet check today – NO HEART MURMUR! She’s doing great! The heat kind of wears her out, but in the cooler evenings she’s so perky and talkative…follows cars down the fence line!
She nickers to us when she sees us, and follows us up and down the drive as we come and go.”
Well, they want to wait two weeks to see if she crashes or becomes stronger. If Grace makes it, September will be her BUCKET FUND month. And, by all means, if you are moved to help right now, please donate on their website.
Here is a news report that I lifted exactly as is for you to read:
“Reported by: Chris McKee
Last Update: 6:24 pm
Emaciated Douglas County horse recovering at non-profit ranch
An emaciated horse seized from her owner in Douglas County, “Grace” is now under the care of the Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Ranch east of Roseburg. (Chris McKee, KMTR-TV)
DIXONVILLE, Ore. (KMTR) – An emaciated Douglas County horse, seized from its owner, is now taking her first steps on the road to recovery.
“Grace” arrived at the Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Ranch east of Roseburg on Thursday, August 12th, 2010. The horse weighs only around 560 pounds, just more than half of its average weight of 950 pounds.
Douglas County Animal Neglect seized the horse from a landowner because of its weight. The Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the case. Criminal neglect charges are possible.
“If you own a horse that looks like this, you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities,” says Darla Clark, Founder and Manager of the Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Ranch.
Seeing Grace for the first time, was a shock for Darla.
“When they opened the trailer door, it was just a collective gasp from everyone standing in the parking lot,” says Clark. “There’s no words to describe it.”
Clark says its one of the worst cases of animal neglect she’s seen in Douglas County. Grace, a 22 year-old horse, had no access to food when she was found.
“How someone can look at an animal and just turn that… Turn it off, there’s something that… something I’ll never understand,” says Clark.
Monday, August 16th, 2010, a Roseburg-area veterinarian, Dr. Mike Martin performed another health check-up on Grace.
“Horses that I’ve personally seen in this condition were being euthanized, and that was the purpose of the call,” says Dr. Martin.
“They seemed to be just waiting for it to die,” says Clark.
But despite Grace’s weight, her condition is improving and both Clark and Dr. Martin are optimistic.
“Grace has a chance,” says Dr. Martin. “Remarkably, internally, the blood work didn’t show terminal conditions.”
Grace is now receiving small meals every three hours as per recommendations created by the Center for Equine Health at the University of California, Davis. In a few months, Darla hopes Grace will put on hundreds of pounds of weight and begin her new life.
“To be able to do something like that, with one of these rescue animals, you bring them back, they are grateful. Every fiber of their being shows you how grateful they are. And to be able to go out and see the impact that they will have on somebody’s life down the road, that’s what make it worth while,” says Clark.
Clark named “Grace” for her strong will. She says it’s already shining through.
“If we get her to two weeks and she’s still just as perky, just as stable as she is now, I think we’re in the clear,” says Clark. “It’s her will. As long as she’s willing to try then we’re going to keep supporting her.”
Strawberry Mountain Mustangs Ranch is a non-profit. It relies on donor and volunteer support to feed and rehabilitate horses like Grace. If you’re interested in helping out, you can visit the group’s website at the following link: http://www.strawberrymountainmustangs.com/”
ASIA AND LIBERTY
These are the two mares that Darla rehabbed previously. They still live with Darla. She did good by these mares. Let’s all send our prayers to Darla and Grace for the next two weeks… I will keep you posted.
Here are before and after photos of Asia and Liberty. These gals are 40 and 30 years old!
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
The August Bucket Fund will benefit the charity BHFER. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)
A horse lover myself, I want to say how wonderful it is that there are still people and places like you that put so much heart and soul into working with these horses. I have previously volunteered at an equine rescue facility in Iowa, and though time didn’t permit me to be there often, I felt so grateful for the time I could be there and for the other volunteers. I live back in Michigan now, and one day would love to start a similar program. God Bless you all for all you do!