Amazing Grace. Shocking. But, hopefully, help arrived on time…

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.


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.”

Amazing Grace after her bath and some food doused with love


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.

Grace, nice and clean. Look at her...


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:”


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!

Asia before

Asia after

Liberty before

Liberty after

Both the old gals grazing together, fat and happy!

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)

August's Bucket Fund is Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue. Click here to learn their story and make any size, secure Pay Pal Donation. Easy and it means so much!

Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

A Sunday Update: Olivia and Oliver, Trolley, Bandit and Reva!

I decided to give you all happy updates on recent stories…!

Olivia and Oliver, Trolley, Bandit and Reva.


Olivia delivers and the happy claps indicating the baby is ALIVE!

Olivia was the mare I wrote about during an earlier post which featured brave mares and the women who helped them.  You can read the original post here.

To refresh you, of if you didn’t read that post, Olivia was rescued from a feedlot.  She was on her way to slaughter with a very large baby inside of her.  Luckily, she was found and adopted.  She was fed and nurtured during her last weeks by the peopld from Ponytales Rescue.

When it came Olivia’s time to foal, she didn’t foal.  Since no one knew when she actually conceived, no one knew if she was actually late.  But, she was very big and very uncomfortable for a very long time.  The Aunties on Mare Stare even gave up on watching nightly since her ‘foal watch’ went on for weeks!

But, of course, eventually Olivia went into labor.  And, of course, several Auntie’s were watching via the internet.  I was one of them.  And while I was watching, a drama unfolded.  There was a problem… Olivia was a maiden mare and she was having a tough time delivering.  OMG!  All of us Auntie’s online felt so helpless!  But alas, the brave women at Ponytales Rescue assisted the birth and did what they were afraid to do but knew they had to.  They reached in and pulled the foal with each contraction.  And, they did it!  They delivered the Whopper!  However, no one was sure if it was still alive.

HUGE, healthy and hunky baby Oliver

Then, after several tense moment, he moved.  WHOOOP!  There were cheers all around and the women at Ponytales looked up to the camera with thumbs up and fists pumping!  This baby boy was huge —  and he still is huge.  In fact, he looks pretty hunky, wouldn’t you say?

They have named him Oliver.  Both Olivia and Oliver are doing very, very well.

I still think the remark by one of the Auntie’s online was the best… she said that the reason Oliver’s blaze is shaped like a spoon is because he “cooked for so long”!  I love that.  I think of that every time I see him!


Trolley's injury after the superglued sock was removed

Trolley’s story is on that same post which you can read here.

Her story is dramatic.  She was refused at the feedlot because of her huge head wound.  It looked awful and had been there for a while.  But the most interesting aspect of this is that the wound had a sock Superglued into it.


Brave Trolley after her surgery this week

But, it may have been that sock glued into her forehead that saved her.  No flies could get in and leave eggs.  So, when Trolley was saved from the feedlot and brought immediately to medical attention, the wound was bad but not horrible.  It was tended to and the kind doctors from Hogan Equine ( agreed to operate as soon as she made it through quarantine.

Here is the first photo from immediately after her surgery which was just performed Thursday.  It looks great!  Yes, she had a skin graft as well as huge stitches which should help the skin grow and potentially cover the rest of the hole.  If it doesn’t, she will have a second surgery.

Isn’t this just wonderful?!  I will keep you posted.  And, you can follow her on FB.  Here is a link to her page.


Our Bucket Fund for this month is for the lovely people at BHFER They took in 14 very sick horses this month and had a few tragedies.  Sadly, after doing everything possible, they lost a 9 day old foal.  It broke their hearts…

But, the good news is that one of the babies that they rescued is doing way better than anyone ever expected.  His name is Bandit.  His story is here.

Bandit was born out in a field where his mother had been left months before.  Bandit must have had an accident because it was estimated that his eye was injured almost immediately after birth.  But, no one was tending to these horses.  So, the baby was not helped and the injury became very bad.

Luckily, a neighbor was paying attention and was able to intervene.  She got the owners to give up the “worthless mare” and the neighbor quickly called BHFER to come help with this baby.  Immediately, they brought the baby to the equine hospital.  The DRs there knew the eye could not be saved.  The baby had been in intense pain for months and the eye was dead.  It was time to remove it.

So, they did.

Bandit, finally healthy and happy

Besides being horribly malnourished, this baby had to start life with pain.  But, luckily, he was saved by our Bucket Fund Charity BHFER and now he is very, very happy.  His surgery was only a week ago yet this boy is thrilled to be alive!  He runs and jumps, finally pain free.  Yahoo!

His Mama is still very skinny but she is doing better.  She had her teeth done, got a bath and is receiving all the food she can eat within her re-feeding program.  Life is good for the horses at BHFER.  (if you’d like to donate to BHFER, please click here.)


Reva was also rescued by BHFER several months ago.  The story is deeper than that and you can read it here.

Reva delivers, easily, a new filly

BHFER went in to save a foal who was almost dead.  But, when BHFER got there, Reva was standing watch over this baby.  He wasn’t even her baby, but she stood watch.  So, BHFER paid top dollar (long story but the previous owners would not release the baby because he was so “valuable”) for both the almost dead baby and Reva, his watch mare.

Very sick Reva and her day-old foal in the hospital

Upon arriving at BHFER, the baby (now named Evan Almighty) grew stronger and lived…  And, Reva tested pregnant.  So, BHFER did all they could to help her grow a strong baby while she took care of Evan Almighty as he recovered.

Fast forward to last week…  Everyone at BHFER was dealing with the new and very ill 14 horses including the baby who had the eye surgery as well as the baby that was in intensive care but did not survive.  Anyway, Reva decided to give birth, of course, during this emotional and very busy time.

The birth went fine and everyone at BHFER was relieved to have something go smoothly…  But, the next day, Reva was in distress.  She was in colic and nothing they did was helping.  After 24 hours, the mare was worse, not better.  The vets thought she had a twisted gut and brought her to the hospital for an ultrasound.  The poor mare was miserable and everyone was preparing for the worst.  What a tragedy to have this selfless mare who nurtured one baby back to health and delivered another, is now fighting for her life…

Healthy Reva and her lovely and curious foal!

Whoop!  It was only gas colic… and she did recover this week.  OMG!  Hallelujah!  The entire crew associated with BHFER and all the Aunties online gasped a huge sigh of relief.

Don’t Mama and Baby look great?!  From what I hear, the baby is just as healthy as can be and he is into everything!  As you can see, he is fiddling with the hose in this photo.

So, that is our Sunday Happy Update!  Hooray for all the wonderful people who help create these happy endings!  It takes a village to help all the horses in need … but the good part is that we can all share in the delight!

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)

August's Bucket Fund is Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue. Click here to learn their story and make any size, secure Pay Pal Donation. Easy and it means so much!

Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!