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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Update on Starving Horses

This is a starving horse. I promised an update, so here goes.

I was only able to get a picture of one of the seven horses not being fed that I told you about in my last post. You can see the sunken back & distended backbone, along with the hollow hips & ribs showing even through the coarse winter hair. Two of the others look just as bad & the other 4 are close behind.

I've sent this picture and others to the Sheriff, and my son in law has called them again. We've still not been given a report, so yesterday I went to check on them again. .... Oh...and we've fed them (at our expense) three more times, as well.

I drove up the road yesterday and got close to the pasture, only to find 4 of the horses loaded in a large, old, rusty horse trailer being pulled by an old truck. They headed back down the hill the way I'd come. I jotted down the license plate number and turned the car around, determined to follow them however far they went. I suspected the Sheriff had finally contacted the owner & they were spooked. Time to move the horses somewhere that nosy neighbors couldn't see and they'd be safe from another negative report.

No way was I letting them disappear. I called my daughter who was waiting to be picked up a & told her to hunker down and wait, I might be awhile. No problem, she wanted these horses saved even more than I did. She's been sick to her stomach and not sleeping, she's been so stressed.

I followed for about 2 miles when the truck pulled over to let another vehicle pass, as they were moving pretty slow. I decided to see if I could talk to the driver or passenger, so pulled up behind them, then waved my arm out the window. The passenger got out and came to my door. A big, heavyset Mexican with a frown on his face. Uh-oh. Think fast, Miralee.

I put on a smile and told him my daughter was interested in the little black filly and did he want to sell her? His face broke into a grin and he said "Sure, and I'll make her a good deal if she does it soon." He went on to say he was moving them back to his house a few miles up the road where he has better feed, since the pasture where they were was pretty scanty.

Scanty? Try non-existent. It's January, for goodness sake! There IS no grass in Jan. Just snow, muck, and froze blades lying flat against the ground. Is the man blind? Can't he see these horses are starving? Apparently not. Oh...but he did mention they'd dropped some weight in the past 2-3 wks, during that big snow we had. RIGHT.

I smilingly inquired if he has hay at his house and he said yes. And he'd just bought supplements as well and hoped to get some weight back on them soon.

I thought fast and asked for his name and phone number, as my daughter would want to talk to him personally. He gave it to me without hesitation. I thanked him, turned the car around and went back to pick up my daughter.

She was jubilant and very proud of her mom. She couldn't believe I'd not only followed the truck, but flagged them down & got the man's name, license # and phone. My heart swelled at her pride in me, but even more, with thanksgiving that the Lord gave us a way to help these horses.

And yes, she was seriously interested in buying the little black, and maybe even the gray in the picture. Not because she liked them, but so she could save them. I agreed to pay half of the purchase price if we could get him low enough, and half of the hay, then sell them as soon as they were in shape.

She called the man and we got directions to his house. Amazingly, the other horses he owns were all in good shape except one yearling that was a little thin. Why could the man feed these horses, but not bother with the rest? But all four had big piles of hay in front of them when we arrived and he told us the little sorrel mare that was lame, was cared for. She'd been walking around for over a week with a nail straight up in her foot. He pulled it, soaked and doctored the foot. Can you imagine? Because he didn't care enough to come feed and check on the horses daily, that filly had been in agonizing pain for over a wk, and now has an infected foot. Oh...and the supplements he purchased? There were piles of corn chips...yes, like Fritos...on the ground near the hay. Someone told him they're pure corn and better than grain. Right.

He wouldn't come down low enough on the horses that we felt we could come close to breaking even on cost, but we'd have taken the risk anyway. But after talking to him and asking numerous questions, we both decided he's going to feed them. He must have been scared from someone contacting him (hopefully the Sheriff) and decided he'd best get them in shape. And based on the condition of his other horses, we hoped that laziness and "out of sight out of mind" had played a part in him not caring for this group. He assured us he's picking up the other 3 today, and he'd left hay for them when he'd brought the first batch home.

We'll get in touch with the Sheriff again and give them an update, along with his name, phone # and home location. That's about all we can do for now, but we feel somewhat better, knowing that at least all our calling and badgering forced him to bring the horses home where he has hay and can keep a closer eye on them. Maybe now they have a fighting chance to survive.


Jennifer AlLee said...

I'm so glad this story seems to have had a happy ending. Good for you, Miralee. It took a lot of guts to follow up on the horses, AND to talk to the owner face to face. Sending a big HUG your way!

Patty said...

That poor horse. He really does look terrible. I'm glad he brought them home and pray that they will begin to look better soon. Wow, you sure are brave. I can't believe you did that. I would be totally freaked out. Well, it sounds like all the follow-up you did paid off in forcing him to do something. Thanks for the update.

Mary said...


I'm so glad that you contacted the authorities about these horses. What a brave woman you are to follow that truck and trailer and talk to that man. I'm praying this story has a happy ending and that the authorities force the man to take care of the horses or seize them. So many times these types of stories have a very sad ending.


The Koala Bear Writer said...

That's good news. That horse does look terrible--but so brave of you to follow the owner and actually talk to him! Have you been writing too many books lately? :)

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