24 Hours, 24 Starving Horses

Last week was one of those weeks that have left our blood boiling. 24 horses needed urgent rescue. These horses belong to a person who uses them for his source of income, doing horse shows, outrides, cowboy events etc., yet he has failed dismally to take care of them. An emaciated, weak and pregnant horse is apparently not a good enough reason for this guy to get a Vet in, supplement their grazing properly or even not use them on outrides, as he believed in “natural horsemanship”!
When asked about food, we were shown 4 mouldy old bales, about 2 years old, that he could get cheaply and one 40kg bag of concentrate. Keep in mind that this was for 24 horses who should currently be getting fed at least 3 times per day. The body score of all 24 horses was between 0 and 2 out of 5. Not one horse had an acceptable body score.
The first horse to be rescued was Jessie, a bay mare who was down in a very exposed open field in last week’s freezing wind. She was too weak to get up, cold, sick with tick bite fever and literally starving. We had to get her to our large animal clinic urgently, which is no easy feat for a horse that can’t stand. Jessie was given a soft warm bed, all the meds she needed and many litres of IV fluids. With a lot of manpower, willpower and prayer, we got her up and she is getting a little bit stronger every day.
That afternoon we sat with our hands in our hair, knowing that we had to help the other horses before the situation got worse. We were worried about funding, and space, but we knew that the horses were about to start dropping, one by one. We put our case to the magistrate, showing photos of all the horses and we were issued a warrant to remove the horses.
Wednesday – HORSE RESCUE DAY, all hands were on deck. Some staff were transporting, some were loading, some were opening files, the medical staff were checking every horse on arrival, others were preparing stables and of course, some staff were feeding the horses who were very grateful for delicious bales of juicy green grass. By 18h00 we had all the horses safely back at Wet Nose and the big job of treating every horse began.
They have all been groomed, and assessed by the Vet and Farrier, every horse got a blood smear to check for tick bite fever, which about half of them have, and this week we are busy erecting more shelters for the huge intake.
The neglect of these horses includes starvation, tick infestation, worm infestation, shody if any hoof care, no dentistry, lack of medical care, no vaccinations etc. When asked for a blanket for Jessie freezing out in the open field, there was not even one single horse blanket available on the ranch to cover her with, despite having just come out of winter.
These horses gave of themselves every day, they took any Tom, Dick and Harry for outrides, even when not in proper condition, they were sweet with every visitor and gave their owner a constant income, but what did their loyalty and hard work get them? Nothing ….. not even food!!!
We now really need all the help we can get. Please come and help us if you can. We need grass bales, concentrate, shavings, fly spray, tick grease etc.
All the horses need a good bath, so join us on 23 September for our bath and braai day or make a donation towards the expenses of bringing these horses back to condition again. Please, please, please help us get through this challenge and give these beautiful beasts a second chance. Also, share this story, maybe someone you know can help the horses. We will be prosecuting for animal cruelty, but let us know how you feel about businesses that neglect animals in the pursuit of profit.

Banking Details for Wet Nose:

Account: Wet Nose
Bank: ABSA
Account no: 407 649 9150
Branch: 632005
Ref: 24 Horses


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