Describe your horse when you first got it.
Annie was a skeleton with skin barely hanging on to life. She still had a long winter hair coat with dark sunken eyes and protruding bones when she arrived June 30th 2008. She had no previous handling and very little contact with humans and was thought to be the old grandma of the herd.
Describe your horse now.
She is now a happy and healthy 8 year old with lots of energy. She has large bright eyes with a shiny hair coat and beautiful long flowing mane, tail and forelocks. Her bones are now all covered with muscles. She loves to be out in a pasture with room to run, buck and play with 5 other horses.
About my rescued horse
She was one of 27 horses from a rescue in Trempeleau County Wisconsin. There were 21 mares with 6 stallions all together with broken down fencing kept in a valley unseen from the road. They only had rain water to drink and survived on ocassional hay, bark from trees and feces from the other horses. A group of individuals and several rescue organizations took several weeks to capture them all. She was one of 11 horses taken to Refuge Farms, Inc rescue in Spring Valley Wisconsin. They had room for a couple but 11 jumped in the trailer so they were kept in a round pen until other places were found to care for them.
How I Did It:
Because of her fear of people most of our work had to be done using food and I've taken most things slow. When she arrived she was kept in a paddock by herself next to other horses.
She started out getting year old hay and only a handfull at a time every few hours gradually increasing the amount. After a couple weeks we started adding alfalfa hay and gradually switched her over to all alfalfa. At about a month we started introducing grain. Because of her fear of people I started on with the grain in a ground feeder and would kneel down with my hand in the bottom so she had to touch my hand. After a few days at that I switched to sitting in a lawn chair with the grain in a bucket and would stroke the side of her face when she went to eat. It sometimes took a half hour for her to eat maybe a cup of grain as she would back off each time I touched her. She was given senior feed starting with about a handful increasing the amount weekly as her system tollerated it getting her up to about 3 pounds 3 times a day. After about 2 months she was put in a paddock that had accesss to a private pasture where she was allowed short periods of time on grass at first gradually increasing it until she had full access all day long and still being supplimented with alfalfa hay.
We started out with a liquid dewormer and did that at 2 week intervals at first and then did a paste mixed with her grain witch she wasn't fond of but did eat.
The bucket with grain was also used to get her used to having a halter put on and then she started going in a stall at night. I worked with her in a stall to get used to being touched by a lead line and then eventually being touched and rubbed all over. Her leading lessions were first done in the stall in circles, then in the isle in the barn. She then was lead out to eat grass on the lawn and taught to walk over ground poles and whatever obsticle I wanted to throw at her. She was very trusting so handled most things relatively easy except for picking up her feet. Fotunately she has good feet and wears them off evenly but we're still struggling with that. She is very smart and was easy to teach to lunge and I have put blankets all over her and have saddled her.
As her weight increased we gradually backed her off on the amount of grain and switched her to the same grain as the other horses. She started going out in the pasture with other horses this spring. She loves treats and is the greeter when I go out to the barn.
- *To bring a horse back to heath when they are starved is expensive and very time consuming. I was lucky that she didn't have other health issues. She also has such a great personality and appreciates everything we do for her but gives back many times over.