I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday. I know I did. Too much food, too much gift exchanging, but it was still wonderful to see everyone. Both of our families live in Ohio, so there was a lot of driving for us over the break, but it was worth it.
I’m eager for the new year. I started writing a couple of things with a definite plan in mind.
Then, of course, my plans went to shit. Don’t they always?
A neighbor called and told me that there were horses being starved in the adjoining county, and they were looking for homes to foster the horses. The saddest part was, THEY WERE ALREADY AT A HORSE RESCUE! The woman running the rescue has over a hundred dogs and cats, and a handful of horses. The sheer number must have been too much for her, because the animals were suffering.
I talked to my husband about it, and he told me to do what my heart told me to do. This was a really big thing, because he is desperately allergic to horses. We have three now, and he’s gotten used to them over the years, but with a new animal there is always an adjustment period. Sometimes, he doesn’t acclimate at all, and I feel really bad about that. I wash a lot of clothes and vacuum about every other day. So, the fact that he was willing to take them on really touched me.
I told my friend that we couldn’t take them until two days later, when we got back from a trip to Ohio. That sunday they brought out Kid and Sugar.
Sugar is a 13 year old registered breeding stock paint. Breeding stock meaning she doesn’t have the paint markings- she’d a plain dark sorrel with a star. Beautiful horse actually. A bit smaller, about 15 hands, but perfect size for trail riding or small kids. I’ve gone over a lot of things with her, cleaned her up, trimmed her hooves, wormed her, and so far she has behaved absolutely perfectly. A bit hoggy with the food, but that’s kind of to be expected if they weren’t getting fed regularly. I’m anxious to saddle her up this weekend to see how she does. I believe Sugar was thrown in on the deal to sweeten it, so to speak.
Because Kid, on the other hand, is a mess. The poor little guy is severely stunted. Supposedly he is a 1 1/2 year old colt, but he looks more like a six-month old. His testicals have not yet descended, although they should have by about 6 mos. The withers, or the very top of the back bone, is so depressed my fingers can almost touch. Even with his winter coat on, (which has rain rot by the way) you can still see every rib. He hasn’t been wormed for a year, and his hooves haven’t been trimmed since then either. The backs, or heels, of his hooves have grown under, until he is walking on the back of his foot. When he stands to eat food, he parks his back feet under his belly because that is the way they’ve grown.
The good news is, he seems to have been worked with at some point, probably when he was a baby. He has decent ground manners that I think will only need to be refreshed, and he seems to be a genuinely sweet little guy. Now that he’s been here a couple of days, getting regular food, his personality is picking up. He’s a little brighter, and curious.
I was told originally that Kid was half Mustang and half Quarter horse. So that could explain away part of his small size, but when they were delivered, I was told that he was full blooded quarter, and actually available for registration. That makes his situation all the sadder, because he should have been twice the size he is now. Quarter horses are well muscled, stocky. Kid is anything but.
Because he’s been so starved, I have to be careful how I feed him. Horses can actually gorge themselves, colic and die. So Kid has been getting about 7 small meals throughout the day. Some good healthy alfalfa, hi protein grain and all the water he can drink. His bowels have been moving correctly, so tomorrow I think I’ll drop off a meal and increase the size of the others just a bit.
It’s going to be slow work getting him back to a healthy weight. Although I’m only fostering them right now, I have a feeling by the time rolls around he can leave, he will be firmly embedded on our farm.
So, this is the latest little hiccup in my life. Why can’t things be normal?