What would you do if you were offered a horse before your farm was finished and ready to go?
A horse you really didn't need or want but who really needed out of his situation?
I was asked how I could say no. I couldn't. I decided even if the answer was euthanasia it was a better answer than walking away. .
So Sept 13th, 2013 Valiant arrived to my care. I knew he was thin. I didn't know he was near death and starving. The barn owner looked at him and teared up. The vet took one look at him and shook her head. We all hoped he'd make it through the weekend.
He went onto a Cornell Study refeeding program - slowly slowly building him up to eating huge rations - for the first 72 hours he got less than 4 pounds of hay a day. For a long after that he ate free choice hay 24/7 and got 2 large meals as well . He had very regular vet visits and a carefully scheduled de-worming program.
..Now his grain meals are about the same size as other horses his size but we still always keep food in front of him.
He was on the track and a well bred fellow - retired from the track, resold, resold and resold as far as I can tell. The track wasn't the issue for him at all - the falling through the cracks was. post his track life.
Team Valiant deserves so much credit for making this success story possible. They are an incredible group of woman from around the globe who came together to give him the best life they could. They fund raise for him so he can have the best of everything. He sees a chiropractor and gets massaged by a pro regularly, He has as good a life as we can make for him. He has COPD (heaves) perhaps as a result of his starvation and he is retired now - although he thoroughly enjoyed being ridden and schooled a little - now he might go for a walk a year. He loves being pampered and groomed so we make sure that's part of his routine.
How has that moment I said yes changed my life? It's introduced me to a network of compassionate, wonderful humans. It's allowed me to spearhead helping 3 other lovely bay OTTBs (a theme that was not deliberate). It gave me impetus to bring horses home. It's solidified my relationship with team that keeps the farm and horses ticking along. (My hay guy knows Val by sight and comments on how good he looks frequently). So very very fortunate he fell into my life.
^^ the photos pn today's blog were all taken by Karen Whitfield ...