Happy Holidays Everyone!
We have a story of the Christmas spirit of Love, Giving and Receiving we’d like to share! Last weekend my daughter Shayla and myself went to a tack auction. At the end of the auction they announced they had a couple of horses to sell. We had no intention of buying any horses, but of course we were curious (especially Shayla!). We were told that they were animals that had come from an abusive home. We went out to take a peek and were horrified to find three horses in a state I have never witnessed in person. One was a 7 year old mare and two we were told were 7 – 8 month old colts. All were literally a rack of bones with skin draped over – I felt hopeless and angry. I knew we did not have room or the resources to rescue these animals and I turned away in frustration. These animals need adequate shelter, 24/7 food, worming, possibly vet care and a lot of love. I hoped that someone would bid and take them home. After loading our tack, we realized that no one had bid and they were still in the small manure paddock without the food and water they needed in front of them at all times.
Shayla was in tears. “Please Daddy” she begged, “Just one, we can’t leave them here.” My heart was torn in two as my sweet daughter was witnessing the horrors of what some animals have to endure. Her tearful pleas outweighed my own logic of limited room, $ and time and of course the unknown of what a foal might end up needing for medical attention or worse yet that it might not even survive with all of our best efforts. I had noticed a man and young girl lingering near the pen and implored them to take one or all and offered to pay for part of their cost if he would take them home. He came close, but no cigar!
Shayla pleaded, her sorrow so evident and said the little red colt was all she wanted for Christmas. She didn’t need another thing under the tree other than bags of grain and a colt blanket. My own heart was already split in two and I thought this really is what Christmas Spirit is all about. If we could give this incredible gift of healing, love and hope – I would be truly teaching to our nine year old daughter the meaning of Christmas. “Are you sure this is what you want under the tree? This is going to be a huge gift and responsibility and we can’t be sure the colt will even make it?” I asked. Shayla jumping for joy and hugs, with tears streaming, joyfully agreed.
I went to the auction house and asked if they would take $20 for one of the foals. That’s an insult I was told. I was shocked! Honestly, I would have thought they would be begging for anyone to take them home knowing that the expense to rehabilitate would be considerable. “Insult?”, I asked “I am willing to take one home and rescue it – I mean no insult – what will you take?” A couple of minutes later they came back and said we could take a colt for $40. We had no trailer with us – so we planned the rescue for the next day – sleet and rain would not thwart our plans to rescue the Lucky one.
Shayla was in a state of ecstasy the entire night, saying it was the happiest day of her life. And yet we were also sad and worried for the others that would be left behind. We thought of ways that we could help and came up with the plan to post them on our website and share their story and maybe someone else would spread more of the Christmas Spirit and provide the sanctuary they so dearly need.
The next night Shayla and I went to bring Lucky Home. The colts were out of the now water logged, over crowded pen and in a filthy stall. The mare was still in the same pen now with new horses chasing her about the small area. Hearts broke as we left behind two and loaded Lucky for Home. Though over joyed with what we were bringing to Lucky’s life, our hearts were heavy with not being able to save them all.
The next day Shayla had a friend over to share in the excitement of Lucky. I was telling her mom, a horse friend, the story and she quickly agreed to take the other colt if he wasn’t seriously injured in any way. I jumped on the opportunity over joyed and within the hour she and I with Shayla and her friend were heading over with the horse trailer to rescue another. Now we had two ecstatic girls delirious with joy! When we arrived at the farm, my friend didn’t even hesitate when she saw the little guy and how he was living. We again found him in a filthy stall with an empty water bucket and no hay. As she walked him to the trailer, he dropped his head immediatley to drink thirstily from a muddy puddle. The other mare was also without food and living in the water logged manure filled pen with other horses. Friends this means there is still one left…..Can anyone find it in their hearts to help?
So far this journey has resulted in a lot of learning. Lucky is approximately 7 months and weighs 260 pounds and the other colt is under 200 pounds and approximately 5 months old. We have discovered that Lucky has a substantial hernia that may need surgery. He is getting electrolytes, omega fatty aids, beet pulp, grain. unlimited hay, a dry stall, wormer (he had worms making their way out of his butt and over loading his stool!), hand walking for exercise and an enormous amount of love and good wishes. Shayla decided to start a Lucky Fund to help with his surgery and expenses. Any donations for this cause would be greatly appreciated – a bag of grain, bale of hay or money for his veterinarian costs would be an enormous gift to this long term project. If the spirit moves you to contribute, please forward donations to the address below.
The other rescued colt is also looking for a permanent home, but for now is safe, call if you are interested in his adoption, Even more importantly, there is the other mare that is still needing help desperately. Please call us to learn more!! in the meantime we will keep everyone posted on Lucky’s story with more pictures and up dates. He is such a sweet little guy and he seems so grateful. He follows Shayla around as gentle as a kitten. His energy is improved and so far we are hopeful that he will eventually make a full recovery, YEA! We plan on taking a video and taping his measurements so we can track his improvement more thoroughly. As Shayla says, this is the best Christmas present ever, because she gets to give a huge gift to another and also receives the Love and Joy of Sharing her life with Lucky. Blessings everyone during this Holiday and thank you for sharing in our story and all your good wishes.
John and the Sisters Family
Please send contributions to:
c/o Shayla Sisters
502 Easy St.
Danby, VT 05739
Dec 17, 2010 Lucky update:
We really appreciate the concern and good wishes that we have received. It is always wonderful to get the support of an email or letter. We want to extend a special thanks to Caroline Albert of Wind Song Farm for her immediate aid to rescue the other foal and her support in aiding the other mare. Another big thanks goes to Dr. Bob Wendal of Mt. Aeolous Animal Hospital who has been so generous with his time with multiple phone consultations over the past few days. I know many of you are as concerned as we are about the remaining mare. We will have more news very soon as to her status and we will share information as soon as we can.
Lucky is doing well. Today he had a visit from Dr. Bob and he graded him a 1 on the condition scale. With his present spirits and care, the doctor is hopeful for a full recovery. We are gradually increasing Lucky’s grain so as to not shock his system. Dr. Bob expects that he has frost bite on his penis which is why he does not draw it up entirely. He also confirmed his hernia will likely need surgery, but we are trying a belly band to see if we can relieve the extension and get the separation to heal without surgery. He also took a fecal sample and will be letting us know the egg count later today. We have also been working slowly on removing the caked manure that is adhered to his skin and the rain rot that was left untreated.
On the upside, Lucky made it through the few days after his worming, which is always a bit risky when full of parasites. So we are feeling happy and hopeful! The picture with the belly band was taken after his vet visit today. He was feeling pretty tired after his exam, but so so sweet! He is such a love. Shayla has dreams that some day he will be her next champion barrel horse. We’ll share more soon. For now, feel free to add to his good wishes and stop by too and give him some love yourself. As we mentioned before, donations of any kind are greatly appreciated!
The other foal is also recovering, although he does have difficulty getting up on his own when he is lying down. Once he is up, he is pretty steady. There is also some concern with his front knees and whether their backward extension will be permanently debilitating. I believe he has a vet appointment today as well – so we’ll keep you posted. For now he is getting lots of love from his nine year old rescuer and lots of food. For now they have decide to keep him until he is fully stabilized.
Dec. 19, 2010
Lucky is now getting grain three times a day with supplements of electrolytes and omega fat and of course all the hay he can eat. He is feeling frisky and was cantering and whooping it up on his walk today. Yippeee he seems to say – it feels good to have a full belly and a safe home. As soon as we get a blanket that fits him (on order) we will be turning him out on his own for 30 minutes to encourage muscle development. Unfortunately, the belly band for the hernia has been pretty unsuccessful at staying put – it keeps sliding back and covering his sheath – which is not good. We are hoping we’ll be able to rig something once we get his colt blanket. Thanks to Christianson’s and Schoedel families for their donations!
Jan. 7, 2011
Happy New Year!
Lucky had a great Christmas playing with Shayla and receiving lots treats! He is slowly gaining his weight back and building his muscles going out for walks each day. We also got news that his worm count has dropped by over 2/3! His next scheduled worming is next week and we hope that once the rest of the worms are wiped out Lucky will really put on some more weight
May 30, 2011
Lucky has put on so much weight and he in incredibly tall! He has been enjoying living out with our large herd of horses munching on grass. Lucky has had a lot of Firsts in the last couple of weeks. He had his first good bath, his first trail ride out, and his first foot trimming. He is finally big and strong enough to spend all day out with the big horses