Life in our Foothills July 2022 – The Royal Treatment

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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         Dear Royal, few decisions in a rescue are easy to make. I should know. I have been on the receiving end of this stressful process. Can this horse be a partner? Can this equine’s heart ever mend? Is it better to end his or her suffering, before investing so much into a cloudy future when so many horses need help? 


        Clearly, your owner failed you. He sent you to auction, with no preparation for the world outside your fence line. He shipped you, a young colt, and your younger brother to a disastrous place. From a safe home to a circumstance of peril and imminent death. 

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         There are so many documented cases of horses that knew a life of luxury one month, then landed into situations resulting in starvation and abuse, in just a short blink of an eye. That is your story, Royal. 


        You were born on a large farm in Texas, sired by Goldseekers Jet, sporting incredible Dash for Cash and Three Bars lineage. By the age of two, it was determined you were a cryptorchid, and so was your yearling brother. This unfortunate circumstance landed you in a kill pen, bound for slaughter. Your cruel owner sold you as a grade horse. He was ashamed of you. He did not offer your papers at the auction to help you fetch a higher price because of your excellent bloodlines. He washed his hands of you. We know who this man is. We contacted him concerning your whereabouts. This man was cold and callous. If we wanted your registration papers, we would need to pay him $1,000 to get them, despite the fact we were the freedom ride you needed. We bought you at the auction price he accepted, $650, the value of your meat weight at the age of two.


        Helping Equines Regain Dignity (HERD) saved you. Someone else took pity and bought your baby brother. You comforted your sibling at the lot and protected him in the crowded pen of horses, until the two of you parted ways to load onto separate trailers. This touching moment was captured on video at the auction. We apologize we could not save the two of you together. This is the game of life, call it fate; call it harder economic times for a rescue. 


        We saved you alone. You came to us to rehabilitate and find your path heading to a new horizon. Just like I did years ago. Both of us originated from Texas, one of the largest horse-breeding states in America. We are considered livestock, not pets. There is very little legal protection to keep us or any equine out of harm’s way. Texas is also dangerously close to Mexico where horses go by the truckload from the USA for inhumane slaughter.  


        Your body score upon arrival to HERD rescue was a 1.5. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. You were sick with a bad respiratory infection. Isolation was the consequence, along with copious amounts of handling and medication, which were not to your liking. I watched over you from 100 feet away as you wrestled with the lonely existence here. Something in your movement told us that there were other issues. The vet came twice trying and solve this puzzle. Your mouth also was a source of constant discomfort.


        It was decided when your body score became ideal from our refeeding program, that we would send you to a top-notch horse hospital. There you would be gelded and have your mouth more thoroughly examined to get to the root of the painful problems. 


        It turned out that your wolf teeth were a terrible discomfort to you. You also required invasive abdominal surgery to become a gelding. You survived this trying ordeal like the champion that you were bred to be. The surgeon commented to us on what an exceptional quality horse you are. If he had seen your photos upon arrival, he would not have recognized you at this juncture. In fact, now that we are stablemates in the barn each night, I hardly can believe it is you. Royal, you are iconic. Like me, you set the bar high.


        Trust is still a tad hard for you. The need to flee from humans is measured by the tickling desire to be brushed and comforted by them. I understand this weight, it is a choice of flight or surrender. To accept and believe is a frightening thing for us after what we have endured as young equines. Those we loved first, who marveled over our birth and beauty, failed us miserably.


        Love is surprising. It can sneak up on us despite our pricked ears and best equine defenses to stay aloof. Somehow the connection to be touched and appreciated by another living creature is magnetic. 


        I too have tried to resist the temptations of love. I was resolved to hold my ground, stay the course, and hide in the corner of my pasture with my best friend Sedona. She is only age three, I am 11. I have all the answers. When it is time to head to the gate at sundown, to go to our cool, fan-blown stalls, plush with shaving and hay, I resist. Sedona always goes first. However, when I hear my name, “Pebbles, please come,” I turn and head for that gate. Knowing that I am loved, knowing that I will be brushed and pampered with a cookie and tucked in for the night, well it is comforting to me. 


        You, Royal, are beginning to experience this desire to be adored.  The horse cookies are not a bad incentive either. I saw you rest your head in loving arms last night as your halter was slipped from your head. You are home for now here in HERD. You have turned the corner. Life is delicious again.  You are experiencing the royal treatment, my friend. It does not get better than this, trust me.