No one knows where Big Joe came from or how he ended up in the horrible situation that he did, starving in a small pasture with 38 other horses in Morgan Hill, California. He may have once been a show horse or someone’s prized pet, but his future was uncertain until Redwings received a call from Santa Clara Animal Services concerning 38 horses seized from a horse trader. On the day before Thanksgiving in 2014, Redwings made the long trip to rescue some of the horses.
Immediately a big buckskin gelding caught the eye of the equine care supervisor. He was thin and poor overall, with a fungal infection throughout his coat and overgrown hooves. The staff at the local humane society were calling him “old grandpa” since his condition was so poor that he appeared to be very old, and they had little hope that he could be adopted. Other rescues had no interest in him because of his “age” and poor condition. Big Joe was skittish and worried as we haltered him for evaluation, but he stood stock-still once we caught him for the brief exam. He was weak and shy, but when staff lifted his lip to check his teeth, we discovered he was much younger than anyone thought. He was only about 15-17. Joe had tons of years left! We quickly decided that the big gelding, and 4 of his friends, were coming back to the sanctuary with us.
Joe jumped right into the trailer for the long ride back to the sanctuary, and he unloaded quietly, like a perfect gentleman. We quickly got the vet out to give him and the four others a checkup, and we started treating him for the skin issues. He started getting supplemented with senior feed and rice bran to put his weight back on. The next step was getting a farrier out to fix his overgrown and cracked hooves. It took a few months before Big Joe started looking better. His skin cleared up, his weight returned, and his hooves looked better. During these few months, the equine care supervisor fell in love with Big Joe. He developed such a goofy and loving personality that she just couldn’t resist the urge to foster him.
In May of 2016, after a year of fostering, the paperwork was finalized, and Big Joe was officially adopted. Big Joe now spends his days in a huge pasture lined with trees, hanging out with his best buddies, a palomino paint named Rex and a pony named Twixy.