It’s a story most of us know all too well. An aging friend or relative struggles to care for their beloved pets but has a hard time giving them up. Finding a new home for a dog or cat is one thing, but what do you do when the animals you love are horses? You call Redwings. And that’s just what a young man did when his grandmother was hospitalized, and there was no one to care for her six purebred Arabian horses.
Clearly, the woman’s poor health and limited finances had impacted the horses’ care even before she went into the hospital. Some of the horses had not been moved or handled in years, and we found them standing in deep mud and feces, made worse by the recent unrelenting storms in California that dumped almost 10 inches of rain in January alone. While our help came too late for one of the horses who died before we could get to them, we were determined to help the six survivors – five mares and one stallion. But their lack of handling made our task of rescuing and transporting them all the more difficult.
Fortunately, the stallion was quiet and gentle and loaded into the trailer without incident. Although skittish, three mares were also loaded up fairly quickly. Another two mares took a lot of gentle coaxing and a ton of patience, but we finally got them haltered. Loading them into the trailer, however, was another story altogether. They panicked and made it clear to us that they weren’t going anywhere, especially in a trailer, making us concerned for their safety.
With four of the horses successfully loaded up, we decided to transport them to Redwings and get them settled in before returning to retrieve the final two mares. When we returned, we did so with one of our wonderful veterinarians, who gave them light sedation to keep them calm and ensure we could transport them without injury.
Once at Redwings, all six horses seemed relieved to be in better living conditions on dry land with access to fresh water and a good meal. Except for how thin they were, our examination found them to be in good health. The stallion, Byron, was housed in a special paddock away from other horses as a safety precaution. Since being at Redwings, he has regained his health, and we were able to castrate him.
Deva, Roufa, and Madonna were in the worst condition, with a body score of only two, while Byron, Georgie, and Belle had a slightly better body score of three. All of the horses had dreadlocks in their manes and tails, which took extensive grooming.
While we know it was difficult for the owner of these beautiful Arabians to surrender her beloved horses to Redwings, she did the right thing – the most unselfish, loving thing. She and her family would be thrilled to know that after only three months in our care, all of the horses have regained their body condition and are happy and thriving at Redwings.