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Today we spent the first day of the new year playing musical horses. It is not our favorite thing to do but in our world, it is necessary. While we have 132 acres of land, we only have two barns plus a number of paddocks and turn out areas. We have a large barnyard and a round pen as well. The majority of our acreage is not divided and the majority of the Triple O horses live as horses should live.......free to roam and graze as a family unit.
As you know, earlier this week, we picked up four horse that were seized by local law enforcement. Two of them are thin and two of them are emaciated. The two year old bay was a stallion and was gelded the day we went to pick him up. He is a wee bit stand-offish but not wild. He is also the one with the best body weight and his hair is in good condition. The person that had him said he is ride able. The small bay, with the white blaze is a young stud colt, who is probably less than an old. He has some issues. He has a old knee wound. His knee is enlarged and the hair is gone off of the knee cap. We have no idea what happened to him. One of his rear hooves is very abnormally shaped. He walks on the heel and drags the toe a bit. Both of them are thin but not super skinny. The sorrel is the only mare in the group. She ranks a 2 on the body condition chart. Our vet estimated her age as being between 12-14 years old. She has a sweet personality and is very cooperative. The black gelding is a 1 on the body scale chart. He is in horrible condition and he is absolutely terrified. The was the sole survivor of a herd on 16 horses. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, there were 11 carcasses on the ground and 5 live horses. The authorities said that they had to "put down" the others except for this poor scared boy. He was seized on 12-14-2011 and we picked him up two weeks later after being request to do so by the sheriff's department. The other three came from a separate neglect case. We were offered a seven acre pasture by our neighbors as a overflow area. We are calling it the North40. That is where we took these four horse when we picked them up on 12-28-2011. We've been going there to feed them and have allowed them a three day retreat from the stressful environment they have been in recently. For three days, the only humans they saw were us when we went to feed them and worked on getting the pens cleared out and ready to use.
Now for the game of musical horses I mentioned earlier, it is much like musical chairs, without the music or the chairs. We have to move horses around from one pen, paddock or stall to accommodate the individual needs of each one of them. The ones that are healthy can live free in the main pasture. The ones that have some kind of impairment must be managed differently. They fall into several categories, such as old, sick, lame, emaciated and blind. They require an area in which to live that meets their needs. With our numerous horses and limited facilities.....it's like a game of musical horses.....moving them from one place to another.
Remember Cindarella, a starvation case from August 2011 ? She's been rehabbed and is happy and healthy now. She's grown several inches taller as well. Cinda needed a friend so we have had the blue eyed pony, Cherokee be her stable mate. Today we loaded both of them into the trailer and drove them a quarter mile to the neighbor's 7 acre pasture. It was a scary thing for Cinda as she's not been trailered much but she was a brave girl. When we loaded her in August, she was so weak and near death that she just folded up as the deputy pushed her up into the trailer. Today she was spooky and sassy but trusted us enough to comply to our request. Cherokee loaded fairly easily as well but is not an experienced traveler either, so she had doubts about the whole process but gave in when she saw we had plenty of time and patience to accommodate her issues. We set them up in the enclosures to let them settle in and tomorrow we will release them on the 7 acres along with the two young bays. Tonight they are munching hay together and getting acquainted through the fence. Tomorrow Cinda and Cherokee start their new adventure of having a whole pasture to explore and making friends with the two young bays.
Next, I went to the back of the pasture to catch the black gelding. He's still very scared but now trusts me and was cooperative about being lead up the hill and loaded into the trailer. His eyes were as big as silver dollars and he was so scared. He would stand still completely still but was trembling so much that it was obvious from a distance. We went up to the north side of the pasture to collect the sorrel mare. She lead and loaded without a problem. It was the shortest horse transport we've ever done since it's almost right on ranch.
Arriving here, the demeanor of both horse perked up considerably once we pulled in the driveway. Almost as if sad, sick, scared horses immediately sense the presence of happy healthy horses and it cheers them up. Tonight the black gelding and the sorrel mare are in the stalls that previously belonged to Cinda and Cherokee. They have their own hay manger that is stuffed with good quality hay and their own water bucket with fresh water. Their only job is to eat drink and be merry. Watch for updates on these two....by springtime they should look stunning.