Do you remember the group of 15 Thoroughbreds owned by an elderly man with advanced stage cancer? He had been trying to rehome the horses for years with no success. No one wanted older, untamed Thoroughbreds.
In January, we took in four of the horses and began a fundraising effort called Project Give Them a Chance so we could go back for the others as room and funding allowed. Two more horses were rehomed directly from his property and one had to be put down.
After receiving a generous grant from The Gus Hawthorn Foundation, we returned yesterday to get ONE stallion and ONE mare. The Gus Hawthorn Foundation grant covers the cost of gelding and training one of the previously unhandled stallions, and we were confident we could raise the additional $2000 needed to take in one of the mares.
Well, yesterday we came home with 4 horses instead of 2.
When we arrived, it became clear that the elderly gentleman’s health is failing fast. He can barely manage to get the horses fed every day, and we doubt he will be able to continue to do so for much longer.
A long-time professional breeder, he had planned to stop raising Thoroughbreds 10 years ago, but then his son decided to take over the business. After breeding the mares for a couple of years, the son left the area, leaving his elderly father to care for them. He was able to provide some basic care to these animals but was physically unable to halter break them. The stallions had to remain in their stalls for years, so they would not breed the mares or hurt each other.
Our plan was to take in the stallion called Hamilton and a younger mare named Helen.
Wait until you see Handsome Hamilton! He is even prettier than Lincoln and has a beautiful trot. It will be so fun to see progress!
The second horse, Helen, is one of the younger mares on the property. She is supposed to be about 8, but the gentlemen’s memory is not what it used to be. She has a couple medical issues, including an eye problem, that we need to have checked out by the veterinarian, but we’re hoping she will be a candidate for our Lucky 7 Training Challenge.
But as we were going through the barn, we noticed two mares inside in a pen. One of those mares, who we’re calling Eleanor, had a large, half-healed hind leg wound. A fair amount of proud flesh was starting to accumulate on the wound. When we asked about her, we were told that she caught her leg in a fence and it got infected. Although she is not halter broke, the gentlemen brought her and her 22-year-old mother Tweed inside the barn so he could squirt hydrogen peroxide on her wound from afar. His efforts seemed to clear up the infection.
Unfortunately, Eleanor’s wound still needs to be treated with some topical medication and bandaged for a while or the proud flesh will just continue to grow, crack, break open and bleed. This means the mare needs to be halter broke and desensitized so that we can touch her back leg. Yikes! She’s a big, powerful girl, which will make it interesting to teach her to lead and let us touch her back leg. That will take some time and skill. We won’t know her age until we can get her to let us peek at her teeth! We’re hoping to get her halter trained and her injury treated so we can start her in training. She will make someone a very nice horse.
We originally were only going to take just Eleanor and leave her 22-year-old mom Tweed behind for now, but it quickly became obvious that if we separated them, Tweed would end up hurt. This mother-daughter pair was not going to be separated easily, so we felt we had to take them both.
Tweed is halter broke and loaded up in the trailer like a champ. We later learned she had 58 starts on the track. Of those, 20 were first place wins and 14 were second or thirds. Her sire was Basket Weave, so she has some impressive bloodlines.
We now need to raise $4500 to cover the cost of the three mares. That is based on at least one of the mares being able to go in the Lucky 7 Training Challenge, a training competition that helps us manage some training expenses.
We hope to be able to go back and get the others as soon as possible, before their elderly owner is physically unable to feed them anymore, but we cannot take in more horses than we can afford to care for properly. Unless we can raise the funds needed to take the rest, we will not be able to take any more until after the ones we have are trained and adopted. That could be weeks, months or maybe a year.
In addition to helping these horses, we would like to give their elderly owner, who has end-stage cancer, a few months of life without physically having to care for anyone but himself. We can only do that if you help us help the remaining horses.
Please consider making a donation today athttp://weblink.donorperfect.com/seogeneral