As many of our regular readers know, this summer we brought home a homely-looking gelding to live with us. For those of you who are new to this blog, I will summarize his story here for you all.
We picked up "Linus" from a bad situation on June 2nd. It was obvious by both his physical appearance and depressed behavior that he hadn't been cared for in quite some time. He was over 250 pounds underweight, infested with lice, and had open wounds all over his body. His legs and hips were riddled with scars. His previous owner had tranquilized him so frequently that his penis was paralyzed, infected and abscessed.
This was Linus on Day 1:
Linus arrived to us with an unknown history and a faded lip tattoo. Through research, we learned that he was a 17-year-old retired racehorse. His small career earnings of $6,785 put him on a truck to the auction. He was then bounced from farm to farm, holding jobs as a trail mount and eventually a beginner lesson horse.
When he first arrived, our vet evaluated Linus thoroughly and gave us mostly positive news: he was sound and should easily recover from his trauma. Most of Linus's issues were easily treatable. The bad news was that he needed penile amputation surgery. Without the surgery, the massive infections would spread, and then euthanasia would be the only alternative.
We weighed our options about his future. I couldn't justify putting this horse to sleep. He was serviceably sound and had a wonderful disposition. But at the same time, the $2,500 cost of surgery was out of our budget. We had already put everything we had into rehabbing Faith, including our vacation fund that we had been saving for over 3 years. We couldn't afford his surgery and put the word out for sponsors.
Linus already had quite a few online friends and the donations slowly came in. However, not everyone agreed with our plan for Linus. One woman from a local online bulletin board said that we were wasting our time and money on him. "A 17-year-old horse just isn't worth it," I was told. "He shouldn't be saved." I countered her comment by stating that this horse was completely sound and usable, and with a little luck, would quickly return to being a productive member of the equine community. She stated that she would believe it when she saw it.
That one comment gave me the extra push I needed. From that point forward, Linus and I were out to prove them wrong.
Four months and five days after to arriving to our farm, this is what Linus looks like...
He is up to weight, the lice are gone, the wounds are healed. The scars he had when he arrived will never fade away, but at least now they are somewhat covered by a shiny, healthy coat. He doesn't resemble the horse from those first pictures, and for that, I couldn't be happier!
Aboard Linus is one of my students' mothers. Liz has been a huge part of Linus's recovery. She has spent countless hours grooming him, bonding with him and feeding him lots of carrots and ginger snap cookies.
I have wonderful news to share with everyone - Linus has been adopted by a wonderful young lady named Sam! Sam adopted him to be used as a light trail horse and companion for her other gelding. She and her mom will be trail riding them a few days a week together. He is only about 45 minutes from my farm, and I plan on visiting frequently with Dan and my students!
Thanks Linus, for overcoming your past and proving the naysayers wrong. You were always worth it in my eyes...
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And even more wonderful news... Since Linus has been placed we now have an extra stall available. I am finalizing plans to take in a blind Appaloosa mare next week. More details and pictures to come!