A horse-friend of mine on Facebook sent me an urgent message this morning. Two horses a few towns away were in a dire situation and needed to be rehomed immediately.
I made a few phone calls and learned a bit more about their situation. The gentleman who owned them died on Christmas Eve and his family couldn't take care of the horses. There were two geldings at the farm and they were both "skinny and in bad shape". A kind local lady saw their condition and dropped off a round bale for the two of them yesterday.
On my lunch break, I jumped in the truck and headed over to see them. I was greeted by a teary-eyed lady who used to own one of the geldings. She trained and showed him in his younger days and sold him to this man 13 years ago. He is now the ripe old age of twenty. Unfortunately, she wasn't in a situation where she could take him back and wanted to find a loving home that would rehabilitate him.
We stepped out back and my heart sank, again... Standing behind a round bale was a skinny, sad looking grey Thoroughbred. His spine was jutting out of his back, his ribs were all visible, his hip bones poking out.
Absolutely nothing I write here can describe the feeling I get in my chest when I see an animal in this condition. It's a feeling of heartbreak, infuriation, sympathy, sadness... the list goes on.
I took a deep breath, choked back the emotions and got to work. I started evaluating "Jaggar" and learned that besides his weight loss, he appeared overall healthy. He is approximately 250 pounds underweight and has a body score of 2/9. Not nearly as bad as Faith was when she first arrived, but not a whole lot better, either. He needs dental work and farrier care, but my first priority was to get a visit from our veterinarian to evaluate him and update his vaccinations.
His conformation was pretty decent for a man of his age. He was sweet as I worked with him and seemed to be an overall pleasant horse to be around. (Although so did Faith when I first got her, and we all know how that little princess's attitude just blossomed!)
As I talked to his previous owner, I learned more about his history and that he is a registered Thoroughbred and a son of the great racehorse "Affirmed". "Affirmed" was the last horse to win the Triple Crown, so his bloodlines are nothing but amazing. Jaggar, however, wasn't all that wonderful on the track as he was on paper, so they retired him as a 4-year-old and he was introduced to the Hunter/Jumper and Dressage world but his new owner.
After an early retirement from his show career, she sold him to this older gentleman who owned him for the past 13 years. He was a trustworthy, quiet trail horse and had always been well taken care of. However the gentleman's illness interfered with his ability to care for his animals, and his family didn't know what to do with them.
Besides him, there is also a 21-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse gelding that needs to be placed. He is also thin, but not nearly as thin as "Jaggar" is. There is a possibility that he has a home waiting for him, but we are not 100% certain on that yet. Jaggar, pictured below, does not. Keep in mind as you look at the pictures, that he has an incredibly long, thick winter coat that covers up quite a bit of his condition.
So after another one of my (all-too-frequent) financial conversations with Dan, (what a great guy he is, kiss kiss!), we have decided that Jaggar can come to live with us on a temporary basis for rehabilitation until we can find him a "forever" home. Finances are tight and we have decided to do a fundraising campaign to help with the cost of his care.
All money raised will go directly towards his rehabilitation expenses. If we are so lucky as to find him a new home before his fund runs out, the balance will be sent along to his new owner! You can click here to help us out: http://horserehab.chipin.com/help-us-with-the-rescue-and-rehabilitation-of-a-neglected-horse Thanks for reading and please pass this link along to everyone you know!