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Long Hard Day of Rescue

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Karen Bayerl
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Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:13 pm

1-Merry-and-Sampson-Before-Karen-Bayerl.jpg
A Long Hard Day of Rescue

The Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. (MHWF), in Pittsville, Wisconsin, is dedicated to providing qualified homes for any horse in need. MHWF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is 100% volunteer run. The horses that come to MHWF come for many reasons and each horse has its own story. They all have one thing in common, they need a loving and caring home.

While a lot of the horses that pass through the gates of MHWF are perfectly healthy and just need a new owner/home, there are also a good share of rescue cases that we see each year. In this article I am going to focus on a rescue mission that MHWF was involved with on August 26, 2015, along with a local sheriff’s department. This was one of those days that brings us to some realities that we do not often want to face and reminds us of why we got into this thing we call rescue and adoption in the first place.

Local authorities needed us to meet them at a farm with a horse trailer to get one very neglected horse out of a bad situation. When we got there, it quickly became apparent that the situation was much worse than everyone involved thought. We ended up taking 6 horses out of that situation in two trips. There were also 43 dogs in various conditions taken from there as well. Everyone involved had their work cut out for them for sure, and it was 89 degrees and humid outside to make it all that much nastier for the animals and everyone involved. I will focus on the horses and let you know that all of the 43 dogs were rescued, rehabilitated and have found adoptive homes. The horses were all without food, water or shelter and showing varying degrees of starvation and severe neglect.

In the two trips we made we took the 6 horses from the property. There were two ponies, one of them a young stud that was chained to a post in the ground, nothing to eat, no water in sight. His body condition was okay at about a 3 (rated by the vet), but obviously wormy and had lice and old scars from a probably chain around his neck. He was named Sampson by MHWF supporters. The other pony is totally blind and was left to fend for herself in a herd of about 25 other horses with a body score of 2. She also had rain rot, lice and ring worm and was in pretty rough shape. It was very apparent that she was not doing well at all in that situation. She was named Merry by MWHF supporters.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:15 pm

We also took out a Paint mare and her colt, the mare being about 8 years old and the colt only a couple months old, both thin and looking a little rough, but the big concern was that the mare is also blind in both eyes. They both also had lice, and the colt had a bad case of ring worm on top of it. The Paint mare was named Lady and her little stud colt was named Teddy.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:15 pm

We also took out a stud that is about 15 years old, very sweet, but in really tough shape with a body score of between 1 and 2. He was in a separate area with no food, water or shelter, also with very bad skin conditions and hooves a mess. He was named Phoenix by MHWF supporters.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:17 pm

Last but not least, a 20-plus year old mare that was in absolutely horrible condition. The vet gave her a body score of 1, but said that if there was a 0 on the scale that is what she would be rated. In the stage of starvation she was in, her body had eaten away at a lot of her muscle. She was staked out with no food to eat and no water in sight. She was a skeleton stretched over a frame of bones, feet in bad shape, covered in lice and rain rot and had almost no hair left on her body. She could hardly walk and we were more than a little worried about her. The officers and a few others did not think she would be able to get on the trailer, but in my experience I’ve seen horses knowing that you are there to help and they will do anything to get out of the situation. She was no different. She wanted out and slowly managed her way to the trailer and up and in she went. We had her propped on her sides and stopped a few times on the 20 mile trip back to our farm to be sure she was up and safe. We named her Faith, and that is what we needed in this case.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:18 pm

These horses all needed a lot of medical care and the stallions, Phoenix and Sampson, needed to be gelded. They needed to get healthy before the geld surgery could happen, and as soon as they were healthy enough that surgery took place.

Phoenix has rehabilitated beautifully and is now in search of an adoptive home to call his own. We live in Wisconsin where winters can be brutal and do not have an indoor arena, so people are waiting patiently until we have good enough footing in our round pen and other areas to see what this guy knows. Phoenix is an absolutely beautiful horse with perfect manners and someone will be very lucky to have him.
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Karen Bayerl
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Posts: 129
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:18 pm

Sampson, the little stud, came through his geld surgery perfectly and is a little gentleman. Merry, the blind pony, rehabilitated beautifully and became very fast friends with Sampson after he was a gelding long enough to be introduced to her. Sampson instantly became her eyes and they developed a bond faster than I’ve ever seen. They both hit the jackpot and got adopted to the same home together and are living happily ever after.
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Karen Bayerl
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Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 12:05 am
Location: Central Wisconsin
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:19 pm

Lady, the blind Paint mare, and her stud colt, Teddy, have also rehabbed beautifully and are still living with us here at the MHWF farm in their own paddock. We have separate people interested in each of them and are working on the daunting task of weaning. Weaning is never fun, but when it is a blind mare who relies on her colt, it makes it that much tougher. We are working on a buddy system for Lady and going through the weaning process slowly and as anxiety-free as possible.
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Karen Bayerl
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Posts: 129
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Location: Central Wisconsin
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Re: Long Hard Day of Rescue

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:20 pm

Faith, the sweet elderly mare who was in the roughest shape has surprised a lot of people and actually survived this catastrophic neglect. Her body was covered in severe rain rot from head to toe literally and that in itself was quite the rehab process. Different vets had said that she would not survive, and we definitely had our doubts as well. She has had her ups and downs, but she is thriving. It is a slow process re-feeding the starved horse (which was in place for all of them). Many times people will rescue a severely neglected and malnourished horse to have them die within 2 days to 2 weeks after the rescue, and they think it was because the horse was just too far gone. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes it is because they “killed them with kindness”. It is very important to reduce insulin elevation while re-feeding the starved horse. The link below is to an article from UC Davis that explains the reasons why in great detail but basically, if you feed a starving horse grain (or too much food right away), you are likely to send it into insulin shock, it's organs shut down and it usually dies 2-4 days after it's meal.
http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vetext/lo ... -5-691.pdf
It took months before Faith was strong enough to even have her teeth floated or be dewormed, the things that we don’t even think twice about in a normal, healthy horse. I am happy to report that Faith has made it, even though it is a long process in rehabilitating her feet and it will be close to a full year before her feet will be “normal”.

This case is still in court, and the fate of the remaining horses on the property still in limbo. MHWF has full ownership of these 6 horses and the “suspect” will not be getting them back. The sheriff’s department is watching the rest of the herd closely to be sure they are cared for in the time being, and we will not know what will happen until this case finally goes to trial. We can all hope for the justice system to prevail in this case. For now, Faith, Lady, Teddy, Phoenix, Merry and Sampson know they are loved and they know they are safe.

If you would like to follow the ongoing story of these six horses and find out what happens with the court case, you can follow this link to visit MHWF’s discussion forum where updates on these horses are kept regularly.
http://mhwf.websitetoolbox.com/post/a-l ... ue-7544484

www.equineadoption.com

Thank you for reading and caring.

Karen Bayerl
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