On Monday, February 27, 2012, Washington County Judge J.P. Judge James McCune awarded 15 Tennessee Walking Horses to True Blue Animal Rescue (TBAR), a central Texas animal rescue and rehabilitation organization. The horses were seized by the County Sheriff's Department who investigated in response to reports of neglect from caring citizens. The investigation showed these horses were living in deplorable conditions (including dead horses on the property).
The group was made up of stallions, mares (some possibly pregnant) and their yearling and 2 year old fillies from past breedings. The horses were being bred without the benefit of adequate food or care to their basic needs. Many had overgrown , curled hooves and teeth needing attention and all are severely underweight. The Sheriffs department immediately seized all 15 horses and took them to a temporary holding facility to receive care and await the Judge's ruling.
Tennessee Walking Horses are famous for their gentleness and affectionate personalities. Despite their hunger and desperate need to escape their filthy holding areas, each horse greeted members of the TBAR rescue team with a gentleness and dignity that was still strong, even if their bodies were not.
True Blue Animal Rescue reached out to the community to help these horses heal and find the loving homes they deserve. The story of the starved Tennessee Walkers touched peoples' hearts and they responded! All the horses have been placed in loving foster homes. True Blue Animal Rescue has received several hay donations and enough monetary donations to cover the initial vet bills for Coggins, vaccinations and worming. One especially generous anonymous donor gave a 6 month's supply of Triple Crown Feed for the horses! The 14% Senior formula and the 14% Growth formula will give these horses much needed nutrition.
Veterinary bills and feed are the two largest expenses for TBAR in rehabilitating neglected horses. The skinniest horses, measuring a '1' on the Henneke Body Scoring scale - extremely emaciated - will need 6 months to reach their full weight and restore muscle tone. Once the horses have gained some weight, they will need a second round of worming, rabies vaccinations and possible teeth floating. The horses will also need farrier care to restore their overgrown hooves. Several of the mares appear to be pregnant (they were running with a stallion), so foster homes hope to get as much nutrition as they can into these moms before they give birth.
These sweet, friendly, handleable horses were named on a Candy theme: Licorice and Clark for the two boys; Nougat, Reese, Taffy, Wrigley, Snickers, Pixie, Starburst, Dot, Twix, Twizzler, Tootsie Roll, Dove Darlin, Hershey Kisses and Sugar Babe for the girls. They range in age from 6 months to 22 years old. They're affectionately being referred to as "The Candy Group".
The foster homes shared their initial experiences with the horses - when unloading the horses from the trailers, they didn't even have four feet on the ground before they had buried their noses in the grass - nutrition they had been denied previously for many, many months. Horses this starved have to be slowly re-introduced to grain so as to not shock their systems. They have been getting coastal hay 24/7 for the first couple of weeks to get the digestive systems on-line and minimize colic.
All the horses are expected to make a full recovery, except one, sadly. The beautiful, senior black stallion, Licorice, had noticeable disease in both eyes. Brenham Veterinary Hospital's Dr Amy Walton diagnosed it as advanced chronic *untreated* uveitis ("moon blindness") - a very painful condition. Licorice was completely blind in both eyes and yet he trusted his rescuers and easily loaded into the trailer and followed them to a stall. Unfortunately, no medicine could reverse the long-term neglect and damage to his eyes, restore any sight or relieve the pain, so the difficult decision was made to euthanize him and end his suffering. Licorice enjoyed an afternoon of pampering, lush green grass and strong pain medication before being laid to rest. Thankfully, he was saved from his miserable life, starving in an 8x10 pen, and dying in pain. He left this Earth knowing that all his mares and babies were safe and would never know hunger again.
|Look what Triple Crown Growth has done for Licorice's herd - these previously neglected and starved horses - Dove Darlin', Tootsie Roll, Sugar Baby & Hershey Kisses.|
|It's hard to believe these are the same skinny girls from one month ago!|
|Dove Darlin has had the most significant transformation. She seemed to have given up, with lifeless sad eyes. This picture was taken in March of 2012 at the temporary holding facility, the day she was loaded up to go to her foster home.|
This is the same horse - Dove Darlin! Taken in April 2012 at her foster home after a month on Triple Crown Growth feed! Look at that shiny coat, filled in body, and sweet expression on her face! She's enjoying life again!
|Look at the dramatic difference in Tootsie Roll, a senior mare. BEFORE: Very skinny - ribs showing, hip protruding, pronounced 'shelf' along the back, dull coat, lifeless eyes. Registers a 1.5 on the Henneke Body Scale.|
AFTER (one month later): Good weight - back filled in, ribs hidden, hip bone not showing, bright eyes and big belly. Registers a 4, close to 5 on the Henneke Scale.
Triple Crown Growth transformed these girls in record time! Horses this skinny normally take months to rehabilitate to a normal weight.
|Here's another example - Hershey Kisses. An under-nourished young horse:|
Here's Hershey one month later having been fed Triple Crown Growth feed.
In addition, this excellent feed is nurturing the babies potentially inside Tootsie and Dove Darlin, giving them a good chance of being healthy.
|One beautiful, healthy baby girl has already been born to Pixie, another mare from the 'Candy Group' of 15 horses awarded to True Blue Animal Rescue (TBAR). Pixie was one of the skinniest horses in the group.|
Much gratitude goes to the big-hearted person who made a generous anonymous donation of six months of Triple Crown feed to help these horses get healthy. They are thriving on this feed and the care of their loving foster homes.
As these horses are rehabilitated, they become available for adoption. For more information, go to TBAR's website - www.t-bar.org - for more information on these and other available adoptable horses. Wrigley and Clark have already found their forever homes.
Stay tuned for more updates and pictures on 'The Candy Group' as they journey to wellness.