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Letter to the Editor: The Sweet Old Mare

web posted June 18, 2008
LETTER TO THE EDITOR – She had a long way to go but her heart and spirit were strong.  Even being in extreme pain, due to lack of proper hoof care, she valiantly hobbled her way to the awaiting horse trailer that would take her to a place that would give her all the care that she needs and deserves.  She is extremely underweight and flies biting her legs until they bleed.

Her difficulty in walking is due to not having her hooves properly trimmed.  So over time, the hooves curled up and she was left to walk on the bone that should have been up inside the hoof.  When I looked into her soft, brown eyes, I knew the sweet, old mare had just been waiting for someone to help her. Once we had cut the rusty, old barbed wire and made a gap for her to walk through (she couldn’t walk to the gate, it was too far away).

It took three long hours to get her from where she had been standing for several months, if not years, to the trailer just 150 feet away, loaded, driven the 9 miles to her sanctuary and then put into her new home.  For a normal horse it would have taken 30 minutes, at most.  The mare greeted her new roommate with great enthusiasm.  You could tell she had been alone for a long time.   If she could have jumped for joy, she would have!

We started her on good feed, slowly, she wasn’t used to anything but some hay and that was not near enough.  After being wormed and getting a steady diet, the sweet, old mare did start to gain weight.  That alone told us she had not been getting what she needed to sustain quality life.  She was, at least, 200 pounds under weight, all ribs showing, back bone and hip bones and due to her lameness, her muscles had atrophied.

Before the vet could get to see her, the mare went down.  All day, I stayed in the lot with her.  Twice a friend came and helped me get her up; just hoping she would be able to hang on.   I carried water to her and dribbled it in her mouth, begging her to please get up, knowing that that was our only hope of saving her.  Unfortunately, her prognosis was not good.  The vet stated that she had been so neglected that she would never be pain free even if her hooves were salvageable, which they were not.  The sweet, old mare was humanely euthanized that morning.

I ask any of you that are reading this if it even remotely sounds cruel and neglectful?  If so, we have a responsibility to demand that this kind of treatment is not tolerated and should be punishable in some form.  This horse gave 25 plus years to owners that decided it was easier to stop caring for her and just wait for her to die.  This mindset is completely unacceptable for any animal, large or small!

This sweet, old mare is now resting, no more pain or hunger.  Unfortunately, it didn’t have to be this way for her.  Her issues were completely avoidable.  It would have only taken normal hoof care and diet for her to have lived several more years.   Please, don’t let this happen again in our county.  Our animals deserve better than this and we are the only ones that can change this kind of treatment. 

Denise Lee Holcomb

Denise Lee Holcomb is Founder, All God’s Creatures 

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