So, through the Fugly Horse Blog, and through here and twitter, about $450 has been raised for Grace. In this economy, I appreciate that $10 for someone is like $100 for someone else. Every dollar is deeply appreciated.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a painfully thin horse, but I’ve worked with many horses that had suffered neglect and abuse before. The thing I worry about, even more than their physical condition, is their mental condition. I’ve seen horses refuse to make eye contact, huddle in the corner, shiver and shake under a gentle touch. I’ve seen horses who were barely weak enough to stand, yet somehow not weak enough to kick. Frightened, angry, not trusting, wanting to die.
I’ve talked with horses who didn’t want to talk to me, who were afraid, and always angry.
And then here’s Grace. Our conversations are quite short. I don’t want to overwhelm, and really, I don’t know her well.
We talk about her neck, which hurts. We talk about drinking enough water. We talk about not eating dirt and manure. She doesn’t want to eat it, doesn’t like it, but her hunger is sometimes all-encompassing.
She’s not frightened. She knows where she is. When I ask about Darla, she says, “I am with ‘Kindness’.” That’s her word for Darla, Kindness.
I wouldn’t say she’s the most appreciative horse in the world. She asked me to tell Darla “Thank you”, but it was the Thank You of a noble horse, not the gush of someone in dire need. And that’s okay. Do we really need for her to appreciate a little food, after people starved her for months? Naw. She can just be Grace.
Darla is using advice from UCDavis. I am heartened that folks have something to follow, and also absolutely disgusted that something like this has to exist. Here’s more info from the Starving Horse Website on how to care for a starving horse.
The hardest part of bringing a starved body back is taking it slow.
Here’s a note from Darla from a couple of days ago:
Tonight…between 4:30 and 5:00, after her meal, Grace followed me relentlessly around the pen. When I finally stopped, she stopped and inched closer. I rubbed my hands all over her, trying to do some light massage, but I don’t know that she enjoyed it. She seemed to like a light touch on her poll, as long as she was able to lay her cheek against my stomach. When I would stop, she would bring her face up to mine – not her nose – but her EYE to MY eye – as if she was seriously trying to tell me something. She did this several times.
When I started back up the drive with the empty bucket, she pitched a fit. A nicker, then a whinney, then a SCREAM! I set the bucket down (not wanting to give her false hope) and went back. Through the panel, she did the same thing – brought her eye up to my face as if to carefully scrutinize everything.
Grace is a horse that wants to connect on her terms. I love that.
She’s not out of the woods yet, but medically, we’re seeing some improvement. Her heart murmur (which was a 4 on a scale of 1-6 (6 being really bad)), is gone. She has a glimmer in her eye. She continues to remain upright and she hasn’t experienced colic.
The next two weeks are crucual. She’s continuing to receive veterinary care, of course, and Darla continues to feed her high fat food every 2 hours (How she does this, I have no idea. I’d be a basket-case.).
I don’t know anything about Grace’s former owners. I think it’d be rude to ask her about it. And she hasn’t wanted to talk about it. I also don’t know if they are being investigated or charged, but I would assume that they are. When I find out more, I’ll let you know.
If you want to help out Strawberry Mountain Mustangs take care of Grace, Darla and her hubby would deeply appreciate it. Even $5 or $10 can help a lot!
Please donate by hitting this button:
I promise to keep you updated about Grace. I’m hoping that in a few months, we see a shiny, Graceful girl!