Windfall

We lovingly call our newest friend “Gummy Bear”. He may never tell us his real name, but that's alright. This sweet soul has lived through a painful and exhausting life. His broken body tells his tale...
Emerson (my top student) and I follow all the online auctions and horse sales sites, we look at the new horses each week and pray they are saved – we know the painful truth, we can not save them all. But every once in a while there is one who hits us in a way we can't ignore. I awoke one morning with a text from Emerson “you have got to see this horse”. I could feel her urgency and checked before I even got up – there he was, I still don't have words to describe it but he was special. I ran downstairs and Emerson was already at my house. We looked at his pictures over and over and within 10 minutes I called and purchased him. I'd never done anything this crazy before – but he had no other options. He was sitting in a kill lot and ready to go to slaughter, while we've seen many go through this kill lot, he was one I couldn't let go by without trying for. When our trailer arrived at the kill lot to pick him up he was already on the slaughter truck! He must have rolled and rubbed off his auction number, so without knowing who he was and that he was purchased they loaded him up for slaughter. Luckily our trailer driver recognized him right away and blocked the driveway with her truck until she got it sorted out.
When he arrived home and settled in we were able to tell the true extent of his history. We could tell by his pictures he had scars and sores. But in person they became more telling, a complete story. He had been an Amish carriage horse, likely also a plow horse (based on the angle of the rubs). He wears the print of his harness engrained into his body. He has sores and rubs on top of old scars and rubbed bald patches. He has been worked long and worked hard. You can see every strap of the harness rubbed raw into his neck, sides, stifles, hips and face.

The worst aspect of his injuries was the damage to his hind pasterns, they were sunken, almost to the ground, his hocks compensating to near straightness. This painful issue was diagnosed by our vets as DSLD, a degenerative disease of his ligaments, as they breakdown from work they don't heal as they should. As our vets mentioned – any horse diagnosed with this disease should never work a day. But work he did, hard and long so his disease progressed much faster than it ever should have. His ligaments tore, pulled and strained and were unable to heal from all the work he's done. At only 15 his disease has digressed so severely the vets predict he'll have less than a year left before his pain takes over.
Needless to say we were crushed by this terrible news. We knew his pasterns were quite damaged but were devastated that this issue will be progressive despite all the best care we can provide. Regardless we are so thrilled he has come to live here with us. Here he has an opportunity to learn what joy is, what love is, what freedom is, what it is to be a horse. He has already been bombarded by all the specialist vets we can offer him to provide him relief from all the side things – a dental, a chiropractor, massage and accupressure. We will keep him as comfortable as possible as long as he wants.
In the time he's been here he has begun to open up, only a little to us, but very much to his equine friend Wisp. He spends his days getting groomed, cuddled, fed treats and spoiled rotten by the children at the barn. He plays in the field with Wisp when he feels up to it, forages for new yummies and watches the small ponies frolick in the paddock next door. He has learned how delicious apples, carrots, watermelon, and pellets are. Along with all the treats he also gets a collection of specialty herbal supplements and herbal painkillers. He'll stay on these until they aren't strong enough to keep him comfortable, then we'll move up to stronger pain relief – until that isn't enough. As of right now he's very content in his new, cooshy lifestyle. He spends his nights tucked into a stall with a window to his friend Wispy and his legs wrapped up in circulation improving support wraps.
We will throw everything we've got at him to buy him as many days of happiness as he can get. He's had so many days of pain, he deserves as much as we can give him. He has only been with us a short time, but our love for him is so extreme, none of us can walk by without going and fussing on him. He is really coming to enjoy the attention. Every day, one at a time, he will know joy.

The Amish Horse