These animals are special, they have endured great abuse and neglect, they have beaten unimaginable odds, and, incredibly, they have chosen to trust in the very same type of animals responsible for their suffering. To have such heart is to set an amazing example of grace, of goodness, a nod at divinity. It is our responsibility to ensure these horses will be, forevermore, exempt from indignities once known and will live in the care of people who appreciate them, who personify love.
On May 29th we took in two horses, Spirit and Bailey, who were 2 of 25 starving horses from a cruelty and neglect case being worked on by Valiant Animal Rescue. Spirit, a 10 year old chestnut grade quarter horse mare was a 1 on the Henneke scale who required iv fluids upon arrival at LEARN and her condition was guarded and Bailey, a grade 15 year old Buckskin mare who was heavy in foal when she arrived and a 3 on the Henneke scale and her condition was fair.
Heartbreakingly, due to her emaciated condition, Bailey miscarried her foal a week after her arrival at the rescue. He was approximately 30 days early and perfectly beautiful, a buckskin like his precious mom. We tried our best, gave our all, and prayed for a different outcome. Bailey's foal is buried at our main farm with others who have crossed the rainbow bridge.
Rescue work is often ugly and heartbreaking. We always look, often search, for beauty in the ashes, a silver lining. In this case an email from Georgia was to be what we prayed for. Said email came in shortly after a little emaciated mare arrived here, pictures were attached. The sender believed our new girl was a 10 year old grade mare she rescued five years ago and had adopted out to a loving family. Indeed, "Sweetness", from the recent Hampton County case, was actually "Spirit", once rescued and loved by an angel named Mandy. Four days later Mandy arrived at the barn to visit her dear Spirit and to convince the mare to fight for her life, to not give up. We saw and felt the power of love and prayer as the two basked in one anothers comfort.
Spirit was not out of the woods yet, her condition was critical. We worked diligently with our veterinarians to give her frail body every opportunity to heal and thrive. The reconnection with Mandy was an extra boost to our caregiving and an amazing gift. Our volunteers, supporters and Mandy were the shining threads in Spirit's silver lining on her journey to restored health and, eventually, back to her forever home with Mandy.
With your love, support, and prayers, these two mares, Bailey and Spirit, survived, thrived, and have now been adopted into an incredible, forever home, together. Theirs was a daunting recovery riddled with complications. The will they possessed to live, the unconditional love and amazing care provided by our volunteers, and the unwavering dedication to one another, buoyed both mares throughout the three month rehabilitation process. The depth of love and concern they shared was, and is, palpable and we knew they couldn't be separated.
In December of last year, this group of six starved horses came to L.E.A.R.N. from an animal neglect case in Camden, South Carolina. All were 1's and 2's on the Henneke Body Scoring Scale which meant a lot of time and money with intense rehabilitation. Thanks to your love, prayers, and support they all recovered and 5 of the 6 have been adopted!
Karlos, Lara, Walt, Tommy & Patrick found their forever homes!
Susie Q is still available for adoption.
Please look for their story as the documentary, Finding Forever Homes, unfolds.
Al's muzzle after dog attack
On September 26, 2017, we received a phone call from a local police officer who was on scene with a pony that had been mauled by dogs. The officer was shaken by the situation, it reflected in his voice, and knew the pony needed immediate medical attention. He was awaiting the arrival of animal control so that proper legal actions were taken but he needed us to be prepared. We sent out many calls for transport in that area. The Bazzle family (wonderful volunteers who have also adopted two of our horses) headed out with no questions asked. Dr. Lizzy Wisner, a veterinarian living not far from the scene, was there within 30 minutes of receiving clearance. She made an initial evaluation and administered emergency medical care.
The pony was loaded and transported to Charleston Equine Clinic where Dr. Nikki assumed night treatment. After reviewing the first photos from Dr. Wisner we informed both vets that, should the wounds be too great and the pony suffering, humane euthanasia was expected. Imagine our shock when they responded that the little guy was bright, alert, and responsive, eating hay and drinking water.
The miniature horse, a grulla Appaloosa with a blanket to be precise, was later aptly named Al Pacino. He was tough, a fighter, and he had the will to live. We made a promise to give him that opportunity. After weeks of daily treatment, Al made an amazing recovery with barely a scar to show from his ordeal. Al is now in his wonderful, forever home!
Captain before being seized by animal control
Captain, Rooster, Coco and Gracie came to LEARN in July of 2017 from Orangeburg County and were all in varying stages of starvation. We are very grateful to the ASPCA for providing a grant to help with their rehabilitation and our many supporters for donations made towards their care. After a few months of rehabilitation and then training they all went on to new homes where they are loved by their amazing humans.
The day they were rescued
Lakota, Cloud and Rain came to L.E.A.R.N. in November of 2016 after Bamberg County Animal Control seized them. They were all underweight and had not received veterinary, dental or farrier work in years. Rain went to his forever home in December of 2017 and Cloud found hers in June of 2019. Lakota is still awaiting his forever home.
Reduced to skin and bones, corralled into make shift holding pens, calling out to fellow survivors, numbers painted on their heads for identification. This is the fate of 20 horses that survived starvation by an owner in Orangeburg County in January 2016. LEARN took in 7 of these horses who were in the worst condition, other groups took in the remainder.