Project Arabian Horse Rescue
 By Winniefield Park   •   4th Mar 2016   •   2,662 views   •   0 comments
Project Arabian Horse Rescue

I really am a soft touch for a pretty face and the sight of a little grey Arabian gelding looking over the wall of an auction pen was more than I could resist. I didnít buy him for any other reason than he really needed a good home. He was too small for me to ride, and my daughter already had a good pony. But, little grey Arabs in auction pens have very dim futures, especially when there are transport trucks waiting outside. It didnít seem fair and I always like an interesting project. When I got home my daughter immediately named him. But the most important step of this project was to start feeding him well. He was very emaciated, with a body condition score of about 1, or ďthinĒ, with prominent bones and barely hidden spine. He wasnít the worst starvation case Iíve seen, but he was certainly in need of good nutrition.

Because he seemed healthy otherwise, he was fed free choice hay. Slowly, I added beet pulp, a fat/vitamin/mineral supplement, brewer's yeast and precooked 12% protein pellets three times a day. I also injected him with amino complex. There was always salt and water available.

The little Arab didnít arrive alone however. He came with a number of passengers in the form of lice. I quickly administered de-wormer and a delousing powder to evict all critters inside and out. His feet were also badly overgrown with long toes and very rundown heels. I trimmed about 1.5 inches from his hooves. Iím not the best farrier, but he walked more normally after, and not like his boots were too big for him.

At one point I was very concerned that he seemed to be puffing. His temperature was 100.1F. Normal ranges between 98F and 100F. I wasnít sure if this was because there was something significant going on, or just that it was a hot day and he was standing on the sun. His pulse was also a tiny notch above normal. But, just as I took the pulse, my daughter was arriving with the feed pails, so that could easily have accounted for the increase. Despite my concern, nothing changed over the following days and we continued to feed and delouse.

We had no fenced pasture, and my horses graze on round bales. I like horses to get living green grass as much as possible though, so it wasnít unusual for us to take our horses out to graze. In hand he was well mannered and friendly. At the beginning I didnít know if this is his character or if he was simply too weak to do much else. I had handled his feet, sprayed him with aerosol fly spray, put on a rain sheet, brushed all over, sprayed with grooming spray, had a fly mask on and off, needled and dosed him with a tube of paste wormer, but he was a gentleman through it all.

Once was he up to it, my daughter could hardly wait to ride him. And she did; walk, trot, turn, halt and he neck reined. But he was just starting to return to good health and a ride was hard work for him, so we kept it very short. He was starting to really fill out though, and threw a much larger shadow than when he had first arrived.

As his good condition increased and he gained energy however, he also gained attitude. He would throw in a little buck when asked to move on. If you walked past him in the paddock, he would lay his ears back at you, or turn his haunches to you. My daughter loved to ride him, but I was afraid heíd be too much horse for her. She still had her Section B Welsh, and hadnít really outgrown him yet. So it was an easy decision to send him to my sister for some extra work and to be sold. My part in the project was over, and it was gratifying to see a new owner take over. I didnít make a dime on the project, but a glossy coat and bright eye were more than enough return.
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