Submitted by Sheri in NY
We all love horses but sometimes we donít know what we are doing. Our lack of horse experience is only hurting the animal that we love. This is Annie's story. A nice woman with little knowledge bought a horse for her husband as a present. He was the horseman in the family and with no kids they spent a lot of time riding horses in CA and then in NJ were they lived. They had a few Standardbreds from rescues that they acquired, over the next few years. When the marriage broke up and the older horses died Annie was left alone with an old crippled goat, and an old goose. So the ex-wife free leased Annie to an older lady nearby that rode. Annie was part of a herd, again and happy, trail riding. The ex-wife got lonely for her pasture pet and the goose had died leaving the old goat alone so she asked for the horse, back. The nice lady that leased the horse said ok but only if you fix the place up so it is safe for the horse. The lady also offered to come do the work of repairing the place.
The ex-wife refused, promising to do the work with her brother. When the day (May) arrived to bring Annie back to the old place the lady was very upset as the driveway area was not cleared and the hauler had problems. Annie fell in the trailer going up the drive. The fencing hadnít been repaired and the fenced in area hadnít been cleared of tall brush and burdock. The lady cried as she left but she didnít own the horse. The ex-wife didnít want to sell Annie. In the next few months, Annie, was in the care of the ex-wife. Annie got a cut (June) on the crest of her neck and not knowing how to treat it she poured ammonia on the wound.
I received an email from a friend that knew I might be in the market for another horse. Since I have a draft and we fo driving and riding. I was contacted to see if I might be interested. This was in September. I contacted the ex- wife and went to look at Annie. She was covered in burrs. I could barely see a tail, as it was a stub all the hair was matted with burrs. She was afraid to let you near her tail area, as it seemed so sore. Her mane was missing a section it was from the wound she had gotten in June. I removed a dried scab that was larger then a fist. The rest was full of burrs. I didnít bring brushes as I had assumed this person would have some. She didnít but went in the garage and brought me what she had, a shedding blade and a large toothed comb missing a few teeth. I set to work. About an hour later I felt she was clean enough for a pad and saddle. I tacked her, which was a feat since she was now a wreck. I got on her and all she did was dance around trying to buck, spinning, etc. The field she was in had many rock outcroppings so I didnít dare let her loose. I just kept trying to calm her down. My husband is saying not a chance. I, in turn am, saying, to myself I canít leave her here. I told the owner I would be back
on the weekend with my son and trailer. If my son liked her I would bring her home. Now every trick in the book is running through my head on how to get this horse out of here.
I get home and the owner calls me to say she wants to keep Annie and has changed her mind. I was a wreck trying to convince the owner that this is it she has to let her go. But, she only promises to call me if things change. Which I tell her if I have another horse I will not have room. Two months later, I did finally find another horse and the day before pick up. I get a call at 10am to come get Annie she has the render coming for the goat. I load my son and head down to see Annie. I get there as fast as I can. I found the owner out and Annie worse looking then the last time I saw her. My son steps over the fence and brushes her well and throws the saddle on. He thinks she will be a fine addition to the family so we plan on coming back the next morning for Annie. The owner shows up and Annie starts acting jumpy again. We talk and it is a go with no changes. I am to take her even if the owner has left for work. I get a paper stating as much. We check on what she has been eating and find that the horse has been
in 12% complete 2 cans morning and night with ½ gallon of water mixed in and let set for an hour. Then she gets one flake of hay morning and night. That is all. Since her weight seems good. Now I asked when her teeth were
last done. The owner doesnít know. She has never and the vet said it didní t need doing. Then I asked about the shots and coggins, worming. She is up to date on all vetting wasnít wormed in months. It seems the leasee had
work done and had her shod at one time.
Next morning when we come to get Annie she didnít want to get on the trailer and the owner is still there. She is crying and very upset that Annie is leaving. She loves this horse very much. She tells us of the trailer accident as she leaves for work. Now, that we know that it isnít going easy to load her. We decide that my son will ride in back for the trip home. But as soon as the owner left she hopped on the trailer. She made the trip well and had no problems getting off. She settled in fairly quickly. She is very nervous around me and will push me around if given a chance. It took a long time the next day to get all the burrs out as she pushed me aside twice and ran out of the barn. She wasnít eating well for the next few weeks.
I finally got a hold of the equine dentist and he came out special with the holidays for a visit. Nothing like a challenge to bring him running. He worked for almost an hour on her. He was amazed she was eating at all, as
her teeth didnít line up at all. She could only eat coarse hay, as it was all she could keep in her mouth. The green gruel was all she could eat which must have been why she needed the feed watered down. The old ownerís vet had recommended it.
After the dentist left us with orders to watch her for the next week as her jaw muscles had atrophied. She would get sore very easily while eating. So we had several days of her not eating at all now. We finally got her to eat but the only thing she seems to like is Equine Adult now with about two flakes a meal. She seems to maintain her weight on air.
Next was to get the farrier in here. It seems her feet hadnít been done since she had left the leaseeís in May. They were still undone in the pictures taken by Cee. They were rough not too long. Because of her inability to chew she wasnít getting all the nutrients from the feed. So her hoof wall was separating from the inner hoof. Her feet are hard and in no time will be perfect according to the farrier. This spring we will have a total physical done with the vet.
The past owner loved her horse but she had no idea that the vet that was taking care of her horse wasnít doing all that should be done. She didnít want her husband to get the horse out of the marriage so she had hid Annie from him. Then years later when she was in custody of the horse again she didnít know how to care for it properly. Was she a bad person? No, just she didnít have any knowledge so she was at the mercy of others. Did the facilities need work? YES. Was the horse going to get seriously hurt? No. If she had been frightened and tried to run out of her area, yes, she would of gotten tangled in the fencing that was less then a foot high in areas. This fencing was woven wire cattle fencing which needed supports and it was all rolled up tangled in weeds. This lady loved this horse and knew she couldnít care for it properly so she gave it to me. Her first choice had been to try and give Annie to a Therapeutic Riding Program. When they had no room. I was contacted since Annie is a draft or draft cross of some type. She is way too hot for a therapeutic program. She is twenty + years old and unpapered. All horses should be papered in some way. This poor mare has been moved all over in her life. The last owner bought her at the end of season from a hack stable ten years ago. Then during the divorce hid her out of state. Then leased her to someone. Now she is with me for good. I just hope what ever her history someday I can find out why this all happened to her.
Annie is very sweet and loving when given a chance. She isnít too sure of what is happening some times.
I hope someone will see her pictures and be able to tell me more about her. Where she is from and what has happened to her. She is roaning around her head. She had a blond mane and tail that will grow back someday. She does a running walk or pace. I just havenít been able to figure it out yet. I am either on her or too far away when she is going anywhere. I am sure this summer when we get a chance we will figure it out. But, until then she can just eat and play with the boys.
If anyone knows this horse please email the owner of the website to get in touch with me.