On March 12, 2011, some friends of mine and I went to a "rescue auction." We had heard a lot of bad things about the owner (by means of depriving his horses of nutrition) and thought we would give him a chance... and maybe get a good horse!
They had some horses in stalls, okay. Some scrappy looking weanlings, a senior (extremely emaciated) mare, and other "rescue" projects. The BO also had some boarders there, who looked fine.
During the auction we noticed 4 horses tied up in the back of the barn, and 3 of us (me and 2 other girls) went back to investigate. A fourth girl, who was only 11, wanted to go. But we didn't let her, seeing as we didn't know if any of these horses were aggressive.
While there, one of the girls said: "This looks like Mo" toward one of the older horses. He looked like he was at death's door... no muscle tone, flesh very squishy (it was like poking a loosely-filled water balloon), and eyes that were extremely dull. His coat was scraggly and coarse, and his mane absolutely disgusting. The girl looked him over more, and began to cry. "This is my horse," she told us.
We bought him for $85... Would have had him for $5, but the BO sent one of his workers (she had no number) to run up the bids and she paid extra attention to running this one up. (She stopped bidding against us after we called her out. The dolt admitted not 10 minutes earlier while bidding against someone else that she didn't have a bidding number!)
After we got him home a day later, he was more than happy to guzzle the hay/alfalfa mix and chug the water. Our vet said that she would have given him 3 weeks or less at the other barn before his organs began to fail and he died.
So here we are, less than 3 months later, and he looks like a new horse! After battling with Azoturia, hair loss (from malnutrition; he was completely bald!!), lice, and an eye infection, we have a new horse who is beginning his exercises to build up the lost muscle tone to soon be ridden! When he was losing his hair, he lost everything on his face except for his stripe... what and odd thing it was! He had to wear a fly mask and got sunscreened-up to prevent burning.
To get Mo where he is, he got every-other-day baths for a month (for the lice and hair loss), got up to 8 quarts of grain a day (we started him at 1 cup and worked our way up), free-feeding on grass and 4 flakes of hay overnight.
Mo's story comes to show that horses can make a come-back. He used to run 17 seconds on large barrel patterns no more than 5 years ago! While he won't be running barrels any time soon, he's found some fun in running around and playing with our younger horses whenever possible. (: He's kept up with Creampuff and Spirit (separated from our main herd) and he enjoys to court Spirit... who could honestly care less for his company. Haha!
What about you guys? Have you ever found yourself with a "useless" nag who made an unbelievable come-back?
Also, sorry for the image being small. I can't get Photobucket to work and the attachment re-sized it. If you'd like to see the full image, PM me your e-mail address and I can send it to you.