New "Rescue" horse & new to the forum - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By beverleyy
  • 4 Post By Prairie
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2016
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New "Rescue" horse & new to the forum

Hello All!
You can call me Abbie :)
I have always wanted a horse, ever since I can remember. My dream was finally fulfilled last week, when I rescued a once-beautiful bay mare from a bad position. She had lived in the swampy woods behind my house for nearly 5 years without access to much food or preventive medical care (worming, vaccines, hoof care, etc.). She is a tough girl, had been doing fairly fine until this January when her health began to decline; she lost a lot of weight and began walking with a funny gait. Everything in these woods has thorns on it, so she is covered in scars.
I bought her last Sunday, and took her home. I am planning to have a vet come and look at her within a few weeks, but until I can put together enough money to do that, what should I be doing in the meantime? How should I feed her? I would guess she is around 20 years old (just by looking at her teeth--I'm a novice!). I currently have her on about an acre of pasture; however, we are in drought conditions where I live, and there's not much grass growing.
Any additional tips for a totally green horse owner would be awesome!
beetandsteet is offline  
post #2 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 07:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: west coast
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Do you have a trainer or experienced friend you can be chatting with regarding this? I mean this in the best way possible, but you do not sound experienced enough to take on a horse out of the blue. That said, I do not know your prior horse experience, however it definitely sounds like you're very unsure. Can you board the horse at a facility near you with your trainer? From what I understand, sounds like the horse is on your own property currently, but in your case I would recommend for your sake - and the horse's sake - to keep it at a facility with a knowledgeable trainer who can aid you in the care of this horse. Owning any horse is difficult at best, but especially a rescue if you aren't knowledgeable in how to put that weight back on correctly and safely, as well as looking for underlying issues.
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beverleyy is offline  
post #3 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 07:43 PM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: CT USA an English transplant
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You at least need to be supplementing the grazing with hay if your grass isn't growing - and a small patch like that will soon be eaten bare anyway.
The sooner you can get a vet to check her over the better.

Just winging it is not a plan
jaydee is offline  
post #4 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2016
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First off, welcome to the forum, Abbie!

As for advice, I agree that she needs at least hay as a supplement. She should have access to water and shade at all times, even if you don't have a stall (?)

I hope you can get the vet in as soon as possible, and make sure to ask the vet as many questions as you can about caring for your new friend. Also, if you know of any knowledgeable horse people, I'd suggest calling them up and getting some more in depth advice from them. Since she is a rescue horse, there may be different things you need to do aside from basic horse care. For example, if she's underweight you need to get her on a specialized diet to help her gain weight back; if she has parasites then you need to get her on a worming schedule that best fits the type of parasites she has; her hooves may not be in the best shape if she's been standing around in swampy water, so you'll need to get a farrier out; etc.

Here are a few useful links I found for basic horse care to get you started on your research, but I highly recommend getting additional help from experienced horse people in your area:

Basic Horse Care Information and Guidelines

Horse Health Care | EquiSearch

Good luck, and keep us updated!
SeaBreezy20 is offline  
post #5 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 08:40 PM
Join Date: May 2016
Location: The boondocks of Kansas
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If you can't afford to get the vet out to check this mare now, please find a home for her that has the financial means to give her the care she needs. Horses are a luxury, an expensive one at that. Just properly feeding them can be expensive, especially during a drought.

An acre of grazing is nothing for a horse---our 2 mini's dry lot is bigger than that and no grass will grow on it because they eat it too fast even with free choice hay. You need at least a ton of good quality hay, preferably alfalfa because it's nutrient dense if she really needs to gain weight plus a good quality grain concentrate, probably a Senior feed since most are complete and easy to digest-----Those 2 feeds could easily cost you $200 (USA). The grain needs to be worked up over a couple of weeks so you are feeding the amount per the feed tag for her ideal weight.

Depending on how this mare is, you may be dealing with refeeding syndrome and compromised organs----only a vet can determine this. Both of those conditions require special feeding and if fed incorrectly or the wrong feed types, the horse will die. She'll also need both a salt and mineral block, fresh, clean water available all the time, a clean shelter that bedded so she has a comfortable place to lie down. Add in fly spray, treats, at least a couple types of fly traps, a fan to keep her comfortable in the heat and help deter insects, feed buckets, halter, and lead rope---Horses are expensive!

When the vet checks her over, hopefully within the next day or 2, have him pull blood to check for compromised organs, take a stool sample to run an FEC, and ask about starting her vaccination program. Also go to the bank and start a savings account to cover emergency care expenses, adding to it with every paycheck. You sure don't want to be in the position where you have to have her PTS because you can't afford that emergency care.

Sorry to be a downer, but we've done enough rescuing of both horses and dogs to know the reality of just how expensive animals can be. However, there is nothing more rewarding that watching a starving, abused animal recover and find joy in life, knowing that you were the one who believed in him and nursed him back to health.
Prairie is offline  
post #6 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 09:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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^^Couldn't have said it any better than @Prairie did. Please take her advice to heart and get the vet out ASAP. The vet can also recommend a suitable place to keep the horse so she will have equine companions.
egrogan is offline  
post #7 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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let the vet know of the circumstances from which you took her, and your financial status. he/she will, possibly, reduce the charges and will most likely set up a payment plan for you. I'd get a vet out sooner than later, just for an overall check up. horse will likely need worming, teeth floating, and vaccinations . as to feeding her up, go slowly. if she is not used to a rich diet, add new things in little by little.
tinyliny is offline  
post #8 of 8 Old 08-11-2016, 11:51 PM
Join Date: May 2016
Location: The boondocks of Kansas
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For a starving horse, KISS is advised----their system doesn't know what to do with food initially so small meals fed of only alfalfa hay initially fed every couple of hours round the clock are the best option if possible.

For our rescued TWH gelding, body condition score of 1 and not thought to survive the winter by 5 vets, (rescued him in early October) hubby or I were up every 2 hours to feed him small amounts of alfalfa round the clock for a week. After the fear of refeeding syndrome passed (approx. 2 weeks), we gradually weaned him to being fed every 4 hours round the clock and slowly added a Senior grain to his diet. It took close to a month to get him on our normal feeding schedule of feeding twice a day with extra hay thrown at noon and barn check if needed.

Also, don't expect the added weight to make a huge difference visually initially if she is a walking skeleton----the body builds fat around vital organs to protect them initially before build muscles and a fat covering over the ribs, neck, and hindquarters. In 5 months, our gelding gained a little over 500 lbs, but he still lacked muscling, especially in his hindquarters despite being on pasture and playing hard with his herd. It took another year for his hindquarters to really muscle up.
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