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Neglected Horse Before
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Neglected Horse After
"When I first saw Patches, the farrier had already cut the long feet off but they showed me the first photo. Tears immediately ran down my face, as it is incomprehensible to me how anybody can neglect an animal to this extent. The sorrow is long gone now. Patches moves around very well, she's in love and so mischievous." -- Linda Hansen, Equine Chiropractor and one of Patches' rehabilitation team.
On a cold day in January, 2007, Jessica Berman, an executive member of Harrisburg Humane Society got a call that an emaciated pony was in urgent need of rescue. Jessica and some friends immediately jumped in her truck to pick up the little pony, not knowing the horrible sight that would meet them.
Durin g the first 10 years of Patches' life, she seemed to be well cared for, but when her owner died, she was abandoned on a steep hill with some water at the bottom. A bale of hay and a sorely built pile of wood served as shelter at the top of the hill.
For 10 years, Patches made her way from the top of the hill to the bottom for water. All along, her health deteriorated as she received no care.
By the time she was rescued, her hooves had grown to 24 inches, which made walking nearly impossible and very painful. Her coat was caked in mud, tail and mane matted with burrs. Jessica and her helpers at Bedrock Farm spent 4 hours grooming Patches to get her looking like a pony again. She was attended to by a veterinarian, dentist, and farrier right away. She had to be reintroduced very slowly to healthy grasses and grains.
I met Patches in April, 3 months after her rescue. She still had a very hard time walking. Her tendons were terribly bowed, the hooves had been cut back as much as possible (and continue to be corrected) by the capable and patient farrier. She was very thin, and her ribs could easily be counted.
I assessed that normal acupressure would be too much for Patches? system, so I decided that the most important part would be to get her more mobile. I used my cold laser on her legs, knowing it has reversed even old bent tendons in other horses. After the first treatment, she was walking better
Patches had a bit of a problem gaining weight, so I asked Heidi Fahnestock, a sales rep for DAC (vitamins and minerals for livestock) if they had something that would help. Heidi's company generously donated 2 big buckets of DAC's "Orange Superior" and "Yucca Five Way.? Within 2 weeks of starting the supplements, Patches regained shine in her coat, and her muscles began to fill out.
It is an inspiration for me to see how strong-willed an abused animal can be and the gratefulness they show when treated right. At my last visit I was told that Patches participates when her pasture mate "Gentleman" and his owner Kristin Herzing, an accomplished dressage rider, practice in the indoor arena. Patches even musters up a light trot every now and then.
Recently, Patches broke down the door to the feed room. That could have been her death, but she just made a big mess. She did not eat the food; she was just curious. A lock was put on the door, but she managed to get even that open. Now they have 2 padlocks.
She does not do stalls. She will kick the door until it falls off the hinges, so she is allowed to wander the whole indoor arena and aisle when weather is bad. She mostly stands by her friend Gentleman's stall, so they are together. (I suggested to Jessica that she expand her operation with "married couples" quarters.)
With the ongoing work of the farrier and my frequent treatments, and all the loving care from Jessica and her volunteers, Patches is now moving around comfortably. She has a lively, happy look in her eyes, and has gained trust.
Due to the special needs of this spirited pony, Patches will live with Jessica at Bedrock Farm for the rest of her life. She will never again have to worry about food, water or shelter.
Linda Hansen is an equine and small animal chiropractor. After graduating in 1988 from Palmer College of Chiropractic and spending time taking care of humans, she decided to study animals and made the switch in 2001. Contact Linda at FSHLIN@aol.com