We are so pleased to be able to have a happy ending to the post we put up on Monday about three babies who were at a feedlot on the border.
Hanaeleh’s president Elizabeth happened to be scrolling through Facebook when she saw the post by Auction Horses Rescue. They were trying to network weanlings and yearling horses that had been rounded up from the Navajo reservation. Their mothers had immediately been shipped to slaughter, and the feedlot had been trying to sell off the foals, but there were three left that had no one to step up.
The foals who were flashier: the gruella, the palomino- they were immediately adopted, but the black, bay and chestnut were left. Auction Horses Rescue (AHR) had been trying to network the foals for several weeks, but they couldn’t find anyone who would adopt them. They had people who offered to put up money for their bail, but no one who could or would take them. Finally, they hit the deadline when the foals were ready to ship out, and they posted that they were just going to buy the foals and have them humanely euthanized so they wouldn’t have to experience the same horrific ending their mothers had experienced.
We don’t have the room for any other horses, and certainly we don’t have the budget to take on even more mouths to feed and veterinary bills to pay, but just the thought of babies being killed for no reason just seemed too wrong not to try to do something to save them.
Elizabeth immediately messaged AHR, asking if she could at least have one day to try to find them a home, and AHR was able to negotiate that with the trader. We put up a post on our blog and social media pages, and the following morning put out an email, and were immediately rewarded with several people who wanted to help, but still no place to put them. Thankfully, one of our previous board members called. Her original idea was to take one baby, but she amended it to foster all three so we could save them all. We contacted AHR and told them we had secured a place to put the babies.
AHR let us know that someone else had purchased the black colt, so we only had to take the bay filly (Serenity) and the chestnut colt (Dutton). BUT…
You’re looking at the pictures right now and saying, “But there are three horses in the pictures- wait a second… is that… a MULE?”
The mule (Abe) was in with the babies, and he hadn’t any other options, either. He is a pony-sized mule, also unhandled, and while not a baby, still young. We cleared it with Kelley, and so went from three babies, to two babies and a mule.
The Babies (and Mule!) Arrive
There was a bit of a mix-up that morning when the babies arrived at their new foster home- Elizabeth thought that they were leaving the feedlot at 10am, but in reality they were arriving at the foster home at 10am! Thankfully Kelley was able to rush home and meet the hauler. They were able to drive up onto her property and they opened up the truck so the babies were able to walk right into the corral without any issues.
All three were clearly exhausted, but they settled in very quickly. Kelley named the colt, “Dutton,” and the filly, “Serenity,” and her young client named the mule, “Abe.” Dutton is the most outgoing of the three, and within a short time was even walking up to Kelley and taking some food out of her hand. He is a striking boy, with an interesting blaze, and seems quick to assess his surroundings and the current situation. He is obviously the alpha in the herd, and Serenity and Abe seem to take their cues from him. He is thin, with a dull, thick winter coat. He has burs in his mane and tail, and both are terribly matted. His coat will shed out once he has decent nutrition- a horse who has been starved will not have the ability to grow a summer coat, and therefore the body will hold onto the winter coat even if the weather becomes warm.
Serenity is more timid, and relies on Dutton quite a bit, but is still willing to push Abe around and let him know when he is getting too close or if she wants the food. She is thin and is completely covered in burs and mud. She also has a thick winter coat because she hasn’t had the nutrition to be able to grow a summer coat. If she is indeed only about six months old, she was probably still drinking her mother’s milk when her mother was separated from her and shipped. We are the most concerned about her, because she is very thin and seems to be the most emotionally affected by the situation.
Abe is wary of people but otherwise doesn’t seem spooky- just not comfortable around humans. He has the best weight of all three and seems to be a stout, stocky boy. He is pony-sized, and has a short little mane. He is a lovely almost black, dark bay/seal brown color with white on three of his legs. We don’t know how old he is, although AHR said that it appeared that he is young. He is the lowest on the totem pole of the three, and both Dutton and Serenity will push him around, but he seems pretty stoic and overall unphased even when the try to push him off of the food (although they will let him come back and eat after a minute).
Dutton, Serenity and Abe all need to be examined by a vet, but they have not been handled by people other than being rounded up and then shoved onto a trailer. They have to be quarantined for a month because they were at a feedlot, so we have some time to work on getting them used to people and to being touched. This all happened so quickly that we don’t even have halters in their size! (We did buy some.)
But the first step is feeding them, and trying to get Dutton and Serenity back to a healthy weight. They are on several feedings a day in order to prevent them from bolting their food, and they are getting a small feeding of pellets with electrolytes as well. We will eventually add in a supplement, but we don’t want to shock their system too much all at once.
While they are in quarantine and can’t do much besides eat, the second step is getting them used to people, and getting them to the point that we can halter them. Most of this is just hanging out with them and having them accepting and comfortable with humans in their space.
The third next step is to get the vet out so they can do an assessment of the three. At that point we will have a better idea of any needs they may have.
Finally, once they are vetted and we can make sure they are healthy, we will look for homes for the three. Until then, however, they are safe, they have enough food, and they are loved- something that is only possible because of Kelley and the people who offered to help financially support these three.
Please donate to help pay for Dutton, Serenity or Abe’s ongoing care. Click here to donate and note that it’s for the babies.