Sable came to Hanaeleh at the end of March 2022; we rescued her and Tilly from a situation where they were not cared for appropriately. Their stalls at their previous home had not been cleaned in months, and Sable’s hooves had suffered. She had dropped soles and had foundered as well. Additionally, while she was on medication to treat Cushings, it was not the correct dose.
When we brought Tilly and Sable to Hanaeleh, we were not sure if we would be able to rehabilitate Sable because her condition was so poor. Her stomach was scarred from the urine scald from lying in manure everyday. Her mane was knotted and full of dreadlocks. The previous owner had cut her tail rather than try to brush it out, so it was just hacked off. We did what we could, however, and she seemed to be improving. We shaved her old, ugly hair off, brushed out her mane that hadn’t been touched in months, and had the vet out to try to get her on the correct dosage of Prascend. The farrier did what he could with her hooves, but the truth was that there wasn’t much that we could do. We put her on some pain medication to keep her comfortable, and crossed our fingers that Sable would improve.
For months Sable DID improve.
She was put on a special diet for her Cushings and insulin resistance. Her hair began to get soft and healthy. Her feet grew out and we were able to put shoes on, and Sable enjoyed running around the arena. Sable hadn’t been handled in almost a year, so she didn’t know how to stand at the tie rail or walk on the line- but with time and consistency she became easy to work with. The volunteers were able to walk her around and groom her, and Sable LOVED to be groomed. Her favorite thing was to “mutually groom” (rub her nose back and forth across the person) anyone who would scritch her whither area. She absolutely loved her whithers and back scratched!
Sable had a lot of horse friends at the ranch
Sable pretty much wanted to be friends with all of the other horses! Tilly had decided pretty quickly when she came to the ranch that she was now BFFs with Garnet, and essentially ignored Sable, but Sable became good friends with Raven, who lived next to her. The girls would often be found hanging out together.
When Sable didn’t like something, however, it was very obvious because she would give us a dirty look and would scrunch her nose up and move her nose to grumble at us under her breath. Whether it was giving her medicine or shaving her old hair off, she let us know if she disapproved.
Sable started showing signs of discomfort
A few weeks ago we noticed that Sable was having hoof issues and seemed tender on her feet. We weren’t sure what the issue was, and even removed the shoes to see if that might help, but Sable continued to get more uncomfortable, and it was obvious that she was foundering. While we changed her pain medication to try to help keep her comfortable, she just kept getting worse. Our vet said that the fall is a typical time for horses who are laminitic to have hoof issues, but whatever the reason, this past week it was obvious that Sable was just in too much pain and we knew we had to let her go.
The vet came out with two other people to help, and she gave Sable a nerve block on her feet so she would be able to walk out of the stall without any pain. We gave Sable a lot of scritches and let her know how much we loved her, and she went very quickly and peacefully.
The vet asked us if there was any special friend that Sable had at the ranch. I thought she was asking about a regular volunteer who worked with her. “Not really,” I said. “Just me.” I didn’t know she meant a horse friend, but when I realized that was what she meant, we brought out Raven so she could see that Sable was gone.
The loss of Sable has left an empty stall and empty hearts at the Hanaeleh.
We had been so confident that she was getting better, and she had overcome so much that it was so devastating when she started going downhill so quickly. If nothing else, however, Sable spent the final months of her life being cared for and loved, in a clean stall with shavings, good food, and a lot of horse and human friends who loved her very much.