This past Monday Elizabeth travelled up to Sylmar to see both Cindy Lou and Noelle, our latest rescues, at their foster home. (If you haven’t heard their stories, please click HERE for Cindy Lou and HERE for Noelle). It was a little chilly, and by the time Elizabeth left the wind had picked up and it was quite cold, but the girls enjoyed their time in the turnout while she was there.
Noelle is still very shy, and is still fearful of people. When she is concerned that people are going to try to grab her or do anything to her, she will turn her head away, and walk. When I walked up to her, she tentatively gave me a sniff, but when she saw that I had a halter in my hand, she immediately turned around in her stall and put her nose in the corner, then began to weave. Whatever happened to her in the past, it wasn’t good.
Thankfully she is not aggressive, so we don’t have to get over that- she just needs to learn to trust people. Natalie has been working with her everyday and Noelle now knows that people sometimes have treats! When Natalie came up and offered her a treat, she stopped weaving and let her put the halter on.
We put her in the turnout and she meandered around a little, but she is obviously still dealing with pain from her previous abuse. Both her front and back left legs have swelling in the tendons, but now that her feet have been trimmed, she is moving a little better. It will take some time and some gentle exercise for her to heal. Her hooves were terribly overgrown, so the farrier did what he could, but it will take two or three trims for her feet to look normal again.
We groomed her by the trailer, and she was very quiet, although she was obviously on edge and was afraid we were going to hurt her.
We didn’t spray her with fly spray because of her previous fearful reaction, but just sprayed the brush and began brushing her. She really was upset when we tried to brush her face- it took a few minutes of cajoling before she learned that we weren’t going to hurt her, and allowed me to gently rub the dirt from around her ears and jowls. She has scars on both sides of her head where the halter had cut into her head- the length of the white hairs on both sides of her head show just how long that halter had been on, and how painful it must have been for so very long. Other than not being too sure about me, she was very good, and picked up all of her feet with no problem, and let me brush her body, mane and tail without any issues.
When I was done, I gave her a wormer – she wasn’t thrilled with it – but she was relatively good. A few minutes later I gave her a carrot and she decided I wasn’t such a horrible person.
Natalie said that she is food aggressive, but that will ease now that she is getting quality food and is fed regularly. She has food in front of her almost 24 hours a day, and is eating close to 40 pounds of food a day- double what a normal horse would need. The fact that she is eating so much shows how underfed she had been for so long. She has her winter coat, so it’s difficult to tell in the pictures, but her ribs are very prevalent and she has very little muscle tone.
For now, Noelle just has to relax, eat, and heal. Thankfully, she is well on her way to all three.
Cindy Lou Update:
Cindy Lou has been with Natalie for a little over a month now, and she is doing very well! She looks very healthy and she is feeling great. She had some issues when being haltered at first, but Natalie has been working on giving her a treat every time she gets haltered, so now will come up with no issues. She still gets nervous when being left alone, but she is fine being turned out. She is great in the arena with other horses, and got along well with both Noelle and with Natalie’s gelding. Since she had her Legend injection and her hooves trimmed, she has been moving much better, and she trotted around the arena very happily.
We groomed her next to Noelle, and she stood very well and was calm, even though the wind was beginning to pick up. We brushed her and she was very sweet, and we picked up her feet with no problem. She did NOT, however, want us to give her the wormer, and backed up and created a great deal of fuss (hard to blame her, though). After several minutes we finally got her settled down and were able to give her the majority of the wormer, but we will definitely have to work on that for the future!
The nice thing, however, about her getting upset about the wormer is that it showed us that she is feeling so much better! We are going to increase her exercise a bit to start building up muscle now that her hocks and feet are no longer sore, and she should continue to improve.