Some of you may remember Lexie, a little Quarter horse we helped to rescue last year. Lexie was from a local stable, and was going to be sent to auction because she had a bad knee and her owner did not want to care for her any longer.
We found a home for Lexie first with a woman who ran a lesson program, but after a few weeks she said that Lexie would not work in her program. Then we found a home for her up near Bakersfield with a family who had other horses. We took her up there in February of this year. A few months ago, her new owner contacted us and said that Lexie was not doing well, had hives, and was losing weight. We offered to take her, but part of the adoption agreement is that the new owners need to transport her back to us, and the owner said she could not get her into the trailer.
So on Black Friday, while people were shopping or just sleeping off their food coma, I drove up to Bakersfield. It was a long, boring (BORING) drive, with just me and my book on tape for company. When we delivered Lexie, the owners met us at a nearby landmark to help direct us to their house; there was no one to help me this time. When I got near the house, Mr. GPS directed me to what it considered a road, but was two and a half miles of a dirt pathway.
It was a long two and a half miles along the dirt road, made more nerve wracking as the air quality was so awful that I couldn’t see any houses in the distance, so I couldn’t tell if I was close, or if I had veered horribly off-track. Having the trailer behind me meant that I had to go quite slowly along the road, winding around sagebrush and washed out areas. Finally, finally, I got to where the GPS told me to turn. To yet another dirt road. And more nothing.
But then I saw some signs of civilization (ie, a corral with horses), and a house and fence came into view. I parked the rig and unfolded myself out of the truck. The owner was not at home, but had said there would be someone on the property. All I found when I walked around, however, were two very large dogs (luckily, very nice), one smaller barking dog (not as nice, but in a run), and the horses and a few barnyard animals. There were two houses on the property, and after no response was found at the first, the two large dogs and I (barking dog was still barking) knocked on the other door. A young lady answered the door and said she was house sitting, and said she could help… she said knew what horse it was, and that she fed the horses, but that she didn’t know much beyond that. The owners had also left some money to help with gas, so I was thankful for that.
On my way up to Bakersfield, I was not sure what I would find when I got to the house- would Lexie be healthy enough for transport? If the owner could not get her into a trailer, after working with her for months, how would I be able to do so by myself? So many scenarios- most of them bad- flitted through my mind during the four-hour trip up.
So when I saw Lexie in the paddock with a pony, taking feeble steps, my heart sank; how could I put her through a long trailer ride (and part of it on that dirt road!) if she could barely walk? I almost just turned around right there, but I continued to walk towards her. When she saw me, she immediately broke away from her food, and walked towards me as if to say, “Where the hell have you been?” I put the halter on her, and she did not falter, but even broke out into a few steps of a trot as we walked towards the truck, so I figured she had made the decision for me.
You have to remember, however, that the owner hadn’t been able to get Lexie into a trailer for months, and I was by myself (well, with the house sitter who had no horse experience). I walked Lexie to the trailer, and although she was somewhat hesitant at first, after a few minutes she jumped right in. That hurdle cleared, we set off.
Onto a different dirt road. It was shorter, the girl had said, as it ran into a partially paved road sooner. Unfortunately, I still averaged between four and seven miles an hour for about a mile, as I did not want to jar poor Lexie or her knee. It was something akin to torture, but we survived.
Eventually we got out to the main road, and were headed back to the freeway. Or, at least I think I was headed the right way. I checked the Garmin, but while he had service out in the middle of nowhere on some random dirt road, he lost signal on a main highway. Grrr.
Did I happen to mention I have almost NO sense of direction? Literally none. I get lost in shopping malls. Heck, I don’t even remember where the entrance is when I eat at a restaurant. It’s not my fault- I honestly have no internal compass. So this was more than mildly disconcerting, to see a lot of nothing for a long period of time, with a lame horse in my trailer, and with just the *hope* that the freeway was up ahead.
But it was. Thank God.
Still, it was a long ride home, and I cursed the sun as it finally slid behind the horizon, leaving us in darkness in L.A. traffic. I’m not sure if everyone decided to go into work on Friday, or they were headed back home after a long day of shopping; either way, it was an exhausting drive in rush hour traffic. Lori and Megan had taken care of the horses that evening, and waited for us to come in.
We pulled up and this time I fell out of the truck, my back and knees stiff. Lexie, however, came out of the trailer in much better condition than I. We put her in the stall next to Brutus (Gypsy is now at the very top stall, and is so angry at me right now), as I did not think Lexie would be able to navigate the hill with her knee. Megan made her a mash with some bute and gave her some alfalfa, and we left Lexie munching very happily.
Lexie is very thin, as her previous owners said. There is more than just her weight that we need to consider, however; although she was fed alfalfa hay, she has dropped a lot of weight in the past several months. She was groomed today, but she will get a bath tomorrow to help get rid of some of the filth around her tail and on her legs. I’m not sure when her feet were done, but we will get those trimmed, and have the vet come out and look at her teeth. We have her on bute right now for her knee, but a good trim will help alleviate some of the pressure on her knee. Still, while Lexie does limp on the leg, she does not seem to be in overwhelming pain. In all honesty, with my bad knee, I kind of sympathize with her.
We are looking for sponsors for Lexie through the next few months- she is going to need quite a bit of vet care up front:
Teeth float: $250
Vet Exam: $150
Farrier Visit: $60
Legend Injections: $60 (per injection)
We are also taking sponsors to help with Lexie’s food. She’s going to need quite a bit of extra food to get her weight back on. Any amount would help to supplement the cost of her food.
Please click here to donate using PayPal: http://www.hanaeleh.org/help-a-horse/donate/
Or use the following address to donate via Paypal: [email protected]
You may send donations to: P.O. Box 291, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678. Please be sure to write “Lexie” in the notes.
We’ll continue to post updates on Lexie’s progress, so please be sure to watch our blog and Facebook page!