Our beautiful Onyx continues to improve everyday. One of the most satisfying aspects of being in rescue is seeing the horses not only improve physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Onyx came to Hanaeleh literally hundreds of pounds underweight. Because she had Cushings disease that was not being treated, the food she was getting was literally killing her, throwing her cortisol levels over 50 times of what should be normal. She had arthritis in her hocks, and calcium buildup and arthritis known as ringbone and sidebone in her feet. Her hooves were not trimmed regularly, which exaserbated her arthritis, putting more pressure on those joints. Her teeth had not been floated in years, leaving ulcers and sores across her entire mouth. On top of all of this, her owner was continuing to ride her and run her out on trail several times a week. And the government agency, the local animal control, which is supposed to guard against abuse like this- they just proverbially shrugged and said that they couldn’t do anything, and what could you do?
By the time we finally did get Onyx, she was very sick, she was very thin, was obviously in a lot of pain, and was completely shut down emotionally. Her ground manners were pretty awful, and she didn’t seem to have much of a personality. After about six months at Hanaeleh, with good food, Previcox to help with her arthritis pain and Prescend to control her Cushings, regular hoof trims, and veterinary care, Onyx looks like a new horse. She also *feels* like a new horse. Horses can have a wonderful ability to let go of their past abuse, and their current situation is now the new normal. It took about two or three months, but finally Onyx stopped looking at us with a distrusting eye when we fed her, to began looking at us with an eager eye, and now- well, now she’s a bit pushy and demanding. When we feed her now, she makes angry faces like, “You’re moving too slowly! Hurry up, human!” even though she has a feeder full of food from a few hours before (that food is OLD and not as good). She is no longer shut down and fearful of being treated like she used to be treated, but now just fully expects that she will now always be treated like the princess she obviously is.
Onyx is also doing well with our volunteers, as well. When we first took in Onyx, she had terrible ground manners and it was difficult to groom her because she did not stand well while being tied. Now she seems to enjoy being groomed, and will doze in the sun during a grooming session. She also is starting to come in to the volunteers while being exercised- she still will give some of the volunteers a bit of a challenge, but now will come in at the end of a round pen session, and will follow the volunteers around! She is also completely in love with her next door neighbors, Stetson and Rio.
Overall, the most positive part of Onyx’s rehabilitation is the fact that she is comfortable and happy. Before she came to Hanaeleh, everyday Onyx expected her days to be filled with pain and was treated callously, if not inhumanely. Onyx now expects to feel good and be treated with love.
We at Hanaeleh are committed to ensuring that she feels that way everyday for the rest of her life.