Dancer - the horse that started it all:
From Hilary Wood - "For those of you who don't know me, Dancer was my inspiration for starting Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), which is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit dedicated to stopping the abuse and neglect of horses. Please read our story....
Meet a Few of the Rescue Horses:
Front Range Equine Rescue was tipped off about an OTTB (off-the-track Thoroughbred) gelding being sold for slaughter in October 2014. Our Virginia rescue coordinator was given a contact name and number to purchase this horse. She traveled on unmarked roads in West Virginia to a barren lot where a handful of horses stood with no shelter, no water source and a bale of moldy hay under a tarp. The shady man she met with refused to sell any of the other horses to her except one mare who, apparently, could no longer produce foals. The other horses were “being picked up on Friday” of that week.
Uno and Cassie were spared a further horrific ordeal than the abuse they’d already suffered. Uno is a 6 year old just off the track as his racing plates were still on. He has an enlarged front knee which X-rays revealed is full of arthritis. It is clear he was being drugged and raced on this injured leg. He was also underweight and in need of dental care upon rescue.
Cassie is a Thoroughbred mare in her late teens who clearly had been bred over and over; it is unknown if she had a racing career as her lip tattoo is too worn to read. Upon rescue she was ribby with overgrown hooves and in need of dental care. She was also suffering from a severe infection as a result of either not being cleaned after being bred or cleaned after foaling (probably both).
After a few short weeks, both horses are doing significantly better although Uno’s lameness issue will require further diagnostics and treatment options.
Fred: Fred was purchased from a kill auction in PA during October 2014. Not only was he too thin, but his left hind leg had massive swelling (suspected chronic lymphangitis). At times he was non-weight bearing, but as most drafts are, very stoic hiding his pain. This gentle and sweet Belgian gelding was approximately 10-11 years old. Due to other issues, Fred was humanely euthanized and a necropsy report showed tumors in his hindleg and lungs. It is hard to imagine the suffering this horse endured prior to rescue.
Slim Shady was rescued from the “meat pen” at a kill auction in PA during October 2014. According to the vet report, he was 11-12 years old with a body condition score of 1/9. During his initial vet exam, he suffered from a choke episode. He was immediately treated for this, but by the next morning was “completely obstructed and weak and depressed from the discomfort of choke and starvation.” The vet also noted that “at this time it became very apparent that there was likely a more significant issue with this horse making re-feeding very difficult.” Slim Shady was humanely euthanized and the pathologist who performed a necropsy commented that she felt this horse was “too far gone” pertaining to his state of starvation. The necropsy report stated Slim Shady was “in poor body condition with minima adipose tissues and prominent bones” (severely emaciated).
Apache is an 8-9 year old paint gelding rescued from a kill auction in PA during October 2014. Upon arrival, he needed updated farrier care and treatment for rain rot. While on the thin side, he has steadily put on weight especially after much needed dental care where the vet found “huge” hooks causing him pain and difficulty eating. Apache is a sweet horse and will go into training assessment before being eligible for adoption.
In November 2014, Front Range received a call about two horses abandoned at a VA boarding facility. They had been left for several months and kept in different fields; no stall availability and no care from the owner. Savannah was in a basic dry lot with a creek as the water source and no hay. She was clearly low in the herd order by the numerous bite marks on her body. Benji had fared somewhat better in his field setting. Both horses have received initial veterinary and farrier care. Savannah is in her early teens and very sweet. Benji is about 5 years old, more fearful, but coming around. Both appreciated having burrs removed from their manes/tails and a good grooming.
Leo is an 8 year old registered QH gelding from an auction on January 1, 2015 in Maryland. He is 75-100 pounds underweight (hidden by the winter coat); needs dental and other evaluation before training assessment.
London and Serena were heading for slaughter when Front Range received a call with an offer to purchase them. They are 5 and 6 years old respectively. Neither had received any turn out for weeks prior to Front Range saving them. London is a very kind and willing gelding who will make someone a great trail horse or for light competition. Serena is for an experienced owner as she has the occasional “moody mare” attitude which improves when she is in a regular work routine.
Katrina and Pete were rescued from a Maryland auction. Katrina is only 3 years old and Front Range found out she was pregnant. She later foaled but subsequent complications due to her former malnourishment led to the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her colt (“Tigger” had untreatable and painful leg joint deformities). Pete is a chestnut pony gelding who needed retraining for manners and more experience under saddle.
Savannah and Benji were abandoned by their owner at a boarding facility. Sadly the owner of the facility put them in a back field full of weeds and limited water. Luckily a concerned boarder contacted Front Range and both horses were signed over. Savannah is currently retired with Front Range; Benji is finishing training assessment.
Other off-the-track Thoroughbreds removed from the slaughter pipeline include Moray (won over $58K racing and a $10K steeplechase); Lilly (3 year old filly with back issues); Gidget (neglected by owner); Tango (sweet 5 year old, back issues) and JoJo (kind filly).