Seamus was left behind with three other horses in January 2021 when their owner passed away. The horses had been surviving neglect before that (starvation and/or injuries/illness). Without the compassion and hay given by a neighbor, these horses could easily have died as two other horses and a mule had at some point in the years all equines had been on that private farm.
It’s possible that Seamus was trained by the Amish as a cart/driving horse since the former owner had purchased other horses from them. We learned from a neighbor who stepped in to keep the horses alive that Seamus had been born on the property many years earlier to another horse who eventually died from starvation and/or health issues. He was born outside of a shelter and ended up with frostbite to the tips of his ears. No veterinary care was provided as far as anyone could say. For the past few years, the horses continued to live on a remote farm outside of a small Wisconsin town as the owner’s physical and mental health declined.
A person who was listed in the recently deceased owner’s trust to take the horses had predeceased the owner. As a last resort, Front Range Equine Rescue was contacted. It took months to get the horses to Colorado as winter weather, veterinary and farrier care, and arranging safe transport all took time to coordinate. Two of the horses also were not capable of immediate transport even if it had been available which it was not. In May 2021,Seamus and his three companions traveled safely to CO. He is continuing with a more thorough evaluation and appears to be in the best condition of any of the horses.
Update: In mid July, Seamus moved to a local boarding/training facility for basic evaluation by one of the amazing trainers who works with FRER’s rescue horses. While we are fairly confident Seamus had been taught to drive at some point in his past, it was unlikely he had been ridden and also likely he had not received thorough (or what we consider to be humane) handling. He has been doing very well in the initial first weeks of his assessment which included basic handling skills, de-spooking assessment, and wearing tack.
In late August, Seamus developed a cough after a couple of new horses were temporarily located in a pen next to him. The trainer consulted with us and a vet was called to examine Seamus. She let us know some respiratory illnesses were being found in horses so we had nasal swab testing done. As a precaution, Seamus was placed on antibiotics and also treated for some eye issues due to flies. The trainer was told to ensure he wore a fly mask daily for the duration of fly season.
In early September, the cough was gone but the swab results indicated Seamus was positive for “strangles” (similar to mumps and highly contagious among horses), At the time he seemed to show no symptoms and after his quarantine was done, the trainer gave him a light session where he was energetic and alert. But at the end of the session, the trainer noted some swelling along his throat latch area and notified us immediately. After a vet examined him, it was recommended he be put immediately into quarantine and to start antibiotics again.
After some other issues, we moved Seamus back to the private farm where we keep other rescue horses. There he could be kept safely away from the others and given a treatment protocol by one of the vets we use frequently. He’s been alert, eating and drinking well during this time which is a very good sign. He will remain quarantined and re-tested as appropriate. If all goes well, he should return to training evaluation later in November or early December.
UPDATE (Dec 2021): Seamus continued to perplex us and the vets with his ongoing throat area swelling after being treated repeatedly to fight off a respiratory illness. At a recent check up, the tissue inside his throat had begun to normalize and pressure on the trachea had eased as well. Throughout this time (several months) Seamus stayed bright, alert and was eating/drinking normally. For now, he will remain at the rescue to ensure there are no further recurrences. It is hoped that Seamus can return to training evaluation in the late Spring and can find a new home at some point in 2022.
UPDATE (2023): After additional evaluation in 2022, it was determined that Seamus had physical limitations including stifle and hock arthritis which was progressing. He retired to live out his life at a private farm in CO where many of FRER’s rescue horses are kept.
More About Seamus
- Standardbred cross