Abandoned horses have chance to recover

By Kalin Kipling
The Sacramento Bee
Knight Ridder/Tribune

During the holidays, a mare and her filly found themselves abandoned in Sacramento County.

It was a heart-breaking situation, but it turned out to be the beginning of a bright new future for the horses.

The horses’ luck began to change when the Bradshaw Animal Shelter received a report of the abandoned pair around Christmas.

The shelter rescued them from a field and brought them into its barn.

“They were both frightened and skittish, and momma was desperately in need of a few good meals,” the Bradshaw shelter said in a Facebook post.

The duo’s future grew even brighter on Jan. 8, when Chris Nichols, vice president of The Medicine Horse Project in Somerset in El Dorado County, heard about them from a co-worker who had seen news of the rescue on Facebook.

Nichols immediately contacted a Sacramento County animal control officer.

“She was so thankful we had called as horses do not tend to get adopted through their facility and she was concerned for them,” Nichols said in a post.

The Medicine Horse Project came to their rescue.

“So skinny. Momma’s hip doesn’t look quite right. Not sure what that is about,” Nichols wrote on Facebook. “We are driving them home. I’m crying. I just don’t understand how these things happen.”

They also had worms and neglected feet, and needed dental work. The filly has clumps of hair missing and an umbilical hernia as well.

The first thing the mare did upon arriving at the rescue? She lay down and rolled around in the mud.

Since arriving at the rescue, the filly has quickly come out of her shell, even meeting a chicken.

“Filly has no reason to trust a human … yet she does,” said Nichols in another Facebook post. “Every time I go out to check on her she is there, greeting me with trusting, hopeful and curious eyes. She’s just as interested in learning about me as I am about her.”

The mare, however, will take a bit more time to open up — and she’ll have as much as she needs at the rescue.

The Medicine Horse Project rehabilitates the horses and then puts them up for adoption. If they aren’t adopted, they have a forever home with the rescue.

At this time, the filly and mare seemed to be understanding that they were in a safe space.

“Just after 24 hours Momma seems to feel a little softer in her mind and more relaxed,” Nichols told The Bee. “I believe she is discovering, her worries are over and she never has to fear again. Fear anything.”