Intake season, as we have named it can be depressing and overwhelming. The questions of "how can people do this?", "how are we going to find enough adoptive homes? ", "how will we be able to responsibly take more horses on?", "do we have enough fosters and haulers for this seizure?", "will equine neglect ever slow down?" etc. etc. It is a lot to take in, especially for an all-volunteer group with jobs and families.
We used to say Thanksgiving was the start of intake season but this year we have already taken in Mocha, Shasta & in addition to the 21 horses from a seizure in Rainer, Oregon that Oregon Humane Society investigated. The number of horses under our care quickly went from 37 to 60. That’s a lot of hay over the winter!
These thoughts where all going through my head as we caught and loaded those 21 horses a few weeks ago. Then I stopped and looked around at the horses in their current living conditions, looked at the bones I should not be able to see and looked into their kind yet scared eyes. We are making a drastic difference in these animals lives. They are going to be warm, feed regularly and soon healthy. They will learn to trust people and then they will be some of the most loving and appreciative horses around. What we do is important and so is taking the time to stop and love on one of those horses whose world we helped changed for the better.
We can never say thank you enough to our supporters and wish you a wonderful holiday season!
This has been a truly wonderful adoption season for our horses. We have found great forever homes for 19 of our rehabbed horses so far this year!
Included in this photo are Shadow and Elvis from "The Bickleton 4", a severe starvation case from this winter, a couple from joint efforts with Oregon Humane Society, as well as from Clackamas, Klickitat & Wheeler Counties.
Our annual Trailride at Willamette Mission State Park was a great success & upcoming events include fundraisers at the Canby Tack Sale in October & Poker for Ponies in November.
Thank you again; we cannot do any of this without your continued support!
This is a special time of year for SEO. Our worst neglect cases come to us in the months December through March. During the next few months hours upon hours are spent feeding, brushing, providing them with needed veterinary care, and gaining their trust.
As spring time comes our way, the horse’s dull & unthrifty hair coats shed out. The beautiful metamorphous revels healthy and shiny horses glad to be in foster homes that care deeply about them.
It is during this time of year that the horses have enough energy and spunk to show us their true personalities.
Sofie & June: Guarded but both are willing to learn
Elvis: A ham who has found his forever home
Ellie, Capri & Lilly: Beautiful young girls who love people and attention
Noni & Clifford: Trustworthy, solid horses that must remember some kind humans from their past.
Reba & Faith: So full of confidence they don’t even know they are a year behind in growth from chronic malnutrition.
Izzy: A tremendously calm and patient young mare with tons of potential
Bingo: An old man still willing to learn after years of neglect
Howard: A brilliant, kind mind that allows people into his space after years of being a lead stallion in the wild.
Mr. Bigs: He is alive! He has spunk in those eyes that we are starting to see
The adults are now heading into training so they can receive a solid base of knowledge and provide reliability for their eventual new owners. All the time, money and energy that has been poured into each of the horses is visually paying off.
Summer, our favorite season, is adoption time. These special horses will find their forever person. Watching them bond and fall in love with each other will give us the motivation and energy to start the process all over again this coming winter.
Thank you for choosing to give to these horses. They have a community looking out for them. Just the way it should be!
“ On The Road to a New Life”
The Bickleton 4 horses came to us from a law enforcement call. A neglect complaint was called into the sheriffs office and upon investigation the deputy suggested a volunteer surrender of the horses. Within hours of the phone call, Sound Equine Options volunteers hit the road with 2 trailers to take ownership of Shadow, Elvis, Sassy & Clifford.
The horses lived at a snow covered, high elevation with no shelter. In their condition, lying down on the cold snow would have dropped their body temperatures to a deadly low level. With lack of adequate food and water, the horses were spending all their energy on standing and fighting to stay alive. Unfortunately, they had to digest their own fat and muscle reserves to survive. One horse had already died at the location before we arrived.
After the 3 hour trailer ride back with SEO, Elvis stumbled out of the trailer weak and tired. Once in stalls with dry warm bedding they collapsed in relief and exhaustion.
After a week of careful observation and slowly building up the horses caloric intake, they were moved into loving foster homes. Over the last 7 weeks they have been gaining weight and the spark has returned into their eyes.
As with most horses that have experienced extreme malnutrition, they came into SEO’s program with rough coats that lacked any oil. Their skin was dry, irritated, flakey and infested with lice. Once the horses have been gaining weight and there are enough calories available to go into their coats, the shedding starts. Foster moms have been putting in countless numbers of hours grooming and removing piles of hair. Currently the horses are halfway through the shedding process and we anxiously await the arrival of their new beautiful, healthy coats!
Stay tuned for further updates on the progress of the Bickleton 4. They are on the road to health, training and wonderful new forever homes!
YOU are the reason we can help them. Thank you for your continued support!
The call came to us in August. August is when we generally concentrate on training and finding great homes for the rehabilitated horses that came in the previous winter, not bringing in more. The call was from a law enforcement agency wanting to know if we could take 8 of 17 horses from a possible neglect situation. That was a problem. Our foster system & budget were already stretched to capacity and couldn’t handle 8 more at that time. But, if we could not help, this local agency would not be able to help these horses. What should we do? We spent that night with little or no sleep, thinking about what would happen to these kind eyed horses if we could not help.
One of the amazing things about S.E.O. is the depth of the generosity and capability of local horsemen that make up our network. After putting out the call for help, within a day we had found all of the horse’s good homes, sight unseen. Neglected babies, here we come. S.E.O. volunteers scrambled to rearrange schedules, leave work, hook up trailers and hit the road.
It was a good 2 hour drive to the residence. When we finally turned onto the long driveway leading toward the house we gasped collectively at the sight of a lone mare. Her emaciated, tired looking body stood perfectly motionless as we drove past her. Her head drooped low to the ground. We were prepared, but you can never be truly prepared to see animals you love in such poor condition.
The agency was not there to take all of the horses, they allowed the owners to choose 6 horses to keep. They felt 6 was a manageable number for them to properly care for if they did a little clean up on the property making it safer for the animals. We had no doubt that these people truly loved their horses. Sometimes things outside of our control take over our lives and we cope by overlooking or becoming blind to the basic needs of living creatures under our care.
The husband walked us to the barn and showed us the horses they had chosen to keep. As we first walked into the barn, we saw three stallions occupying stalls that obviously had not been cleaned in months. The manure was piled so high it was pushing out the bottom corner of one of the stall doors. The stallion’s manes and tails were in dreadlocks. Apparently the husband was the only one providing any care to the horses and after two of the stallions got into a fight, he was too afraid to turn them out anymore, so there they stayed.
The majority of the horses were in one large group behind the barn. With limited food and water and lack of cross fencing to separate them, their survival herd instincts had kicked in. The top and middle of the herd faired ok but not so true for the horses at the bottom. We walked out to the old mare we saw as we drove in. The sides of her body were covered with kick wounds, probably from her attempts to come in close to try to get food and water. She was not stuck in the fence. She had simply found the furthest spot away from her tormentors and without food or water was too weak to move. It took SEO members 30 minutes get her to baby step forward into a separated corral where we could protect her. When offered fresh food and water she did not even look at it. Her eyes had already checked out, the small walk had been taxing on her. We went on to the other horses hoping that she would show interest in the water but she never did. The decision was made before we left to humanly euthanize her instead of making her go through a long haul with only a minimal chance of survival. We were too late to save this one.
The other low man on the horse totem pole was “Penny”. The super thin chestnut mare was pacing along a fence line that as down in several spots. Other horses came and went but she for some reason respected it and then would stress at being left alone. When we entered and stood still, she trotted over. We offered her alfalfa but she was only half interested in it. She preferred the human affection and security over the food. Her once beautiful long mane and tail were matted and dreadlocked beyond anything we have ever seen.
When the door to the massive 2 year old stallions’ stall door was opened (remembering, he had not been out for months) he bolted with Stacey Riggs, one of the trainers that volunteers with SEO, stubbornly holding on and skidding down the barn aisle in tow.
Fortunately Stacey had come with us because it was a long evening of loading horses that had probably never been loaded before. She worked her magic and considerable skill and took the time to load each one without any bad experiences. It took all the skills of everyone who responded to this seizure with us to handle these neglected and skittish animals.
As we pulled out of the driveway with our precious cargo, we knew we still had a lot of work ahead of us. Not only that night, getting everyone unloaded and settled in for the evening, but in the weeks and months to come getting them recuperated to their former healthy selves.
As I write this now, the horses are turning out to be very sweet, smart and willing while thriving in their new homes. We are grateful they were found and rescued before winter as we imagine the situation would have been much worse for them as the weather worsened. The county is keeping a watchful eye on the remaining horses to make sure their care and condition are acceptable. We are simply thankful that once again we were able to help these noble creatures.
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