In January 2017, during one of the most severe winters in Idaho history, IHR took on our most intricate rescue to date. JD & Ryat had survived an abusive owner only to be abandoned to the Boulder Mountain wilderness to survive on their own for over 2 years.
Of the dozens of original herd members; only 3 were left. We were unfortunately, unable to locate a 3rd horse which was believed to have succumbed to the elements or wolves.
While JD’s rescue was not as involved, Ryat’s required the aid of a helicopter.
Last week, we at Idaho Horse Rescue received more than one report of the possible abuse and neglect of five horses out in Owyhee County. We were informed that it seemed as though they weren’t getting food or water but only every few days and that no one had been around to make sure that these fundamental needs were being met.
When we contacted Owyhee County Sheriff’s Department, they drove out to the property to conduct a wellness check and found the horses in squalid conditions. The sheriff’s department then requested the Idaho Department of Agriculture to have their veterinarian assess the situation. Upon this report, the Owyhee Sheriff seized the horses and contacted us to ask if we could take ownership.
The conditions they had been subjected to were abhorrent.
There were two studs, two mares and a filly confined together in a pen no larger than about 24'X24'. The stud horses had been allowed to run with the mares which can be a disastrous situation.
All had been neglected to a point where their spines, ribs, and hip bones were visible. Our Director, Robert Bruno body scored three of them at a 1 and the two studs at a 2, using the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System.
It was obvious they hadn’t seen a farrier in quite some time, the filly probably never had. In fact, the yearling’s feet were so neglected that her joints didn’t seem to be functioning normally.
The horses had been so badly abused that the slightest movement made them flinch. It was truly heartbreaking to witness. When animals suffer abuse and neglect, they lose all trust in humans.
Horses are herd animals and in cases of abuse, they become even more tightly herd bound. Upon arriving back at our facility, the two mares, filly and one stud would run together keeping barely any space between them. The filly we rescued hadn't been weaned yet, she was born into her situation and it is so sad to think that up until that point, she hadn’t known any other way of life.
They didn’t know what grain was, or even apples or carrots but they do now. In fact it wasn’t until we put out some alfalfa hay that they cautiously made their way towards the flakes.
We at Idaho Horse Rescue strive to rehabilitate these beautiful creatures and help them to heal both physically and mentally from their abuse.
Our overall goal is to find kind and loving homes for each one of our healthy, rehabilitated rescues.
We know we can undo the damage, but it is going to take time and we can’t do it alone. Help us help them! Together we can make a big difference.
IHR received a call about two horses in the Dry Creek area that needed to be rescued. Their elderly owner was suffering from dementia and they had been on their own in the Foothills for several years, with a little help from one of her estate’s trustees.
The mare, estimated to be in her late 20s, possibly early 30s, was very skinny and had horrible looking old break in her knee. The bone appears to have fused and she had been getting around ok on it.
The other horse was a stud colt, about 4 to 5 years. According to the trustee he was haltered and handled as a young colt but since then has not been worked with.
IHR quickly took action and looked for adoptive homes for both horses, although we expected the mare would have to be euthanized.
A very kind person who has previously adopted from IHR offered to take her and provide her with medical care and plenty of food and warmth. She agreed that if the vet determines that the mare is in pain she will be put down.
A local horse trainer adopted the stud colt and assisted us in trailering him. He will be gelded and trained, and have access to a large pasture and other horse companions.
On October 30th, 2020 IHR met with law enforcement officers to seize two horses from a residence in Payette County.
The horses had been experiencing long-term neglect and malnutrition. When we arrived there was no hay in sight, the horses were on a dry-lot trying to eat their own feces out of extreme hunger.
As you can see from the photos they are too skinny, the mare had a body score of 1.5 and the gelding a 2.
In February of 2017, IHR was notified by the Owyhee County Sheriff of a serious neglect case.
The conditions these animals were forced to live in were devastating. They were chewing on fence posts from hunger, wading through knee deep feces upon the carcasses of other deceased horses & cattle that had succumbed to the hideous neglect.
It was enough to make the animal control officers weep.
In July of 2020 we rescued Zoe, a beautiful and headstrong 7-year-old Buckskin Quarter Horse from Nampa. She, along with her mother Juno, her father Comanche, and her sister Babygirl had all been kept in a long narrow lot, no bigger than an eighth of an acre. The fencing consisted of old wire and weaved sticks. The lot was full of debris such as old car tires, broken panels of wood, and a rusted out truck. Sadly just days before we were able to rescue them, their younger sister, a 3-month-old foal died of undetermined causes.
We could see that Zoe’s feet were in terrible condition. It seemed as though they hadn’t been trimmed in over a year and had grown to nearly 8 inches long. Her hooves had begun to curl to the point of which she was forced to walk on her heels. She had also foundered. We had to sedate her to trim her hooves. The pain in her feet was so bad that she didn’t want to pick up one foot at a time. It hurt her too much for us to have a closer look at them, let alone trim them. She was not only very skittish when anyone went near her feet, but extremely defensive.
We had her front feet x-rayed to find that Zoe has what is called ‘pressure founder’. Due to the length and shape that her hooves had grown out to, an unnatural pressure was placed on the coffin bone. This pressure resulted in damage to that bone and her body began to resorb parts of the tip and edge of the bone. Consequently, that caused her immense pain. We have trimmed her since and she is now in therapeutic boots but her prognosis is grim. Our director and founder, Robert Bruno is doing everything he can to save her, however she may be too far gone. Only time will tell. Either way she will never be able to be ridden again. The boots do seem to be making a difference; however, this is only a temporary solution. Again, only time will tell.
It is important to remember that most of our rescues come from places where they have been neglected or abused. Often times they’re in small confined areas with no room to move or to be a horse. It is a heartbreaking reality for everyone involved. Idaho Horse Rescue is about giving second chances to these majestic animals and that is what we intend to do with Zoe, in hopes that we can save her.
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