On a hot summer day, the 3rd of July, 2012, RVR got a call from Dr. Britt regarding a miniature stud in Plant City in dire need of some help. The story we got was that he had fallen off of a porch and had been laying in the yard for two days before the owner called a vet for assistance. Five of us loaded up a trailer and headed out. When we arrived, we found little Warrior on the ground behind the fence and
beside the house, difficult to see unless you were practically on top of him. He had a little bit of grain that was spread out in the dirt next to his head, and a small bowl of water that he couldn't lift his head high enough to drink out of. We found his feet to be in deplorable condition, his back hooves were nearly 4 inches longer than they should have been, which would make it difficult, if not quite impossible for him to stand on his own. In addition to Warrior, there were three other minis on the property, another stud named Spirit, a mare named Sandy, and Sandy's 15-month-old filly named Lily. All four of them were very emaciated, with their ribs and hips very predominately showing. We convinced the owner that it would be in the best interest of all the horses to be taken away from their current situation and brought here to RVR, and once they were able, to be adopted out to a loving, forever home.
Spirit, Sandy and Lily were all loaded up on the trailer without too much difficulty, although it appeared that none of them were very used to being handled, and Lily seemed like she'd had no human handling at all. Since Warrior was unable to stand on his own, we had to improvise a sling to lift him up into the bed of the truck, with Michelle riding along with him to keep him safe and comfortable, as well as keeping him company. He was quite a trooper, not giving us any trouble while picking him up and getting him stowed comfortably in the truck. He seemed to have a fighter's heart, and a willingness to give all he had.
As soon as we arrived back at the Ranch, we got him laying comfortably in a stall with plenty of water and so me fresh hay to nibble on. We were able to get him laying sternal with just the slightest bit of help and support, so he was able to eat and drink at his leisure. We also got a farrier to make an emergency visit to get his hooves trimmed down so he would be able to stand without any pain in his feet. Using our makeshift sling, we were able to get him standing, and we could slowly
lower the sling so he was standing under his own power, which he could do for about 15-20 minutes at a time, before practically collapsing from sheer exhaustion. Every three hours, we would stand him up for a short time, then lay him back down on his other side, hoping to prevent any organ damage from the constant pressure of laying in the same position. A few of us were up practically all night long keeping an eye on him and “flipping” him every three hours.
The next morning, although his spirits seemed greatly improved, we saw little change in his overall condition, and decided we needed a proper sling for him, so he could be kept in an upright position more easily, and for longer periods of time. After a day's fruitless searching for a sling we could buy or borrow,
and even trying to build our own from scratch, we were referred to a rescue in the Ocala area that specializes in minis and had a sling on site, and it was decided that it would be in Warrior's best interest to transfer him to the other facility. On the evening of July 4th, we loaded him into the back seat of a pickup, and two of us drove him to his destination. While most of America was celebrating the nation's Independence, we were celebrating Warrior's Independence from the terrible conditions in which he had been living. Once again, he showed us his warrior's spirit and courage, riding in the back seat of that truck, which certainly had to be a completely foreign experience for him, in ease and comfort. From time to time, he would even lay his head up between the front seats to watch where we were going!
Once we got to Beauty Haven Horse Rescue, we got him out and comfortable in his new stall. A vet was on site to check him over, administer additional fluids, etc. After making sure he was comfortable and stable, with heavy hearts, we said our farewells. We all kept very close tabs on his condition, receiving updates several times a day from Beauty Haven.
It seemed like he was at least holding steady, if not gaining strength and health, but after a few days, we got the call we'd been dreading, news that he had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge into the Heavenly Herd. Our thought was that those initial two days of laying in the hot sun with insufficient food and water, added to his already deplorable condition, led to massive organ failure that was undetectable and therefore untreatable. We all mourn his loss, and his warrior's spirit left a huge mark on everyone who interacted with him. We all bemoan the fact that we weren't called out to save him sooner, believing that had we been, it very well might have made the crucial difference in his survival. However, we console ourselves with the sure and certain knowledge that he is running in greener pastures forever, and nevermore will have to feel the pain and suffering of neglect, and that he knew love and affection in his last days. Rest now, gentle Warrior, we here will take up the fight for you now.
A Time For Us To Part
Written & Contributed By
A time for us to part, my beloved friend,
for I can see your time on earth is at a end.
It is time for you to gallop to heaven,
but know my love for you is never-ending.
I will see you again, my friend,
in a place in eternity where joy never ends.
RVR Horse Rescue, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. RiverView Ranch: 12611 Hayes Clan Rd, Riverview, FL 33579