Sixty-five days after the seizure. Ziggy’s muscle tone is continuing to improve, as is his attitude. Here he’s showing a high degree of curiosity about men in cowboy boots carrying cameras. He’s filthy, but that’s good. He’s been out playing, rolling in the dirt and mud, showing a lot more interest in things other than the hay bale.
His first rider was on his back today, checking him out to see what training he’s had. From his actions, we can tell that he’s been handled very rough, probably with spurs, a nasty bit and heavy reins. At this point we need to start at the basics so his past memories will not remain with him.
Consider this – in court his previous owners said they spent two years trying to put weight on him. They offered every excuse for his condition. Every explanation they gave rang false to the judge and to us, but it seemed reasonable to them. All it took was two months of wormer, feed, hay and love for Ziggy to become a perfectly healthy horse.
The questions remain. Why would anyone buy a horse and refuse to feed it? Why would anyone offer excuses for starving a horse to death? Why would anyone not pick up the phone and call a feed store, a vet, a farrier or a horse person and say, “I have a problem. Would you help?”
Thousands of horses suffer from the same attitude this owner had. Be it ignorance, power over living things, hatred for animals, whatever the reason, it has to be stopped. It isn’t enough to take people to court to remove horses from their care. We, as horse lovers, must tackle the root cause of this problem and find a solution. It says something about our country when we think we can solve the problems of the world but we can’t take care of our own animals.
Our members are out to find the answers. We will never be able to save all the Ziggy’s in the country, but we can work together to give solutions to a problem that is causing the death of these horses. If you want to be a part of the solution, join us by becoming a member of Habitat for Horses.
On a personal note
KHOU-TV in Houston did a story about this horse and five others shortly after the seizures. The station did a remarkable job in trying to search for the reasons someone would starve their horse, but the explanations can’t be trimmed into a one minute segment. It isn’t a rhetorical question, either. There are some very specific reasons behind these cases.
We find that the majority of starvation cases can be understood by seeing the cause as either the need for power over other living things, ignorance or the lack of money. Power has, in our experience, been the number one reason. Typically, as in this case, we are confronted with a high degree of anger and hostility during the investigation, with the threat of removal of the horse or physical harm to ourselves if we don’t back off. In one case, the owner pulled out a pistol and shot the horse because ,”I’m tired of all the complaining.”
The Humane Society of the United States did an in-depth study in this area, called “First Strike.” For those interested in understanding the correlation between animal abuse and human violence, we highly recommend further research into this study.
Ignorance and lack of money are two areas where we can offer our help to the owner. Many times we’re able to help the owner recognize the problem and offer aid in its correction. People being what they are, many of us just don’t like to admit that we don’t know something. Typically we find owners who feed by volume, not weight. a “scoop” of feed might mean 3 pounds to the clerk at the feed store, but to the new owner of a horse, it might mean a coffee cup. There was never any malicious intent, but the result is a near dead horse a month later.
The majority of nonprofit horse rescues don’t want or need anymore horses. That never has been nor ever will be the intent of Habitat for Horses. Our goal is to be put out of business because every horse owner knows how to keep their horse healthy and content. Until that time comes, there will be a need for us. That’s why we continually ask for your donations. The only way we can continue to help horses like Ziggy is by asking you to open up your heart and wallet and you show your love for horses by supporting those in need. Please click on the “Donate Now” button at the top of this page.
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