During the first quarter of this year Habitat for Horses brought in around 40 new horses. Most of those were from a major seizure of 17, which included quite a few pregnant mares. The estrays are a different story. Those are the horses and donkeys found wandering the streets, completely lost, and are never claimed. Eventually, the court releases them to us and we can start working on rebuilding their health.
One of these estrays came through our gates in early March. A bone-thin mare we named “Sweet Pea” was found on a main highway just north of the ranch. She was just standing close to the road, looking lost and confused. We picked her up and transported her back to the ranch, informing law enforcement of her location so they could post the necessary notices. Two weeks later, she was ours.
The work started the moment she stepped into the trailer. Sweet Pea had a mental condition that we’ve seen quite often. After losing whatever home and security she felt, Sweet Pea seemingly gave up. That precious spark of life barely flickered within her. She moved slowly, not interested in anything — like she was in shock. This condition is dangerous if not dealt with, for a horse can go downhill pretty fast when the light starts to flicker out.
We don’t know why Sweet Pea’s owner abandoned her next to a busy highway. I can only hope it was so she could be found quickly and not because the owner wanted to see her hit by a car. We’ll never know where she came from or what she did for the past 7 to 8 years. Someone obviously loved her at one point, because she isn’t scared of people. Back at the ranch, we started the human interaction program right away.
Our volunteers and staff treat Sweet Pea to a lot of time with the grooming brush, gently talking, and sometimes singing when no one else is around. The greatest medicine we have at the ranch is love and respect, and that secret combination turns a flickering spark into the flame of life once again.
Sweet Pea is one of a number of estray horses and donkeys that we bring in every year It saddens us that people, for whatever reason, just throw them away. Most of them, like Sweet Pea, are starved and close to death. No one wants a skinny horse like this, so people either load them in a trailer and drop them off somewhere, or simply open their gates and let them wander. Habitat for Horses works hard to save as many estrays as we can because they all, like Sweet Pea, deserve our loving care and affection.