Formerly known as Lonely, Rita was one of the first horses we saved. She was dropped off at a feed lot to be fattened up for slaughter, as prices paid for meat is related to the weight of the horse. The day we found her it was over 100 degrees and there was no shelter to get away from the blazing heat. She was lying on the ground in distress and looked like she was struggling to survive.
Our Equine Rescue Team (ERT) rushed to her aid and cooled her with buckets of water. As she got up we realized her ankle was shattered. In addition, her feet were so overgrown she was forced to walk on her abscessed heels, an excruciating endeavor. Our team learned later that Rita had been illegal raced.
The ERT carefully loaded Rita into the trailer to be transported to a safe pasture to rest. Over the course of a few weeks, we were able to trim her hooves and treat her abscesses. Our veterinarian took X-Rays of her ankle and was able to diagnose her injury and make a plan of action to ensure her recovery.
Neglected horses often have overgrown hooves, which can lead to additional leg injuries. Hoof growth is affect by a variety of factors, including heart rate, age, diet, activity level, and even the season of the year.
Many of these these factors are issues in feed lots and auction yards. Conditions are often cramped, horses are overfed to fatten them for slaughter, and high temperatures combined with stress increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Over time, Rita's mobility improved and she is now completely recovered. She has been placed in a home on a private farm in Oregon near the coast where she will live out the rest of her life happily.