Cindy, a 20-year-old Belgian mare, joined us at Draft Gratitude a few weeks ago. Although she was in very good body condition, she had swelling in her right hind leg and desperately needed hoof care. She went through an auction in New York where a woman attending the sale reached out to us. She was concerned about where Cindy would end up.
Through a calamity of well-intended events, Cindy was purchased at the sale, hitched a ride to a volunteer’s home for the night and was then picked up the next day by our hauler to make the trip to New Hampshire. Cindy was definitely rolling on a streak of good luck! As it happened to be, our vet and farrier were able to come out the very next day to meet her.
Cindy had arrived with poorly fitted front shoes on. We had an X-ray taken of her front hooves to determine if there was a reason for such odd shoes. There wasn’t. Our farrier then got to work on correcting what he could and fitted her to appropriate shoes so that she could be comfortable while her hooves grew out.
The next two weeks were filled with rest and lots of hay. Near the end of her quarantine period, Cindy started showing some signs of a tooth/sinus problem. X-rays were taken of her skull and revealed a sinus infection and a questionable tooth. We have drained her sinuses and started her on antibiotics. We will take another set of X-rays after the course of antibiotics are finished to determine if Cindy will need to have the tooth extracted.
Although Cindy came to us appearing quite healthy from first glance, she has needed a significant amount of veterinary care. Thankfully, Cindy has been fantastic to work around. She has been safe with her hooves, and gentle and patient with all of her new caregivers.
As we have been working with her, we have found that she is very smart, very quiet and amazingly well- trained. Cindy has impeccable manners, she rides and drives and has beautiful confirmation. At Draft Gratitude, we are grateful to be able to offer a safe landing to unwanted draft horses like Cindy. We no longer try to answer the questions of why or how they became unwanted – we are just happy to see them thrive.
With winter approaching at a fast pace, Draft Gratitude is working hard to be ready for the cold winter months. We try to keep a quarantine pen available as much as possible so that we are ready to help the next one that needs us. Our philosophy on rescue has always been quality care over quantity.
Space wise, we usually can fit one more. But financially, it is crucial to be able to provide quality care to any draft horse that comes here. So, this time of year, we are also busy fundraising, grant writing and hosting events (like our “Your Mile Makes a Difference” walk this weekend) so that we are financially in a position to help as many unwanted draft horses as we can.
If you are wondering if you can help, the answer is yes! There are many ways that you can make a difference. Donating any amount helps. Collecting feed tags helps. Giving $12 monthly to cover the cost of care for one horse, for one day, helps. Sharing our social media posts helps. Talking about the important work we do helps.
Visit our website to learn more about how you can get involved at draftgratitude.com. You are invited to join us the on the first Saturday of every month, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the barn to meet the horses and learn more about the important work of saving unwanted draft horses. Draft Gratitude is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to giving unwanted draft horses a second chance and a place to call home.
Rebecca Roy is the founder of Draft Gratitude, a horse rescue organization in Winchester.