Bella is about 25 years old, which was confirmed by my dentist. She is an OTT TB though but I don’t know anything about her racing history. Her last ‘home’ was with an old guy who had left her neglected (in a very poor paddock) for about 9 years. She was never feed, never rugged, never wormed, never brushed, never had her feet or teeth done. The owner passed away towards the end of last year, and Bella was left homeless, so I had the opportunity to take her on. (The alternative of her being dogged was not an option for me).
When she arrived at my place she could barely walk- she was literally starving to death; she was lethargic and had absolutely no energy. Her hooves were terrible, she was lame, and had a belly full of worms. Her coat and mane were matted and layered with years of filth and dirt, and she had mud fever up her legs. She really was a sad old bag of bones.
She had her teeth and feet done straight away. I started her on lucerne hay, with a small amount of EasiFeed – Four Old Timers for the first week or so. I gradually increased the quantity as her digestive system got back on track. I added Rice Bran Oil (half a cup per day), and a supplement called Weight Gain (not Weight lifter)- about one cup per day. She was wormed 3 times within the first three months. During the 2- 3 month mark, she was on two hard feeds a day (not big feeds), plus hay. At this stage I was feeding her both EasiFeed- Four Old Timers, combined with another feed called RB Horsefeeds Golden Years.
I’m pleased to say that she now holds her weight very well- and is now on one small hard feed a day, and one biscuit of hay. She lives in a paddock with another old retired mare, and they have a lovely, easy life.
It took a long time and hours of brushing to get rid of her horrible, filthy, matted coat. It really seemed endless, and every time I brushed her, it looked like there had been a mammoth massacre in my paddock- there was so much hair and fluff!
I have to say that without doubt, the best moment of her rehabilitation was the moment she first met my two horses. She had not had any contact with another horse for about 6 years, and was literally beside herself with excitement when she heard my two horses whinnying and cantering up the paddock to meet her.
From a horse that could barely walk, she now gallops around the paddock, and she certainly has moments of having that TB attitude. But mostly she is gentle and affectionate and curious and a pleasure to have around.
EDAA would like to thank Jackie Ray for her beautiful story on her journey with Bella.