Friday, May 13, 2011

Polish Arabian Mares, Part I

Two weeks ago, the Rescue assisted in the roundup and transportation of 150 neglected and starving Polish Arabian horses (mares, colts, and stallions, no geldings) on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, transporting a total of twenty and housing ten mares.

All are settled in to their lush pasture and definitely already putting weight on.

There is a lot of hubbub on the Internet about the seizure of these Arabians, and the rumors flying about are enough to make you dizzy.  Let me tackle a few of these rumors.

- “These animals weren’t in bad enough shape to be seized!”

Putting aside the fact that a dozen of the horses seized had to be EUTHANIZED due to their suffering, and putting aside the fact that the owner’s own vet agreed they needed to be put down… NONE of the mares we have rated above a 3 on the Henneke Scale (1-9) by our vet.  None of them had seen a farrier in MONTHS (several have never had their feet touched EVER).  All of them have horrible teeth- their teeth are so painful that it is heartbreaking to watch them eat.  Here’s the kicker- None of them are in good enough condition to have their teeth floated yet!

- “They were all on lush green pasture, they’re all just skinny because they’re old.”

None of these mares is over the age of 18.  As a matter of fact, most of them are less than 10!  Since when does that qualify as “old”?  Oh, and those “lush green pastures”?  ALL WEEDS.  If those pastures are "lush and green," why is it that they have each gained at least 50lbs. in the couple of weeks of being on GG’s field, where they’re not even touching the hay because there is so much grass?

One mare was so skinny that she aborted a near-term foal approximately a month before we got her!  She was so close to giving birth that by the time we got her, her body was producing milk for her now never-to-be-born foal.

As for the Old = Skinny argument… meet Noel, a 35+ year-old Belgian mare.  She was rescued around Christmas time with a BCS of 1.   She was a walking anatomy lesson.  Notice how you can count her ribs in her winter coat?

After a couple of months being fed stuff she could actually eat, she looked like this (below) in March, and is still putting on weight as well as muscle tone, since she is now strong enough to romp around in her pasture and boss around Penny and Sunrise.

Noel Mid-May, all shed out and GAWJUS:

 It looks like someone forgot to tell Noel that since she's old, she's SUPPOSED to be skinny!

She's in waaaay better condition than the Arabs.  The fattest one is maybe four years old, and you could count five of her ribs the day they came in.  The thinnest mare, I'd say if Noel's Before pic were in the summer without the heavy winter coat, you'd be able to see the same bones.


Anyone who has any of these horses in their custody is not allowed to make any changes to the horses except for medical care, farrier, and dentist.  While the rescues who took in the 80-some-odd colts may choose to geld them if awarded ownership, they cannot do so until they legally possess the horses.  We’re not even allowed to do any training.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that there aren’t going to be 80-some-odd homes out there with the proper facilities (as judged by a rescue and its adoption policies) to house a stallion (which all of these colts will be by the time any court case closes).

Yes, I agree a few are breeding-quality stallions, but it is going to be all on the rescues to find them good homes.  Honestly, how many people are out there looking for a stallion to OWN?  Let me rephrase that- How many responsible horse owners are looking to buy an untrained, somewhat feral, unshown stallion?  (Do I hear crickets?)


In other news relating to the Arabians… PetSmart has just granted us $6,000 towards their care!

What will this cover?  Each Arab will get:
- 1 hoof trim
- 1 dental floating (teeth filed flat so they can chew correctly)
- 1 full vetting (Exam, vaccinations, boosters, bloodwork)
- Grain, hay, and board for almost 1 month

While getting this grant is fantastic (many thanks to Christine’s fabulous grant-writing skills!), we are going to have the Arabs for a long time.  I don’t know if there is going to be a court case, but we had Tess and Tucker for almost a year before their court case was resolved.  Since this case would be so much larger, I honestly have no idea how long it could take for us to gain ownership of the mares and get them adopted out.   

I believe we are looking at having them for at least a year (plus training time once we're allowed to train them), so keep those donations and volunteers coming!  I am working on adding a PayPal link, but in the meantime, you can donate directly at our website.



  1. Well said and well written! Thanks for the matter of fact/straight to the point info. I love GG!

  2. Ditto. Beautifully, succinctly, professionally written. Thank you.