When you’re busy and you least expect it, there just always seems to be another horse that finds its way to the Ranch.
George was just that horse.
Here we were, busy hosting nearly 500 people for our annual Holiday Open House in December 2022, and there was an at-risk dwarf, being auctioned off in Ohio at the age of seven months who had completely deformed front legs.
So, while I was busy with our guests, my daughter, Belle, was on the phone making sure this sickly horse ended up in our hands and not in anyone who was purchasing for the “cuteness” factor.
When George arrived, so did our vet. We always, always, make sure our horses are under veterinary care within 24 hours of arrival to the Ranch.
We quarantined George in a temporary stall in our garage and to say that this baby was scared, was indeed an understatement.
Let me explain to you what happens to a horse after you purchase them from an auction - at least, that is, one of our horses.
For example, George, taken away from his mother and put in an agricultural auction. Exposed to all kinds of germs, sounds, gawkers, and all around scariness.
Then, comes the purchase. In this case, it was us, over 500 miles away, so, no immediate ability to trailer him to us immediately.
Arrangements are made to house him with a trusted source until we can arrange to pick him up - four days later.
So, now George is at three places within five days….1. His original farm 2. The auction house 3. The “holding farm”
On day five, he goes into our transport van for the eight hour drive to the Ranch. And then, finally, home and into his new, temporary stall, with yet more unfamiliar faces, sights, sounds and smells.
Is it any wonder why horses are so scared when they are at the mercy of being sold at an auction?
George was no exception.
I knew right away, all I wanted to do was comfort this poor baby and try to reassure him, in some way, that he was safe and would be loved.
George, who could hardly walk, lest his front feet which were at a solid 45 degree angle, laid down with his head in my lap and his little breath, straining as he tried to sleep.
He broke my heart.
George was seen by our vet the very next day. Little did we know, that his body was covered with lice, so, that added a new level of treatment.
We made arrangements for his feet to be trimmed once George was on solid ground with his health and eating, and lice treatment. All of these things are things that most of the general population doesn’t even think about when they want to buy a dwarf at an auction, or wherever it may be. They simply want the small, little horse, no matter what the cost, without wanting to preserve its health and lifestyle, which in the case of dwarf miniature horses, is significant.
Once George’s feet were trimmed, again by bringing our farrier in from Florida (most will not go to even that type of expense) we continued his quarantine until he was cleared of any infections and lice.
Today, George is one of the absolute most snuggly horses that we have. He is a quiet boy who loves to be one on one with people. Therefore, when we have large groups in for tours, it is a rule, that one of us, from the Ranch, remain at George’s head at all times, providing him with the comfort that he needs.