The seizure started at 2:00 am, when María and Oscar picked me up and we headed for Girona.
The horse was a young and handsome stud and was in a ground amid some cultivated fields.
He was tied to a short rope (3 or 4 meters long) and spent most of the day lying down next to an ever empty bucket, which was supposed to quench his thirst.
We had previously seen his long and broken hooves during earlier site inspections. A neighboring farmer reported not having seen the owner for over a month. Other farmers and himself tried to water and feed him with some fruit from their own crops. They wanted somebody to take care of the horse, as they could not keep doing it any longer.
Something needed be done. We had to act fast as wintertime was coming on and weather conditions would become insurmountable for the animal.
Once we arrived in Girona, the man in charge of the transportation was waiting for us at the country road leading to the field.
It was pitch black and we could hear dog barks coming from a few small shacks scattered around. We found our way to the horse thanks to the light provided by the torches. It somehow made us look like thieves.
And yes, it had to be done in the dark of the night, as we feared somebody could show up, regardless of his having anything to do with the horse, trying to prevent us from helping him achieve what we, then, thought was going to be a better life.
The horse neighed and stood up; once we cut the thick rope, he hobbled behind us towards the trailer in his awkward rolling gait.
It took a lot of effort to help him get in. Either he had never done it before, or else he had had a bad experience. So we had to soothe him up and push him step by step into the trailer (thanks for that again, Oscar!)
The sun was rising on the horizon as we got on our way back to the Shelter.
We were cheerful as previous similar experiences with horses suffering from acute laminitis had been a success.
The animal was checked by a couple of vets the very next day. They took some nasty x-rays (the torn tissue could be seen) and decided to have the hooves trimmed.
Had we known that trimming the hooves was going to be a wrong decision we would have left the horse live, albeit in pain, until it had been unbearable for him. But sometimes all your experience does not prove enough…
I will try to shorten the final part of this story, not a happy memory at all...
SOLITO (such was his name) was being increasingly struck by pain. He began to alarmingly lose weight despite his being fed properly. He spent a lot of time lying on the floor. The “before and after” pictures showed he was getting worst all the time. Which led us to take the decision of euthanizing him?
It was tough to witness his falling down. And harder still having to beg his forgiveness. For, meaning to save his life, we wound up taking it away.
Nobody knows how long he would have survived without the trimming (probably longer than he did). However the end would have been the same. We all felt guilty for not knowing how to improve his condition and get rid of all the pains in his existence.
SOLITO went to live outside the shelter’s fence. Amid “mountains and freedom”.
Should this piece help others not take rushed and drastic decisions without prior and detailed consultation, then it will prove worthwhile.
SOLITO sacrificed: all of us with him.
Throughout this year, besides the 11 horses seized in the Vallés Oriental, another 11 entered the Shelter, picked up one by one or in pairs, to later go out on adoption.
TORGUI, a special pony.
ENEAS and ARGOS, out of the road into a new life
RUSSIA and AJAX, mother and son.
NUMA at home
STEEL, home with Alejandra.