Issue: "Trap and toss" horse management. Nevada's horse dumping machine continues to rumble on.
Date: January 12, 2013
(Continued from 42 Virginia Range Horses Rescued.)
Bringing up the end of the parade of Virginia Range horses that were sent through the auction was a rather sad looking pony that the Department of Agriculture described as "Estray #1996, palomino mare (Shetland) star, gentle and halter broke, 10 plus years."
Shannon Windle of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund couldn't leave the "pony" behind so they picked her up. It turns out that it's a good thing she did!
In the auction report I included a photo of the "pony" being herded down the alley to be loaded. Wildlife photographer Anne Hall recognized the horse and immediately contacted me.
Photo of the "pony" that ran in the original report.
It turns out that the "ten-year-old" pony was actually "Rambles," a wild Virginia Range yearling that was foaled in early April, 2011. Here are some of the images that Anne sent.
Rambles in April, 2011.
Another view of Rambles and her dam, "Remy.".
Rambles this past summer.
Rambles had some form of congenital defect. As she matured she took on somewhat of a dwarfish proportion. Also her legs were poorly aligned and while she could walk, she had difficulty running. However her dam kept her safe and with the band.
Late fall, 2012, Anne discovered the body of Remy. She appeared to have suffered an accident involving an off-road vehicle and both her front legs were badly broken. Rambles was never seen again and presumed to have died, that is until she was spotted by Anne in the stockyard loading photo.
Meanwhile we thought we had on our hands an aged, Shetland pony. We had put Rambles together with a young pinto gelding for transport, the theory being that I would halter Rambles in the trailer and hold onto her when the trailer gate was opened to release the pinto his pen in Stagecoach.
After stepping inside the trailer compartment the haltering process wasn't impossible, but Rambles clearly didn't want to have anything to do with the halter. We've had to halter quite literally wild horses in emergencies and as wild ones go, Rambles was pretty calm about it and gave in once she realized she wasn't going to be hurt.
Rambles spent the next couple of days at my ranch. Still believing that the horse was a Shetland pony, I set about "reacquainting" the horse with humans, being social, giving scratches, etc.
Rambles seemed pretty wary at first but it didn't take long for her to start enjoying human contact. Pretty soon she would look for us through the corral panel, whinny when we made eye contact, and make grooming motions on our backs with her muzzle if we were doing something in the corral that didn't involve her.
"Horse hug." She leans against our bodies when she gets scratches.
It was clear that Rambles needed special care. Although fluffy from a heavy winter coat, she was still seriously underweight. Her leg issues would require precise hoof care and possible veterinary intervention as she matured.
Johnye Saylor of "The Judy Project" animal rescue agreed to take in Rambles. They already had another horse with similar leg issues as well as a donkey that had been found wandering on the range. Rambles could have social interaction with people and other equines in an environment that wouldn't stress her physically.
The Judy Project rehomes a large number of animals, however the special needs animals remain permanent residents.
Here is a Channel 2 report on "The Judy Project."
Someone 2 Know: The Judy Project
Rambles has now settled in among a veritable zoo of other rescue animals. We will update this report as she progresses.