View Full Version : Advice on horses

September 18th, 2018, 01:10 PM
In early August I went to visit one of our kids who lives out of state, in a somewhat rural area. At the corner of their lane there's a house and a pasture. The owner of the house moved away and left 2 horses there (and several cows; I know much less about them). Neighbors are aware of the situation and have been sort of looking out for the animals. I became concerned when we went to give the horses some carrots one day. One of the horses has a very bad infection on it's ear. Their heads were literally covered with flies. I'm a suburban girl and know nothing about horses but I am a nurse and know enough to recognize a severe infection. From what I was told, the ear had been like that for weeks. I'm an animal lover and it broke my heart to see these 2 very sweet horses who are obviously neglected. So I called the spca who referred me to animal control. I left a detailed message with the dispatcher...about the abandonment, questionable food/water situation, no shelter and of course the ear infection. Within 2 hours I got a call back from the animal control officer. He said he had been in contact with the owner, the ear was being treated, that they have an automatic water dispenser. Made me wonder if he looked into it at all since his response was so quick.
Fast forward to mid-September. I'm visiting again. Situation has not changed one iota. The ear is worse than ever. The horses are now standing in the very corner of the pasture, up against the fence at the end of the lane, pacing, picking up their hooves. They just didn't look right. They stayed in that spot almost non-stop for the 4 days I was there.
My questions:
What could that infection be? Is it normal that everyone I've spoken to doesn't seem too concerned?
Is there such a thing as an automatic water dispenser for horses? They must be getting some water because they would have perished by now.
Is the grass they're eating in the pasture enough nutrition? Should their diet be supplemented with (?). What happens when winter comes and the grass dies?
What about shelter? There's a barn but they can't get into it. Right now they're out in the elements day and night. Is that safe? What about predators? And winter is coming.
Shouldn't they be washed and brushed? Is it normal to have that many flies on them?
Sorry...as I said, I'm not a country girl and this is all new to me. I would like to do something to help them. Any advice?

September 18th, 2018, 01:16 PM
Michele, with your permission, I'll copy and paste your email and send to one of DH's cousins. His wife's family has raised horses all of her life and she runs a summer program at their farm.

Carlie Wolf
September 18th, 2018, 01:49 PM
Animal control may not have a place to take the horses and put it as a low priority....bad as that is.

There should be an animal shelter in the State that takes more than dogs and cats. There are also usually sheltering places that do take farm animals and they bring them back up to health and adopt them out. A good horse breeder, of any breed, probably also knows the names of places. I would try to get in touch with one of them to see what help information wise they can give. Animal control within towns are not always reliable for farm animals.

September 18th, 2018, 03:40 PM
get in touch with the local rodeo club. They will probably be much more aggressive on getting something done. And since they are local they can keep a constant eye on the situation. Another place would be the 4H or FFA club. Check with the high school.

As for flies, in the summertime horses in fields always have to fight the flies. However, a responsible owner will use a spray, fly headnet or they make strips you can attach to the halter with "bug juice" on them.

The most common medicine we used on infections turned the area purple. They may be using something else though but if it isn't getting better the vet needs to be looking at it. If there is only one horse vet in the area you could contact them and explain your concerns. They would be able to give you some advise on how to proceed also.

good luck and I hope the horses are saveable.

September 18th, 2018, 04:28 PM
Thanks guys. I'll look into all those options. Katrina, for sure you can copy my message and send to DH's cousin. I'll take all the info I can get.

September 18th, 2018, 04:32 PM
Maybe you can talk a vet into coming out to convince someone to come out and do something. The neighbors across from me were iffy (trying to build a commune) and had a couple of goats. I was close to calling because there was no one around. They finally took them.

September 18th, 2018, 04:38 PM
Since horse rescue was my job for many years, I do know your state has or had one or more. Start by contacting the local sheriffs office, then a horse rescue (you can find them on google). Local newspapers or tv can help push things along. Take pics if you can, to show them. Ask neighbors to give statements.

Here ya go.

September 18th, 2018, 05:28 PM
From Allison (the family horse whisperer),

Sounds like an infected ear that needs antibiotics.

There are automatic water things. They just have to be checked bc they can sometimes not work.

As long as there is enough grass it is enough nutrition. I would look to see their physical condition. We do give ours sweetfeed once or twice a day for more protein. Would probably need to be given hay in the winter bc grass dies.

Flies are bothersome to them. They will usually cover themselves with mud or dip in a pond to try to rid themselves of them if they can. We do use fly spray when needed. Horses can stay out in the elements. They grow their coats thick based on the climate. It is good to have a shelter though. We bring ours in at night mostly to check on all of them and feed them but they will grow accustom to the elements around them.

There you have it, from the Middle School Teacher/ Super Mom/ Horse Whisperer and trainer! I don't know how she does all that she does!

September 18th, 2018, 07:07 PM
We've had horses in the past. Grass is enough for summer. One acre per one horse though. A little sweet feed will keep their interest up. Flys….you could get some pennyroyal and rub it on them and that will help.
I would contact TV as auntstuff said.