Devon has been my horse and partner for 14 of his 15 years. Last November I became very ill, so after paying full board from June 2015 to November 2015, the farm he was boarding at offered a full free-lease, including feed, supplements, vetting per schedule, and horse shoeing on his front feet every 5-6 weeks, in exchange for using him as a lesson horse.
None of this was performed, although he was used in lessons and competed in one show off-property, without my knowledge.
His shoes were not maintained.
No veterinary work I paid for (teeth floated with sedation, a Coggins test) was done, although was charged for these services.
He was not fed - and he's an "easy keeper" - a handful of grain and a couple of flakes of grass hay twice a day are all he needs, normally.
I was not aware of any of this neglect.
All attempts to contact the farm owner from January through April were unanswered, so finally on April 5, 2016 my fiance and I made an unannounced visit, and were horrified by what we discovered.
Devon was completely lame, emaciated, and all his best horse tack - bridle with bit, reins and curb chain, breast plate, saddle with my 4-way stirrups and their leathers detached, and Parelli bareback pad, were out in the yard "to be cleaned", I was told. Funny, none of any other horses' tack was outside "to be cleaned".
Upon return home, I immediately made plans to get him off that farm. The professional horse transporter I called (my truck and horse trailer were taken from me in my 2013 divorce, so I could not move him myself) required a sheriff's presence due to the conditions I described. Once I called the county's sheriff and explained what the transporter needed, I was transferred to the county animal control cheif deputy. At 8AM the next morning, Devon's rescue began.
So on April 6th, I returned with an escort by two county animal control deputies and two county sheriffs. Most of Devon's tack and supplies were returned to me, except for the bridle with bit and reins, his breastplate, a good girth, a saddle pad and my paddock boots. The value of the unreturned tack - which was denied ever there - although my fiance is witness as we saw it and used that bridle the day before (I rode him bareback to see how lame he was) - is over $750.00.
I was able to trailer my poor horse Devon, who did not deserve this nightmare - no horse does - to the nearest reputable veterinarian transported at great cost by a professional horse hauler. The picture you see was taken that afternoon in the stall at the vet's.
Devon had to spend 8 days at the veterinarian's before being strong enough to move to the new location I found for him.
In fact, all horses on the property were emaciated, and a 30 day notice was given by animal control to improve the remaining horses and their living conditions.
However, this is MINIMAL compared top the permanent damage done to Devon. He is permanently lame, and his usefulness and ability to live without constant pain is GONE.
The front shoes I had personally supervised put on and paid for by check to a farrier in July, had never been replaced, and his hooves were trimmed by someone else than the farrier, who is not a trained farrier or trained barefoot natural trimmer.
The show horse class vertified farrier shoeing him now as well as two veterinarians I use now who have treated him since he left the 8-day stay vet's confirm that DEVON HAS HIGH RINGBONE ON BOTH FRONT FEET, CAUSED BY BEING UNSHOD AND TRIMMED INCORRECTLY, MAKING THE HOOVES OUT OF BALANCE, WHICH PULLS TENDONS AND LIGAMENTS WHICH RESPOND TO THIS UNNATURAL STRESS AND TENSION BY DEPOSITING BONE AT THE POINTS OF DAMAGE - BASICALLY, ARTHRITIS.
Link on Ringbone:
Ringbone is an irreversible condition, and he cannot be ridden again. At the prime of his life, his ability to be ridden and to live without constant pain are gone forever.
Another informative link on Ringbone is:
In my care, Devon has regained weight but not needed muscle because he cannot be exercised. HE IS PERMANENTLY LAME WITH HIGH RINGBONE ON BOTH FRONT FEET. All due to the unpermitted lack of shoes and incorrect trimming over the course of 7 months while there.
He also had an infestation of lice, pinworms, rainrot (a skin and coat fungal infection), Thrush on all four hooves (a fungal infection from living in wet, unsanitary environment), and an abcess on his right front hoof. I had to shave his once-beautiful long mane off due to the eggs laid in the follicles.
I have put a great deal of effort and expense to heal those conditions.
He needs XRAYS of his hooves to determine the extent of the disease called Ringbone - and possibly Navicular - that was caused at the previous location.
To accomplish all of this, I have sold everything I own except my bed, dresser, chair and desk, and now live in a rented room on the farm I board him at and care for him.
But the costs are far from over.
A week and a half ago he experienced a severe colic from the anti-imflammatory, "Bute", that I had him on per veterinarary recommendation for his pain management and also to attempt to reduce the Ringbone imflammation and lameness. That was another $300.00.
His feed and nutrients are very expensive, and he needs to have corrective shoes every 3-4 weeks for the rest of his life.
He can not walk without limping and groaning.
He needs the XRAYS and coorrective shoeing. Thank God this new farrier we have works closely with both of the veterinarians we use now.
But the XRAYS remain to be done, and the colic bill is unpaid. The next farrier visit is June 20th and we need those XRAYS so that the vet and farrier can consult and shoe him based on what's really going on inside, not looked at or felt from the outside.
I have an overdrawn bank account, and nothing left to sell. I even had to take out one of those terribly costly "payday loans" - I had no choice.
I have spent over $2,500.00 since April 5th on him to rescue and save him.
I have no vehicle of my own, no savings, live on Social Security Disabilty, and pay 85% of my monthly SSDI to rent this space where he and I live as I try to save his life.
So many items were unreturned when I seized him on April 6th that, even if he were rideable, I am without adequate tack, which I had purchased over my lifetime as well as Devon's, at great sacrifice, since I was a single mother who never got child support, and anything horse-related acquired over the years was a great challenge to afford...
Meanwhile, I have no vehicle, no way to drive to purchase feed and hay, and am almost devoid of possessions, in order to save my horse's life. I have owned him since he was 14 months old, and he will be 15 on November 11, 2016.
I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (link) and my horse is my therapy. The use of horses in therapeutic treatment is known as Hippotherapy (link) in the medical and psychiatric world. Many excellent programs exist which benefit a wide range of individuals: from autistic children, youths with troubled backgrounds, those with physical challenges like Cerebral Palsy and more, accident victims, and our military veterans with PTSD from their esteemed service to our country.
ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED! I have almost 20 pounds since this happened, because I cannot afford food. I feed Devon. And to top it all off, my Jack Russell Terrier, age 6-1/2, has terminal Mast Cell Cancer.
All monies contributed will go to vet bills, farrier, feed, past due vet bills, boarding costs, and perhaps funds for an old truck. We are in a bad way, and truly need help now and in the future. I am doing all I can to keep from having to euthanize him as a result of this abuse and neglect.
Thank you from my heart and soul,
Laura and Devon, partners in life
- Rhonda Linkus
- Dan Cooper