Calamity Jane: A Rescue Story
On the morning of July 23rd, 2020, we received a phone call from a friend at Lincoln County Animal Control. He informed us that the previous day a loose horse had been found wandering on the other side of town from us, about forty minutes away. A local acquaintance had actually gone and gotten the mare off the side of the road and put her in their round pen until owners could be located. Animal Control had located the owner who basically said "Horse? What horse? I don't own a horse" and officially relinquished ownership. Animal Control in our county doesn't really have the facilities to house a horse for a long period of time, so they reached out to us to see if we'd be interested in taking her on as a rescue and rehabilitation project. We were told nothing about the horse except that the previous owner had had her for a few years and was given her by an old neighbor that moved and couldn't take her. He had tried to give her away multiple times and said at one point she had been broke to ride but he had never ridden her.
So off we went, hauling a stock trailer to pick up a horse we knew nothing about, a day in the life at Helms Hill Farms. We arrived and the local acquaintance had her penned up in the round pen with hay and water and told us the mare was basically un-handled and close to feral. We walked right up and started looking her over and petting her and loving on her, trying to get a feel for her. The mare immediately responded to affection and let me calmly put a halter on her and lead her out of the round pen. She immediately started chowing down on the grass by the driveway. She was extremely calm the whole time, aware, but not startled or seemingly bothered by anything. Time came to take her home, and she followed Ben right up onto the stock trailer like it was nothing, a little spooky once she was on it, like she didn't realize that she'd followed him onto a giant tin can. She settled after a minute, and off towards our farm we went.
Arriving at home, we settled her into the little corral around our barns, which we use as a sort of isolation paddock. We weren't sure what the grain situation was before she came to us, so we didn't want to upset her stomach right off the bat. We started her on a mix of fescue, orchard, and alfalfa hay for the first few days, with access to plenty of water and grass. We took this time to look her over and get an idea of what we were dealing with. Her top-line was severely lacking, her mane and coat were very dull and dirty, she looked very wormy, and her feet, while surprisingly big and solid, were overgrown and chipping off at the toes. We hit her with the first round of dewormer the day after we got her, with another dose six weeks later.
We named her Calamity Jane, or Janie, affectionately. We figured she deserved a strong but feminine name after everything she'd been through. A few good peeks into her mouth revealed she's about twelve years old.
She's been with us a little over seven weeks as of September (and this post). In that time, she's learned to stand for the farrier (who said she had awesome feet), stand for baths and fly spray, gained tons of weight and muscle (we've still got a ways to go on muscle), is learning to lunge properly, and even takes a saddle pad! She has continued to surprise us with her sweet nature and willingness to please.
We are thrilled with her progress and can't wait to see how she turns out!