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A project found me! Essa's Storm - 6-month update #38

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  • A project found me! Essa's Storm - 6-month update #38

    OK, more like a rescue but I'm optimistic.

    It started off as helping a friend in a pinch and grew from there. My husband saw this 10-year-old OTTB mare, just surfing ads for no particular reason. We're perfectly comfy with the two we have at home and our daughter's horse, who is boarded for training. Turns out he knows the owner from baseball. She bought Essa in October for her daughter, but they were losing their chores-for-board arrangement and had to sell. The ad pictures didn't look too bad but the ad could be better, and there's drama at the place they kept her. So we offered to bring Essa home for a couple of weeks to clean her up and help with selling her.

    The horse we picked up on Thursday wasn't quite the one in the pictures, and we were told she'd had a hard winter. She has no neck, and after initial reluctance she loaded on the trailer for a fistful of hay. She settled in one of our empty stalls and attacked the hay like it was her last meal. Well, we've had a Welsh X pony so that's not so strange...

    Friday morning I took off her blankets to put on a rainsheet. I just about cried.

    Clearly this was not a two-week fix. I told the owner she just wasn't saleable as-is, and we'd like to keep her though April and see how she does.

    I body-scored her at 2, thankfully closer to a 3 than a 1. With a little research I learned about refeeding syndrome. OK, even more of a project. So I took away her hay - that was tough to do - and set her on small frequent feeds through the weekend, following this article-

    I even took hay out at 3:00am to keep her on track.

    She already seemed brighter on Sunday!

    We discussed all of this with the owner - it'll be much longer than April to get Essa back on track. I will have the vet out in a week or two - our other horses are due for shots/floating/etc. anyway - and if there's nothing critical wrong with her, we've offered to buy her. Not at all what I had in mind 4 days ago, but if Essa is sane and sound I think it's her best chance.

    She raced through 2010, and I think that being fit though most of her life must be helping, even in this sorry state. I'm hoping that she will keep her sweet nature once she's in better shape.

    Her pedigree:

    I've (barely) started a blog for her that I really hope to keep current. I just want to keep track of everything! I was lucky enough to find a couple of "prime" pictures of her. Yes, I'm crazy but I'd love to know what you think!
    Last edited by cada931; Sep. 19, 2014, 10:37 PM. Reason: Title An OTTB rescue/project found me!

  • #2
    Thank you for doing this.
    PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

    Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique


    • #3
      WOW 15 green star mares in her TB pedigree.

      Good for you. You're going to get to see something very amazing, the process is enlightening. So heart breaking for these lovely creatures that trust us for their care.
      The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton


      • #4
        Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
        WOW 15 green star mares in her TB pedigree.

        Good for you. You're going to get to see something very amazing, the process is enlightening. So heart breaking for these lovely creatures that trust us for their care.
        She hits almost all the big male names, too, with one single instance of well-spaced RAN inbreeding. Serviceable if not spectacular race record herself. What a nice mare and good she's got someone now to get her in better shape (to be honest I expected much worse from the description before I saw the "now" pictures.) Once you've got her weight up and some shine back in her coat she's going to be a gem.
        Author Page
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        • #5
          WAY TO GO!!! You'll have a really nice mare there once you get her fat and sassy again; from experience, I give her until June to look like a different horse.
          When they're young, have good basic health underneath, and did not starve for a terribly long time, they pop back up pretty fast; and I've sure seen 'em skinnier than she is.

          Congratulations on a great project, and may she repay you a thousandfold!


          • Original Poster

            pony grandma and danceronice, thanks for weighing in on her pedigree! I'd never heard of green star or reines-de-course.

            I might have been conservative in assessing her condition but I've never seen a horse in that shape before and I wanted to make sure I didn't overdo the feeding.

            Vet will be out on Wed, so it will be interesting to hear what she has to say.
   An OTTB rescue/project found me!


            • #7
              She will be lovely! Good luck with her and post your blog updates I have a soft spot for OTTB mares


              • Original Poster

                I should clarify one thing. The current owner bought Essa when she was underweight, hoping to help her out. She made some progress but it was lost over the winter. There may have been some turnout dominance issues.

                She had some bad advice/enabling when she got her, realizes it was too much to take on, and is very grateful for our help.
       An OTTB rescue/project found me!


                • #9
                  I don't know if you know the Seattle Slew story. He was purchased for a mere $17,500 which in the racing world is basement.


                  He had 16 green star mares in his pedigree and this was before the designation was developed and awarded to the outstanding mare producers. You only find them in the tail generations b/c it takes that kind of time to produce the stats to earn the star. But those 16 stars can help explain how Slew became so successful.

                  You have yourself a diamond in the rough. You are keeping her??? She WILL bond ! You will be blessed with the heart of a mare. I will PM you when I have time, I am in a very similar situation.
                  The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton


                  • #10
                    She may not be that hard to get going with plenty of good hay eventually - hopefully. I had my guy out in pasture board 24/7 last year. As I jumped up and down and screamed to the BO to give him more hay in March, and she refused, he came out of that barn quite ribby, although I'll admit noticeably so after shedding - where I see your girl is even with the coat.

                    Mine was noticeably different every week. Big change in just a month. So many do not understand what they need in the winter, and sometimes can't, or are stubborn about, giving it. Especially if they don't bother to look under that blanket.

                    Thank you for stepping up.
                    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
                      I don't know if you know the Seattle Slew story. He was purchased for a mere $17,500 which in the racing world is basement.


                      He had 16 green star mares in his pedigree and this was before the designation was developed and awarded to the outstanding mare producers. You only find them in the tail generations b/c it takes that kind of time to produce the stats to earn the star. But those 16 stars can help explain how Slew became so successful.

                      You have yourself a diamond in the rough. You are keeping her??? She WILL bond ! You will be blessed with the heart of a mare. I will PM you when I have time, I am in a very similar situation.
                      I'd love to hear from you when you have time! I have a 17-year-old OTTB gelding that I've gotten into nice shape, but I've never done anything like this.
             An OTTB rescue/project found me!


                      • #12
                        Good for you op! She landed in well deserved clover with you and she has an impressive pedigree and race record. Best wishes for a wonderful future for her.


                        • Original Poster

                          I had the vet out today to check Essa out, and she did quite well.

                          Based on the history I've been able to put together - thanks, Google! - Essa got the usual core vaccines and shouldn't need a West Nile Virus booster.

                          She didn't care for having her teeth checked at all. I had to push her back into her stall, and I could feel her heart going like a rabbit! But with a light tranq the vet was able to do a manual float, which should help her get more out of her hay.

                          Results from the fecal sample will determine whether she is up-to-date and can be wormed with the other two, or whether she will need her own routine.

                          Her legs are pretty clean and consistent with her race history. We didn't look at her movement at all - that can wait until she's in better weight. The verdict today was that aside from weight, no dire issues are apparent that would keep her from doing the kind of low-level work I'd like to do with her.

                          She's been getting 6 lb of hay 4 times a day since Monday. The vet said she should be fine with free choice anytime now but I think I'll stick to the guidelines I've been following. That will give her 9 lb 3 times a day for the next week starting tomorrow. Then I can start adding grain and beet pulp. I'm sure Essa will be very happy about that. She knows what dinner time is when Cody and Honey get grain, and she knows that she isn't getting any.
                 An OTTB rescue/project found me!


                          • #14
                            Any chance she got bred and then got the caslicks? I know some breeders do it after they have bred mares with a certain conformation. When the mare gets close to the due date they unstitch. I think it used to be much more common that all broodmares were caslicked once confirmed in foal.

                            Just food for though. You might be getting a two-fer.
                            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                            • #15
                              She looks exactly like my boy did when I got him. It took about a year to get him in good shape, with light work along the way. I too was afraid he'd suffer a personality change after his recovery, but ten years later and he's still a big puppy dog. I hope you find the process as rewarding as I did! Nothing like a good OTTB.
                              "Je suis Pony Owner."


                              • Original Poster

                                I was able to find out some more about her history, and updated the blog.


                                She is settling in very well, and has good manners. Hopefully the farrier will be out next week. It sounds like her last trim was in December, so her feet look pretty solid if that's the case. I'm not putting a lot of stock in what I hear about her care
                       An OTTB rescue/project found me!


                                • #17
                                  Bless you and thank you so much for taking her in!


                                  • #18
                                    I just finished a similar project. Starved quarter horse. 5 months later, good to go, full of personality.....


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Hi, I've posted a few more updates on the blog. Essa is officially ours! She's caught up with the vet, farrier, and worming now, eating all the time and LOVES her grain and beet pulp at dinnertime She continues to be a sweet, well-mannered girl - although she loves mud like a boy.

                                      The next issue will be figuring out how to ease her back into work - no rush!
                             An OTTB rescue/project found me!


                                      • #20
                                        This is her last race at the Fort, in case you wanted to see it.

                                        What you allow is what will continue.