Story submitted by Off Track, On Course Thoroughbreds
I had been tagged in a post on facebook about a tall, straggly older chestnut gelding who recently survived a barn fire and had no place to go. As sad of a story as that is in and of itself, I had no idea the depths of this poor horses past. They called him Bail or Buel, depending on who you asked, and he had a home lined up for him, but after several trailering attempts, couldn’t get him to load so he was once again standing with an uncertain future. I agreed to come check him out and see if we could somehow get him to the rescue. I asked the typical questions about his past and about his current health papers; nothing out of the ordinary for anyone looking to bring a horse home.
This is where things took a sharp turn in a direction I was not expecting. The woman who currently cared for him relinquished him in a lien due to his board not being paid. This poor horse had already survived starvation (the two other horses originally with him prior to relinquishment died) and then suffered some unknown injections and being ridden into the ground while in his previous situation. He has finally begun to recover physically and gain weight when his house burnt down. He was one of a very small number of horses to survive a horrific fire. As if all of this wasn’t enough, he was terrified of getting on a trailer. When I went to look at him, I saw a very sweet horse who needed some pounds, some consistency, and veterinary attention as he appeared stiff and sore despite not doing anything but grazing in a pasture for two years. I was unable to obtain any medical history on him due to his previous owner being incarcerated and due to having an outstanding balance with her vet, his medical records would not be released to me. On a mission to at least figure out WHO he was, we learned his tattoo and his description did not match, so we had to contact the Jockey Club in order to get a true ID on this gentleman. J.W.’s Monarch finally had an identity; he is a beautiful 17+ hh 19 year old chestnut gelding we affectionately call Atticus. A sucker for OTTB rescues, I was able to have a good friend, Emily Foster, come load him in her large and fancy trailer and get him to our farm.
Atticus is home. He will likely live the rest of his life out here at OTOC, as he has some major confidence issues and we are still working on figuring out where he hurts and how we can help him. He has since been fully vetted, adjusted by chiropractor, started on medications to help ease his pain, has gained back almost all of the weight he needed, and made many new friends. Atticus is learning to trust those he see’s regularly (though is still weary of the vet and farrier) and is finally able to thrive. We love him and enjoy all of the milestones he has made so far, and are welcoming all of the rest to come! We love you, Atticus!