Story submitted by Horse Helpers of the High Country
Around the end of April 2016, we received a call from a supporter about a horse rescued by her friend. Could we take her? The call came in a flurry of other requests to take horses, and we had agreed to most of them. There were three abandoned horses and three owner surrenders, in addition two of our adoptions were returning because of unforeseen life changes. That was eight horses in one big sweep. Could we take one more? But as she was described to me, Penny was the kind of horse we are most intended to save. They thought she was losing her eyesight. She was thin and covered in severe rain rot. Her owner said he was sending her off if no one took her.
Penny, a sad, depressed little red roan Appaloosa arrived at the farm on April 25th. Her eyes were runny and she was completely blind in one eye. She was anemic, but in general appeared to just need “groceries.” We started the refeeding diet slowly, more feed, alfalfa, and hay as the days progressed. After a couple of days we bathed her to soothe the severe, oozing scabs along her back. Every day we saw change. Antihistamine in her feed and wetting her hay fixed the runny eyes. Probiotics and aloe helped her stomach issues, although we had trouble getting her to drink at first. Daily hand walking kept her from getting stiff. She seemed to have no trouble dealing with trusting us even though she was blind. In fact, she seems unflappable. After the third week and no symptoms of contagion, Penny was moved out of quarantine and into the big barn with other horses. She started making friends and visiting over the fence with other horses and every day she became healthier. She became engaged and alert, she called to us when we came in the barn. But that wasn’t the best part of this story. One day, a former volunteer brought her friend by. Even though no one was at the barn our volunteer brought her friend in to meet some of the horses. Her friend was a horse lover—in fact, she owned only Appaloosas. Our volunteer later told us what happened next. Dorothy was commenting on the horses as she walked down the aisle. She looked to the end of the barn and said, that looks like a red roan appaloosa! I know that horse! Penny!! Penny!! Is that you!! Penny whinnied to Dorothy and as Dorothy reached the end of the aisle she was crying, “Penny, Penny, it really is you.” Penny was born on Dorothy’s farm and had lived with her for over 20 years until one night she was stolen. Dorothy had been looking for her for over a year and here she was. She had not been blind when she was stolen but Dorothy didn’t care and Penny knew exactly who she was. The day Horse Helpers delivered Penny to Dorothy’s farm, the farm where Penny was born, that blind horse stepped off the trailer and pulled her handler almost 1⁄2 a football field’s length into the barn and right into the stall she had always lived in. And Penny is there to this day, back with her old friends, in her old stall, with her Mom. We can’t show you pictures of Penny and her Mom fearing that the thieves might come back. But here is a picture of Penny today, so happy, and for us, a reminder that miracles happen in most unexpected ways. Penny April 25th. The lumps you see on her skin are old and healing lesions from the rain rot. She has a heavy winter coat here that hides just how skinny she is.
Penny getting Healing Touch Therapy from practitioner Peggy Setzer and apple slices too!
May 15. Penny doing her favorite things, eating and getting brushed.
Story submitted by Horse Helpers, Inc., dba Horse Helpers of the High Country Zionville, NC