There she was. A plain brown Quarter Horse mare. Nothing special. Her ears droopy, her eyes sad. This poor girl had been tossed by her owners when she was no longer of use to them. Tossed to the most cruel of places – the kill pen. The most lonely, terrifying place a horse can find itself. The kill pen – work of the devil himself. Something in this girl’s eyes drew me – a faint glow. She deserved another chance. So she was chosen. Her name is Ember. A glowing piece that, with energy, can reignite the fire. Left on its own the ember will die, but with a little care and attention, a fire.
Being a lifetime horseman and having put many years in as a veterinary assistant and technician, I’m not easily phased by illness or injury. Most I can handle on my own. Those who work with me, know when I call a vet – it’s serious. Strangles is one of those terms that doesn’t phase me much. I founded an equine rescue and sanctuary. Strangles is going to come through. There’s really no way around it when it comes to rescue. We focus on prevention. Once it arrives, we’re diligent about quarantine and disinfection. When Ember came, so did Strangles. Surely the stress of being in the kill pen, the exposure to horses with bacteria and viruses from all over the nation, and the lack of proper nutrition were key factors in the severity of the illness in Ember. It came on slowly, causing much discomfort. The abscess did not blow quickly. This poor girl, after being through so much already, battled Strangles for a long time. When she was pulled from the kill pen, she was probably at a body score of 3. After her bought of illness, she came out a 2.5.
After her almost 2-month battle with Strangles, Ember healed. The glow in her eyes grew brighter. Her ears perked. Her weight increased, as did her energy. She made friends with herd members. She became happy. Our trainers began working with her. They were happy to find she was very well trained and mannered. She neck reins and we believe her to be a cow horse. Once our horses are deemed safe, they teach horsemanship skills to students in our lesson program until they find their forever home. Ember has become one of the favorites among students and staff. She is so very sweet and cuddly. That glow in her eyes is no longer just an ember – it’s now a constant glow of happiness; a story of rescue and redemption.
*Ember is available for adoption, along with her best friend, Maximus. Please visit our “Available for Adoption” page for more information.