SHOREVIEW, MN – Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” In the spring of 2016, six horses living in darkness were given a second chance to get back on their feet and find a life of happiness at Bright Futures Farm in Cochranton, Pennsylvania.
“The farm at Bright Futures is a sanctuary,” said Bev Dee. “Our team takes the worst cases because we can devote the time necessary to rehabilitating horses. In this case, I honestly didn’t even know if some of them were going to make the 20-minute trailer ride to our barn,” said Dee.
The six horses taken into rehabilitation had fighting hearts. After many months of personalized care and nutrition, two of the rehabilitated horses, Jet and Addie, have found forever homes with the family responsible for discovering them and saving their lives. A stallion, Tanner, is in the homestretch of overcoming his ulcers. The mares, Journey and Inga, have remained together and are continuing to gain weight and thrive.
All the horses have found homes except for one: a 16-year-old Rocky Mountain stallion named Cider.
Cider’s resiliency has astounded his caretakers. “He had about a foot and a half of hoof removed,” said Dee. “The hoof walls were curling under and we were trimming every three to four weeks to build back integrity of the hoof.
“Cider survived because of his spirit,” Dee said tearfully. “The hardest part was seeing him figure out how to walk. After he regained his mobility, it was like he discovered how to be a horse all over again.”
Once Cider’s dentition improved, he was better able to digest the feed he was eating. However, nutritional rehabilitation of horses like Cider doesn’t happen overnight.
“Cider needed to gain weight quickly, but we needed to be careful with how we did it,” Dee said. “We were very concerned about preventing refeeding syndrome.” Refeeding syndrome can occur when a horse is fed too many calories too quickly after suffering from a period of malnourishment. Heart, respiratory and kidney failure can ensue because of the sudden reintroduction of carbohydrates and other nutrients.
“We started him out slowly and worked up to 2 pounds of feed three times a day,” Dee explains. “We’ve had him on Purina® Equine Senior and Purina® Amplify High-Fat Supplement from the start. We chose this combination because Equine Senior is a complete feed with built-in forage to help horses that have poor digestion, dental problems or missing teeth. The added calories and controlled starch in the Amplify supplement helped maintain Cider’s body condition and support normal digestion for him.”
After several months of rehabilitation, Dee said Cider is looking strong. His Cinderella story isn’t over. With one look at Cider today and his golden palomino sheen, one would never guess where he was a short time ago. Cider is currently awaiting adoption in a foster home with a trainer, who is also a farrier.
“I’m just so thankful we didn’t lose him, because we could have. He has a lot of heart and he’s so kind for having gone through what he did,” Dee said. “It just amazes me he made it.”
Stories like Cider’s is why Purina Animal Nutrition is proud to be the title sponsor of A Home for Every Horse, a program to help find forever homes for horses in need. To date, Purina Animal Nutrition has donated more than $425,000 to participating rescue shelters, amounting to more than 800 tons of feed.