Animal Control intake photo (August 2014)
Danny three months after his arrival to M.O.P
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Danny arrived at Mea Ola’s Place in November 2014, shortly after Spider. As a matter of fact, Spider was then in"stalled" in the horse trailer for our first round of trials to keep him quiet and still, in order to heal his fractured pelvis.
I was contacted by Kern County Animal Control, the place where our original rescued horses came from in January of 2012.. They had picked up a blue roan gelding, approximately fifteen years old, in the summer of 2014 after the horse was apparently turned loose in a remote area of the county. From the distinctive freeze brand on his neck, they knew he was a BLM Mustang. Unfortunately, he was untouchable and completely blind in one eye. Now, three months after he had been taken in, he was on the list for euthanasia, as the facility was full once again, and had to make room for other stray horses or horses that needed to be seized. The officer begged me to save this boy's life.
(I will tell you, there is no harder job than what these Officers have to do every day! As an animal control officer or kennel attendant, their jobs are to love and care for the animals while they are there at animal control. They have a heartbreaking job that always involves saying good-bye either because of adoption or, in MANY more cases, because of euthanasia. Many employees go the extra mile, contacting Rescues to try and place animals before they must be euthanized. But sadly, all too often Rescues are full. In California, most Animal Control facilities hire Registered Vet Techs to do most of the euthanizing, but the other staff have to be a part of the process as well. The fact is that the number of dogs, cats, and in the last decade due to the economy, the number of horses and farm animals, that are euthanized every week is astounding. Why? They are being abandoned in record numbers. Many are seized from their owners for neglect--such as starving them--and others are seized for being abused. There is not enough space or money for our cities and counties to care for the number of animals needing shelter. I help them to save a life whenever I can!)
That November, our facility was also full and we had no open corral/stall. Thankfully, however, we had just finalized an adoption and a stall space would be available in about a week. But, this mustang, whom I had named Danny, didn’t have a week left. With Spider in our trailer, I couldn’t use it to go get Danny. So, I contacted Tania Bennet, a local Rescue comrade who founded and runs Mustang Spirit Equine Rescue, and she agreed to transport him to MOP. Danny stayed in our turnout for the first week until Grammos left for his forever home, freeing up his stall.
At first Danny was untrusting, but he was very food-motivated. He started eating out of our hands in just a couple of weeks following his arrival. We were then able to start touching him after we did some targeting exercises, just as we had been doing with Tilly.
The challenge with Danny has been his blindness. A horse actually processes information on both sides of the brain, independently from the other side. So, a horse can look behind itself with the right eye, and scan in front of itself with the left eye and process both images, thoughts, etc. AT THE SAME TIME. This is true for their ears and hearing of sounds as well. We have to “teach” both sides of the brain with a horse. Since Danny cannot see out of his right eye, that has been a bit of a challenge.
What we found, when he had learned to trust and be comfortable in our presence, was that as long as we approached the left side where he could see us, we could work our way to the right side. We never take our hand off him as we move around to the right side. And once there, a hand is always on him so he knows where we are and isn’t surprised by a touch.
Danny is available for adoption. We can now lead him, groom him, and pick up all four feet. He also stands very well for having his feet trimmed. We just have to always remember to reassure him and not surprise him in any way when we are on his right side.
Being blind in one eye does not stop Danny from playing, running or bucking at turnout time. He is a wonderful horse, but will need a patient person. He is not suitable for riding, but he will make a good companion horse for another horse as he is very docile and social with other horses. He would need a person committed to spending time with him on a daily basis, though. These Mustangs can revert back to their former “untamed” nature without proper consistent attention from a human.