Friday, February 28, 2014

Progress Report

I think it is time for a progress report. It has been almost 5 months since I officially started this project to train and rehabilitate these horses to increase their level of health and their chances for long-term adoption. I thought it would take at least a year to achieve this goal and a lot of progress has been made so far.

When I began the training,  Scipion and Blanchette had never worn a halter, never been led with a lead, and did not know anything about what is expected of them for hoof maintenance. Furthermore, they had terrible manners all around, no respect for the personal space required by humans, and no respect for our rules, such as no biting for example. Now they accept the halter easily and will come and follow with the lead. Scipion is now fine with being attached in place with the lead, and Blanchette is now coming to understand that it means to stay where she is without pulling or trying to get away. Scipion used to amuse himself by trying to bite us all the time, now he rarely tries.

Even the hardest part, getting them to give their hooves gently and patiently for cleaning and maintenance is coming along. Now they understand what is being asked of them and so the next goal is for them to understand that they must do it when asked every time and not just when they feel like it. Recently, the second session with the farrier went only a little better than the first, but considering that they were not sedated this time, I think it shows progress.

The owner finally agreed to sign over the ownership of the horses so that they could be micro-chipped and officially registered. The fundraising efforts worked to raise 1000 euros, And so thanks to your financial help, they are all vaccinated, micro-chipped.  And they have official registration/ownership papers now. Before they had no papers whatsoever. They have had veterinary exams with consultations and recommendations for their health issues. Also there is now in place a non-profit association for added support, with advantages for fundraising as well as discounts for services.

They have had  professional farrier services twice in 4 months. Ideally it would be more often but it is still a big difference considering how many years they suffered before without any hoof care. It is still uncertain if there will be permanent damage to the feet. Some professionals have said they will be handicapped for life in the sense that they will never be able to walk or run for long, especially with the added weight of a rider.  I hope this is not true.          

Negrette's dermatitis is now under control for the time being..finally! I believe that she didn't have lice after all. I think the person who advised me that she did was mistaken. And I made the mistake of not verifying this by taking a hair/skin sample for a microscopic exam before treating with harsh chemicals, which may have only irritated her already irritated skin. When the veterinarian finally came, he said she had a secondary bacterial infection and he gave me a treatment of antibiotics for her. With this treatment I also resumed application of my healing salves. And now her coat looks better than I have ever seen it. All the sores from the previous warm weather insect season are gone and the hair has grown back on all the bald spots, such as her tail, belly, forehead, and ears. Things are finally stabilized, just in time to start working on how to prevent the same problems from starting all over again when the warm/insect season starts again soon. This will be a very difficult challenge.
All in all I think this is a lot of progress in just 5 months. And fairly well in accordance with projections; in nearly half a year about half of the fundraising goal has been reached.  Now, it is time to rally again for another fundraising push. As explained in the mission statement there are still important  goals to reach, such as for advanced professional training in boarding stables for Scipion and Blanchette. Plus Negrette will need some serious help this summer, whether is be for expensive insect repellants, for shelter and/or for special coverings to protect her skin from the insects that cause such severe allergic reactions. Hence it is time for round two of Helping Three Horses. And for this round I have finally gotten the french version of the website finished and online. So please spread the word and share the website links. We are halfway there!

English version-

French version-