For those of us who can still afford to retire, we hope to spend our days doing the things we’ve always wanted to do. After working hard for so many years, it’s a well-deserved chance to rest. But for many domestic horses, who can live as long as 30 years, retirement is rarely ever an option.
Elderly Horses Knew Nothing But Torment Until Cindy Came Along
That was certainly the case for Arthur and Max, two elderly horses who’d been horribly abused for most of their lives, The Dodo reports. And Cindy Daigre, who founded Ferrell Hollow Farm — Senior Horse & Cat Sanctuary, has seen her share of abused horses. But when she found Arthur and Max, she definitely knew she had to act.
Max had serious neurological issues. Photo by Ferrell Hollow Farm, Senior Horse Sanctuary of Tennessee via The Dodo
Arthur, a 32-year-old Belgian draft horse, worked hard for all of his 30 years at a farming community in New England. When he was considered too old he was bounced repeatedly from auctions to dealers. Along the way, he formed a friendship with another horse, named Max, a 25-year-old Percheron.
A cruel fate awaited the horses
The place that was going to be the horses’ final destination was truly horrifying. When Cindy stumbled upon a website showing that the two were about to be brokered out, she knew she needed to step in.
“I pulled both Arthur and his buddy Max from dealers in Pennsylvania where they had been bounced around from auctions and were heading to New Holland, a high-kill auction next,” she told The Dodo.
One photo showed just how emaciated poor Arthur was. He looked like a skeleton covered in little else but skin. And she watched a horribly upsetting video of Max being ridden by a woman who slapped him with his reins and kicked him hard.
“It was clear he was not even broke to ride,” Daigre said.
Then someone told her that Arthur was intentionally starved before going on to the next auction — to a place where they would meet horrible deaths. The horses were scheduled to be sold as meat to the ‘cat man,’ a man who owns exotic cats (which is another form of cruelty altogether.)
“I was horrified,” Daigre said.
So she relied on a network of Draft horse resources. And then hired someone to transport the horses safely to the Tennessee sanctuary.
When Arthur arrived all he could do was lie down. He was too exhausted and depressed to eat or explore the new place. It took time, but after he realized he was safe, he started to relax and his appetite picked up.
Max’s situation was more challenging
Max suffered back injuries in the past that caused neurological injuries, and he had problems with his feet as well.
“He was physically abused and was so full of fear upon arrival and had no use for people,” Cindy said. “He was actually dangerous to work with.”
This poor horse was so traumatized it took Daigre a full year to get him used to human kindness. When that happened beautiful Max turned into a “lovebug,” she said.
Now Max and Arthur had beautiful, full lives of kindness, dignity, and respect, WeLoveAnimals reports. Max and Arthur remained friends, galloping about and frisking together until the ends of their days. Sweet Arthur passed away in October 2016. Max passed away in July 2018.
It’s wonderful that there are people like Cindy Daigre. People who care about animals and are kind enough to give them love, kindness, dignity, and respect.
Featured image by Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse & Cat Sanctuary via Facebook
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