Early December 2015, HAHS went out to pick up eight miniature horses in Henry, IL. HAHS had been called a few weeks earlier by the owner of the minis, who was in desperate need of help. His wife, the caretaker of the minis, had died suddenly a few months earlier and his health issues made it very hard for him to care for the 14 minis that remained on their farm. HAHS staff and investigators travelled down with a trailer and were greeted by 14 very cute miniature horses, all with severely overgrown hooves. The owner signed over the ministo HAHS and immediately the eight mins with the worst feet were loaded onto the trailer. Several mares and geldings had very long overgrown hooves that had curled up into a slipper type and one stallion that was kept separate from the others had hooves so overgrown that they had curled around into a full loop (further evaluation by a farrier showed us that the stallion hadn't had his feet trimmed in close to five years!) The next day, all eight minis received veterinary attention which included bloodwork and x-rays of their hooves. The farrier was also out to begin the rehabilitation process to trim their feet.
The 14 miniature horses all at HAHS waiting for intake exams
The following week, HAHS once again drove down to southern Illinois to pick up the remaining six minis on the property. Although they did not have the "slipper" type or curled feet, they were still in need of veterinary and farrier care. HAHS knew if the minis were left on property, they would continue to not receive treatment and only get worse. The owner also stated that because of his health problems, that when it started snowing he would be unable to get outside to feed the minis. Knowing that it would be best to help the minis now, they were loaded onto the HAHS trailer and taken back for treatment that included a good grooming, farrier care, a veterinary exam, and some much needed dental care.
Above: Stallion PonyBoy's intake photo. Below: Mare Lizzie getting her hooves trimmed while sedated
Surprisingly, the miniature horses all have been making steady recovery and all seem to be walking comfortably. It will still be a long rehabilitation process before their hooves are completely back to normal, but it is a very encouraging start! All fourteen minis are curious and friendly, although some of them are nervous about being handled. We are excited to continue working with them and gain their trust!
Hoof trimmings from some of the rescued miniature horses - their hooves are feeling much better now!