The Racehorse Sanctuary is currently overwhelmed by calls regarding abandoned and neglected thoroughbred horses.
This is not as a result of their retirement from racing, but because they were taken on by people who did not fully understand the level of commitment thoroughbreds require. A typical example is Mossy Morning.
This grand old lady was spotted along with several others on the side of a hill in wasteland having all but given up on life.
Mossy had given up on scratching as the lice had simply taken over, there was nothing to eat and she remembered that when she did last eat it hurt her mouth so much that she was almost better off without food, to get to the water trough meant a walk and this was so painful as her feet were so long and broken and to top things off due to a blow to her right eye limiting her vision she was continually under pressure not knowing where the threat was coming from. It is fair to say that standing unwanted by anyone in an overgrazed field in an emaciated condition with everything hurting this lovely mare had every reason to simply lay down and die, let’s be fair in that it really didn't matter what is on the other side of life as it couldn't possibly be worse than the one she was battling through at that time.
In her early days Mossy, who is very well bred and is now 26 years old standing approximately 16.2hh, was not successful as a racehorse having had 2 runs on the flat and 5 over hurdles without a win. It was at this time that it was decided to turn her into a breeding machine and she set off on what was to be a long-term mum producing foal after foal, exactly how many is not known. When we arrived to collect Mossy she, along with the others, had been herded into an old shed and she was stood at the back alone. I approached her to put a head-collar onto her and it was quite obvious that her attitude at this time was “just go ahead and do what you have to do as I really don’t care anymore".
Mossy as good as staggered up the ramp into the horsebox and at the time I was thinking to myself, will she survive this journey.
Survive she did even though she as good as fell off of the horsebox at the other end but at least we had her home and the work could start trying to put what was left of her life back into some sort of orderly fashion and most importantly minus the pain and suffering she had been enduring on a daily basis.
Here we are some time down the line. The haematoma which was the size of a mini tyre on her stomach has now completely gone, her feet are beginning to look like a thoroughbreds foot thanks to Paul our farrier, the itching has stopped thanks to no end of lice powder, the rain scald has all grown over and the worm infestation has been cleared up so at least she is now feeding herself rather than them. Sadly the eye which is now showing signs of a blue tinge isn't going to come back but in the scale of things I'm sure that Mossy won’t have any problems dealing with what in her opinion is such a minor ailment.
Mossy has every right to be extremely anti humans having been through all she has and yet still she is pleased to see you and although she will only accept Sue when it comes to contact at this stage my feeling is that as she is such a kind hearted mare that this will improve in time.
No horse regardless of how successful or unsuccessful it has been on the racetrack deserves to be put through this, let’s not forget that it was us humans who put them in this position in the first place hence if it doesn’t work out as we planned at the time it is down to us to make alternative arrangements and take on board the responsibility. Sadly they cannot do it for themselves.
The plight of horses such as mossy has caused us to make welfare cases our top-priority.