WATCH ABOVE: A horse with a famous lineage was among those rescued from an Ontario farm. The granddaughter of a Triple Crown winner was found in poor shape. Christina Stevens reports.
A herd of horses has been rescued from a farm in eastern Ontario.
Among the nine horses and one donkey rescued was Halo Slew. Based on her background, the odds were against her ever ending up the victim of neglect. Halo’s granddad was Seattle Slew. He was a Triple Crown winner and widely considered to be one of the top ten race horses ever.
Valued at an estimated $120 Million, he went on to sire multiple champions.
But Halo is a broken down little mare. She was found hungry, sick and one side of her face paralyzed.
“I would love her to be able to tell me her story, and tell me where she went, how she went there and how she ended up here,” said Brenda Thompson, founder of Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue.
Halo has gone blind in her left eye, because her paralysis prevents her from blinking.
When she’s gained enough strength the eye will be removed. It is hard to say how long it had been left untreated.
“The eye could have been saved, potentially, and looked after, and if it was an infection it could have been resolved quickly,” said Dr. Liz Shiland.
Shiland is a veterinarian with JV Malone Equine, who works with the rescue to help neglected and abused horses.
Some of the herd were doing better than others.
A donkey named Simon is having trouble walking. His hooves had been neglected for so long he rocks back on his heels.
It’s been touch and go for a small horse named Coco. She has improved dramatically compared to when the herd was picked up nearly two weeks ago. She was obviously emaciated, and riddled with parasites.
Still, Coco was fortunate; one horse hadn’t made it through the winter.
When Whispering Hearts took possession of the horses, they had to transport them six hours across the province, in their weakened state. The rescuers said that highlights the need for a network of rescues throughout Ontario. They also want tougher laws against the neglect and abuse of horses.
“They are a blessing, they truly are, and they deserve to be treated properly,” said Tanya Mitchell, a volunteer at Whispering Hearts.
They point out in this case, the owners voluntarily gave up the horses.
All the horses at the rescue are treated equally and Halo’s distinguished background holds no sway there, but she’s still managed to establish herself as something special.
“She’s just so innocent and sweet and very friendly,” said Taylor Hoeflaak, who volunteers at Whispering Hearts.
Instead of racing on the track, Halo has had to race for survival.