Neglect and Consequences

Sam is an ‘elder’ horse that was discarded. 

I first saw ‘Sam’ several months ago. She was on the thin side and limping a bit, but the new owner assured me that she just needed worming and he would have the farrier out soon.  The farrier20150820_160022 discovered a  3 inch nail embedded in her foot. He pulled it out but told the owner that her foot was probably permanently damaged, and recommended that because she was at least 20 years old, and didn’t have many teeth,  she wasn’t worth saving and should be shot.

In the days and weeks that followed, Sam got thinner and thinner.

The next time I saw Sam, I was shocked- she was a walking skeleton. The hay she picked up just dribbled out of her mouth. The owners fed her bread which kept her barely alive.The owner said he was still waiting for someone to dig a hole so he could shoot her.

In the meantime she was starving to death.


I couldn’t sleep at night. This once-beautiful horse was dying  in pain, of neglect and starvation. I lay awake one night and made the decision- whether I could afford it or not, I would have to take ownership of her, call in the vet, and do whatever was necessary to either save her or have her humanely euthanized. I  knew I did not have the finances to do all that was necessary for Sam, but had the faith that all would work out for her good.

I suppose I did not exactly ask for her- I just told the owner that he was giving her to me.

A few hours later, the vet and his assistant arrived.

After a thorough exam, he said she had a lung condition probably from moldy hay, her heart and body were weak from starvation, and her teeth were so long neglected that she literally could not eat- she was starving to death and her chance of survival was zero without immediate treatment. The good news? She did have all of her teeth, and her foot was sound.


After the vet took care of her badly overgrown teeth, Sam had an immediate look of relief. Weak and starving as she was, she wobbled over to the hay bin and stuck her face in- coming up only long enough to get a drink, and then back into the hay.

The vet was cautiously optimistic.

Would she live? Possibly. 

If she got the proper care and feeding now, and was able to put weight on, she might make it. He gave me feeding recommendations- and his bill. *Ouch*.

We brought her up to her new home.

We have 11 acres, with good pasture on the hillside. She will be able to eat all the fresh feed she needs along with plenty of hay, and get good daily exercise and fresh air. I had two ton of hay delivered, and picked 20150906_164507up sacks of ‘Equine Senior’ grain and assorted horse needs. My husband loves me- and despite NOT loving horses, spent several evenings putting an electric fence up on a small spot so she could have an area to graze in. That is true love 🙂

Update 9/6/15

Sam is very sensitive 20150906_161956on her back- without much flesh over her bones, even a soft brush made her uncomfortable, so we
have had to put off grooming her. Today though, it was time to see what was under the matted hair on her back.

With a super-soft brush and a dog’s shedding comb, I carefully removed all the dead hair- and
found skin, dirt, and 20150906_162832some new hair underneath. How uncomfortable it must have been! An hour of careful grooming, and she looks much more comfortable.

The weather has turned cold…

It is Autumn already, but hopefully it will warm up again for a few days. When it does, she will get a gentle bath to remove the last of the dirt and grime. Hopefully I can get the mats in that mane under control as well…

It is hard to tell, but I think Sam is putting on a bit of weight. If nothing else, her attitude and overall look has changed dramatically. Her eyes are wide open and bright and the shuffling walk is finally gone.

She is becoming a happy horse!

Winter is coming fast, and not only does she need a shelter built-fast- she has to put on a lot more weight before the severe cold hits if she is going to survive.

Update: 9/20/2015

Sam is one of many older horses that have suffered in their old age. After a lifetime of service they are discarded like broken toys. Sometimes their young owners grow up and no longer have time or the desire to take care of them. Sometimes the costs of taking care of a horse become so burdensome that they are sold or given away (as Sam was) to save the money. Many times the horse just can’t take the riding that it could when it was younger- no longer fast and agile in the rodeo ring.

What happens to these older, unwanted horses?

There are a few horse rescues around the country and most, including the ones in Idaho, are full. Many horses are just passed around, like Sam, until at last someone decides to ‘put it down’ or it is abandoned to die. Few horses find a forever, life-long home. It is heartbreaking. I wish I could save them all, but if all I can do right now is to save this one horse, this time, I have made a small dent, a small beginning. My hope is that, like the focus on uncontrolled litters of kittens and puppies has reduced the population in animal shelters, we can raise awareness of the problem of ‘backyard breeding’ of horses.

By sharing this post, you can help spread the message!

Some day, this is what Sam will look like again- healthy and fit

Sam has an Indiegogo Life/Generosity page to help support the needs she will have while she recovers her chance at life.

There are several ways for you to become one of ‘Sam’s Angels’;

  1. Make a donation of any amount!
  2. Share both this page and the ‘Generosity’ Fundraiser page on social media.
  3. Talk to your friends about what you have learned- and encourage them to be involved.                 Thank you for taking the time to make a difference!

Update : 9/22/2015

Many thanks to my son, Daniel, for putting this short video together! I am so grateful for all those who are coming together to save this horses life. We are in it for the long haul. Sam’s Angels will continue to be so very important…

Experiencing the caring of others makes me want to do more, to be more: more compassionate, more giving, more aware of those in need, more caring towards humans and animals.

Update 10/12/2015

Sam’s health is slowly but steadily improving, and she is gaining weight.

Being able to get up on the hill and eat as much as she wants, as well as being able to exercise and be out of dust and blowing dirt has given her a tremendous boost. One exciting update is that her hair has changed. Where a few months ago it was dull, coarse, and lifeless, she has begun growing hair again and she literally shines in the sun. She has a gorgeous reddish-brown coat. It may sound odd, but her smell has changed as well. She has a healthy ‘horsey’ smell now, changed from a musty, unhealthy one.

Our weather has stayed unseasonably warm, which is giving her extra time to put on weight before the cold hits. Although we have not been able to build a shelter, we were able to provide her with a stall inside of a shed. This will get her out of the wind, rain, sleet and snow when that comes. She has been in and out of it numerous times and seems quite comfortable despite it being just large enough for her to walk in and back out. It’s a great blessing that she is on the small side!

Our next goal for Sam is to get her back to the vet to have her teeth checked again- although she can graze, she has difficulty chewing her grain and tough stems of hay. We will get her vaccinations at the same time if the vet thinks she is strong enough. Until next time-                                                                                                                                                                                                  🙂 Margo

I would be grateful if you would once again share Sam’s story all over the interwebs!

Sam now has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed! Please check them out for more updates on her progress:   

This is Sam’s fundraiser page- please consider becoming one of her sponsoring angels:








Today’s recipe: Hawaiian Haystacks- the most apropos recipe I could think of after stacking hay for Sam!


Hawaiian Haystacks
Recipe Type: Easy family dinner
Cuisine: American West
Author: Margo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
Haystacks- A perfect family or party meal- start with a bed of white or brown rice, add all the toppings that you prefer and a good dose of delectable sauce, and end with a handful of chow mein noodles. Ummmm! Healthy, quick, filling and tasty!
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • Chow mein noodles
  • Choice of toppings (see below)
  1. Prepare rice and keep warm.
  2. Prepare toppings (See below) and place in individual bowls.
  3. Saute the garlic in butter on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add flour and salt and stir well to make a paste.
  5. Slowly stir in the milk (for extra creamy sauce, use half and half).
  6. Add the can of coconut milk and shredded chicken, and heat through.
  7. To serve:
  8. Place a serving of rice on each plate. Cover with choice of toppings, a generous amount of sauce, and top with chow mein noodles.
  9. Topping ideas: Mandarin oranges, pineapple, chopped green onions, diced celery, slivered almonds, coconut, chopped sweet peppers, slivered fresh kale, sauteed mushrooms, grated white cheese, lightly steamed broccoli, grated carrots, lightly sauteed chopped zucchini, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives


59 thoughts on “Neglect and Consequences

  1. Margo, what a kind soul you have. Thank God you found it your heart to save this graceful animal. I loved reading this post. It gives me hope that there are more kind people on this earth, willing to lend a hand, than we are led to believe. Be well and keep up the good work!

    1. Ciara, thank you for your ‘smile’! Yes, there ARE wonderful, kind, caring people in this world- many, many more than we will ever realize!

  2. How my gosh, what a heartwarming story. Sam is so blessed to have you as her new owner. You have done such a wonderful job bringing her back from such a terrible state.

    1. Thank you, Heather! If you have a lot of horse-loving friends, would you do me the favor of sharing the Indiegogo Life link on social media? Hopefully we will find others who will be willing to help sponsor Sam’s recovery, and perhaps make it possible to rescue another lost horse. Thanks for coming by!

  3. Oh my. It is a good thing that you found her Margo. It is sad that things like this still happen in this day and age, but it is also comforting to know that there are people like you. People who care enough to do something. Thank you

    1. Thanks for stopping by! My fervent hope is that everyone will do all they can each and every day to show kindness in anyway they can. Sometimes it is just a smile that makes a difference to someone… and sometimes it is caring for an abused horse.

  4. I must confess, I don’t know much about horses themselves, but it’s so lovely to read stories like this, of people who will do something to make a difference.

    1. Helen, thank you for stopping by. Service and caring, doing our best to make a difference: the one sure way to peace and joy in our own lives!

    1. Antionette, I still have sleepless moments…but now it is from trying to figure out how to pay for all her care! However, I believe in angels, and hope there will be more of ‘Sam’s Angels’ visiting the Indiegogo Life page. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and do come again!

  5. What you are doing is amazing and exactly what I am saving up to do. We are trying to buy a farm so that we can rescue horses like this one. It’s so horrible to do this to an animal. I just don’t understand how anyone can do this. Thank you for all you are doing. It’s amazing.

  6. This is so sad! This topic is very near to my heart because my husband and I sponsor a horse from a ranch that rescues horses just like her and use them to minister to children that have had a rough upbringing. Good for you!

  7. You have such a kind, beautiful, and giving heart and you can see the same in Sam’s eyes. I didn’t realize this was such a huge problem. It is heart breaking.

    1. Thank you, Angela. Horses are such amazing, unique creatures. There is a reason most little girls dream of having a horse! Unfortunately, they are an animal with a huge appetite (“Eating like a horse” has a very valid origin!) and a potentially long life, and too many do not realize what the life long needs are- or just lump their horse in with the rest of their disposable possessions. We are a disposable society. I hope to raise awareness that when it comes to animals, commitment has an old-fashioned definition. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. I agree, Kelly. If each of us reach out to help, in any way we can, the world would be a safer, peaceful place for that little segment. Those who have been helped tend to want to help others. All we need to do is reach out within our own sphere, and that sphere will connect to others…we can change the world, a piece at a time 🙂

  8. Bless your soul for doing this for Sam. What a lucky horse to have found a sweet and caring person like you. It’s so sad that animals are discarded the way they are. You’re doing a great service by sharing your story. I’ll be anxiously awaiting an update!

  9. Sam is a very lucky horse to have been rescued by you. I wish people would take care of the animals they chose to get. So sad when laziness and selfishness affect other living beings!

  10. God bless you guys for taking Sam in! I love horses and we’re hoping to own at least two someday. I’ll never understand how people can mistreat animals like this. I understand that sometimes we get in over our heads, but with all the shelters and rescue centers available now days there’s no reason to keep an animal if you can’t properly care for it. I’m glad Sam is doing better and look forward to more updates!

    1. That IS the question: how can people mistreat animals- or people for that matter? Unfortunately, there are few options when it comes to horses. There are very few legitimate horse rescue organizations, and those available are full. There are people who care- such as I- but to save a horse and keep it to the end of it’s days is expensive, and few people have both the land and financial resources. I don’t have the money for all that Sam needs (which explains the Indiegogo Life campaign- please help if you can!), and to be honest, I don’t have a clue how I am going to swing this financially without the help of people like you, who care enough about horses to help sponsor Sam. Thanks for stopping by, and please share this post and the Indiegogo campaign as much as possible!

    1. I think, Maureen, that it is important to see the GOOD in posts like this. Yes, it is bringing up a painful subject that some people would rather not know about, but on the other hand, it is a story that is full of hope. Good intentions are just wishes until someone makes an effort. To wish that there was no injustice in the world means nothing unless the wisher is willing to put his or her heart, hands, and resources into fighting that injustice. Instead of looking at the heartbreak, look for the positive results, and realize that you can be part of the solution to many different difficulties in your own community. We are all very busy, but when something is important, we will find the time and resources to help.

  11. Sam is so lucky to have you! When I lived in Kentucky, there was a huge problem with abandoned horses – people would dump their horses in parks or fields. So very sad. One of my mom’s good friends works with Gentle Giants rescue & it’s such important work.

    1. Thank you, Jen- yes, it is the same here. We have a place called “the Bottoms”, and there are many horses abandoned there. It’s fine during the summer, but then the winter comes… The great thing is, there are people who care. Some dump hay there every day. It is a painful subject, but we just try to make a small difference- and pass the desire to make a difference along!

  12. Sam is so very lucky to have you. Thank you for sharing, it is so heartbreaking how we treat animals, people or things that we don’t need. I shared the campaign on social media and I wish you best of luck.

  13. What a lucky horse that someone like you came along and were willing to give her a chance. I know when the economy was really bad I was seeing so many people looking for homes for their horses. I couldn’t bear to imagine where some of them would end. Thank you for making people aware.

  14. I have to admit, I haven’t ever really thought about older horses like this. I live in a very horse friendly area in the country and those with horses take good care of them. but like those who might neglect other animals, there are those who neglect horses as well. Not necessarily on purpose, but it happens. Thanks for your article!

  15. It is no secret that I am not a huge animal fan and honestly, horses tend to scare me. However, I never feel that it is okay to just disregard a life, including animal lives. I cannot imagine having this horse and simply neglecting her and waiting for her to die. I think what you have done is an amazing thing and a show of incredible strength and faith. More people could learn from you!

  16. Even with all her obvious signs of neglect, she is still stunning! Bless you for taking her in! There is a large horse auction in my area where many of the horses being sold are in just as bad shape. We definitely need more individuals that are willing and able to become responsible horse owners.

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