Tilly came to me from a slaughter auction in Texas after 17-ish years as an Amish workhorse. She was thin (she still is), sick (upper respiratory infection) had cracked hooves, had never had her teeth floated (they made a horrible grinding and clicking sound when she ate), and apparently had never been clipped or bathed or worn a blanket. I do not think she had ever even had a treat (she still won’t take an apple or carrot).
Cow pie stools
Farrier for evaluation and trimming
Dentist for power float of teeth
Vet for physical, blood work, and fecal
CBC: all in normal range aside from her creatinine and protein suggesting dehydration. These values normalized after about 1 week)
Triple Crown Senior Feed (Low sugars, low starch, high fat)
Tons of water with Horse Quencher added
Exceed injections (2 total a week apart) then SMZ for 2 weeks
Brewer’s Yeast (Stomach)
BioSponge (Gut health and to tackle her loose stools)
I take naming seriously. Maybe too seriously. I feel like a name should mean something, stand for something, and ultimately, it should “fit” the person or animal or farm.
My new 17 year old Belgian Draft mare was rescued from slaughter after being an Amish workhorse for her entire life. She came off the trailer after traveling from Texas to Virginia, skin and bones. She had a dull coat, hip bones high, cracked hooves, a very runny nose, but her eyes were warm. This sweet girl had never had a moment of TLC and was noticeably sick. I walked her to her new temporary quarantine home. She was alert but considerably calm but weary none the less. The vet came out and gave her a physical. Her legs were in good shape as were her feet despite the cracking. She did not have a fever but did have congestion in her chest and her teeth were all sharp points. She had a worn down mark across her nose from what looked to be a harness and her tail had been lopped off, bone and all.
We began an round of Exceed and Banamine and let her rest. She drank gallons of water and as she ate her “draft safe” diet (low sugar, low starch and high fat) I could hear her teeth grinding and knocking against each other; it was painful to watch (and hear). I left for the evening to allow her to settle in. The following day I brought her a fly sheet (bright pink :)). I groomed her and she began to fall asleep. I put ointment on her raw nose, and sprayed her with fly spray. As I went to put on her flysheet, her skepticism was evident. I could tell she had never worn a blanket, or maybe she was skeptical of the color… but she allowed me to put the sheet over her skinny body. As I finished for the evening and said goodbye, she looked at me, straight in my eyes, and I could see that she knew the rest of her days would be carefree.
I took about a week to get to know her and think long and hard about what to call her. I thought about the small details I knew about her past… 17 years as an Amish workhorse. They shipped her off to a slaughter auction after her years of service. She was worn and ragged but still strong and relatively healthy.
I decided on the name Ottilie meaning strength in battle. Numerological, the Soul urge number is 11 which states that people with this number have a deep inner desire to inspire others in a higher cause. The name’s Expressive number is 9 and states that those with this name tend to be compassionate, intuitive and highly sensitive, but also have magnetic personalities and serve humanity. How fitting, her strength during her battle (workhorse to slaughter auction) lead her to me…still strong and able but worn and haggard. The other reason I chose the name Ottilie was due to my late aunt, MaryJane. Maryjane passed in the late 1990’s tragically. She loved animals and was the reason I began my journey with horses as a child. She had a dog named, Tilly, which is the perfect nickname from Ottilie.
So, I introduce, Ottilie “Tillie”, the 17 year old Belgian draft mare who has found her forever home.
Due to Draft horses being prone to certain diseases such as, metabolic ailments like PSSM (Polysaccharide storage myopathy), laminitis, Cushings, founder, tying-up, and shivers diet is imperative. Based on these ailments, starch and sugar calories should be replaced by fiber and fat calories.
It is recommended that these guys have high quality forage and some concentrates while working due to their slower metabolism (similar to ponies). Meaning that the less energy they use, the more weight they gain. High carbohydrate feed should be avoided, as a forage with a rational balancer and/or a low NSC feed.
Breakdown of How To Feed A Draft Horse
15% daily calories from sugar
20-25% daily calories from, fat
No less than 1% of horse’s body weight in forage
Calculating Fat Content:
Pounds of feed per day x % of fat
3 lbs of feed= 3 x 0.25= 0.75 lb fat
Feeds should have no more than 33% sugar and starch (low carb).
Low in starch and sugars: soy, beat pulp, wheat bran, wheat middlings
Feeds with 20%+ of fat should be supplemented with rice bran (20% fat). Feed with anything less than 20% should be supplemented with 100% additional fat source.
Blue Seal Hunter, Demand, Vintage Gold
Southern States Legend
Oil: soy oil, canola, corn oil, rice bran
Vitamin E & Selenium supplement (be careful when adding in selenium as high levels can be toxic)
Either Purina Strategy or Southern States Legend: No more than 5-6 lbs of feed per 1000 lbs
Rice Bran Oil: begin with 1/4 cup and increase by 1/4 cup every few days until 2 cups are reached. Continue with 3-4 cups per day.
Vitamin E with Selenium: 1-2 oz per day
Forage: Alfalfa pellets mixed or substituted with Purina or Southern States feed
Mix 12 parts alfalfa (or Purina or Southern States Feed or mix of the two) with 1 part water. Soak for 10 minutes. Add in oil. Let it sit for 2+ hours. Right before feeding add in the supplement (Vet E/Selenium).
While agreeing to save the ponies from slaughter, I saw a beautiful, senior mare. She is a 17 hand, 17-year old, Belgian mare who was an Amish workhorse until put into the auction. She is visibility underweight and her coat is dull and patchy but her eyes bright and soulful. I watched to see if she got rescued as her slaughter date was for 5/7/2020. Well, last night, I took the plunge and purchased the sweet girl.
Ever since losing Chance I have not had a desire to get another horse. Over a year ago a neighbor gave me a thoroughbred mare but shortly after she arrived I realized I was not ready and I had just learned I was pregnant. Fortunately, I was able to find her a wonderful forever home. However, upon coming across this Belgian I knew she was my next heart horse. The thing is I only have one paddocked fenced in that holds three miniature donkeys. So I am quickly getting things in order- scheduled to have another paddock fenced in, a large run-in dropped off, and everyones vaccinations up-to-date. One of my neighbors has a barn and paddocks and no other horses on the property and generously offered to allow my new mare and friend’s two ponies quarantine there for 30 days. By the time quarantine is over, the fence and run-in will be up and ready for the new members of the family!
There is also a ton of research that I need to do about owning a draft horse. They are a special breed and more susceptible to metabolic disorders and a ton of hoof issues. Once again I will be using this platform as a way to organize my ongoing research. Wish me luck!
My friend called me late last night, “Lets save these two miniature ponies from slaughter!” Intrigued, I clicked on the videos and saw these adorable little guys prancing around. Shaggy, needing a bit of weight, and a ton of love. Price was $460.00. Basically, the price for their meat. I reached out to another one of my girlfriends to convinced her to buy one of the three we were looking at- she agreed!
The next morning, I went to the website and one of the three had already been rescued but the other two were still available. I clicked “add to cart” and checked out via PayPal. We were actually buying ponies the same way I purchased paper towels off Amazon. We later contacted the livestock auction to arrange shipping from Texas to Virginia and I have to say, the woman we spoke to was beyond helpful and you could tell she truly cared about these horses. So for now, we are anxiously awaiting their arrival to their forever homes. These horses are priced to sell. Some are put up for sale by individuals who plan to take them back if they are not sold- basically like consignment. Whereas other horses are put up for sale and if they are not sold they are slaughtered. Our two were going to be sent for slaughter if they were not sold. 😦
For more information and to see available horses, donkeys, ponies and mules visit Bowie Auction Horses.
The other day I was outside with a girlfriend and her two boys (6 ft apart) as they were feeding one of my miniature donkeys, Trou, a carrot. They turned and said, “That one is missing a tooth!” I smiled and upon realizing that they said went over to look for myself. Sure enough my Trou has a cracked, half missing tooth! I did a quick check- no cuts, swelling, abrasions, no puffiness, heat, and he did not seem to be in any pain. I called the vet and explained what was going on and that I needed them to come out to pull my donkey’s tooth since it was cracked so close to the gum line (like a human would have done). They came out two days later and simply said “it will grow back.” I was completely shocked! “It will what?!” The vet explained that equine (horse, mule, donkey) teeth grow. They have a very long root that as the tooth wears down, it continues to grow. I asked why a horse that cribs ends up having nubs for teeth. The vet explained that due to cribbing a horse will use up their “reserve” faster than most other horses so by the time they hit their late 20’s they no longer have any growth left. Sure enough, a week later, I checked on Trou’s tooth and it was almost back to normal!
For more information on equine teeth click on the link below: