Cora & Scarlett, the Rice Lake Mares

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Scarlett and Cora hours after their arrival at AGES

This is the story, which was written last summer by Erin, of how the Rice Lake mares came to AGES:

“Last year, the continuing brutal cold Wisconsin winter was unrelenting. The combination of the previous summer’s drought on hay crops, as well as the extreme cold winter, would mean we would soon be reading the headlines of neglect and starvation in our state.

I stumbled upon a post from a woman in northern Wisconsin who used to do rescue work and had discovered a local feedlot of horses near her home. She was trying to find help homing them – before the kill buyer was to transport them the coming week. She posted 2 mares with severely infected leg injuries that would be shot by the kill buyer… unless she could move them. Diseased horses are evidently not desired or paid for through the slaughter pipeline. THIS I pondered. THIS I can do.

These mares needed a chance at a life and AGES could step up and do this. I knew they would need quarantine for a few weeks which would buy me time to figure out where to keep them afterward! Not knowing what names they’d had before, Shannon and I came up with Scarlett for the big red one…and Mi Corazon for the stunning buck- skin on the drive back from Rice Lake.

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Scarlett with her leg wrapped, before surgery.

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Erin visiting Cora in rehab this summer

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Scarlett leaving the vet’s office after surgery

We learned right off that “Cora” could not be touched…period. After hours of trying to tranquilize her enough to get x-rays taken of her injury, and finally doing so – her damage showed no foreign body or fragment within but did involve a huge amount of her cannon bone with immense infection, inflammation, scar tissue and possibly even bone cancer. Unfortunately unless we could gentle her to allow us to work on her….there was literally nothing we could do for her except watch and wait.

After antibiotics, many visits from people wanting to sit and chat and try to “reach” Cora…weeks of waiting, coaxing…begging and cajoling…we are not much further in our quest to befriend Mi Corazon! Scarlett was a complete and total opposite…who allowed us to do whatever we wanted to help her…and is recovering nicely. Her injury involves the complete fetlock joint and will very likely cause her arthritic pain the rest of her life. We are still treating a mass of proud flesh on top of her injury…which has now shrunk from about the size of a coconut to about the size of an egg.”

To continue the story, Cora spent most of last summer at a special training facility which is designed to desensitize horses that will not allow any contact. She did very well there and returned to AGES able to begin to trust humans.

Scarlett spent the summer  having her leg wrapped and rewrapped every day. When it was apparent that that treatment was not helping her condition, we agreed with the specialists who suggested she have surgery. The vet says it wouldn’t be an easy fix, but it was a success.

Later in summer, Cora had surgery as well. After their surgeries, they returned to AGES to recover, in casts, and not able to leave their stalls.

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Cora and Scarlett in October

In November, Cora went back at Wisconsin Equine. This time they had to put her out to remove her cast (for good finally), clean her wound and rewrap with bandages, and remove her stitches from her last visit with skin grafting. She has been getting increasingly angrier, and more violent with each visit/treatment/surgery and harder to handle and tranquilize. We are pretty sure she won’t have to go back…fingers crossed!!!

Her flesh wound is healing extremely well and hopefully the grafts will close properly and heal ! Scarlett also got her cast off but stood for the procedure. Her leg is healing excellently and also her tendon IS HEALED! They both will have about another 3 weeks stallbound…then some handwalking…to begin their rehab…

January 2014 update: Finally got a good look at Cora’s surgery and she’s healing so well! Both girls are now out of their stalls and being walked. Healing going very well! We’ve been slowly trying to integrate her and let her work off some energy from being cooped up for so many months. Her wound has healed very nicely…she now needs to build up the muscles that she hasn’t been using for so long. Soon as that round pen can be put up again….she’ll be back to work!

In spring 2014, Scarlett was adopted by one of our volunteers. But Cora still needs rehab. Can you help by making a donation to AGES? We would surely appreciate your contribution, large or small, as we continue to bring Cora back to health. Thank you!