Rudy’s Story

Nov. 16: So our boy has been with us 3 months now . . .
He is now a gelding.
He stands 13.3 hands high and weighs a whopping 855 pounds – up from an estimated 705 on arrival. Vets are also estimating he could be around 12 years old.

On Nov. 5 we reported that Rudy’s former “owner” has finally been charged with three misdemeanor counts of animal neglect. First court date is in January.

Rudy arrived at AGES on Aug. 16 and his story is posted below as a series of messages from Erin, founder of AGES, from beginning until now. Are you new to this story? Here is a beautiful new video that tells his tale from the past few months.

And here’s the newest video of Rudy, posted on Oct. 26. Below the video, you can read a diary of Rudy’s story as it was posted on Facebook, and below that are more videos.

Friday, Aug. 16: We received a call on Friday from Shawano County sheriff’s dept… an elderly gentleman was going to shoot a horse…unless someone would take him… he “is emaciated and hasn’t had any farrier attention for some time”….Amazing Grace was at play as husband John had JUST come home from work for the day….(he gets off at noon on Fridays)…I knew I was not going to wait around…and HE KNEW I would go alone if I had to….even though he was exhausted from working since 5am.

John and I arrived at the residence…the owner was not there…(hhmmmm)..talked with the first deputy while we waited for the next shift officer to arrive to assist us. She told us they had already taken some 60 horses from this &^(*$#@ recently and that they and we….would be taking photos and they would be charging him with neglect and animal cruelty….we were taken down a dead end….(John was like….”why are we always seemingly headed down a dead end road ?)…


This is where Rudy was living. Erin trying to coax him to walk to the trailer.

The investigating officer said they were not aware he had this “stud” stowed away on another area of his premises till today….he was “stuck” in literally 2 feet deep wet thick manure…for who knows how long…with his head almost touching the ceiling it was so low and the muck so deep….Shortly after I started asking the horse to come to me….the owner arrived…I asked the “gentleman” what is his name? He answered… “30-30″…..meaning…the gun he was going to use to shoot him…I named him Rudy.

Rudy came towards the lady with the bucket of grain (me, Erin, director of AGES)…and into our trailer.

We tried for a couple hours to get him to a stall…he kept trying…but then collapsing.

We had our vet out …she gave him intravenous electrolytes…etc..she was out helping for at least an hour or two…..she will be back in the am to check on Rudy….this will be an expensive venture and we would love for anyone to please help us with today’s and future vetting….this is also a stud and will need gelding………if and when he makes it……we appreciate your help.


Since he walked into the trailer, we thought he would be able to walk into our barn, but he collapsed.

The vet and I discussed whether to try a sling earlier Friday night – because he had not been handled…or haltered..or touched likely at all….(no name was a good clue).. that he might fight the sling and end up hurting himself even more than he was already. We made the decision based on him seeming to perk up quite abit after the IV…and munching on some hay…warmer body temp and better respiration and heartrate…to allow him to rest where he was. He is in a closed barn…with a stallmate nearby to keep him calm. If he is still not standing by morning…we will get him in a sling. We were able to get him onto his other side…doing the best we can ….

“Rudy” has been loved on…and is surrounded by 3″ of warm hay and 80 bales of donated hay delivered earlier today by Bemis Manufacturing…! He is as comfortable as we could get him….the vet will be out again first thing in the morning. We have our 4th annual fundraiser coming up NEXT Saturday…please help us…continue to do what we do…with your contributions…and please attend our event if you’re in the Sheboygan County Wisconsin area….you will (God willing) be able to see and meet Rudy…

Saturday, Aug. 17: After 2 hours with 8 helpers, Rudy is in a sling and on his feet. That boy still has some fight in him and some of us have the battle scars to prove it! Thank you for your continued support, we are so blessed to have so many people with us on this journey.


On Saturday, Rudy had an IV, blankets for warmth, and a sling for support–and lots of volunteers keeping watch.

Rudy is slowly improving…earlier today his temp was 95.1 he was not doing well at all…the past hour he has FINALLY drank some water…and is occasionally munching on hay. He also is standing on his own…for the past hour or so..and his temp is up to 98* Your prayers are working…he tried biting one of the volunteers…which overall is a good sign! The thank you’s will never ever…be enough…to all that have helped either here personally…or via financial support. Our vet, Dr. Tiff,  from Kiel Veterinary has been fantastic to say the least…she has been here twice today…and last nite and will be here again in the morning…he has a consistent IV fluids going…lots of blankets and heat to keep his body temp up…he is somewhat alert..but of course confused. we are all beyond exhausted….but continue to be at his side…for whatever he needs…..please…please continue to share, support and pray for Rudy and his recovery…we are hopeful and refuse to believe it is anything but positive from here on out.

By evening, he was standing in the sling, with minimal support.

Sunday, Aug. 18: Guess who lost his sling this morning and walked to a stall? Thought this was …well…AMAZING! The vet has recommended occasional small amounts of feed, mainly beet pulp, and we are doing everything we can to keep the improvements going.

Rudy is still not completely out of the woods…His temp is all over the place…100.2 (really good)…but 97.1 earlier today….He wouldn’t eat or drink most of the day. He did eat a mouthful of bedding though! He is now munching on hay and guzzling water…So we will continue to closely monitor him and make sure he stays warm, hydrated, and eating hay instead of bedding! He likely has severe developmental conformation issues from years of neglect….and stands a whopping 13hh and weighs 708 lbs.

We appreciate all the love, prayers, good vibes, volunteer help and money we have received. We have no idea what the final bill will come to, but we believe Rudy is worthy. If you can help, please use the “donate” button on our website to contribute to Rudy’s care.


Rudy in his stall on Sunday

Any funds we receive, above and beyond what is needed to restore Rudy to health, will help our organization continue to be available for horses like Rudy and care for our other 14 horses. While most of our horses arrive here in far better shape than Rudy (and some lucky ones are in perfect shape!), many are in need of extensive vet care and require special diets. Your donations help our organization to grow and thrive so that we can continue our work bringing “amazing grace” to other horses in need.

Monday, Aug. 19: He is doing good today! He did not lay down…no bedding on his blanket…but he was happily munching his hay this morning! He drank a bucket of water overnight…gave him his meds and instructions to our volunteers. Gave him another shot of Banamine, as he is so bruised and banged up and quite uncomfortable. His neglect has done a real number on his bones, joints, hooves…he’s a skeleton mess but he has a big heart…had his head over the door looking for me this morning when I was feeding!

Rudy was feeling well today! He’s taking his meds…(SMZ’s, probiotics, Ulcergard) eating hay all day long…drinking his water just great! He WOULD NOT leave the safety of his stall however, to do his prescription walk up and down the barn aisle…he is stocking up we are massaging and cool hosing his legs. He is certainly holding his own and the vet – Dr. Tiff Paulus is as suprised as the rest of all of us….at his amazing turn around from just 2 days ago! Rudy and we are extremely touched and grateful for the continuous stream of love, hugs, well wishes and encouragement!

Tuesday, Aug. 20: Our Rudy received a donated equine massage on Tuesday by Stephanie Rinehart. of She did discover….that he is not real fond of picking up his hooves….but overall he seemed to enjoy most of the session….he is still doing very well…and becoming more and more curious of his new surroundings and the other horses….!

Wednesday Aug. 21: Rudy walks outside!! (photo below) Rudy had a good walk today outside with Ann…not much for leading…but he is starting to get it.

Pretty much Rudy always has hay in his mouth! He got in a nice walk today…I came in to give him his dinner and a rub ~ his head almost melted in my arm when I rubbed his forehead….I told him how much he is loved…and by so many. I told him what a brave young lad he has been his whole life and that I was so sorry he has endured so much neglect, sadness, fear and hunger. I promised him a new forever life filled with love, kindness, full bellies and joy. He persevered – very obviously – since birth very likely…going without all that he needed to thrive and grow. I told him how proud I am of him..and that he can relax now…and trust…and let us bring him to a new life where he will never need. He is so kind hearted…gentle…and trust. Rudy is on his way back to who he was created and intended… be.

rudyoutsideThursday, Aug. 22: Rudy is good…however he does have some raw wounds from his time in the sling…we are doctoring….and he is now getting Pencillin and Gentamycin. we will have pics tomorrow…..he was not having a great day today.

Friday, Aug. 23: We have been kept very busy the past few days with preparations for our annual fundraiser, but wanted to let everyone know that Rudy is still working hard on his healing. We have added soft fleece to his halter, as any foreign object appears to irritate his skin. Your prayers and support are so appreciated.

Sunday, Aug. 25: A bit of a setback for Rudy today, but he’s fine now. Our sweet little man Rudy was out for some fresh air today and was actually feeling pretty good. He enjoyed a good walk to the outdoor arena…sniffed lots of poop! Went down for a great roll…and then discovered he could not get back up…..he could not seem to get those back legs/hips to work right…Lesson learned right here…we will take much smaller baby steps with him going forward! The vet came to administer fluids and we kept him sheltered from the sun. We helped him up and into his stall where he was later munching on hay and wondering what the big deal is? But he has a lot more open wounds for me to clean.

Here’s the story from Erin: Rudy was doing great this morning…he went for a walk…which he LOVED and even trotted abit…! He was enjoying the sunshine, breeze and grass…I took him to the outdoor arena…so he could enjoy being a horse for awhile. After sniffing alot of poop and walking around…I went inside. Jasmine  was here…(previous adopter of Aurora and was a huge help with the fundraiser)…she came in and said he had gone down for a good roll…and was attempting to get up…but would fall over again… Cyndi who is here almost all day…everyday…Jasmine, my husband John and I tried the best we could…to keep him cool…with sponge baths…and stood over him with a sheet to shad him….until the vet arrived. He administered IV fluids…after after another hour or so…we tried and tried to get him up, but he just couldn’t… we had to get creative and John used the skidsteer with some tow straps to finally heave him up…once up…he looked around as if to say…”what’s going on peeps?” then proceeded to pee….! He was wobbly but walked back to his stall….(WHEW!!!!!!!!!!) I just went out to wash his new and expanded skin abrasions…but he was not really in the mood…so gave him his dinner and some Bute and we’re calling it a nite!! he is doing ok…and we’ll keep him indoors till we know he can get up and down by himself!!

Monday, Aug. 26: Well Rudy was a hurtin’ boy this morning….as I expected…he was in no mood for any of my touches…(tried biting each time..)..didn’t want me anywhere near him…and I don’t blame the poor boy…after his ordeal yesterday…but I managed to get his Bute into him and antibiotics…he was in much better spirits tonite…and with Shannon  holding..I was able to give him a pretty sweet bath! Rudy seemed very much to enjoy his “spa” treatment tonite….(who wouldn’t right?). He has a strong spirit and a big heart…as long as he has the willpower and courage to persevere…..we will also! We will NOT allow this sweet boy to perish…as his fellow 60 pasturemates did. (52 went to a feedlot then eventually a Canadian slaughterhouse…8 were euthanized on the property as their condition was so poor). He is a lone survivor.

rudy8:27Tuesday, Aug. 27: So I go to get some pics of Rudy and I get either his butt or his head down in the hay….he is doing well…had another lesson tonite with him…letting him know…by short tying him…that when it’s time to wash wounds and take meds….it is not a painful experience…he would be calm for a minute…then he’d roll his eyes in fear…then I’d reassure him with head/neck rubs. We did this about 10 times till I got done…very slow earning his trust…I need to be patient…he’s a wounded warrier. One day at a time…..Rudy has learned (somehow) to lead when someone is at his shoulder…he’s sometimes hard to catch in his stall…but once your hand is on the halter…he stands still for you to attach the lead. He does love his stall…especially the open window…thankfully the rainstorm we have right now will cool things down nicely in the barn…sleep tight my soldier!

Wednesday, Aug. 28: Rudy fell down again earlier this evening…while I was attempting to clean his wounds. He let me know he was not in the mood to have his owies touched or washed…but continued I did! After he turned and landed a bite on my back…I decided to short tie him ..he did ok for some washing….and then no ok with others….in his attempt to pull away from me…he lost his footing and went down. He is still down…despite several hours of prodding, pleading and pulling on our parts….he is seriously testing this woman….and so far he’s winning. If he makes it through the nite ….we will have hands on deck in the a.m. to help him back into a sling to at least get him righted…fingers crossed….Rudy is sitting up munching on hay…he drank some water…still down and we are waiting to find some muscle to heave him up this morning….back onto his feet…

Thursday, Aug. 29: Good news this morning. Rudy was hoisted by at least a half dozen caring, loving and kind helpers…he’s in his stall.. Rudy is hanging in there…he is OK! It was a HUGE effort this morning…and I have alot of folks to thank. Rudy is eating….pooping…and just relaxing….and that’s all we will be asking of him….for many days ahead…just let him be!

540091_580469332012333_1666258066_nSaturday, Aug. 31: Rudy is hanging in there….We are letting him relax again before trying to get his wounds attended to today. Good news is he is eating, drinking, pooping, inquisitive…

Tuesday, Sept. 3: Poor Rudy’s been stallbound since his last collapse last Wednesday…I was SO afraid for him to even take a step…that he might go down again…and have to be hoisted up again…we DO NOT want that to happen ever again! I closed the doors to the barn this evening and left Rudy’s door open…he seemed this morning…to want to come out…he walked right out and up to the hay mow and started munching…I worked around him….he watched every move I made….he’s still very leary of my movements. But am going super slow with him now…I won’t rush..and I won’t rush him! He went in and out of his stall a couple times…that’s it…little walks…

526347_581469848578948_2108828447_nA belated but appreciative thank you to our helpers last Wed morning – that all cared enough to show up to help hoist poor Rudy off the floor and back onto his feet! You all are angels for working together so well…to get the job done! Rudy’s angels include: Cole, Ann, Peggy, Tom, Travis, Brian, Davey and Trent …hope I didn’t miss anyone else!

Thursday, Sept. 5: So Rudy is teaching me a (obviously) much needed reminder course in patience! He keeps escaping from his 2 padded halters…as they are still too large somewhat for him. So I come in by him to get a different halter on him…and of course he acts like I have a torture device in my hand and won’t allow me in his safety bubble, turning his butt to me each time. I decided to use his dinner as bait. Took a good half hour…but he finally couldn’t stand it anymore and allowed me to come close. After showing him it wasn’t a snake or torture device….and rubbing it on his head/face…..he gave in and let me put it on. One day it’s not a problem…the next we have to start over at page 1. Yes…..he’s teaching me….

rudyoutofstallMonday, Sept. 9: While Rudy is improving greatly both spiritually, emotionally and physically…he does still have some not so pretty skin abrasions that are still healing. Please know they have healed really extremely well and are not deep or painful at this point…. Someone on Facebook asked if he whinnies when he sees Erin in the morning. She wrote, “he doesn’t whinny yet in the morning…he does put his head over the door and watch as I get breakfast for everyone…and of course his ears move to my comments and “good mornings”!!”

Rudy is still hesitant about leaving the safety of his stall…but he’s getting there…step by step!

1233522_589835664409033_1581010974_n Sept. 22: Rudy has been doing well. He is now spending time in a paddock outdoors. Rudy’s handling/touching work will resume tomorrow….with all 5 days of trying to load McGraw and Scarlett’s surgery…the week has been OVERFULL with things to do…he very much gets “UN”used to our touches when we skip a few days .

See Rudy’s “trip” from a barn stall (his home for the past five weeks) to a paddock and outdoor shelter. Video is posted near the bottom of this page.

Sept. 23: Great news today! Rudy dropped down to roll and got up again completely on his own! And he’s beginning roundpen work with our trainer Chelsea. We are so proud of him. Hope you are too!

Photo from Sept. 26 showing Rudy getting his first grooming at AGES, from Chelsea.

Oct. 2: Rudy has been a little lame on his right front…normally a neglected horses hooves will curl up when not trimmed appropriately. Rudy’s on the other hand…have curled under and has been causing pain and lameness at a trot. We’ve had to wait for him to be strong stand for a trimming. He is finally there…and will get his first ever trim this Sunday! Will have before and after pics! Will likely have to give him a mild sedative to be able to get him through his first experience. He FINALLY allowed me to slowly walk up to him and grab his shortlead without jumping away! He continued to just stand there and allow myself and chelsea to scratch him without pulling or turning away! THAT is a big step in the right direction!

Here’s a photo from mid-October. Doesn’t he look great!


Scroll down for videos…

Here’s some video of him working with Chelsea:

And a video celebrating his one-month “birthday” since he started his new life at AGES!

Video of Rudy going into his paddock for the first time:

Rudy gets up on his own:

Rudy in the roundpen:


Here’s some video from Oct. 2 enjoying a beautiful day and meeting new friends.