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After five weeks of deliberation from discovered neglectful complications, we have determined it was best for the horses' welfare to discontinue our foster care contract with Now I See A Person Insitute. This foster has been absent from their leased ranch excessively and was not there to notice things that began going wrong five weeks ago. It began with some unreported injuries to Skip requiring first aid attention. It continued with Sherman's therapy shoes and pads falling off without notification to our rescue, and it ended with sand enteropathy and recurring colic emergencies, requiring hospitalization of Skip. The therapy program was originally feeding the horses in the barn above ground, but due to heat, they began feeding them on the ground in the sand arena and leaving them outside 24-7. These emergencies went unnoticed by the therapy program and were not reported to AGHR. For those of you who know AGHR, you know what due diligence and attention we provide to detail in our horses' care. This was disheartening and alarming to us, and we were forced to end our contract with the therapy program.
On August 26, 2022, a neighbor living on the property leased by the therapy program called us at 10 a.m. asking if we owned these horses and reported that one had been colicking recurrently since the past Sunday, and had been suffering colic for four hours that day, since 6 a.m. She was willing to call the equine vet and help us. We rushed to the site to find that the horse was suffering immensely, and had an emergency call from Conejo Valley Equine. They pumped Skip's stomach after finding that he had excessive sand in his stomach. Banamine subsided the pain and we hoped for the best. The following morning, he colicked again. Once again, we called the emergency vet, and Conejo returned, with the same procedure. We were instructed to give him 500 lb. dose of Banamine if discomfort reoccurred, and recommended to take him to the hospital the following day. Once again, the following morning, Skip was down. We rushed him to West Coast Equine, where he will stay for at least a week. He has been treated multiple times through force flushing his stomach with magnesium sulfate, psyllium, and oil, and Banamine I.V. fluids. His fever has since reduced, but he continues to carry a lot of sand in his stomach. This is clearly caused by eating off the ground in a sand arena;. We are trying to avoid surgery, as Skip is 21-years-old and has suffered a great deal of abuse and neglect from his past.
At the same time Skip moved to the hospital, one of our fosters came with her trailer and moved Sherman into a self-care boarding situation in Simi Valley, close to our Directors' home. If Skip survives, he will also be moved there when released from the hospital.
This ordeal will cost our rescue over $3000, between the $916 Conejo Valley Equine emergency vet services on August 26-27, and Skip's treatment at West Coast Equine Hospital. Additionally, both Skip and Sherman no longer have a monthly hay sponsor, as we will no longer work collaboratively with Now I See A Person Institute. This horrible ordeal has given us a very bitter taste about fostering our horses out again. We have made a conscious decision not to foster outside of Simi Valley again. And we have decided not to qualify Now I See A Person Institute as anything but a neglectful situation, which misrepresented itself and its ability to care for our horses. At Skip's most dire time of need, their Director was nowhere to be found. She refused to assist in paying for any of the vet bills, and refused to purchase a bag of equine pellets to help Skip eat and flush the sand out of his stomach. She even refused to cancel her therapy sessions while Skip was colicking and exposed her clients to the vet emergency visit and stomach tubing. This was despicable and disgusting to us. After bringing questions to their program, Now I See A Person became defensive and demanded that we remove the horses from their leased property on Sunday August 28, while Skip was colicking and barely able to stand. They offered no assistance in trailering, and did not even come to see if Skip was ok. The program was more concerned with having euthanasia on their property and told us that we had to leave prior to euthanasia, disregarding the horrible condition this horse was in and the fact that we could not find a professional hauler to move the horses that day, and needed to scramble to find a second trailer to allow for one horse to go to the hospital and the other to move back to Simi Valley. We had hired a professional hauler to move both safely on Friday, September 1, but the therapy program refused to allow the horses to stay and care for them, despite the fact that AGHR paid for veterinary treatment, medication, and special feed supplies and feeder materials to do so. The program Director never came to see if Skip was ok. She never came to see the horses at all, since the day they were dropped off three months prior. It was later discovered that the other two horses they have on the property came from HiCaliber Horse Rescue, which closed down, and they never see, nor work with, them either.
Needless to say, our Rescue now needs help with Skip and Sherman. These two horses will never be readopted out. Skip now has sand enteropathy and will need to be monitored for life for recurring colic. He is also blind in the right eye, and has an injured knee which occured within the first month of his adoption last spring, rendering him not rideable. Sherman has advanced stage navicular disease in the front right and is also not rideable. These are the sweetest, most loving gentle QH geldings one could ever meet. Neither deserved to be left with sub-standard care these past five weeks. When we collaborate with other non-profit organizations, and in this case a business, there is always a risk for sub-standard care and neglect, but this time we have a very strong legal contract and will be investigating the situation for further cruelty/neglect, and will pursue legal damages if possible.
Our organization puts our trust and faith into our foster caregivers, but we also have very high standards of care expectations. We hand-pick our fosters just like adopters. We do this to protect our horses. But we also check on our horses at least once a month at each foster care home. This time, we decided not to find another foster care home. These horses need to be looked after closely, personally, by our Directors.
At this time, we need $300 a month sponsorship for each horse. We also need a dedicated volunteer who can come and groom the horses and turn them out a few times a week, check on their physical and emotional well being. We are the only boarder aside from the barn manager the facility where Sherman is, and Skip will be after he is released from the hospital. We need to keep a close eye on Skip and catch the colic immediately if it happens again. The hospital is unsure whether they can get all of the sand out of the stomach, but they are trying.
Please help us find some ongoing hay sponsorship and volunteer support to help Skip and Sherman. They are no longer in foster care and are in self-care boarding. We have no assistance with them, neither financially, nor physically. We need help with these two sweet and loving equines with special needs. Thank you for your help and support.