Free Mare, possibly pregnant; that’s what the Craig’s List ad read. We knew any horse in this situation was at high risk of being bought at auction by someone who intended to sell her for slaughter. Within 48 hours, Sunrise Horse Rescue (SHR) staff had identified a community member who could provide a new home for Essie, and set off with a horse trailer to pick her up.
When SHR volunteers led Essie off the trailer one hot day last September, we all felt a mix of relief and concern. She was now in a safe home, but her front legs were badly bowed, and she stumbled as she walked. Napa Valley Equine and the SHR veterinary team sprang into action and gave Essie a full exam. Dr. Rood found that Essie was indeed pregnant. Essie’s bloodwork also revealed that she suffers from Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). EPM is an infection that causes progressive damage to the brain and spinal cord, which in her case makes her wobbly and uncoordinated. The infection can also be passed to the foal in pregnant mares. Essie received treatment immediately to manage her infection and protect her foal.
A reversal of fortune: Essie now gained weight on nutritious feed and was provided the best in veterinary care. Her bowed legs made the pregnancy particularly uncomfortable for her because weight gain put additional pressure on her arthritic joints. She had top notch farrier care, soft bedding, and Soft-Ride boots to ease the aches. To ensure the best possible outcome for her and her foal, Essie’s new owner decided to board her at the UC Davis Large Animal Clinic for the final stage of her pregnancy. On “foal watch” at UC Davis, the Equine Reproduction staff monitored Essie around the clock.
Monday, March 02, 2020:💕💕💕 Essie has given birth to a healthy filly! 💕💕💕
Essie became pregnant because of inadequate fencing between her paddock and another holding several stallions. Unplanned pregnancies make up a significant portion of the unwanted horse population in the U.S., and the lives of many unwanted horses end in horrific and inhumane slaughter. Thankfully, Essie escaped that fate.
Sunrise Horse Rescue would love to support Essie's new owner in alleviating some of the costs of her care at UC Davis. Join us here in making a difference for Essie and her baby, and, by spreading the story to a wider audience, for more humane treatment of animals everywhere. And stay tuned for updates on how the new mom and baby are progressing!