Reports of Dead and Starved Horses Investigated – TN Shelter

Tawnee was getting ready to head out on a call.  A horse’s owners were no longer able to keep her.  The only trailer we have in TN right now is the 24′ Gooseneck we bought in 2006.  It’s a big trailer for 1 horse, but it gets the job done!

3-3-16-1There are 101 ways to get somewhere in TN, not all of them the best.  The GPS took Tawnee and the volunteer riding with her down a dirt road that got narrower and narrower.  At this point she had to get out and walk down the road to make sure the truck and trailer could make it.

3-3-16-3 After deciding she could make it down the narrow road, it led right into a river.  In TN it is very common for back roads to go through rivers.  It was paved halfway through, but the rest was real 4 wheeling.

3-3-16-4 After she made it through the river, the road led to a bridge on a very sharp corner.  The whole time she really wished she was pulling a little bumper pull.  Tawnee’s years of experience paid off and she was able to navigate through it all to get to the horse.

3-3-16-5Meet Coa, a 15 year old Quarterhorse mare.  She is trained to ride but has not been ridden in a few years.

3-3-16-6 Her hooves are in rough condition.  Before Tawnee got there she stepped in motor oil and splashed it all over her legs.

3-3-16-7 Coa loaded up nicely in the trailer.  She has definitely been handled a lot in the past.


She was wide eyed, wondering were she was going and what her future held.  Thankfully the road back to the shelter was smooth driving the whole way as Tawnee asked what the best way back to the highway was.


At the shelter Coa unloaded like a pro.  3-3-16-10

Here is a little better view of her front hooves after the oil was cleaned up a bit.  She definitely needed her hooves seen by a farrier.


Tawnee went out to see Ivy before leaving the shelter.  She has come so far in such a short time.

She was so skinny under her long winter coat when we rescued her.  She was the skinniest donkey we have ever rescued.  To see Ivy’s journey back to life, click here.

IvyThe next day our old order Mennonite farrier came out to trim Coa.  She was a good girl for her trimming.  We did’t get an after picture of her hooves as Tawnee was running late for another appointment.



Tawnee had to take the full report of Ivy and the other horses that were rescued with her to the Sheriff’s Office.  It’s looking like the court date is going to be in May, we will keep you posted.  As you can see from the photo in the report, the Gypsy is doing amazing.  Many people have asked about adopting him, but until the court proceedings happen, we cannot look at adoption options.


The next day Tawnee headed out to check on some horses that had been reported.  One thing we are learning quickly in TN is that in the summertime when the grass is growing lush and green people don’t have to feed their horses, but when winter hits and the grass is dormant, many horse owners on smaller properties have the concept that they still don’t have to feed them.  They feel that while the horses get skinny in the winter, it’s OK because they will get fat in the summer.  Clearly not ok!


When Tawnee arrived at the first location she found the reported dead horse.  It had been laying there for a week.


The horse was covered in lime and had been shot.


The two remaining horses are extremely thin, especially the Chestnut.


Tawnee left a notice for the owners to call.3-3-16-19

After a half hour drive she was at the next location.  These horses have hay but the hay is extremely poor quality, more like straw.


These horses had been reported to us by a concerned individual.  When the person was at the property, the hay was black with mold, and with skinny horses, they did the right thing and called us to report.


The blanket couldn’t hide the fact the horse is extremely malnourished.


Tawnee left a notice at that gate too, offering assistance if they needed help.


In most of rural TN Animal Control does not exist, and when it does exist, they do not have the resources to help horses.  What you have seen in this blog is very common.  The need for help for the horses of TN is huge, and that is one of the primary reasons we are moving our headquarters to TN.  It’s sad that in a place where grass grows in such abundance and 1,000 lb bales of hay cost $35, horses are still neglected and starved.


The following day the owners at the two different places did make contact and we are hoping that the situations will improve for the horses.  Both parties said they will be providing hay and grain for the horses.

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