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On August 5, 2012, Animal Services rescued a group of mustangs as part of a local hoarding investigation. All of the mustangs were emaciated. They were descendants of a trio of mustangs originally acquired more than 15 years earlier and allowed to breed indiscriminately. The herd was not receiving enough feed and this group of mares and fillies were in the worst condition.
On August 11, 2012, Horses of Tir Na Nog became aware of the mustangs in the care of Animal Services. Based on the extensive resources required to recover these six horses, veterinary and behavioral evaluations deemed them to be non-adoptable following their recovery. We were the only alternative to euthanasia for these horses. By August 18, we had acquired the use of eight acres of range land adjoining our sanctuary.
This herd defied the odds and recovered fully from their neglect. They are now all healthy and active. They spend their days resting in the shade of oak trees, foraging for grass, and playing with each other. In other words, they spend their days being horses.
At the time of her rescue, WaaKaa was a very young mare, only a couple of years old. However given the number of stallions in the original herd, she already had a young filly at her side, WeSaii. While not as trusting of people as WeSaii, WaaKaa quickly learned to approach people based on her foal’s friendliness. WaaKaa, pronounced “wah KAH,” means Shining Light and reflects her beauty and friendliness, as well as her dedication to WeSaii.
WaaKaa and her daughter are the only two black members of our mustang herd, so she is easy to identify. During her first year with us, WaaKaa developed a dental abscess as one of her adult teeth erupted. This is not a very unusual occurrence and fortunately it resolved with antibiotics, which we placed on her food. However, this abscess appeared to have bumped WaaKaa lower in the herd pecking order and she lost a bit of weight. We were able to do dental work on her and draw blood. The blood work came back normal so we were optimistic that she would regain the weight she lost. However, it turned out she had a great deal of difficulty recovering the weight and by 2015 it was a life-threatening concern. We had made a series of dietary adjustments, but these changes did not resolve the situation. So in 2015 we made the difficult decision to separate WaaKaa from her herd. This caused an even greater weight loss. Repeated blood work indicated a significant protein deficiency. While the cause of her weight loss remains a mystery, we were able to develop a feeding routine that allowed WaKaa and her daughter WeSaii to eat separately but spend the day and night hours with the herd. The result has been a much needed weight gain.