After many years, finally people know that thousands and thousands of horses are abandoned on rural, hard to access lands in West Virginia and Kentucky.
They suffer in one way or another.
Revenant is one such horse. Gruesomely injured. Alone for years.
This happens a lot, sadly.
Here is his story:
I know many people have asked about an update on Revenant throughout the day since his rescue (March 2016).
I wanted (though I knew the odds were entirely against the possibility) to give you news that the veterinary consensus found solid hope Revenant could be a candidate for anything corrective that would offer him a good quality of life.
I do not have that news for you.
First, I want to tell you. . .this case would be easy to exploit. I am very sorry to have to admit that there are people that would have used this extremely traumatized, injured horse to get a huge amount of attention and a lot of donor money . . .all while not considering that the process was not the best thing for him.
I hope you all know there was never a chance we could operate that way.
We all give much of our lives to this effort to save the abused and abandoned, the neglected and forgotten. . .to offer dignity when they have been denied the chance to have any.
While I wish a good chance of recovery had been possible because it would have been wonderful for him and would have drawn a lot of attention to the horses on these former and active mine lands in West Virginia, it was not to be.
Upon thorough examination and X-rays, our vet, who we trust and know to be extremely knowledgeable and willing to hope against hope (as he did in Turner’s case, which many have followed nationwide), found there to be no chance of saving this boy while retaining any marginal quality of life.
Additionally, we are thankful to have been able to consult with any extremely well known and regarded surgeon at Rood and Riddle we have worked with many times, and he, upon review of the video, photos and X-rays, agreed that the only conclusion, understanding all innovations and options, and also being an extremely hopeful man, was that humane euthanasia is unequivocally the right choice.
Both found this to be an injury, not a birth defect.
We are sure some people would have opted to listen to vets they have no relationship with, but in this case, we would not go against the experts we have worked enough with to KNOW personally.
The right thing and the thing we want or even the thing we would prefer sometimes cannot line up. This is not what we would opt for, but it is what is Decent and Right.
It is the job of the true rescuer to know when their ideals would stand to do great harm. . .even with the kindest of intent.
I am proud of our team. . .a team that has, through the course of experience and heartbreaks and mistakes, learned to do what needs done for the sake of the Horse even when their bodies shake, their hearts sink and their mouths barely speak the correct words.
Do what is right. Not what is easy. Do what is right. Not what you wish could be right, folks.
I am thankful this boy did not die on a mountain top removal site, alone, mauled by coyotes or worse, if you can imagine anything worse.
So we saved this life. We saved him though this meant bringing him in to let him go with compassion.
I will say it again, as I’ve said it so many times. . .
Rescue is Safe From Pain.
He was, in the end, rescued, and we are thankful for the team that made this possible.
Should you wish to donate to this final kindness for Revenant, please visit:
Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, INC
PO box 81 Shoals, WV 25562
—— Original post 3/11/16
Friday morning at 8:15 am, Suzanna, an Officer at Heart of Phoenix began her day with a phone call about a horse that has been for months, possibly years, abandoned on a former mine site in Southern West Virginia.
This fellow was different as there was no question he had no owner, anymore, because his leg was entirely destroyed, either dislocated and broken, it was fused and hung useless on this little horse’s body.
The couple were on vacation from Tennessee, and they seen this gelding in October of last year with the same injury. They could not catch him at that time because he had an aggressive equine pal guarding him, they explained. A Chestnut gelding kept them away when they would approach this injured horse.
They returned and found this poor horse was in the same area, but he was now alone, rejected entirely from the herds that call these mine sites home. They were not “horse people,” and they devised a way, they explained, to load him onto their flat bed ATV trailer with a ramp and bring him off of the mine site. While we cannot imagine how this was accomplished, when we saw the desperate situation he was in, given the gruesome condition of his leg, we worked to find a way an answer.
The couple had the gelding tied in the yard of their property they came to when in West Virginia. We were aware of no vets in the rural community that would be able to quickly visit the horse, and there was no way to bury him if we offered to cover the cost of euthanasia.
Our hearts’ sank. We did not want to have to trailer a horse in this condition all the way back to our central location.
But we had no choice, by this point.
We made the trip to pick him up. Seeing him in person was like a multiple punches to the gut. It is the worst thing we have ever seen.
We worked to load him, and finally, this small gelding who is about 10 years old, the couple called, “Lucky,” and we will call “Revenant” was unloaded into safe and comfortable stall for the night.
He will be examined by our vet soon. Given the extent of the injury and how long we suspect he has suffered and survived without access to any care (likely well over a year or more), it is beyond our scope of understanding how he is alive.
We do not know how. But will to live and high quality of life do not always go hand in hand, and Heart of Phoenix is a rescue that believes “Safe from Pain” is what rescue is about.
Whatever that may means for Revenant, we will see that he is safe from pain, rescued.
We are Thankful for those who rose to the occasion in so many ways to make sure he did not suffer alone another night on Southern West Virginia Strip mine.