Palmetto Equine Awareness & Rescue League

Serving Upstate South Carolina

Neptune's Horses by Walter Crane


Sometimes animals we take possession of are not good candidates for our adoption program. This includes stallions, very old animals, and animals with cronic health conditions, such as severe hoof founder, Cushings disease, or blindness.

For these animals we contact veterinarians, other rescue groups, and horse-related forums to find a suitable home. Sometimes no home can be found and euthanasia is the best option for the animal.

Successful placements


This young colt is horse 10 from the Townville seizure. Because of lack of proper nutrition, his growth was well behind his age. Like all starvation cases, he was docile and easy to handle, not at all like healthy colts. He was low man in the pasture, so each day we moved him to a holding pen for feeding. Because of his penchant for sticking his head through gates and corral panels, we began calling him Filbert. With the feed program Seminole put him on he began to gain weight and began to catch up on his growth.

On October 1st, 2007 Filbert was gelded and had his wolf teeth removed. He seemed to be fine until about 9:30 that evening when he displayed classic symptoms of mild colic. We contacted Dr. Alice Beretta with his vital signs, all well within normal ranges except for his heart rate, which ranged from 60-75 beats per minute (normal rate is 35-45). Dr. Beretta decided that it would be best that she come out and verify his vitals. During her examination she found that Filbert had a very serious heart arrhythmia. It was so severe that we were told not to exercise him as would normally be done for a new gelding. Filbert was at risk for a heart attack should he encounter undo stress or overexert himself as a normal youngster playing in the field.

After consideration by the Board of PEARL, the University of Georgia was contacted and asked if they would be interested in Filbert for their Veterinary School. There cannot be a better place for him to go, where he will be part of the teaching herd. Veterinary students will learn first hand about heart arrythmias and the effects of starvation on the growth of young horses. On October 5th Filbert was donated to the Teaching Hospital. At 537 pounds he had gained weight and stature and will make quick friends with the students. While we were sad to see him go, the only other humane option would have been euthanasia, so this we consider this a positive placement for Filbert.

Update: Things couldn't have worked out better for Filbert. After a week, the arrhythmia resolved itself into a mild heart murmur. A murmur like this is common to starvation cases but does not prevent the use of him for riding. The Veterinary School has decided not to add him to their medical herd, as he no longer has the arrhythmia.

While Filbert was there, a young surgical nurse fell in love with him and asked if she could adopt him. She will be able to monitor his heart and offer him the best care should he require any assistance in the future. Needless to say her references were excellent and we agreed Divine Intervention had found him the right person to enjoy his life with.

Horse 4

This is horse 4 from the Townville seizure. The owner claimed the horse was a stallion, but no one could find any evidence of testicles. We observed stallion-like behavior so we performed a GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone) challenge test to determine if the horse was a cryptorchid. The test confirmed that the horse was.

PEARL does not place stallions, and the procedure to geld a cryptorchid costs from $1,200 to $1,800, depending on difficulty. An adopter offered to pay for the surgery and on October 3rd he was hauled to University of Georgia for laparoscopic surgery. The attending surgeon reported successful surgery and the adopter reports that the horse is recovering fine.

The adopter volunteers time with PEARL and assists them with basic manners training for their horses before they are adopted so that they have better ground manners and have a chance at a better home. A large number of horses that are neglected are stallions, which, upon award of permanent custody by the court, are promptly gelded. Until then volunteers still have to work with the stallions so that they are approachable for vaccinations, deworming, hoof trimming, and veterinary care. This is one way that people support PEARL's mission. Our policy at PEARL is that horses of this medical condition are directly delivered to an accreditied clinical surgery facility, like UGA. We at PEARL are pleased that an donor was found.

This horse has an unusual reaction that PEARL volunteers first discovered while practicing natural horsemanship, then later in the roundpen: when asking him to trot away from us, or when asking him to move off at liberty in the roundpen, if pressure is added by swinging the rope, he lays down and totally submits. When he lies down he just lays there, lets us walk up and pet him, even will allow us to roll him into lateral recumbancy. We were assuming that someone must have beaten him into submission; it took a moment to put together that this horse was in with another stallion in the owner's property and that another stallion was seen to bite and drive him to the ground on several occasions before they were seized. The stallion listed as #5 knew better than anyone that this horse was in fact a stallion. The conditons of placement were that he be delivered directly to a certified clinical surgery facility such as University of Georgia or NC State with a surgery date. These conditions were met and he has been placed.

Horse 5

This is horse 5 from the Townville seizure. This stallion was kept isolated in a separate stallion facility. Because PEARL does not place stallions, this horse was gelded after PEARL was awarded permanent custody. He is recovering and will be permanently placed with the volunteer who has cared for him and paid for the gelding.

F. Van Clayton

F. Van Clayton came into our posession as a result of a call from the Pickens County Sheriff's Department. After several weeks of rehabilitative care, we filed an abandoned property claim with the Liberty Magistrate. On October 1st, a volunteer waited in the Liberty Magistrate's Office for him to be sold by the court to the highest bidder. When no one else bid, he became PEARL's permanent property. No one at the Magistrate's office could remember a horse being sold as abandoned property in the last 20 years.

Because of his age and continued heath needs, we deemed this horse not a candidate for the adoption program. One of our volunteers bonded with this old guy and he has been placed with her. Knowing that he has special tooth and weight problems chronic to his age, his new owner is committed to continuing his special dietary needs and giving him the very best of care. As he continues to improve he will be ridden slowly for exercise on trails and is learning his basic natural horsemanship skills with his new owner. This is a great ending for what began as a horrible night on September 20th.

F. is in excess of 25 years of age. His new owner is looking forward to continuing his training and learning the riding skills and horsemanship skills that will allow her to overcome his stubborn, "crotchity old man" nature. He is a beatutiful mover and despite his years has great heart and lung sounds. We look forward to many years of companionship and mutual learning through this permanent placement.

Horse 2

This is horse 2 from the Townville seizure. She is a leopard appaloosa mare, approximately 12-15 years old. She is gentle and easy to handle, and loves attention. She has been used as a broodmare and lacks muscle tone under her belly.

During a routine ultrasound we found a tumor on her right ovary, which may require surgery if it continues to grow. We removed her from the adoption program because of this health issue, and have placed her with a Veterinary Technician. We did not want this mare bred again and we wanted her with someone who could bring her muscles back slowly so she doesn't carry her weight low. She will also continue to ultrasound the horse to keep an eye on the tumor.