Although we're very short of the needed funds....we went ahead and rescued both horses. The thought of letting either horse continue to starve in that backyard, was not worth enduring for one more day.
The elderly Quarter Horse stinks of death...like he had been rolling in dead animal carcasses. Disturbingly, the current neglectful owner "claimed" they rescued him months before, on a property where all the horses had starved to death, but him. They had walked him past the other starved, lifeless bodies, as they led him home, their story went. Perhaps that smell was what was still on him, though they said that had been 6 months ago. I have never rescued a horse I thought smelled of "death" before. But the smell is distinct and instantaneously, nauseatingly recognizable.
His owners named him "Lucky," of all things. But his bad luck had really just continued. 6 more months of starvation, confined in a tiny pen, as multiple visits from Animal Control resulted in no action, or difference to his living conditions.
The owner made a bizarre claim this same horse had "no jaw," but we arrived to find a normal "looking" horse. Perhaps it was just a ploy to get the rescue to show up? But a quick exam revealed....it was true. Where a lower jaw with teeth should be, encased by the lower lip, is...nothing. Not even bone. Somehow he had been able to survive, all this time.
The Thoroughbred filly is very young, very skinny, with little handling but a gentle curiosity, which aided by her hunger, made her easy to load onto our trailer. The story goes she came from a Thoroughbred breeding farm in Frazier Park, where they had been overbred and underfed. He had taken two.
Upsettingly, we were only able to save 2 of the 3 horses on the property -- the owner insisting on keeping the most emaciated: a 17 hh Thoroughbred mare, because she is his "riding horse." The mare is extremely gaunt, with all of her spine and hips protruding. The man, is well over 6'2, and very overweight.