Saving Little Orphan Orchid

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Saving Little Orphan Orchid
Kayla Fallon/Days End Farm Horse Rescue

 

This little story I wrote was buried in aftermath of election day coverage in the Washington Post. It’s about a sweet orphan foal who nearly starved and was brought back to life by a rescue group near where I live: Days End Farm Horse Rescue.

When I saw this picture online, something came over me. I called my friend Eliza McGraw and we made a plan to make the hour-drive to Woodbine, northwest of where we live in Washington, DC. I pitched the idea for a story about the foal to my editor at the Washington Post.

The next day, Eliza and I took a beautiful fall drive. It was great fun to not only meet little Orchid, her pal Red Rover and some of the other horses that came in with her–and also the people who make their rescue possible, like development director Caroline Robertson and impound director DeEtte Hillman.

Saving Little Orphan Orchid
Kayla Fallon/Days End Farm Horse Rescue

 

There were many horse-related details that didn’t find their way into my story about Orchid that I feel compelled to share to make the story more complete for horse people, like how:

  • The 11 horses that came in with this impound lot were between a 1 and 3.5 on the Henneke horse body condition scoring system. Most were closer to a 1. The healthiest was a pony mare who was Red Rover’s mom. Orchid was a 1. Her mother, Lilo (also a body score of 1), was so starved that she had stopped lactating well before the rescue. Orchid had nothing to eat but manure, and there wasn’t much of that either. DeEtte says there was hardly a speck of manure on the property with the 11 horses.
  • Orchid’s condition was considered to be in “exigent circumstances” meaning that her life was in danger when she was seen by authorities. This fact made it possible for her rescuers to take all the animals immediately. Lilo died seven days after the rescue. Her body was so depleted that her heart gave out.
  • All of the horses were suffering from extreme parasites. Tiny Orchid only weighed about 75 pounds at intake. Her fecal egg count was astronomical. Her caretakers gave her a “guarded prognosis” for survival.

The good news is that Orchid, and Rover and the other horses are doing better. Even though one vet said Orchid’s calm nature was due to the fact that she’s reserving energy for healing, she has frisked a little here and there. You can check out more about Days End Horse Farm and all their great work at www.DEFHR.org.

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Follow Kitson Jazynka on Twitter at @KitsonJ and on Facebook.

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. I just finished a 4 day visit at this farm and the people who work there are phenomenal! I am the director of a medium sized humane shelter in Northeast Arkansas and the knowledge I gained from these dedicated and compassionate folks is beyond measure. Great organization!

  2. I just finished a 4 day visit at this farm and the people who work there are phenomenal! I am the director of a medium sized humane shelter in Northeast Arkansas and the knowledge I gained from these dedicated and compassionate folks is beyond measure. Great organization!

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