Chance, a Tennessee walking horse, surely knows he’s one lucky thoroughbred.
The 20-year-old horse at Painted Pastures Rescue Horses was standing tall and strong in his barn stall, nickering and sniffing around for treats in the pockets of Laura Schmidt and her daughter Stephanie who adopted him last December.
“When we first got him he could barely stand. He was at least 500 pounds underweight. He was our biggest challenge so far. He’s almost recovered now. He’s probably 90 per cent,” said Stephanie at her family’s rescue located between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.
“At the time he was brought in, he was given three to four days to live. He was given a body score by the vet of one out of nine,” Laura said.
Chance still struggles with the cold which was why he was kept warm in the barn with two foals during recent arctic temperatures.
A one-time lesson and trail horse, Chance was surrendered to Painted Pastures by the owner and is one of eight horses at the rescue.
Laura said it’s questionable that the friendly horse will ever be ridden again.
“Often the first week he couldn’t even get up to greet you. You’d just end up sitting in the shaving with him and spending time with him.”
But the Schmidts did not give up.
“A lot of people ask about adopting him, but he’ll be a permanent resident here until he passes away,” said Stephanie, 21, who has been riding horses since she was about five.
The Central Alberta family started collecting horses when Stephanie adopted a horse from horse rescue Bear Valley Rescue, near Sundre, in 2014.
Most of the horses have come to the rescue in the past year.
Flicka was bought at auction where she would likely have been sold for meat. She has since been adopted by a tour company in Lake Louise as a trail horse. Zeus, a seven-month-old thoroughbred quarter horse, will soon be available for adoption.
“You could collect 50 horses a day, no problem. But there’s only so much a person can do,” Laura said.
Zeus was saved from a feedlot in Lloydminster and has been at the rescue for a month.
“He’s a little skittish. He was obviously taken from his mom quite young. He didn’t know how to eat certain foods,” Laura said.
Stephanie said until recently, Zeus wasn’t curious about people.
“He’s willing to try now. Before he would just shut down. He wouldn’t even look at you,” she said as Zeus made a few tentative steps towards visitors in the barn.
For more information visit Painted Pastures Rescue Horses on Facebook. See wishlist.