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Polo came to our attention on Friday, July 22 when responding to a horse cruelty complaint. A veterinarian was immediately called out and she was placed on a diet of 6 feedings per day of senior feed and alfalfa as she needed to gain strength before she could be moved. Polo came to HPAF on Sunday July 24th. During the night she lay down and was too weak from her extreme state of starvation to get up on her own or with people providing support. For the first eight hours Polo received intravenous fluids, vitamins and veterinary treatment from Dr Joan Gariboldi along constant access to peanut hay and hourly feedings of Purina Equine Senior. Feedings continued every two hours through the night. In the morning Dr Gariboldi and Dr Barry David of Equine Medical Center of Ocala http://emcocala.com/ fitted Polo with the EMCO equine sling which was attached to the tractor bucket loader and Polo was gently lifted to her feet She was walked in the sling with people steadying her on all sides to a covered area. She was terribly weak and muscles all over her body were trembling but she was able to stand on her own when the sling was removed. She fell to her knees once but was able to catch herself before she fell all the way down. During that first day Dr Lynn Peck came to the farm to provide a Bowen treatment. Bryony Anderson provided an Orthobiotomy treatment later that day after which Polo’s muscles stopped trembling.
Polo continued to receive around the clock feedings every two hours and was monitored to see whether when she would lay down the next time she would be able to get up on her own. She only walked a few feet during the first few days, and then gradually walked a little farther in the yard to graze on the lush grass. Horses cannot survive unless they are able to stand and walk, they must move to live. From just 24 hours on the ground with hay under her for bedding and being turned to change sides, Polo had developed extensive pressure wounds on her shoulder, elbow and stifle areas.
Wednesday morning at her 4am feeding she was lying down in an indented spot in the yard and was unable to get up. For a second time with Dr Garaboldi’s assistance, Polo was lifted with the EMCO sling & the farm tractor, but this time she was much stronger once she was on her feet than she had been earlier in the week.
On July 30th Polo was strong enough to be walked to the scale for weighing. She weighed 856 lbs and was a body condition score of one. A remarkable difference can be seen from her first photo on July 22nd when she was first discovered until July 30th a week later when she was weighed. We will never know how much she gained weight in that week before she could make it to the scale.