March has been a busy month for Pegasus Equine Guardian Association. Through an unexpected chain of events, we ask for your support more than ever before, after acquiring 48 more horses in a period of weeks.
How did this come about? First, with your kind help, we saved a group of six horses from a slaughter dealer in Bastrop, Louisiana, that were reportedly Fort Polk horses in February. We have no way of verifying if they all are from Fort Polk or not, other than what DNA analysis might possibly reveal. But we helped them anyway. We will call them the #Bastrop6 moving forward.
While quarantined from our main herd, the #Bastrop6 have been checked over by a veterinarian, and all is well. The stallion with the eclipse star is definitely under thirteen hands tall and very wild. He and alpha stallion fight so we have separated them.
And remember the heavy bred paint mare? She had her foal, a beautiful little chestnut colt. Yesterday, he wiggled himself under the fence, separated from his mother. I’m super relieved to say we had a successful rescue and the lil fella is now back safe with his mother. See this adorable video!
In the midst of caring for the #Bastrop6, we learned of a disturbing situation involving a Fort Polk herd we had tried to help in the past, that seemed to overshadow the relief we felt about the arrival of the Bastrop6.
This was the same herd of Fort Polk horses in Louisiana that were owned by Florida based “Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy” that we had contacted the Vernon Parish Sheriff about last March of 2021, after equine remains and several thin, emaciated horses were discovered. So it was important to see what was going on this year. And sadly, several extremely emaciated Fort Polk wild horses were again observed earlier this month.
The unforeseen events that led up to us also taking in these horses are explained below:
For one to fully understand the gravity of the situation, I must take you back a year to March of 2021, when it was brought to our attention that a Facebook post from “Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy”, said that six Fort Polk horses had died in the winter of 2021. The reason given was the extreme freeze. Not only was it extremely concerning to learn they had perished, we found their deaths odd because our herd did fine with plenty of hay, feed, and water. We had zero deaths in our herd. This raised a red flag and we decided to check the situation out further. Upon looking over the herd, I knew the next step was to alert authorities because not only were their horses in terrible shape, with some appearing thin or severely malnourished, we also discovered several partial or sets of equine skeletal remains. I contacted Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office in March of 2021 and soon after, met with a VPSO Deputy who assured me he would assess the situation and move forward from there.
After following up for updates, I left the case in the hands of local law enforcement as I was advised to do.
Sadly, there appeared to be little or no change in the horses’ conditions by late June of 2021. So I not only filed another complaint with the same sheriff’s office in July of 2021, but I also went to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. (LDAF) Brand Commission with the concerns.
In early August of 2021, I was informed that law enforcement had decided to allow Mr. DeMars of Baby Girl to move the herd a few miles down the road to another bigger pasture and that they were going to allow him to retain custody of the herd.
In retaliation for the complaints we filed, our organization was subjected to an online smear campaign with unfounded and untrue accusations about our organization on the internet, that we assume were an attempt to scare or bully us into silence.
Now let’s get back to this year. After the grizzly findings this month, early March of 2022, we wondered if law enforcement would allow these horses to suffer any longer at the hands of this out of state “rescue”. To find out, on March 4th, we had a call with Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office to report the issues with the neglected herd once again. After gaining access to the property, we were able to locate and document at least five skulls that sadly were not the size of fully grown horses. Within a week of that call, we were notified that a horse appeared to be down. A school bus driver also made a complaint because the downed horse was visible from the road. This horse was deceased.
On March 9th of 2022, detectives met us at the field, walked a small portion of the property and took photographs. They later gave me an update, advising that Mr. DeMars had been contacted and that he was planning on moving the herd to Florida within the week! I honestly couldn’t fathom not only how they would allow him to retain possession of the horses, but also how some would even survive the stress of being transported to Florida in their condition.
Less than twenty four hours later, we learned that Mr. DeMars signed these neglected horses over to an individual, Cameron Diamond, who contacted us.
We were relieved they were in Cameron’s care and also offered to help him and take over custody of the herd that had apparently died off to approximately 42 horses, from the original 60-61 just since 2019, while owned by Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy.
Cameron then began caring for the horses including a very thin heavily pregnant mare, “Heart” on his own and allowed us to assist by working along side him in those first few days.
But he made the decision to relinquish his herd into our care three days later, due to a heartbreaking discovery we and Cameron made on March 12, 2022. When we went out to feed and check on the horses, sadly we discovered two more dead horses, besides the remains of the white horse that had been seen before Baby Girl had signed the herd over to Cameron.
It should be noted that in the best of circumstances, not all rescued horses subjected to starvation make it. To compound the issues, these are wild horses. They needed to remain at the location they were at because had it even been possible to herd, load, and transport the horses elsewhere, it would have further stressed them in the poor condition they were already in. Also because these are wild horses, they couldn’t be blanketed or confined, as free movement is important for digestive function to be slowly restored and to help reduce risk of colic. So their improved care began on-site.
Although they were given hay and other limited nutrition in moderation, malnourished horses typically do not drink well until their digestive systems have reached a more normal function. So they can more easily become dehydrated. Colic as well as the extreme temperature drop may also have been factors. But plain and simply, without adequate body fat and having gone so long without adequate nutrition, they may have succumbed to the stress of the most recent cold front, just as other herd mates before them had.
Although there has been a gradual improvement in their body conditions over the past week, it is an enormous undertaking to take in now 40 wild horses that have apparently gone months, including through the winter, undernourished from lack of forage at a bare minimum; let alone other nutrition that hay alone wouldn’t have provided. So we will need ongoing financial support from our concerned followers to assist us as we work toward restoring their health, which includes a gradual weight gain at a safe pace.
Below you will see photos of this herd that was previously owned by Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy.
It has been one week since the Faithful40 have been surrendered to our care.
CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT
“Today we fed “your” horses, picked up their bones, and buried the dead. The only solace is that they are no longer “yours” to neglect… for that I am thankful.” – Amy Hanchey
We’ve had a lot of busy days since the surrender of the neglected herd of Fort Polk horses! Feeding and checking daily to make sure they are fairing well. It’s obvious when we go out they know they are no longer forgotten.
We have been concerned about several of the malnourished horses, one in particular has been a thin, heavily pregnant bay mare named “Heart” (due to the heart shaped marking on her forehead).
We went out to feed and check on the herd and noticed Heart and her stallion, “Strawberry Moon” were nowhere to be found. We just knew she must have had her baby.
We noticed a few horses across the creek so we headed that way and found the couple with the their new foal, who was only hours old.. on the very first day of Spring!
We knew she wouldn’t cross the creek to eat. So I made the short hike back across the creek to grab some feed for Heart and Strawberry Moon, who not only allowed me near his mare, but Heart ate her feed while her colt nursed. What special moments I was allowed to be part of!
Please keep Heart and her new colt in your prayers because her health is obviously compromised from the neglect she has endured and she must also feed her new little one.
Please enjoy the video of the new baby, likely in his first hours of life💝
Our next order of business for the #Faithful40 is to separate mares from stallions, and of course provide them with the needed nutrition. Rehabilitating starved or malnourished horses is a delicate situation and again, this is only made more complicated by the fact that they are wild. So please bear with us as we will do our absolute best, given the circumstances and with your help. Our immediate needs are:
Ten 12ft livestock panels
Twelve 10ft feed troughs
12/8 Hi-fat pellets and rice bran
Nutrena Mare and Foal pellets for our two newborn foals and their mamas
Strongid Pellet dewormer
If you would like to help us provide food and ongoing care to our recently acquired now Pegasus horses, please consider donating or purchasing any of above supplies at the following:
O’Neal’s Feeders Supply, Inc.
115 East Fourth Street,
DeRidder, Louisiana 70634
Phone: (337) 463-8665 Toll Free: (800) 256-2769
Fax: (337) 463-6270 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
** Gift Cards can be purchased by calling. Please use Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, my name, Amy Hanchey # 337-739-0036
1050 North Pine St
Deridder, LA 70634
Phone: (337) 460-7760
**You can send Tractor Supply gift cards to email@example.com