Great Western-based trainer Annette Marshall has shown enormous generosity by giving a rescued horse an expensive brand new rug for winter.
Ms Marshall reached out to Dakabin (Brisbane) resident Melissa Skeet after seeing a post on a Facebook page known as ‘The Foal Club.’
Both ladies are members of the social networking site’s page and Ms Skeet posted photos of her 13 year old ‘rescued mare.’
Ms Marshall takes up the story:
“I came across the photos on this page and I was a bit cynical at first. I saw this ‘rescued mare’ and thought it was just a horse who had been retired after racing and was just given to someone else. But when I saw the photos, I was just so horrified,” Ms Marshall said.
The horse, dubbed ‘JJ’, was pictured in a paddock half-starved with her ribs showing and her once healthy, shiny coat had lost its lustre.
“Since then (seeing the photos) I’ve been watching her progress and have made friends with Melissa through The Foal Club. I then did a bit of research on the horse and realised she was related to my retired sprinter and a foal I have now,” Ms Marshall said.
It turned out that JJ was sired by Jugah, who is the grand-sire of Ms Marshall’s former sprinter Buzraami.
Jugah is also the grand-sire of Ms Marshall’s weanling that she foaled down last year and appears at this stage to be one of the last of Mookta’s progeny. (Mookta is the father of Buzraami and son of Jugah).
Due to the connection, Ms Marshall’s interest in JJ escalated and she began helping Ms Skeet out with advice on how to look after the rescued mare.
“Melissa is a stay at home mother with a couple of teenage children and is doing an amazing job bringing this mare back to health,” Ms Marshall said.
“Her story touched my heart, so when she put a call out for a cheap, but warm second hand rug to get through winter, I surprised her by buying a brand new Weatherbeeta Orica from Horseland courtesy of Anni Marshall Racing (Ms Marshall’s stable).”
Ms Marshall was devastated by the neglect suffered by JJ, describing it as ‘every horse trainer’s worst nightmare.’
“To find that a horse that was once an elite athlete and given the very best nutrition, care and well thought out program, has ended up in this condition must be heartbreaking,” she said.
Ms Skeet said it was a ‘terrible’ experience to go through.
“I got a random text message (to this day I still don’t know who it was) telling me there was a mare in a paddock and it would be in my best interests to go have a look.
“My friend and I took a drive and entered the property, thinking the worst. I found the mare down the back and I reckon she was a couple of weeks from death,” Ms Skeet said.
“I cried. I said to my friend ‘I’m going to take the mare’ and she said ‘you can’t’. I said ‘I can and I’m going to’.
“It took her half an hour to walk 50 metres, she was that weak.”
However, that was eight months ago and JJ is now ‘Miss Attitude’ after regaining her weight and being nursed back to health through rehabilitation.
Ms Skeet said the dream is to be able to ride JJ and enjoy her because she’s a horse ‘with a lot of love to give.’
“JJ is going really well. She is looking amazing and is receiving chiropractic and physio work after she got stuck in a fence for a while.
“Also, while she was in that paddock, there was a stallion in there and Melissa thought she may have been pregnant. Luckily, she’s not,” Ms Marshall said.
Ms Skeet and Ms Marshall have become firm friends thanks to Facebook and their love of horses.
“She’s been with me through the tears and everything. I’ve fallen back on her. She’s really encouraged me and helped me a lot,” Ms Skeet said.
Ms Marshall said Ms Skeet’s gratitude has been ‘embarrassingly immense.’
“But it gives me great pleasure to see her lovely mare rugged up, warm and continuing her improvement,” she said.