rescue group in the Seattle area found a blind and emaciated
horse fending for himself. He had been abandoned and was surviving
by eating wood. He weighed only 750 pounds, instead of the
1200 pounds that is more normal for a horse his size.
The rescue group, Hope for Horses, e-mailed us the week
they found him. They wrote, "Our vet's initial recommendation
was to euthanize the horse because of his blindness and he
felt that he did not have a chance for a good quality life
because of it. Hope for Horses disagrees and we believe that
this horse deserves a second chance at life and because of
this, we have named him Chance!"
The wonderful folks at Hope for Horses took care of Chance
for several weeks and helped him regain his weight and health.
He needed to have both eyes removed because they had rotted
away from end-stage uveitis, but we concluded we should wait
to do the surgery until he came to Montana.
Chance arrived at the ranch early one spring morning on a
big semi-truck horse trailer ... the kind used to haul racehorses
from track to track. The next day, we took Chance to the hospital
for eye surgery. We could tell almost right away that he felt
so much better with them removed.
While he was recovering from surgery back at the ranch, we'd
take him for a walk every morning so he could get some exercise.
He loved to roll around on the green grass ... first he'd
roll on one side, then the other, and sometimes roll completely
over on his back, legs straight up just like our dogs do.
One morning Chance gave us a great sign that he was finally
feeling really good: After his roll he suddenly leaped up
on his hind legs, front hooves pawing the air ... just like
you'd see in an old cowboy action movie. Then he'd snort a
few times, shake his head, and get down to the business of
This became his signature "buck 'n snort" routine,
as we call it.
Although Chance now goes out to pasture every day, he does
not like to stay out very long. It doesn't matter that other
horses are with him. We think because of his history of abandonment,
he gets nervous after a while and wants to come back to his
stall in the barn. However, if we have Chance on a lead rope
and stay with him, he'll be content to graze on pasture for
a long time. He just needs the security of knowing someone
is with him.
Unfortunately, Chance now faces a new medical challenge:
We just learned he has a terminal cancer called lymphosarcoma.
He may not be with us very long, but he's enjoying all the
love and attention he gets here.