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Mitchell works to save horse after accident
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When local animal advocate, horse trainer and riding enthusiast Amy Mitchell was informed a horse in the Hennessee Bridge Road area was hit by a truck and severely injured on Tuesday, Nov. 14, she initially felt the animal would need be euthanized to alleviate its suffering.
But on arriving at the accident scene, she found the horse shaken, obviously in shock, but still standing and receptive to being led and handled despite its major injuries.
“I got a phone call Wednesday morning and they were telling me the horse had been hit and had substantial injuries,” said Mitchell. “I was even told his right eye was hanging out of its socket, and that the owners would not claim the horse. They came out and looked at him and said, ‘Oh, that’s not our horse,’ and went back home.”
Mitchell says she knows the names of the people who own the horse, and even knows who sold it to them. She says she is appalled by their reaction to the animal’s injuries and situation, but agreed revealing their names publicly would serve no purpose.
But fortunately for the horse there were some good Samaritans on hand as well.
“The people, from what I understand, who lived across the road from where the horse was hit were kind enough to say, well, just put him here in this lot so he doesn’t get back out on the road and get hit again,” Mitchell said.
Once Mitchell got involved she began to find out more about what happened.
“I talked to some people the next day that were on the scene,” Mitchell said. “They said the horse was down for over an hour, he couldn’t get up when he tried to get up and had a major nosebleed from both nostrils. They were really surprised he was alive the next day.”
After she found out more about the accident, Mitchell decided to go out to the scene and check on the horse, since she had been told where he was supposed to be.
“I thought I’d drive out there and if there was anything to do to help him I’d try,” Mitchell said. “So I drove by the people’s house and there was no horse to be seen.” But as she pulled back onto Hennessee Bridge Road she saw the stricken animal.
“He had his head hung down, all four legs were slightly buckled, it was raining and he was just shivering uncontrollably,” Mitchell said. “And I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is really bad.’ So I pulled into the driveway of the house where he was at and I walked down the fence to look at him, and that’s when it really struck me how severely injured this horse was.”
It was at this point Mitchell decided she had to do something.
“I had a client I’ve trained horses for for years who lived right up the road,” Mitchell said. “So I called him and I said, ‘I need a trailer.’ I wasn’t going to leave the horse there.”
Mitchell had contacted the local Humane Society which generously agreed to help and had contacted a vet, but Mitchell knew this particular vet dealt mainly with small animals, and in any case on first sight she felt the horse was probably beyond help.
“I called them back and said, ‘Look, I’m getting this horse out of here, this horse needs to be euthanized,’” Mitchell said.
Mitchell went and got the trailer and called another friend who works at her barn on occasion and asked him to bring her some of the items she needed.
“I didn’t have a halter or anything,” Mitchell said. “I was completely unprepared.”
Mitchell had to park some distance down the road from where the horse was and she was worried about getting it to the trailer and even more about loading it up. But oddly enough, this is where the story suddenly took a different turn.
“I thought, as bad is this horse is hurt, I’ll never get it in the trailer,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be surprised if I can even lead him. So I went in the pasture and put the halter on him, and he was reluctant to move at first, he also had some injury to his right front leg or in his shoulder, so he’s got some lameness issues from this accident, but you know, he just walked right beside me like a trooper. I had to lead this horse down the road after he had been hit by a truck on the road in the rain, and I thought, so far, so good, but I’ll bet we’ll never get him an the trailer. But he loaded right up in as bad a shape as he was.
“That’s when it struck me, you know, this horse has some grit to him,” Mitchell said, noting she had called  Dr. Mandy Hagan Willis, a local vet who specializes in large animals. “Initially, like I said, I thought this horse needs to be euthanized immediately, but after I got him to my client’s farm and the vet pulled in right behind me, so it was great timing. She looked at him and said, ‘Oh, wow.’ So at first I think she kind of felt like I did.
“Then she checked him out and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I said, ‘I don’t want him to suffer, first and foremost, but this horse has been stoic through all this. I cannot believe his disposition, I cannot believe the courage he has shown, so now I’m having trouble saying, yeah, let’s put him down.”
Mitchell said she had dealt with this type of situation before and did what she knew to be the right thing.
“I’ve put several horses down,” Mitchell said. “I’m used to that, but it’s always in a situation where you know what needs to be done, but he had given me great doubt, and I just couldn’t do it. I guess my heart got in the way.”
Mitchell said it would have been easier, and less expensive and time consuming, to just put the horse down, but the spirit he showed really got to her.
“It just kind of jolted me and I just couldn’t do it,” she said. “So I said, ‘Mandy, if you think it’s not going to put him through a lot of suffering and you think that we can do this, I’m on board.’”
Willis told Mitchell it could cost from $500 to $1,000 to treat the horse. The Humane Society, even with its limited funds, called back and offered to donate $100 to the horse’s care and Mitchell hopes others will step forward to help her save this animal whose nobility in the face of disaster so touched her heart.
They moved the horse to Willis’ clinic and started treatment, which luckily turned out to have some positive effect.
“I came back the next morning and looked at him and compared to how he did look, he looked pretty good,” Mitchell said. “He was still trembling and still kind of shaky, but his overall attitude was a little bit brighter.”
Since the owners told the Highway Patrol officer who worked the wreck the horse was not theirs, it essentially put the animal in limbo, so Mitchell says she is going to try and find him a good home once he is nursed back to health.
Of course, that left another task, what to call him.
“I thought about that long and hard,” Mitchell said. “And I want to call him “Rooster,” for Rooster Cogburn, one eye and he’s got true grit, so I thought that fits him.”
Anyone who would like to contribute to Rooster’s care, or offer him a good home, can contact Willis at her clinic in Morrison at 931-409-3178.