Fine veterinary care, good food, and an embarrassment of choice blankets, all bought and paid for by donors, have helped turn around the life of a Thoroughbred who was destined for the grave four months ago.
Jo Jo’s Gypsy was a “walking skeleton” in late August when Jeanne Mirabito of Our Mims Retirement Haven says she couldn’t sign the abandoned mare’s death warrant, and she took her in.
Needing another horse like a hole in the head, Mirabito couldn’t turn her back on the incredibly sweet animal who loved people, and whose doe brown eyes melted her heart.
And despite steep odds, the mare battled back against extreme malnutrition that ate away at her vital organs and shrank her body down to skin and bones.
It was touch and go for a while, but as of this week, Jo Jo is weighing in at 1,066 pounds and is stronger by the day, able to show off remarkably pretty gates as she trots and canters in her field.
Jo Jo’s Gypsy
Dam: Camptown Gypsy
Foal date: April 25, 2005“We still have a little further to go,” Mirabito says. “Her butt needs to fill in, and she needs to build some muscle on her topline. Someone who saw her when we first took her in said it appeared that 87 percent of her muscles had atrophied. So it’s marvelous what’s going on now.”
Jo Jo has soaked up the love and the nutrients as well as the extensive veterinary care, all paid for by donors who pitched in to save the mare.
“The charity One Horse at a Time, Inc., which is a nonprofit that funds rescues, raised a bunch of money and they’ve paid all her vet bills so far. And they’ve been tremendous,” Mirabito says. And clothes! The mare has more clothes than any of the horses in Mirabito’s charity for older broodmares, and her privately owned horses, of which Jo Jo is one.
“She’s going to need a walk-in closet for her clothes!” she says. “She has a fleece and a flannel sheet for inside, a medium-weight turnout blanket, and a turquois blanket that my mother bought her. I haven’t bought this horse one blanket, they’ve all been sent to her.”
As she has recovered, Jo Jo has formed a special bond with Mirabito’s granddaughter Kaylee, 6. Although it’s too soon to tell if Jo Jo would be suitable for a youngster to ride, or even appropriate to be part of Mirabito’s own herd of horses, which is separate from the retired broodmares, the signs are promising.
“The horse looks for the granddaughter all the time. She looks past me and looks for Kaylee. She’s a great horse,” she says, noting that it is inconceivable to her that Jo Jo was among 40 abandoned horses seized by authorities in August. (Please read the earlier article in Off Track Thoroughbreds).
“I still don’t know how a horse with her personality could have ended up like she ended up. It’s mind boggling. She is so sweet and she tries so hard to please,” Mirabito says. And now all that she lacked is coming to her in abundance, and Mirabito remains guardedly optimistic that the sweet mare will survive her emergency and live a grand life.