A filly freed from a shanty where she was slowly wasting away, and who emerged as thin as a “coat hanger with a rag thrown over it,” has regained weight and muscle—and a little something else— under the care and protection of her original breeder.
Silver and Smoke’s life hung by a thread last August after she was seized by the South Florida SPCA and the Miami-Dade Police Department.
After being been locked for at least three months in quarters so tight she couldn’t fully lift her head, or lie down to rest on the putrid floor, the young filly, who was only 4 at the time, was retrieved by original breeder Danzel Brendemuehl when news of the her plight made news, and was circulated on the Internet.
Silver and Smoke
Foal date: March 5, 2010Making news of her own, Danzel Brendemuehl stepped up immediately to retrieve her fallen horse. It was a first for the South Florida SPCA. At no time in the history of the rescue had any other breeder showed up on the organization’s doorstep to take a fallen animal back home.
But, there was no time to celebrate. At least not then. “She looked like a coat hanger with a rag thrown over it,” she says. “I wasn’t sure she would make it.”
Worrying that the mare might not survive, Brendemuehl rushed her back to her business, Classic Bloodstock Farm in Florida, and placed the mare in a paddock where all could see what had befallen her beautiful mare, her “gray lady.”
“I didn’t think she was going to make it,” Brendemuehl says. “The biggest worry for me was I was afraid she would founder as she regained, easily, 250 to 300 pounds.”
Feeding her many small meals consisting of low-starch products, and all the alfalfa she could eat, the emaciated animal regained her weight on high-fat, high-efficiency feed, mixed with sweet feed to encourage the disinterested Thoroughbred to eat.
“She was a little anorexic at first and she looked dead-eyed,” she says. “But gradually she began taking an interest in my pony horse Cooper, and a spark started to come back into her.”
Restoring the mare’s health was personal for Brendemuehl, who was devastated when one of her own wound up this way.
As a breeder, she has always promised to pay above the meat price, and for shipping charges, to get a horse from the slaughter pipeline. And she backs her promise with her word, written in a note she fastens to a horse’s paperwork. Please see earlier article: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2015/04/16/breeder-takes-starved-t-bred-home-in-tears-2/.
The mare was given everything she could want, including the right to decide when she went inside or out. On hot days, she stayed inside with a fan on her. At night, in a paddock equipped with motion-detection lighting, she grazed in the cool evening.
With constant care and attention, Silver and Smoke became a horse again. One who squeals, and bucks and follows Brendemuehl around like a puppy, she says.
And 12 weeks ago, after careful consideration and debate with business partner Sandra Lombardo, Silver and Smoke was bred to graded stakes winner Majesticperfection, winner of the Gr.1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in Saratoga.
The mare’s line, so close to dying with her, will continue—possibly with a champion.
“She was the last of her line,” Brendemuehl says. “I hadn’t thought of breeding her, but then Sandra said to me that of all our mares, she’s the survivor, she’s the bravest, and if she passed those genes onto her foal, she could be the mother of a champion.”
Healthy and happy and living at her partner’s upstate New York facility, Royal Thoroughbreds, until she delivers her foal, Silver and Smoke is a mare who will never fall through the cracks again, Brendemuehl says.
“We’ll keep her forever,” she says.
Please see related stories: