A heavily pregnant and crippled Thoroughbred mare, who was bought back from a meat buyer last month but still faced an uncertain future, is doing so well that her rescuers are now expecting her to survive and live a full life.
Gerda Silver of Gerda’s Animal Aid says that all talk of euthanizing OTTB mare Open Zipper has ended in the face of a new development.
The animal, once thought to be so crippled that she could barely walk without risking a fall, has shown that she can in fact walk confidently enough to be considered pasture sound, Silver says. (Please see a video here: https://www.facebook.com/Friends-of-GAAs-Slaughterbound-Rescued-Pregnant-Mares-543239792511335/?fref=ts).
Silver explains: “When we first saw videos of her walking, she was being led by someone on a lead rope. This forced her to hold her head up in a way she wasn’t accustomed to, and it threw off her balance. So we had two vets urge us to euthanize her. But, what we’ve found is Open Zipper
Sire: City Zip
Dam: Nearctica, by Mazel Trick
Foal date: Feb. 3, 2006that when she walks on her own, without being led, she puts her head down and walks in a way that compensates for her (disfigured) front legs.”
This discovery was made after Zipper was rescued from a meat buyer in late February and assessed in person by fellow Thoroughbred advocate Kay O’Hanlon, a board member of Gerda’s Animal Aid. “Once Kay saw her walk on her own, she saw a very, very different horse. And, she’s doing excellent,” Silver says, noting that O’Hanlon will keep both the mare and her foal, who is due to arrive in May.
Open Zipper was among a band of heavily pregnant broodmares rescued Feb. 29 from kill buyers who purchased or bid on them at the New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania. Please see earlier article here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2016/03/07/pregnant-horses-rescued-from-meat-buyers/
Though Silver says it is still unclear how the horses wound up at New Holland in their condition, the following Thoroughbreds were purchased at New Holland with their paperwork: Murphy’s Code, 15; Lilly and Ice, 21; Stratacaster, 19, (not in foal); Lovely Ness, 7.
The mares, who were purchased with the financial help of Dallas oilman and philanthropic race owner John Murrell and others, are expected to have their foals any day now.
Lovely Ness is now living in Maine with a foster family who expressed interest in adopting her. Murphy’s Code is living in Virginia with her foster family, who has already adopted both the mare and her expectant foal. And Lily and Ice is living in Connecticut with a foster family and is not yet spoken for, Silver says, noting that the progress of the mares is regularly updated on their new Facebook page: Friends of GAA’s Slaughterbound Rescued Pregnant Mares. A “baby pool” to guess the date/time the mares will give birth has been started on that page to help raise funds for the new foals.
As the mares prepare to give birth, Silver is thrilled beyond words that all the mares appear to have a bright future. Especially after she fought so hard to save Open Zipper from shipping to slaughter.
Crediting her board member Barbara Coakley for tracking down the mare, who had already been shipped by a meat buyer two hours away from the Pennsylvania auction, Silvers said in an earlier interview that she made it her “mission” to save her. After learning of the mare’s whereabouts, Silver pleaded with the son of a kill buyer to let her purchase the horse back. He agreed. For a price of $700, he drove the mare two hours back to where she could be collected by rescuers.
“I knew there was a crippled, older Thoroughbred, and when I found out she’d slipped through the cracks, I was crushed. I didn’t want any of them to be lost, for sure. But to lose one and have her possibly endure that kind of trip to Mexico was just too horrible. I had to find her,” Silver said in the earlier story in Off-TrackThorougbreds.com.
And now that it appears Open Zipper is pasture sound, her prayers for the unfortunate animal have been answered. “This is definitely not her time,” she says.
O’Hanlon, who now owns the lovely mare, adds, “Open Zipper is a reminder to all of us that no matter what the disability, you can still have a quality of life. I don’t believe she is in pain. The vets says she isn’t in pain. Every morning on turn out she greets the new day by cantering up the hill.”
— Off Track Thoroughbreds.com will continue to follow the progress of the mares in future stories.