Crippled, pregnant mare spared; not her time

Open Zipper, heavily pregnant and crippled, was bought back from a meat buyer last month.

Open Zipper, heavily pregnant and crippled, was bought back from a meat buyer last month. Though many thought her longterm prognosis was bad, new evidence suggest she can live a full life as a pasture pet.

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, 2006
that 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/

Open Zipper's malformed front legs were so concerning that veterinarians recommended she be euthanized after she gave birth.

Open Zipper’s malformed front legs were so concerning that veterinarians recommended she be euthanized after she gave birth.

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.

Heavily pregnant mares, pictured at the New Holland Auction Feb. 29, were rescued by a Vermont horse charity. Three had to be bought back from meat buyers. Photo courtesy Gerda Silver

Heavily pregnant mares, pictured at the New Holland Auction Feb. 29, were rescued by a Vermont horse charity. Three had to be bought back from meat buyers. Photo courtesy Gerda Silver

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.

8 responses to “Crippled, pregnant mare spared; not her time”

  1. Sarah

    They didn’t get pregnant by accident. Our horse world is rife with irresponsible backyard breeding practices. Look at Chicago high school in IL breeding standardbreds and all but a few racetracks are closed un IL. Why?!?

    1. Dee cheslock

      I will help you with a donation to help her & her baby. Would love to have both of them, but no ground yet. please contact me

  2. SusanA

    All I do right now is just smile! Prayers answered again! 😊

  3. Glenys McNally

    Open Zipper– Sire is City Zip just like Metro Meteor. Paintings by Metro…Yes there is greatness…

  4. Tammy Schrock

    The work you do is inspirational, and saves so many. Thank you for your gracious Hearts.

  5. lisa

    So happy all theses mares were saved, but I’m really happy to hear that Open Zipper had someone who cared enough about her to really spend the time and effort to see that she could continue to lead a comfortable life after her foal is born. There were people who thought my mare should be put down and that she would never be sound (January 14th write up), but she just needed time to heal. I will be following the facebook page and OTTB to keep updated on theses mares and their babies! Such a great ending for them all ! Thank you for saving two more Kay, every one save counts. And no, it was not her time and hopefully it won’t be for many more years.

  6. Tonya LaFarr

    So glad these mares and the 3 future babies will be in happy homes. Sickens me that so many horses end up on meat trucks to Canada or Mexico. Thank you to those who helped these beautiful animals.

  7. Elizabeth

    Thank you wonderful, kind people for rescuing Open Zipper (who is truly beautiful) and all of the horses. Pray God’s many, many blessings for you all and the beautiful mares.

Leave a Reply