Arthur, a Belgian draft, spent most of his life as a work horse in a farming community in New England. But once he turned 30, they no longer needed him.
From there, he went from auction to auction and dealer to dealer. During his journey, he met another horse named Max who he grew very close with. The two of them were headed to a ʜɪɢʜ-ᴋɪʟʟ auction in New Holland, when Cindy Daigre, founder of Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary in Tennessee, ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ them.
“I pulled both Arthur and his buddy Max from dealers in Pennsylvania where they had been bounced around from auctions and were heading to New Holland, a ʜɪɢʜ-ᴋɪʟʟ auction, next,” Cindy Daigre told The Dodo.
Daigre happened to come across a website where she saw both horses being brokered out. In a photo, she saw how emaciated Arthur appeared and watched a video of Max that turned her stomach, sealing her determination to get both horses away from such upsetting conditions. In the video, a woman rode the horse, slapping him with his ʀᴇɪɴs and ᴋɪᴄᴋɪɴɢ him hard. “It was clear he was not even broke to ride,” Daigre said.
“I was told that [Arthur] was purposely starved while waiting to go to the next auction and the man that had him often sold thin old horses to the ‘cat man’ with exotic cats for meat,” she said. “I was ʜᴏʀʀɪꜰɪᴇᴅ.” With the assistance of a network of draft horse resources, Daigre was able to hire a transporter to bring both horses safely to the sanctuary.
The trailer ride from Pennsylvania was brutal on the two senior horses. Arthur couldn’t even stand when they arrived. After a vet exam, it was discovered that Arthur had dermatitis, mites, and was lame in his front feet. He was also incredibly malnourished.
Over time, Arthur began recovering and was even able to stand again! He kept eating, also discovering that he loved hay more than fresh green grass. But recovery wouldn’t be as easy for his best friend Max.
“Max has a back ɪɴᴊᴜʀʏ with neurological issues as well as feet issues,” Daigre said. He also has scars all over his body from past ᴀʙᴜsᴇ. “He was physically ᴀʙᴜsᴇd and was so full of ꜰᴇᴀʀ upon arrival and had no use for people. He was actually ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs to work with.”
Although working with these horses was a challenge, it wasn’t one that Daigre ever gave up on. Within a year of the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ, she had started to see drastic improvements with Max. Now, two years since their ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ, both horses are extremely healthy, strong and so sweet.