Baxter is a black and white pinto gelding that was awarded to SAFE after being seized by Skagit County Animal Control on December 4, 2009. Skagit County had already seized one horse from this person in April 2008 but apparently sometime later that summer, he decided to acquire another horse. Within a short amount of time, Baxter was severely underweight and the man’s neighbors alerted Animal Control to the fact that another horse was being starved on the property.
Baxter was seized from the property along with a mare and a mule. By far, Baxter was the worst off of the bunch. He was evaluated by a vet immediately after the seizure, who rated him as a 1 on the Hennecke scale. For those unfamiliar with this body scoring system, a horse that is given a rating of 1 (or Poor) has an easily noticeable bone structure in his neck, withers and shoulder, and prominently protruding ribs, spine and tailhead. In other words, Baxter was a walking skeleton. We were surprised to notice that despite his poor condition, his hooves were neatly trimmed and well cared for. Animal Control informed us that his owner had still been riding this horse, despite his extreme emaciation.
Despite being almost 250 pounds underweight, Baxter seemed quite alert, bright, and almost energetic. He was very sweet and interested in people, and he loaded right into the trailer without hesitation. Back at SAFE he was given a heavy blanket and placed into a warm and deeply bedded stall. Due to his emaciated condition, he could only be fed a few handfuls of hay at a time (ie small feedings every two hours), but he scarfed down his food eagerly, showing us what a hungry fellow he was.