breed: 2000 black and white Paint cross gelding
type of rescue: SCAC Seizure
intake date: 12/4/2009
adoption date: 3/26/2011
length of time with SAFE: 1 years, 3 months
Baxter’s Story: 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 a starving horse from Baxter’s owner in April 2008 — that horse was Dexter, also taken in by SAFE. Apparently sometime later that summer, this person 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 evaluated by a vet immediately after the seizure, who rated him as a BCS 1 on the Hennecke scale. For those unfamiliar with this body scoring system, a horse that is a BCS 1 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. Animal Control informed us that his owner had still been riding this horse, despite his extreme emaciation.

Baxter was almost 250 pounds underweight and required careful care and feeding during his rehabilitation period. Initially, we had some difficulty getting him to gain weight, but within a few months, he had recovered his health. It took a bit longer to gain his trust, but in time, his curiosity won out over his shyness. He was adopted about a year and a half after his rescue, and he and his adoptive owner share a strong bond.

Alumni Update: Baxter

Alumni Update: Baxter

Baxter is living a well loved life on 5 acres with a 20 year old gelding as a best buddy. Here are some photo’s that Baxter’s adopter, Mandy, recently shared with us.

SAFE Alumni at the SAFE Show

We had several SAFE Alumni come out to compete at the 2017 SAFE Benefit Horse Show. SAFE Alum Bucky B Lucky won the Champion SAFE Alumni award, competing successfully in English, Dressage, and Western Halter & Showmanship. SAFE Alums Owen, Moonshine, and Baxter also came out to the show.

SAFE Alum Owen

SAFE Alum Moonshine

SAFE Alum Bucky B Lucky

SAFE Alumni Baxter

SAFE Alumni Baxter

SAFE Journal — Feb 20, 2011

Today was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the air was crisp and clean, and horses were enjoying the weather as well.  Today, Lexi went off on her next adventure in life!  We were sad to say goodbye, but so happy to see her finally find her forever home.  Cindy is SO happy to bring Lexi home!

Our volunteer Victoria, who last weekend had her first lesson on Lucky, which was, shall we say, a little harrowing (Lucky was having a TB moment), decided to be brave and give him another try, and he repaid her kindly by being the generally quiet, mild-mannered TB we know him to be.  She was able to really ride him today, and other than really needing to work on establishing “go forward” (I think this is the first TB I have encountered that actually had trouble with this concept), he was calm and relaxed and a very good boy for her.

We also had a potential adopter come out and ride Baxter in a lesson today with Andrea, our trainer.  Andrea got on him first so she could show her how he went and he was being a little bit sulky today about forward (no bucking, just sucking back), so she worked him through a little of that and then the potential adopter got on him and did a super job with him!  She was exactly the type of rider he needs, someone who is not afraid to throw away the reins and really push him forward, into a gallop if needed, when he gets a little behind the leg.  After her lesson, she rode him around bareback to cool him out.  She is talking about coming back and riding him again, so hopefully we will be seeing her again!

Sara had a lesson on Zanadu today that also went really well.  They are using trot poles to help with the canter departs and it seems to help her a lot.  No more kicking out in the departs and she is picking up the correct lead right when asked, not rushing into the canter like she was before.   I didn’t get any pictures, but did get some video, which I will post tomorrow once I figure out how to get it off my phone.  I also got some video of Baxter and Lucky.

Here are some pictures from the day!

SAFE Journal — Feb 12, 2011

Another busy day at SAFE! This morning Allison, one of our volunteers and myself hauled Annie and Zanadu up to the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe where they participated in an event for the Snohomish County 4H called Equine-O-Rama. Dr. Hannah Evergreen gave a talk about her non-profit, Northwest Equine Stewardship Center, and talked about the process of rehabbing a rescue horse. I spoke a bit about SAFE and Geri Vincent from Equine Aid was also present with one of her rescue horses, Scarlett, as well as her donkey and mascot Petey.  Annie was a superstar and absolutely loved the crowd of admirers that gathered around her after the talk.  Zanadu also got a lot of attention, although she was perplexed as to why we hauled down there just to stand around and thought we really should be doing something.  She also was VERY interested in Petey!

While we were busy at Equine-o-Rama, our volunteer Abby gave a farm tour and talk for a couple of students from Bear Creek School’s Equestrian club.  Thank you Abby for handling this for us since we couldn’t be in two places at one time!

Tia seems to have settled down and is no longer agitated as long as she is in her stall, but her left eye is still bothering her quite a bit and very swollen and oozing.  She may have banged it during her bout of anxiety, or its possible she is having a uveitis flare-up.  It is also possible that her anxiety is caused by the fact that she is losing sight in her left eye as well.  For now we have held off on giving her the steriods and are hoping that she remains calm.  The good news is she couldn’t be in better hands at NWESC.

Delilah and Baxter both went on trail rides this week at the Pilchuck Tree Farm!  Both did great, Delilah was relaxed and on a loose rein and Baxter was also extremely good.  Sara was able to ride him in a lesson on Thursday, he gave her one buck at the canter but she rode him through it.  Delilah did have one mishap with her rider this week.  She doesn’t like cantering to the left much and her steering is still kind of rough, and at one point she decided to flip her leads (a clean change!) and just go right and her rider continued going left without her.  Oops!  But her rider landed on her feet and Delilah just cantered on to the right seeming not even to notice she had lost her rider.  No big deal, just get back on and back to work!

Corona is doing very well.  Dr. Hannah has spoken to the vet who saw him earlier this week and she feels like the injury is relatively minor once we get the infection under control.  We have had several people contact us that know him from his show days and received the below pictures of him.  Doesn’t he look wonderful?  We have high hopes for his adoptability once he finishes his rehabilitation and is ready for adoption.

Lastly, we have heard that the PBS story on Bucky B Lucky will air on Friday, February 18th, at 7pm.  This will be on channel 9 and in HD on channel 109.  We are hoping to set up some viewing parties for those that want to get together with other horse folks and watch it with us, so more on that soon!

Training Update on Baxter & Delilah — Feb 12 2011

Delilah and Baxter both went on trail rides this week at the Pilchuck Tree Farm! Both did great, Delilah was relaxed and on a loose rein and Baxter was also extremely good. Sara was able to ride him in a lesson on Thursday, he gave her one buck at the canter but she rode him through it. Delilah did have one mishap with her rider this week. She doesn’t like cantering to the left much and her steering is still kind of rough, and at one point she decided to flip her leads (a clean change!) and just go right and her rider continued going left without her. Oops! But her rider landed on her feet and Delilah just cantered on to the right seeming not even to notice she had lost her rider. No big deal, just get back on and back to work!

Baxter Update — Feb. 5, 2011

It’s been a while since we have given a Baxter update. Baxter is a tough nut to crack, he’s clearly got a strong distrust of people and shows clear signs of being abused. However, he’s also retained a lot of his stallion-like behaviors from being gelded late in life and has a very dominant personality. He was adopted out once and returned because he intimidated his adopter with his aloof, even grumpy (ears pinning, swinging his hind end in your direction) exterior, even though he’s never been aggressive towards humans. However, beneath his gruff exterior is a very insecure horse, one that if you take a firm hand in correcting him for being pushy or rude, quickly dissolves to show an extremely fearful horse that cowers as if you are going to beat him. It is sad to see, and although we have always been kind to him, he’s been very slow to trust us. At the same time, he does have that dominant streak and will test people if he senses a lack of authority. He is very food aggressive (understandable considering where he came from), so one of the things you have to demand with him at all times is to stand back and put his ears up or he doesn’t get his food. He’s learned now to back away and pop the ears up, but if you let him get away with being rude, he’ll pin his ears and try to snatch the food away from you. We don’t hand-feed him treats because of this. 

Our volunteer Sara had been riding him and he initially was doing well, and then he started trying to exert his authority over her under saddle by pinning his ears, balking, and bucking. As the behavior continued to worsen rather than improve, we decided to send him up to our trainer for a few weeks to see if she could work through the issue. The trainer reported that at first, he sensed her authority and was clearly scared of her the first couple of times she worked with him. He tried the bucking thing a couple of times, but it took nothing more than a growl and a kick to get him forward again, and he gave it up completely after a couple of rides. He is now going beautifully walk/trot/canter, ears up, willing, and seems to enjoy his work. On Saturday, Sara was able to ride him in a lesson with the trainer and had no problems with him whatsoever. We are hoping that Baxter will be able to continue this progress and will be returning to SAFE within a week or two. 

Baxter is definitely a more forward-moving horse and really shows an aptitude for dressage, but he would be a cute western horse as well. He was taken on trails by his previous adopter and she said he did great. While we do not recommend he ever be pastured with other horses (especially a mixed herd), due to his strong interest in mares and aggression towards other geldings, he has had no problems being ridden with other horses in the arena or on the trail. He is not spooky and quite sensible, but he is not for a beginner. Whomever adopts him needs to have enough experience to clearly assert their dominance with him as he will test his boundaries, but it is a fine line with him between him accepting your authority and being scared of you, so he does best with a firm, but kind approach. 



breed: Paint cross
color: white and black pinto
age: 11 (born approx. 2000)
sex: gelding
height: 15 hh

Adopted by Mandy K. of Yelm, WA. 

Baxter was rescued from an animal cruelty case in Skagit County in December of 2009 where he was starved to a Body Condition Score of 1. He has been fully rehabilitated and is now going under saddle. He is green broke but seems sensible under saddle, appropriate for an intermediate rider. He is 10 years old, 15 hands, black and white pinto and we believe he is a QH/Paint crossed with perhaps a Friesian or a Saddlebred. He has very fancy movement with lots of knee action and a full, thick tail. He was only gelded last summer and is still somewhat studdy towards other horses still so needs to be kept pastured separately from other horses until his hormones settle a bit more. Otherwise he is easy to handle and becoming more interested in people as he learns to trust us. You can read Baxter’s entire history at SAFE by clicking here.

Baxter Update from Oct 25 & 27 2010

Oct 25
Spent the day in court today speaking as a witness for the prosecution in the 1st degree Animal Cruelty case against Baxter’s neglecter. I was able to stay the rest of the day and hear the defense’s case and the closing arguments. Tomorrow the jury begins their deliberations…I am pretty hopeful that the jury will convict him…

Baxter’s abuser’s defense hinged on his claims that a) Baxter was in bad shape when he got him (due to recent gelding) and b) he only had Baxter a short period of time. Both claims got plenty of holes punched in them! Plus the prosecutor managed to reference Dexter’s case (in which he pled guilty to a lesser 2nd degree charge) because of a statement made by the defendent (that he would NEVER hurt an animal).

Oct 27
FANTASTIC NEWS!!! GUILTY ON ALL THREE COUNTS!!! One felony first degree animal cruelty for starvation of Baxter and two second degree counts for the mare and Baxter for failure to provide adequate shelter. Sentencing will be Dec. 10 at 9:30 at the Skagit County Courthouse.

To my knowledge, this is the first felony animal cruelty conviction that didn’t involve a DEAD animal.

Baxter Update from Oct 23 2010

Sara’s been working through a few forward issues with Baxter…he’s been doing a little bucking at being asked to go forward. I got him last night and worked through some of it, and today she had a very good lesson on him. He tends to be a little sulky about having a lot of leg used on him, but if he gets sulky, more leg just makes him buck. So the approach the trainer is working on right now is ask with the leg, if he ignores it he gets a verbal cue to go forward, then a tap of the whip on her leg (sound not touch) or she swishes the whip in the air so he can see and hear it. Only if he ignores the “warning” aids does he get a stronger leg aid. This seemed to work well today. He’s not a bad horse, but he does have a little bit of a stubborn side in him, especially about having contact on the right rein. He did try to buck a few times today, but Sara did a great job today correcting him quickly, then it was over and as soon as he moved forward he got lots of good boys. 

Here are some really nice photos during and after their ride today. He has really beefed up and is a superb looking horse. Still not very fit and needs more muscle, but he is very well put together and let’s face it.…total equine eye candy!

Baxter Update from Sept 30 2010

I worked with Baxter again last night. I think Jaime’s got him totally fixed now because both times I’ve worked with him he was Mr. Easytocatch. That said, he’s not exactly a snuggly horse… he just has an air about him that he’s waiting for you to be mean to him. 

He likes to have his mane scritched and his face scritched… and his ears. He took full advantage of having his rainsheet off and being turned out in a slightly damp paddock and was covered forehead, to tail, in dirt so he got a nice long grooming. 

I’ve discovered that his evasion is to walk off when he doesn’t want to do what you want to do. We played this little game about picking up feet and about girthing. He’s pretty easy to bridle but he suddenly becomes right-ear shy when you get the bit in his mouth. The girthing in particular made him quite nervous… so I had it pretty loose as we walked to the arena… tightened a notch, tied up his bridle and put the lunge line on him, tightened a notch… walked over to where I wanted to lunge… tightened a notch… switched the lunge to the other side… tightened a notch and finally, before I got on I got it up another notch or two. 

When I rode him on Sunday he was nervous about the mounting block but I really prefer to mount from the block rather than the ground. I just can’t imagine me heaving my weight into the saddle from the ground has to be comfy for their spines! So, we tried again tonight and I was able to mount from the side of the block anyway… we’ll keep working on that. 

Under saddle he was a good boy. I am trying to slowly introduce him to the idea of me carrying the whip. He is nervous about the lunge whip and the dressage whip both. So, at Andrea’s suggestion I’ve been picking up the dressage whip at the end of my ride… not using it, just carrying it. 

He’s been tought voice cues rather than leg cues- so he trots if you cluck at him and canters if you kiss at him. We’ll be working on learning leg cues and also that contact doesn’t mean stop or slow down. 

I kept it short and sweet again last night because he just gets SO sweaty at even light work (and he has very little muscle tone). But, he’s got three great gaits. His trot feels very powerful beneath you- even now. I can’t wait to see what happens when he really starts using his body. I cantered him a little more last night and his canter is AWESOME- extremely easy to sit and very comfy.

Baxter Update from Sept 26 2010

Update from Sara:
I rode Baxter in a lesson today. Like Dexter, he doesn’t know much (and is somewhat nervous about whips & crops). But… he’s willing to try and quite fun to ride (big, comfy trot!). He’s not very fit right now (which is understandable considering how wasted he was when he came in!) so we didn’t work very hard (a little walk, trot and canter). I really, really, really like this guy a lot and look forward to working with him more. 

This guy definitely is not yet convinced that people are friends. He’s a hard worker but not a snuggly guy. I think that side of him is in there and will eventually shine through.

Update from Jaime:
Sara, I counted three ‘really’s in that sentence…I’m thinking you REALLY like him. 

Seriously, you guys looked great today. I wish I wasn’t busy and had a chance to get some pictures and video of the two of you. Next time! 

I have also pretty much figured Baxter out. He is a total chicken. When you go into his paddock and he does his grumpy face, swing his butt towards you routine, I got after him and swung the lead rope at him, and he ran away from me with his tail between his legs. Repeated that two more times and quite abruptly his demeanor changed to turning towards me with his ears up…“Ok, ok, I’ll let you catch me! But please don’t swing that rope at me anymore, it scares me!”. He’s obviously been mistreated in his life, but he’s not a mean horse. 

However, he’s still a studdy horse, and nothing is going to fix that…he was next to Lexi who was in heat and I caught her with her butt up against the fence and him seriously contemplating mounting her fence or no fence, so I put him next to Calamity. This morning I came out to one board kicked in two pieces…However, while slightly distracted by the other horses in the arena today, he was good under saddle.

Baxter Update from Sept 20 2010

Baxter left a month ago for a 3 month foster-to-adopt trial down in Spanaway with a local 4H leader. He’s looking fabulous and while still green, going well under saddle. He had also gotten a lot less aggressive towards neighboring horses so we were hopeful that it was just a matter of needing a bit longer to get over those stallion behaviors.

But unfortunately, this adoption did not work out for Baxter. While he has done well under saddle, both in the arena and out on the trails (even with other horses), he is aggressive towards the neighboring horse which is causing problems at feeding time despite a fence between them. Also, he has started pinning his ears and swinging his butt at the foster mom when she goes to catch him. While he has not actually kicked at anyone, her daughter is intimidated by him and it just isn’t going to be a good fit for him. This is a dominant horse that needs a firmer hand. There is a soft side to Baxter, but it takes a while to see it. I still think he will come around in time, but whomever adopts him needs to establish clear boundaries and clear lines of respect with Baxter. He will be coming back to SAFE this weekend.

Baxter Update from May 8, 2010

Baxter was wonderful for his second ride today! Really, he’s almost TOO laid back, he’s completely non-reactive to anything you do up there. Getting him forward was the biggest issue, as he really didn’t mind if you thumped him with your legs or even slapped him on the neck with the reins. Jumping bat didn’t faze him either. Finally a dressage whip elicited a reaction — a small buck, and then he was much better about going forward. But he wasn’t being sulky or sucked back about going forward and at no point did he feel unsafe, he just really didn’t understand forward and wasn’t really too bothered by any attempts to get him forward. Once he goes those he has quite a little engine on him, is very smooth and a lot of fun! Now just to work on steering and “go”!

Baxter Update from April 24, 2010

Baxter got ridden for the first time today by our trainer Andrea Lucianna. He did really well. We put a western saddle on him and he was completely unfazed by the saddling and girthing up. She did a lot of slapping the saddle and jumping up and down on the stirrup and lying over his back and he barely blinked an eye. Once she got on him, he was willing enough, but very green. Leaned on the bit, and didn’t steer well at all. The mares were in the field next to him running around and he was distracted but still paid attention to his rider. He did not buck or rear, but he was a little stubborn about going forward and it took a few slaps with the reins to get him moving forward. He really did very well though, he has probably never been ridden in an arena but probably just trail ridden.

First ride as a SAFE horse

Baxter Photo Gallery — Feb 20, 2010

Up to 966 pounds now!

Baxter Photo Gallery — Feb 6, 2010

I am really thrilled to report that at Baxter’s weighing in today he has finally showed significant weight gain, up to 900 lbs. on the weight tape and he looks so much better! The huge gap between his butt cheeks is down to less than an inch now (instead of like 3–4 inches like it was) and he has lost that shelf above his ribs and is getting some topline back now. He feels good too, as you can see in these photos.

Baxter Photo Gallery — Jan 2010

These photos were taken on Jan 16, 2010. This is six weeks post-rescue and Baxter is improving…but he is still very skinny.

Baxter Update from Jan 26–28, 2010

Jan 26
Baxter is not gaining as much weight as we would hope to see by now (7 1/2 weeks post-rescue). He’s eating fairly well — pretty much all the hay he can eat until he wastes it — but he wastes a lot of his grain dumping it on the ground and refusing to eat it. I tried cutting out the beet pulp as I thought he didn’t like that, but he’s still wasting it so now we are cutting out the oil as well to try and figure out what he doesn’t like.

I finally became concerned when I again weight-taped him this weekend and depending on how I looked at it he had either stayed the same or even went down a notch. He is fuller through the belly/flank area but there is little to no improvement over his topline and you can still see a big gap between his butt cheeks. So I had the vet out and told her my concerns, and she agreed with the fact that his lack of more obvious weight gain was concerning. His respiration was also quite fast and his lungs sounded labored a bit, although he didn’t have any fluid in his lungs, no nasal discharge or any other signs of anything viral — no fever. And one good piece of news was the heart murmur was not evident. We took a blood draw on him and hopefully we should hear something back tomorrow. I am in the middle of doing a Panacur Power Pack on him — he’s already been wormed twice and his worm load was not excessive to begin with based on the fecal, but this should clear out any remaining parasites. 

The other thing I am discovering about Baxter is that it is obvious he was in fact gelded not that long ago because he is very studdy towards my other horses — squealing and getting all worked up by the mares — and more shocking to me is his behavior towards my gelding Slam when he is in the paddock next to him with Vanna and Tara. He will rush the fence and charge him at him with teeth bared. Slam is used to being the dominant horse in every situation but he is usually a benevolent leader and he doesn’t know what to make of this. He is feeling the need to defend his mares so he’s been fighting back a bit over the fence. Baxter is probably going to have to be put in a more isolated area until he gets his hormones in check and settles down a bit. So there is no lack of energy despite the lack of condition!

Jan 27
Results on the bloodwork, I am getting her back ASAP to do the additional test mentioned:

On the CBC he has a mild lymphopenia which could be from stress or a viral infection and a mild anemia which is most likely from chronic inflammation. Overall that portion of the blood work looks ok. What I am concerned about the most is the elevated liver enzymes (GGT and SDH) on the chemistry screen. I would recommend adding on another test that will better tell us about his liver function, bile acids, that would be an extra $32. If the bile acids are elevated, we will know for sure that something is going on with Baxter’s liver.

Jan 28
The liver test came back normal, so that’s a relief, but we still don’t have a cause for the lack of weight gain. We are going to redo his bloodwork in a month but for now I am just trying to find some type of concentrate that he will eat — this morning I just gave him Senior — no alfalfa pellets, rice bran, or Cool Calories. I’ve already cut out the beet pulp and oil and he was still not eating it. He wasn’t this picky when he first came to us, he’s definitely gotten worse over time. Since he does eat hay I may put him on more alfalfa and see if that helps.

Baxter Update from Jan 1, 2010

Baxter is doing really well and he was excellent for being patient while myself and three volunteers worked on him today. He got his hind end cleaned up a bit since he had the runs after his deworming and he got his tail cleaned, brushed and braided and his mane brushed and braided also. I worked on his rain rot quite a bit and a lot of the scabs are starting to come off now. I weight taped him again today and he has gained about 45 lbs so far — up two notches on the tape, so he has finally started to put the weight on. He should be, for as much as he is eating! He pretty much eats nonstop now — he prefers just hay but he will slowly finish his beet pulp/senior/rice bran mush when the hay is gone. He’s going to be a nice boy!

Baxter Update from Dec 19–20, 2009

Dec 19

Baxter had been doing so well, too well…I guess. I should know that with a horse in this bad of shape there are going to be ups and downs, and today we had our first down — a mild gas colic. I just started him on a small amount of beet pulp last night and he’s just getting a couple of cups twice a day but it might have been enough of a change to bring it on. He was pooping but still very uncomfortable, laying down and looking at his side. The worst is he is so weak that he was having a hard time getting himself back up and a couple of times he was too weak to get himself up, which brought back memories of what we went through with Whisper last year at this time. But fortunately he perked right up with some Banamine, electrolytes and some probiotics and seems ok now, although he’ll need to be checked on and no food for a while. Poor guy!

Dec 20

Baxter is doing much better, although I forgot when I put him back in his stall yesterday that he is a master escape artist and to put a lock on his door…so this morning I found him outside his stall calmlyl munching on the new hay supply in the shed.…bad boy! That is the third time he has done that. He knows how to lift the latch on the stall doors and slide it! He was a bit subdued today, not quite as ferocious about mealtimes but other than that pooping and acting like normal. I worked on his rain rot quite a bit today too…he is so itchy!

Baxter Update from Dec 12, 2009

Baxter is doing really well. He’s sure spunky! He’s been getting turned out in one of the paddocks and he trots around especially if he sees me coming with food. He’s up to about 3–4 flakes of hay a day now and scarfing everything we put in front of him. He got wormed today with 1/2 dose of ivermectin, he’ll get a full dose in a week. He’s doing super though…which is a relief as I was worried he was going to crash like Whisper with all this cold we have had. But this guy is a fighter!

Baxter Update from Dec 5, 2009

Baxter was seen by Dr. Kelli Taylor from Evergreen Holistic Vet today and she concurred with the Body Condition Score of 1/9. He has rain rot all over him including his ears and around his eyes. He has a heart murmur right now, hopefully like Whisper this will resolve as he gets healthy again. He has a scabbed-over injury to his right hind but other than that he just needs weight, and lots of it. He is on a refeeding program right now, just small handfuls of hay every couple of hours right now.

More photos take today, I was experimenting with my camera and different angles to try to show how thin this horse really is.

Baxter Photo Gallery — Day of Seizure

Here are photos taken of Baxter just following his seizure. These photos were taken at the Skagit County Fairgrounds, where we met Skagit County Animal Control officer, Emily Diaz, and the vet who initially examined the seized horses.

Baxter History & Background

Baxter immediately following his seizure

Baxter immediately following his seizure

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.