Yesterday morning, we received a call about a horse that had not moved in some time, and was not bearing any weight on his front left leg. One of our staff went to the location and found 9-year-old stallion Thicket as reported. He was unable to put any weight on his leg and was unwilling to move. Our staff person also noticed pieces of a vehicle (shards of plastic from a turn signal, and pieces of plastic fender) on the road next to Thicket.
We immediately sent photos and video to our vet, and then reached out to the sheriff’s department. While we consulted with the vet, deputies went to the location and spoke with the people occupying nearby houses and examined the site of the incident. Unfortunately none of the houses had outdoor security cameras and no one witnessed anything the night before.
Meanwhile, under the direction of our vet, we made the decision to capture and remove Thicket from the wild to further assess what was obviously a very serious injury. He was sedated once inside the trailer to make the trip a bit easier for him, and taken to the CWHF farm on the mainland. Once there, he was given pain medication and an anti-inflammatory and put into a quiet stall with hay, water, and a fan. Today x-rays confirmed our fear – that Thicket had badly fractured his elbow. This was consistent with the trauma we suspected, as were multiple, significant lacerations on his shoulder and face. The height and location of these injuries were also consistent with a vehicle impact. Due to the severity of the injuries and concerns for his quality of life, we made the decision to euthanize Thicket.
We will probably never know who hit Thicket, or why they didn’t call 911 to report it so that we could have responded sooner. We hope that it was truly an accident; that it wasn’t due to alcohol or reckless driving. But to be honest, we keep asking ourselves what kind of person could hurt a horse that badly and then just leave them there to suffer?
Thicket was a young stallion in the prime of his life, and in the last year had obtained a harem of four mares. It takes a lot of strength, maturity, and good instincts to be a successful harem stallion. Not all of them are capable of it. We were so proud of him, and excited about the prospect of new foals. It’s a devastating loss for the herd, and heartbreaking for those of us who have watched Thicket grow up.
These horses face so many natural challenges that we can’t control, it’s critical that we don’t add to those challenges with things we can control. It is up to every person who sets foot on the 4×4 beach to be responsible, respectful, and law-abiding. Your actions have consequences that are more far-reaching than you’ve probably ever imagined. How many future generations of Banker horses died with Thicket today? We can’t afford to lose a single member of this endangered herd due to human irresponsibility.
Please slow down. Please do not feed or pet the horses. Please call 911 immediately if you witness horses in danger or distress.
Rest free, Thicket.