Injured Corolla wild horse pulled from the beach in emotional rescue

Lizzie at the Corolla Wild Horse Fund rescue farm. [Courtesy CWHF]

We had to perform a difficult rescue on Saturday, one that has been in the works for a year.

After Alex was born last year, his mom Lizzie got a wound on her knee that didn’t want to heal. She was sound and in good condition otherwise, so after consulting with the vet we decided to leave her in the wild so that she could raise Alex. Otherwise, we would have to remove them both and we really didn’t want to do that.

We monitored her closely through the summer and fall, knowing that the plan would be to remove her for treatment this summer once Alex was old enough to be weaned. Unfortunately, the pair disappeared deep into the marsh in the early winter and despite our staff and Carova residents looking for them regularly, we never could find them. We even spent a few extra minutes during our recent helicopter survey to see if we could spot them from the air.

On Friday we got a call from one of the residents who had been helping us, letting us know Lizzie and Alex had shown up in her yard. So Saturday morning we jumped into action and went to rescue Lizzie. We blew two tires in the process and it was very difficult (emotionally) for us to separate her from Alex even though we knew he would be ok, but at the end of the day Lizzie walked right up onto the trailer like she had known the plan all along. She did an amazing job raising a big, strong, healthy colt and now it was her turn to be taken care of. Alex was understandably upset but seems to be adjusting just fine.

We are fairly certain that Lizzie is suffering from the same fungal infection that Riptide had last summer, which will require surgery at NC State. Right now she is at the rescue farm learning how to be handled and led so it will be less stressful for her and the staff at NCSU, but we anticipate taking her to Raleigh towards the end of this week or beginning of next. We’d also like her to gain a little bit of weight before she has surgery.

She’s been started on antibiotics, has pre-op xrays scheduled, and the wound is getting cleaned and medicated daily. She is not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. We will know more about what we’re facing in the next couple days and will certainly keep everyone posted. But for right now Lizzie is stable and comfortable at the farm; she immediately started eating hay and took a big drink of clean water, and stands quietly to get her leg cleaned.

She’s young and otherwise seems to be in good health so we are *very* cautiously optimistic but don’t want to get ahead of ourselves yet. All of this could change in an instant, but we want to be as open and transparent as possible every step of the way. This is going to be a long journey for Lizzie.

Lizzie at the Corolla Wild Horse Fund rescue farm. [Courtesy CWHF]
This rescue would not have happened if it weren’t for the incredible support of our community. Jeff and Angie Foster let us borrow a trailer tire when ours blew, and Jeff put it on and helped us get re-hitched and up the beach, and also got a new tire back on our beach truck. Jay Bender picked us up and got us back to our headquarters for another truck when we that tire blew, our amazing Currituck deputies kept an eye on us as we were heading up and down the beach, and a whole host of Carova residents helped us locate and track the horses Saturday morning.

Our vet talked us through the very emotional separation of mom and son for which we are grateful – sticking to the plan can be hard in the heat of the moment, even when you know it’s the right thing to do. And finally, our staff deserves major kudos for jumping into action early Saturday morning and getting the job done despite all the difficulties.

As soon as we know more about what Lizzie is facing in the coming days we will post another update, but in the meantime please send her all your good energy, prayers, light, and love. As with every rescue, we are going to do everything in our power to save her.

Lizzie at the Corolla Wild Horse Fund rescue farm. [Courtesy CWHF]
If you’re able to donate towards her veterinary care, we would be very appreciative. We’re able to do this work because of your support. We know the horses can always count on you when the call goes out – you are just as much a part of the team as everyone with boots on the ground here! Thank you.

About Meg Puckett 10 Articles
Meg Puckett is the herd manager for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund