For Awesome, Steel and Tess, the long hours of standing in the biting cold wind of Central Oregon with virtually no food are over.
The three horses were rescued Dec. 12 from unsheltered pens in Christmas Valley and taken to Eden Farm in Ashland, the home of the nonprofit Equamore Foundation.
"Christmas Valley is wide-open country — they were out in the elements with very little to eat," said Linda Davis, Eden Farm owner and executive director of Equamore, which provides a lifelong sanctuary for ill-treated equines.
The recent additions bring to 29 the number of rescued horses now at the sanctuary. A horse found abandoned in the Sams Valley area was brought to the 22-acre site on Dec. 21.
Davis is hoping there's still some holiday spirit left that would prompt local residents to offer assistance to the sanctuary.
"The best way for people to help is to donate money for the hay straw, special feed, the vet bills," Davis said, noting that each Christmas Valley horse has special needs because of its treatment.
However, she noted that the owner of the horse asked for assistance when he could no longer adequately care for the animals.
"He had called his farrier and said he only had two bales of hay left," she said, later adding, "This guy liked his horses but he could no longer feed them. He was begging for food to feed them."
Christmas Valley is in Oregon's high desert about 100 miles as the crow flies north of Lakeview.
The Equamore Foundation, which had been contacted by the farrier, worked with the Strawberry Mountain Mustangs and the Oregon Hay Bank, two other nonprofits that help horses in need, to rescue the horses.
Three of the six horses were adopted on the spot by volunteers. Davis brought the other three to Eden Farm, where they are still being evaluated.
Fifteen goats on the Christmas Valley property, including a 350-pound billy goat, will be brought to the sanctuary once the weather improves. She hopes to have all the goats adopted out and already has found a home for the big billy.
But right now Davis' focus is on the newly acquired horses.
Awesome, a 24-year-old stallion, had foundered, she said, noting he could barely stand when he arrived.
"One of his feet is in bad shape," she said, noting he will need professional care to correct the problem.
Steel is an 8-year-old thoroughbred with arthritis in one knee.
"She is not lame now but it can be a progressive thing," Davis said.
Tess is a 34-year-old mare whose teeth can no longer grind hay.
"She wasn't fed what she needed — her teeth are ground down to the gum line," she said. "She is going to need special feed."
Horses rescued by the foundation remain Equamore wards for the rest of their lives, either at the farm or in appropriate placements after rehabilitation, she noted.
"People can really help these horses by donating for the feed and vet bills," she said.
For more information on helping the horses, call 541-482-5550 or visit www.edenhorsefarm.com.
Paul Fattig is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at email@example.com.