Brio Removed from the Wild

March 10, 2022

Two Sundays ago (2/27) we were alerted to the fact that Brio, who was born last summer, seemed to be alone. While he was understandably calling for his mother and the other horses, he did not seem to be in any immediate physical danger. Since he was technically old enough to be weaned, we consulted with the vet and decided not to intervene right away, and wait to see if he joined back up with the group that contains his dad Rocky, grandmother, and Betsy, who was also born last year. His mom was nowhere to be found.
Our staff closely watched Brio for a week, and while he did settle down and stop calling for his mom, he never moved very far from the place where he was first spotted. Last weekend Rocky and the rest of the family were within eyesight of Brio several times, and he never showed any interest in them, nor they in him. On Monday morning, just over a week after he was first spotted, we saw that Brio was becoming weak and wobbly in his back legs, was lethargic, and had started to lose weight. It was clear that Brio was certainly not going to thrive on his own, and most likely would not survive. We caught him and took him to our rescue farm on the mainland, where our vet met us immediately. He determined that Brio has pneumonia, and we discovered just how thin he had become (it’s hard to tell under all that hair, but once we got our hands on him we could feel every single one of his ribs and his hip bones). We are hopeful that the issues with his hind legs will be resolved with proper nutrition and corrective hoof trimming.
Brio was started on antibiotics and has a follow-up appointment next week where we will xray his legs if our vet deems it appropriate. Luckily we’ve already noticed an improvement after a few days of careful feeding and we’re hoping this trend continues. Today Brio is finally more alert and aware of his surroundings, and seems to be feeling better in general. He needs to be dewormed and desperately needs a bath (his skin and coat are in really poor condition too) but one thing at a time. We don’t want to overload his already stressed little body. Brio is very small and immature for his age and does not seem to have developed proper social skills when it comes to interacting with other horses. This alone put him at great risk of being injured or killed in the wild. But now that he’s at the farm we can safely introduce him to other horses once he’s well enough and he will have good role models from here on out.
We are not sure what happened to Brio’s mom. They were last seen together just a couple weeks ago and both of them seemed to be in decent shape. It’s possible she weaned him, or left him behind because she could tell he was sick. It’s also possible that she has died. We have been keeping a close eye out for her, but the majority of the area where they lived is very remote and difficult to access. We are incredibly lucky that Brio turned up in a more populated area. Otherwise, we may not have known that he was alone and things could have ended much differently for him.
It’s very hard to lose a horse from the wild, especially a young one like Brio, but there is no doubt he would have not have survived on his own and needs more care than we could have ever provided in the field. We are very cautiously optimistic that he is going to pull through, but these situations can go sideways fast. We are very grateful for our amazing veterinary team and our experienced staff, all keeping a very close eye on him and ready to address any other issues that may arise.
If you’d like to help with Brio’s care and rehabilitation, you can donate directly through Facebook and 100% of the proceeds come to CWHF with no fees taken out. You can also make a donation through our website – Just write “Brio” in the notes/comments section. We know times are tight for everyone right now, and you can rest assured that every single dollar makes an incredible difference in the lives of these horses. We are so grateful for your support.
We will keep everyone updated on Brio’s progress, and appreciate your good vibes and prayers, your support, and your trust in us to do what’s best for him. He is a fighter, and we will continue to provide the best possible care for him.