Junior’s Rescue and Recovery

A detailed report on Amadeo Jr. from Meg Puckett,  Herd Manager, Corolla Wild Horse Fund

July 5, 2021

Last week we almost lost another horse to choking. Because of the quick action of the people who witnessed his distress, we were able to save him and he didn’t die like Danny did last year. But it was a very close call, and now he is out of the wild forever.
We got a call Wednesday morning that Amadeo Jr, or Junior as we call him, was running around frantically, rolling, and in a lot of discomfort. We thought that he might be colicking, but upon arrival it was clear he was choking. He was behaving exactly like Danny did last year when he choked. There were several moments during the rescue where we thought he wasn’t going to make it, but we were ultimately able to get him onto the trailer and to the rescue farm, where the vet met us immediately. He confirmed the choke, and was able to get the obstruction passed. It took about 24 hours after rescue for our vet to give him the all-clear, but we are confident now that he is going to make a full recovery. In addition to the choke, he also lacerated his eyes pretty badly when he was rolling in the sand. We are medicating them twice a day and they are starting to look better but without treatment he probably would have had permanent damage to his eyes.
We can’t say for sure if Junior was choking on something he was fed, or on something he got out of the garbage, but either way the message is the same. Please, please, please be responsible and thoughtful if you are staying in the horses’ habitat. There are signs everywhere saying not to feed or approach the horses, so there is absolutely no excuse for ignorance. Anyone who feeds a horse is doing it knowing they could potentially kill that horse. We’ve also had a lot of issues this summer with overflowing garbage cans. If you are renting a house and the garbage is overflowing, please call your rental company to come pick it up. If there aren’t enough cans, let them know. Tie your bags up and make sure the lids are securely fastened.
Every time something like this happens we get together with other stakeholders (the county, property management companies, law enforcement, etc.) and discuss what we can do to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, we are getting to the point where there isn’t much more we can do to micromanage people’s actions. If people do not take some responsibility to learn the rules and follow them, this will keep happening. We have some meetings set up to talk about garbage management, and we are going to ramp up our efforts to get information into every single rental home (this information has been available for several years: https://www.corollawildhorses.com/community-wild-horse…/). But what we really need is for every person who visits the 4×4 to follow the rules. It’s as simple as that.
We are so grateful to the person who first called in about Junior; a couple hours later and he would not have survived. We are also indebted to Dr Sarah, a vet who just happened to be vacationing in a house right next to where Junior was. She kept an eye on him while we were making our way up, provided us with updates, and helped us catch him and get him loaded onto the trailer. And as always, we must thank our Currituck County sheriff’s department for their support and assistance. Junior had a lot of people working very hard to save his life on Wednesday.
We put Junior on the trailer right at the foot of Penny’s Hill, where he’s lived all his life. In fact, one of our favorite pictures of his dad, Amadeo, was taken at the top of Penny’s Hill. His ancestors have called that area home for hundreds of years and Junior’s loss from the wild herd is truly devastating. Of course we are happy to have him on the farm, happy that we saved him, and happy knowing he will be safe and comfortable for the rest of his life. But he should be wild.
Please don’t take the horses’ existence here for granted. Follow the rules so they will continue to thrive on the northern beaches for many more generations. It’s absolutely possible to live in harmony with them; to watch them and love them and appreciate everything about them without getting close, and certainly without feeding. Just like every individual horse is critically important to the genetic health of the herd, every single person who sets foots on the beach is critically important to their survival too. All it takes is one apple from one person. Please do not be that one person who causes a tragedy to happen.

An update from July 10, 2021, from Herd Manager, Meg Puckett

May be an image of horse and outdoors

Junior had a pretty good week! Definitely improved from last week. He got a clean bill of health yesterday at his recheck. Got his teeth done (they look pretty great for an old, wild stallion), got his vaccinations, and also got some friends! He’s learned to lead (with a little positive reinforcement), loves scratches and attention from us, and has figured out all the perks to being domesticated like fresh water, a shelter with a fan, and hay. We are still heartbroken he is no longer on the beach, but at the same time so grateful that he is alive and well. We have no doubt he will continue to thrive on the rescue farm.