In November 2019, one of our followers alerted us to a Kijiji ad listing two registered Canadian stallions as free to a good home, or $250 each with their papers. This was very concerning as free, unfortunately, tends to bring out people with poor intentions, often kill buyers or those who will flip horses for a quick buck. Not always of course, but often.
Shaka, was one of those horses. He was reported to be halter broke, very tame, good for farrier, and up to date on vaccines. It was also reported that Shaka had old injuries to his front legs that do not seem to bother him but made him not sound for hard work. Although not currently broke, it was reported he could – perhaps – be used for light riding/driving or just a companion.
It was also reported that Shaka would make a wonderful addition to a breeding program. Good brain, wonderful temperament, and good build characteristic of the Canadian breed. The other stallion had a home almost immediately but Shaka still needed a soft spot to land so the rescue, working through an intermediary, planned to get him. Thankfully, Andrea (a foster and adoptive home, and one of our strongest supporters) offered to foster Shaka. Finding homes for stallions is never easy!
Transportation was arranged and Shaka journeyed to his new home. Upon arrival, we were shocked to learn of his condition. Shaka was skinny, had no winter coat to speak of (we came to learn he lived in a stall 24/7) and his feet and legs were in horrific condition. “Use for light riding/driving” seemed like a pipe dream. The reports of his temperament, though, were fairly accurate. He was nervous and shy but smart, learning that the blanket and brush were nothing to be afraid of. He very quickly settled into his new routine and arrangements were made for a farrier and vet to attend.
The farrier report was not great. He struggled to balance himself, couldn't seem to bend his right front knee, and stringhalt was suspected. Vet appointment had been made, but these things take a wee bit of time.
Soon after, the vet attended and did x-rays. After spending some time with Shaka, the vet called the Rescue stating he does not understand how Shaka was standing, with a deformity in left-front fetlock, a tendon injury in right knee, and right front flexor torn apart. On top of that, the vet was confident there was something neurological going on in his hind-end; although it could be stringhalt as the farrier wondered, it could also be something far more serious. Either way, his hind end was in no better condition than the front. In his professional opinion, is was unkind to let Shaka live this way.
So, the Rescue did what Shaka’s owners could not, or would not . . . he got extra treats and snuggles and then we said good-bye. We know this stallion was loved by his owners but, perhaps, that love blinded them to his condition. Saying good-bye to a beloved animal is never easy but it is a burden all must bear. Instead, we stepped up, ending Shaka’s suffering and giving him a peaceful, dignified, and love-filled end. RIP Shaka, we know you galloped across the rainbow bridge.