Mare Atria Dies From Infection

Atria, an 8 year old wild mare of the Abaco wild horse herd, did not have to die.
An escalating series of events, all preventable, ended with her tortured, excruciatingly painful death sometime during the dark, early morning hours of Saturday, March 3. Even if the necessary things had been done and she still went down, she should not have been alone to die in unbearable pain.

Because the horses still are not on a preserve where they can be observed on a daily basis, her deteriorating condition wasn't discovered until it was well advanced. Atria stayed with the stallion Aldebaran. Atria and Aldebaran tended to stay in one general area, but it had some very rough places and the pair often were not seen for weeks at a time.

What happened to Atria?

The horses, due to fires and other dangers, have over the last two years avoided the forest and have stayed on the citrus farm. The ground is softer, unlike the crusty floor of the forest.
Their hooves have begun to grow unnaturally long. The long hooves are prone to cracks; sand, bits of gravel and debris get in the cracks. Infections form, invisible under the hoof wall. Unless each horse's hooves are picked up and inspected, nothing is seen until the horse either starts limping or shows signs of infection. In Atria's case, multiple cracks had opened up in all four of her hooves. The infections ran up the sensitive insides of her feet, breaking out in wounds around the tops of her hooves. Flies settled and began to lay eggs inside her hooves.

Drive splinters under your toe nails. Now walk. Drive splinters under all your finger nails. Now eat and drink.

This death could have been avoided if:

-The horses were on their own preserve where each horse could be easily located and inspected closely daily. Anything less than this is not a serious commitment to saving these horses. Twenty four hour guard would not be too much.

-It will take time to set up the preserve. Steps to establish it should occur immediately. Time is running out for these animals.

-Free roaming dogs must be controlled. Though they had no part in this death, they remain a constant threat to adults and all foals which may be born in the future.

-An aggressive, preventive health care program is being initiated so that problems may be solved before they become acute. Under present conditions, it will be a difficult program to administer since locating each horse on a regular basis is just about impossible. Arkwildhas arranged for funds, vet and permission from the farm to start the program within a short time. The program will include sedation of each horse, inspection of hooves and repair and treatment as needed, dental inspection and work as needed; blood test, parasite tests, DNA samples from last two horses.

-Rapid establishment of a sperm/ova bank is critical. Research being done as to how best implement.

We are down to 17 animals, 9 mares, 8 stallions. The tragedies surrounding these horses are appearing on a world stage. We are 90% certain they are of pure, Columbian era Spanish blood. We will soon have final confirmation. They are irreplaceable. They are unique in the world. They qualify to be their own breed. They need to be declared National Treasures immediately, and treated accordingly.

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