SMILEY — The red roan quarter horse named Pruitt looks like he’s been in the equine equivalent of a bar fight. With bite marks on both flanks, the skinny gelding also has an open wound on his neck and a puncture wound on his leg that oozes pus.
“His previous owners put him in a pen with about 20 other horses, including a stallion that wasn’t very happy about him being in there with all his mares,” said Darla Cherry. “Pruitt took a lot of punishment, bites and kicks, from that stallion.”
Fortunately for Pruitt, Cherry recently purchased him and several others at an auction in Lockhart. She took him home to her Meadow Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary where she’s been treating his injuries and trying to get him back to a healthy weight. Somewhere in his late teens or early 20s, Pruitt can now live out the rest of his days in peace.
Darla Cherry pets Joey, a horse she cares for at Meadow Haven Horse Rescue. Cherry takes in abandoned or unwanted horses and tries to adopt them out to new families.
Josie Norris/Staff photographer
“He’ll be fat and pretty before you know it,” said Cherry, who is 58 and has been running what she calls her “senior citizen home” for abused, neglected and abandoned horses since 2008. “You’re not going to believe how good he’ll look.”
Like Pruitt, most of the horses currently living at the 45-acre sanctuary are past their prime, their time spent as thoroughbred racers, rodeo horses, draft animals and doing other jobs at an end. Many are also infirm, due to age or illness.
In theory, most are available for adoption. But like children in foster care, the older the horse, the less in demand they are.
“Nobody wants most of the horses I have here,” she said. “You’ve heard the term ‘long in the tooth?’ Well, a horse’s teeth grow continuously, so for these animals, the saying applies both literally and figuratively.”
Cherry’s aim is to let these four-legged retirees live out their sunset years in peace. But the double-whammy of high inflation and severe drought …….