Melvin BlackJack - Older (20) gelding seized from owner by Riverside AC. Melvin needs to be on a senior diet, have his teeth done and have his sheath checked by a vet. His sheath is swollen to grapefruit size.
TIER is requesting help with costs of transport, vet care and specialized feed.
11/13/2019 - 8 1/2 Years at TIER
8 ½ years ago he came to us broken. Broken in body, broken in spirit. He was just shut down, closed off, done. This is not unusual with starved, neglected and abused horses. Their instinct and ability to survive physically is amazing. He had been seized from a neglectful abusive home by animal control approximately 3 weeks before he arrived at TIER.
Melvin had his share of recovery troubles due to the simple fact that he was starved for a long period of time. Originally, our vet had said that if he did not gain weight in 3 weeks that we should seriously consider euthanasia as his system was so compromised. He experienced hives, random edema (chest, sheath, legs), very bad fly allergies. He had swelling on his chest/between his front legs and his sheath was VERY swollen. Originally, the vet had said not to be surprised if his legs swelled at some time. Melvin's body was totally out of whack, and the lymph node system was compromised. (This is the reason for the weepy eyes, sheath swelling, etc. that is seen in starvation cases).He was also urinating quite a bit in the beginning as a way to dispose of some of the built up toxins.
Our farrier indicated that someone just hacked his toes off. There was an old abcess site that was most likely 6-8 months old. The frogs were so overgrown that they had curled out and under which caused bruising to his soles.
After he gained a bit of weight we had his teeth done and chiropractic care. Chiropractor said he was very weak in the hind end. Dental indicated he was in his mid twenties and his teeth were a mess.
Providing the Basic Necessities, feed, farrier, dental, veterinary care, love and attention helps to heal these poor damaged creatures. It has been our experience that once they begin to heal physically and no demands are made of them, that they then begin to heal emotionally. Their true wonderful personalities begin to come out. Melvin earned the nickname Mr. Grumpy because he would pin his ears every single time people interacted with him. Every time.
Grooming was something he enjoyed, but he didn’t connect or bond with people OR horses. When turned out with other horses he would roll and then go off into a corner by himself. He just didn’t engage. 3 ½ years after his arrival, TIER moved to our present facility. It was not until the move that we saw a different Melvin. Recovery takes time. Fortunately, because of our supporters we are able to give these damaged souls the time they need and deserve to heal. We thank you for helping us to help them.
Melvin was a different horse at our new facility. He looked forward to people stopping by even though he still pinned his ears at everyone. He began interacting with the other horses. He and Pirate the pony would go on excursions together. Toni and Melvin were good friends and Kane was one of his favorites. Zeke and Marshall were his good buddies. He was fond of Mariah (32 yrs. Old) and really enjoyed Baby’s antics. He engaged with people and was always interested in what was going on around the facility. He had finally turned the corner emotionally. It was an amazing thing to watch and be a part of. I watched as the light returned to his eyes, there was pep in his step and lilt to his whinny of hello and a comical sassy side to him at times.
As the years passed his face got grayer and his stiffness/arthritis was more pronounced. One of his favorite things to do was roll in the manure pile. I cannot count the times that I would find him laid out in the pile with his feet pointed in the uphill direction. I would have to flip him over so he could get up and run off with a look like he was laughing. He no longer existed…he was alive and happy!
11/12/2019 in the morning he had a very hard time getting up. When I finally got him up he wasn’t really interested in his soaked senior/hay pellets or his hay although he did drink some water. He laid down again and needed help a few more times. 11/13/2019 he was tired of trying. I stroked his face, sat with him and waited for the vet to arrive. We relived his time with us and he nuzzled my leg as I sat on the ground next to him. I told him how much I love him and thanked him for all he had given us. The smiles, the tears, the worry, the joy, all that shaggy hair each year, the pinned ears. At the end, I felt that he was grateful as he blew softly through his nose onto my hand. The Vet arrived and Melvin was gone.
Every day I come into the house smelling like horses. It’s just a part of what I do. I sat on the couch thinking of that Old Horse that someone had mistreated and the gift he gave to us. Suddenly I smelled it…my hands that had stroked his lovely black face with the large star, that had wiped his eyes and caressed his nostrils. Even though I had washed my hands a couple times since he left us, I smelled it. I smelled him. Melvin. I will miss him terribly and my life is so much richer for having had him in it for 8 ½ years.
6/5/2018 - Black Horse Stroll
Great day for a stroll, a roll, mutual grooming with Kane, etc.!
Melvin (Melvin Black Jack) took Toni for a short guided tour of the grounds and then promptly went about Melvin business and left Toni to meet and greet on his own.
5/24/2018 - Tooth Fairy Came by...I'm Good!
Melvin is a little on the older side and his teeth are pretty worn down. Joe Yasinosky & Martine did what they could for him so that he can chew his feed real good and hold weight.
Our friend Jenifer came over to watch, learn and offer support. Melvin was lightly sedated, but he got really looped on the sedative. He walked like he was pretty drunk all the way back to his stall.
10/7/2016 - Dress Rehearsal
Melvin Black Jack aka: Mr. Grumpy had a dress rehearsal with Stephanie today. First pic is when Melvin came to TIER. Our vet had told us if he didn't put on weight in 3 weeks that we would need to let him cross the rainbow bridge. Feed, Farrier, LOTS of grooming, chiropractic, dental...(regular horse care) restored Melvin's physical health. He still bears the scars of mistreatment and pins his ears on a regular basis. It has taken quite some time for Melvin to mentally become comfortable with people. For a very long time he was "resentful" of being handled. He is always good for our farrier who has helped him with his front feet issues. Melvin's overall health issues had been ongoing (BAD abcesses, allergies, swelling of his sheath/medline, dental problems). Since the move to the new property he has seemed to blossom physically & mentally.
Stephanie's notes from today's workout: He was grumpy when I first went to get him until I started grooming his sweet face. Then he softened a bit and was perfect for saddle and listened really well. He walked to warm up and then tried to trot but I slowed him a bit and then pushed him up a bit and he picked up his gait and stayed in it pretty well. He is very smart. Not very flexible in his neck yet but he was a big softy when I put him back. Lol
9/5/2012 - New Pics with Breezy!
Nothing like a good roll in the "poop pile"!
Melvin is just one of those guys that enjoys rolling in yuck! HA! Turn him out and he makes a beeline for any manure that he can find! Today he had the luxury of finding a PILE of manure! TIER volunteers had been out the day before cleaning pens, scrubbing water buckets and grooming the residents. All their grooming efforts on Melvin sure didn't last long!
After a good roll, he took Breezy around to meet the other horses. She stayed fairly close to him and didn't seem much interested in the other horses. Melvin made sure that they all knew that he was in charge and put on his grumpy face whenever any of them showed too much interest in him or Breezy.
With typical Melvin attitude, he shows his disdain for others while walking away with Breezy. (He reminds me of Jeff Dunham's (ventriloquist) grumpy old man character named Walter!
10/10/2011 - BJ and the abcesses
BJ was a bit off on his front feet and it appeared that he might have some abcesses brewing.  This does happen on some of the horses after they start getting healthy.  Sometimes the toxins that accumulated during the time they were starved/neglected go to a horse's feet to find a way out.
BJ has had his share of recovery troubles due to the simple fact that he was starved for a long period of time.  Originally, our vet had said that if he did not gain weight in 3 weeks that we should seriously consider euthanasia as his system was so compromised.
While recovering from is mistreatment, BJ has experienced hives, random edema (chest, sheath, legs), very bad fly allergies.  He was also urinating quite a bit in the beginning as a way to dispose of some of the built up toxins.  Thankfully, all these symptoms abated.
Our farrier was called in to work on BJ's feet and see if he could relieve some of the pressure from the abcesses.  The abcesses had not started to drain yet and the farrier suggested adminstering Icthamol to the soles, adding some cotton for support/draining and wrapping in duct tape.  This was done for several days over a weeks time.  BJ managed to get his duct tape booties off every day and the abcesses still would not drain.
The farrier came back out because BJ was pretty sore and hesitant to walk around.  He and Virgil had been turned out in the arena are for several days so that they could both move around.  If BJ would move around it would increase the blood flow to his feet and help the abcesses find their way out.  Didn't work and the farrier decided it might be better to put shoes and pads on this dear old boy.
After the shoes/pads were put on BJ began moving around more.  Even breaking into a trot and that gait that TWH's have!  Yay!
Dr. Don Moore, Chiropractor, is scheduled to come out to adjust BJ again on 10/26/2011.  He really needs another adjustment.  Here's hoping that he is a bit nicer to Dr. Moore on this next visit!
7/27/2011 - Dr. Don gives BJ some much needed Chiropractic!
Melvin Black Jack (BJ) will need several more adjustments in the future and donations are needed to help pay for the treatments. Each treatment is 90.00.
Melvin Black Jack (BJ) had his visit from Dr. Don and was none too pleased. Poor guy was really locked up in the hind end, pelvis area. Each time Dr. Don applied the pressure to get things loosened up, BJ would kick out!! (Didn't get the protest on camera though)
Dr. Don worked slowly and methodically to help BJ. The last thing he did was the "tail pull" to align BJ's back. He narrowly missed becoming a Soprano because BJ kicked out and tagged him in the upper thigh!
Bailey (a vet student who accompanied Dr. Don on his visit) led BJ around after his adjustment. BJ was left out in the arena area overnight with Virgil so he would move around. Just in case, Dr. Don recommended giving him a couple of Bute for soreness that night and the next morning. BJ seems to be a bit more comfortable and it is hoped that he will continue to put on weight and build up muscle.
7/9/2011 - 2 Month Update
BJ is every so slowly putting on weight. As you can see, that yucky coat has gone and he is now a very shiney boy. In fact, he's so shiney it's hard to get a good picture. The PAWIER Vitamins he is getting is really helping his coat and overall condition. Due to the heat/humidity, Melvin Black Jack sweats quite a bit along his back and needs to be hosed off daily to get the salt residue off.
He manages to hunt down the 'Meals On Wheels' cart without any problems. We have a very small area that I try to water so that the horses can graze a bit. Water usage has escalated with the heat. We are dumping and scrubbing the water barrels every other day due to algae growth because of the increase in temperature. Watering the grass areas is limited to the small patch in front of the pens and about 1/4 of the pasture area up front.
BJ is also getting fly allergies on his face/neck/chest most probably due to his immune system being so compromised. Thanks to Wendi N. for her purchase of fly masks from Ballard's Saddlery in Norco. We love these masks!
6/10/2011 - A visit from a friend
BJ (we are calling him BJ because sometimes Melvin Black Jack is a mouthful!) has been here for a month and 3 days. Look at the before picture and the picture taken today. That lovely lady with him in the picture taken today is Donna, his friend and caretaker while he was at AC:
(At the Shelter)
Today with Donna:
He's slowly gaining weight and seems a bit happier! BJ had been at the shelter for 3 1/2 weeks prior to his arrival at TIER and arrived still quite emaciated. When the vet was told that he had been at AC for that period of time, and after seeing his condition upon arrival, Vet told us that if he didn't put on weight in 3 weeks to consider euthanasia. At that time, it was felt that Melvin Black Jack was probably a few days away from death when AC stepped in to seize him. Since he was not getting any food, he was surviving only because his body was basically taking nourishment from his muscles, organs, etc. His body was shutting down. AC stepped in just in time. BUT, sometimes, these starved horses are not able to recover due to the length of the starvation.
A week ago his sheath swelled again and he had swelling on his chest/between his front legs. Originally, the vet had said not to be surprised if his legs swelled at some time. BJ's body was totally out of whack, and the lymph node system was compromised. (This is the reason for the weepy eyes, sheath swelling, etc. that is seen in starvation cases). I called the vet immediately. Since BJ was so debilitated, the vet had not wanted to put him on any medication/chemicals because of the strain they would put on his Kidney and Liver. When I called him regarding the new swelling, the vet was still reluctant to put him on medication. His advice was to turn him out in hopes that the edema would reduce, cold hose him a bit and pray. If the swelling didn't reduce within a few days he would consider giving him Naquasone (diuretic/steroid). BUT...he was very hesitant about trying this due to BJ's condition.
So, we just left the gate to his pen open, let him wander and cold hosed him every once in awhile. Thankfully the swelling reduced in about 4 days. His eyes are still a bit weepy, but he is making progress! It helps when friends visit too!
5/23/2011 - Update
Melvin Black Jack (aka: Black Jack, BJ, Melvin) is slowly gaining weight and shedding his buffalo coat! One day he will be shedding like crazy and the next no hair will come off when he is brushed. Slowly but surely he is progressing. His eyes are still a bit weepy due to the starvation and his sheath is still big. BUT, his sheath is nowhere near the size it was when he fist came.
5/23/2011 We turned him out in the arena to move around a bit, visit with other horses, etc. We were still in the process of feeding at the time. As soon as he saw the hay cart, his ears went up and he seemed to be saying "Meals On Wheels! Cool!" as he quickly caught up with the cart and began to dine.
Thankfully, he was so busy that he didn't go after my coffee cup! You can see how he has gained a bit and the very irregular shedding that is going on.
His hind end is slowly turning into a real rear end instead of a hat rack!
5/12/2011 - Update
Black Jack received a visit from our farrier yesterday. Unfortunately, my camera battery died, so no pictures of the event.
Farrier indicated that someone just hacked his toes off. There was an old abcess site that was most likely 6-8 months old. The frogs were so overgrown that they had curled out and under which caused bruising to his soles. He's a bit ouchy today, but he got to spend the day & night out in the arena area so he could move around a bit.
Today my camera batter is recharged! Black Jack is shedding, shedding and shedding! he has finally pulled his head out of the feeder a bit and is not so food agressive. I guess he figured out that he is going to be fed daily.
His previously VERY swollen sheath has reduced in size. Moving around and having regular food is helping. When the vet checked him, it was quite obvious that he was off in the behind. Mostly his left hip. Dr. Don Moore/Chiropractor came out today to see if he could help. His assessment is that he is extremely weak in the hind. He adjusted him, but wants to see him again in 3 weeks after he has gained a bit more weight and had some turnout time.
Black Jack was very good boy for Dr. Moore. He is becoming more personable already and doesn't mind a treat or two!
5/7/2011 - Arrival at TIER
Melvin Black Jack arrived at TIER this afternoon thanks to Kristy & Bonnie! He loaded on the trailer at Riverside Animal Control and unloaded at TIER just fine. He was placed in his new pen and immediately dived into the hay.
His coat and skin obviously need a good bath with medicated shampoo, a good brushing and a good roll in the dirt afterwards.
Pablo and Annabelle watched and talked between themselves about how they were glad it was someone else's turn to get the hose treatment!
So, a bucket of soaked pellets, beet pulp, Pawier Vitamins and a bit of senior feed was placed where he could get to it to keep him busy.
Bonnie, Kristy and Andie did the honors of adding water, shampoo, rinse, rinse, comb, comb, clean his poor swollen sheath, etc. The ground was COVERED with old yucky hair when they were done.
After his bath, a good roll was in order and then back to his pen to bury his face in hay!
Welcome to TIER Melvin Black Jack!
Main picture and one below were taken AFTER he had been groomed by shelter volunteers. He's been at the shelter since 4/14/2011
He's not a happy guy! Melvin needs to be on a senior diet, have his teeth done and have his sheath checked by a vet. His sheath is swollen to grapefruit size.
Not a happy horse. Let's bring him to TIER so VolunTIERS can love him to happiness!