Heavy horse Juicy Lucy would not have survived without our intervention. Today she has a loving family...
As the stunning mare chomps her way across a paddock of tasty grass, it’s difficult to believe this heavy horse was once half the weight she should have been.
Today Juicy Lucy stands tall and enjoys life as a much-loved pet without a care in the world, but she’s had to overcome many challenges to reach this place of happiness.
Left without access to food and water, it was little wonder that the Clydesdale horse was at death’s door when she was rescued by an organisation we work with closely.
After being seized by authorities and taken from her owner due to the cruelty she had endured, we immediately stepped in to help. How could we say no?
Emaciated and in a very poor condition, the first time we met her in August 2012, she looked lifeless, despite standing at a towering 17.2 hands.
Tamzin Boyd from our Rolleston rehoming centre in Staffordshire, explains: “When Juicy Lucy arrived at our centre she had so little energy that she couldn’t bear to stand up any longer. She lay down and didn’t stand up. Her willpower was gone.”
It gets you down, the pain. I’m a proud lady, but I’m not afraid to tell you how frightened I was. I love to be outside and spend my days munching grass and I love to meet new people but there were days when I couldn’t even bring myself to stand up. Juicy Lucy
Due to the horse’s size, our team couldn’t get her up, and we had to call the fire brigade for assistance.
With low energy levels and void of any zest for life, in the weeks that followed we had to use a tractor to help ease Lucy up and it was touch and go as to whether she would survive.
While our trained teams are used to helping animals through the very worst of times, we were shocked to witness a horse in this amount of distress.
It was clear that Lucy was in pain and she was finding it difficult to eat. Tests revealed her jaw was fractured. We gave Lucy painkillers and gently washed her jaw to prevent any infection. We put her on a weight gain plan and began by feeding her every two hours around the clock.
With intensive care from the Rolleston horse team, Lucy began to pile on the pounds and we soon discovered her wonderful character that had been so drained by her experiences.
Tamzin says: “When we took her out to the field she would bound about with heaps of energy, and should you arrive five minutes late she would certainly let you know!”
We were overjoyed to see Lucy’s cheeky and fun personality materialise and she soon became a favourite among the team and visitors to the centre, which was great news for Lucy as she is a big fan of fuss.
In June 2014 we found Lucy a loving new home with heavy horse enthusiast Sue Barratt. Sue hadn’t been in the market for a new horse but there was something about Lucy that stopped her in her tracks. Sue says: “I saw Lucy’s picture and read her story and I thought, ‘I have to take care of her’.”
Lucy now shares her paddock with Shire horses Izzy and Ruby and they get on brilliantly. Sue and her partner Andy show their horses competitively, and once Lucy had settled in she joined Izzy and Ruby on the road. As a horse who adores attention, Lucy has taken to outings as if she were a seasoned professional.
Her trips to meet the public have had an added benefit too, as Sue explains: “Taking her out has really helped to promote Blue Cross because people always come and ask lots of questions about Shires and we tell them Lucy is a rescue. We had one lady in tears when we told her Lucy’s story.”
So far Lucy has visited Revesby show, close to her home, a Victorian-themed Christmas fayre in Melton Mowbray, and even impressed the judges at horse festival Equifest, where Sue entered Lucy into the rescue class.
I’m so thankful that the folks at Blue Cross took a chance on me. They never gave up, even when I felt like I would. And look at me now, strolling through the fields without a care in the world! Juicy Lucy
Sue says: “We were on tenterhooks waiting to see if her number would be called out and there were so many horses in the class we couldn’t believe it when it was! She came third out of more than 20.”
If there’s one thing Lucy loves, it’s food. Sue has found tasty treats of apples and carrots go down really well as a reward to thank Lucy for being still and letting Sue bathe her injured jaw.
Sue gently washes this every single day, sometimes twice, and will continue to do so for the rest of Lucy’s life.
Though some shadows of her past remain, Lucy’s life is forever changed for the better and we’re thrilled that she is now living a happy life with people who adore her and give her the care and love she so truly deserves.