In the evening of October 18, 2020, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, in cooperation with MERS Large Animal Rescue and Franklin County law enforcement arrived on the scene of a terrible trailer truck accident on I-44. Several of the horses who survived the accident were transported to Longmeadow, where their injuries could be addressed and treated.
Of the 29 horses being transported, all but 10 of them either perished in the crash or were euthanized shortly after due to the severity of their injuries and neglect prior to the wreck. It was revealed that the original reason for the animals’ transportation was that they were on their way to be slaughtered.
Longmeadow and MERS rescuers worked through the night in the rain and cold weather to remove the horses from the trailer, capture those that had escaped and transport the survivors back to safety. The surviving horses taken to Longmeadow were all suffering from shock, deep skin and leg abrasions and lacerations, head and eye trauma and back injuries.
One of the surviving horses, a 20-year-old mare named Journey managed to walk away from the accident with minimal, superficial injuries. Journey was underweight and had sustained abrasions in several areas on her right front leg that made it particularly painful to walk and trot. It was discovered that Journey had a painful abscess track within her right front hoof that was causing her to limp. Longmeadow staff began treating the abscess with daily hoof soaks and bandages to draw out the infection and treated the lacerations with gentle scrubbing, and antibiotic ointment. Journey responded well to the treatment and recovered beautifully, having gained nearly two hundred pounds since her arrival!
About a month after the accident, Journey underwent a routine pregnancy check via ultrasound. It was at this time that we learned Journey was pregnant, and the baby appeared to be healthy and viable in all prenatal evaluations! The average gestation period for horses is around 11-12 months and our vets estimate that Journey will give birth in August or early September, but the delivery could be earlier than that. Journey is an older mom-to-be, but Longmeadow has had experience with older pregnant mares in the past, and our veterinarians do not expect her age to impact the birth. However, we are continuing to monitor her closely, just to be safe!
To celebrate this amazing news, Longmeadow staff held a maternity photoshoot for Journey, covering her in flowers. “It was a staff idea that came up when we were discussing having a baby shower type of event to celebrate,” said Longmeadow Director Amanda Mullen. “Due to Covid we knew we couldn’t have an in-person event, so we decided the maternity shoot would be a good way to share the excitement virtually. It was a beautiful day and her maternity photos turned out gorgeous.”
Longmeadow rescue ranch will be livestreaming Journey’s daily activity leading up to the delivery and you can watch the mom-to-be from dawn till dusk. Most mares prefer to give birth at night when no one is around, so it is very important that we give Journey her privacy during this special time. Don’t worry though! We are watching closely for signs of delivery, ready to step in if needed.