Colt attacked by stallion is recovering
Appeal Staff Writer
Life in the wild can be tough when you’re only 3 days old.
A 3-day-old colt became the target of wrath by a young stallion that had designs on the foal’s mother. The 3-year-old stallion stomped and kicked the foal, causing serious neck and head injuries.
Jim O’Mahoney, a resident of Yellowjacket Road in the Virginia City Highlands, saw the foal in distress on April 10.
“I saw it with the mother, and she kept it away from the herd at first,” he said. “Then the baby was down below the property just walking around in circles. I could see he was in trouble. We could see the stud from the baby’s herd had taken it and tried to kill it.”
O’Mahoney, whose wife, Sherry, is a former president of the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association, which aids the Comstock wild horses, said he had seen that scenario before.
“We’ve (VRWPA) rescued a few like that,” he said. “Usually, they don’t make it. They get hurt pretty badly.”
O’Mahoney contacted Iris Campbell, a VRWPA volunteer, and together they rescued the foal and took it to a safe place where it could be retrieved by Mike Holmes, range manager for the state Department of Agriculture.
Holmes said cases of stallions attacking foals is not uncommon in the wild, especially in areas with an abundance of horses.
“Sometimes when those studs are trying to breed a mare and the colt gets in the way, the colt ends up paying the price,” he said. “I don’t see it out in the backcountry near as often as the congested horse areas. I believe the competition factor has a lot to do with it.”
Holmes took the foal to Shirley Allen, of Least Resistance Training Concepts, who runs the Lucky Horse Rescue Corral in Dayton.
“Shirley will nurse it back to health, and then after she does that, she’ll find a home for it,” Holmes said.
Allen said the black colt with white blaze and three white socks, which she named “Ozzie,” was improving, recuperating in her bedroom, as several injured or abandoned foals have before him.
“He’s finally getting up and doing stuff now,” she said. “We’re hoping he doesn’t have any permanent sight or hearing loss.”
Allen said the colt suffered mostly neck and head injuries, and she has been in touch with Dr. Gerald Peck of All Creatures Mobile Veterinary Hospital about the foal’s care.
“He’s just got tons of cuts all over him,” she said. “The worst are on his neck, and there’s some infection going.”
Allen said she called him “Ozzie” because he was so out of it when he was brought in.
“Brain-wise, he was out in the land of Oz when we first brought him home, and he made sounds like the lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” she said.
The colt is outside during the day, but stays in the bedroom through the cold nights.
Allen said the colt’s been eating better, and thinks Ozzie will pull through, news which came as a relief to O’Mahoney.
“It hurts so much when they don’t make it,” he said. “We’ve lost quite a few that were injured.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.