Before and after: Happy ending for horse seized in Langley cruelty investigation
Thor is shown in an image from the BC SPCA (above) and a photo from Kaitlyn Harbour.
Published Monday, February 4, 2019 3:05PM PST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2019 3:15PM PST
Two months ago, Thor was thin, scarred, nervous – a shadow of the horse Kaitlyn Harbour remembers as beautiful, energetic and spunky.
Thor and Kaitlyn first crossed paths years ago. She told CTV News she remembers taking him for rides in unmarked trails off the property at Empire Equestrian in Maple Ridge.
She knows little of the life before she crossed paths with the "dark noble steed," but believes he'd been neglected.
"He has scars on his face from having a halter left on when he was young that grew into his face as he got bigger and was basically left in a field without care," she said.
"Despite this, he was such a kind, gentle soul."
Thor ended up at a farm in Langley, where he was one of 27 horses was seized in December by the BC SPCA.
The society said last week that the horses had been living among debris in unsanitary conditions. In their first examination, the horses were found to have lice, overgrown hooves and rain scald from lack of shelter, the SPCA said.
They also allege there was evidence of poor nutrition and a lack of access to water.
The investigation is ongoing and it is not yet known whether their former owner will face charges. The society is looking for donations to help cover the cost of care, which as of last week had exceded $30,000.
Kaitlyn found out about Thor through CTV Vancouver's coverage last week of the seizure.
"The moment I started reading the article, I immediately thought of him and wondered if he would even still be around, as he had suffered questionable living conditions for at least the last few years that we knew of," she said.
"As soon as I scrolled across the photos, and saw him, my heart sank. It was sad to see how far gone he was, but I was also so happy to see that he was alive."
Kaitlyn said she got in touch with a woman at another farm in Langley who had taken Thor and a few others in until they could be rehomed.
She packed up her kids and headed out to meet Thor, who she says was keen to get attention, but was also nervous.
Despite it all, he warmed up to her family quickly.
"The moment we reconnected and met him I knew he would fit in here right away and be loved by many," Kaitlyn said. So she brought him home.
In the weeks since his seizure, he's been cared for, given immunizations and dewormed. He's had treatments for his feet and teeth, and is on a special diet they're hopeful will improve his condition.
They believe he's in his mid-20s, "which is an accomplishment for a horse, especially one that has lived a life like he has," Kaitlyn said.
He's doing better, she said. The new diet should put hundreds of pounds back on him, and he's already showed small signs of improvement, though Kaitlyn said he still has a ways to go.
"Although he's clearly lived a life of uncertainty, he is so quiet and friendly in nature. If you did not see his body condition, you would think he was a perfectly lovely, cared for horse," she said.
Last weekend, Empire Equestrian held a welcome party for Thor, which was attended by riding students. He was treated to a thorough grooming session and a special lunch.
Kaitlyn said she isn't sure whether there will be long-term effects from the years of neglect he suffered, but they are hopeful that his last years will be comfortable and happy. He even has his own Instagram account.
"He is eager to socialize and absolutely soaks up attention. I believe this horse truly just wanted one last chance to live out his life, which we are excited to give him," Kaitlyn said.