Update: Billionaire’s diagnosis of West Nile was incorrect. He has gone through thorough testing with the Equine Specialty Hospital on Rapids Road in Burton and was tested for an assortment of neurological diseases. All tests came back negative. The concensus was that he was 1) weak from severe malnutrition and 2) had most likely been physically abused. From what we can tell, his trembling is a fear reaction. The vet actually said that Billionaire may come back as ridable after some time of being worked with and handled . As of today, he is doing great — looking for his forever home. Check out his before and after pictures…
Looking down the aisle, we saw the hind quarters of a big Belgian sticking out into the aisleway, shaking uncontrollably. We went up to the giant horse and noticed that he could not stand still. He legs were shaking and he was trembling all over. He was rocking back, pulling at the lead that tied him to the wall. I guessed that he had a neurological disease, and was hoping to rescue him to save him from going down in the trailer bound for the slaughterhouse. We wrote down his number, and my heart broke for the handsome boy who was obviously in distress. Number 1265 came up on the auction billboard above the callers booth, and out came the trembling horse. When he was being lead about, his trembling wasn’t as visible. He was declared to be “good broke” and could work with any farm machinery. I jumped in on the bidding. However, an Amish farmer did too, and he seemed determined to buy the horse. I stopped bidding, and the farmer purchased the horse for $250. I approached the new owner, explained who I was and why I stopped bidding against him. I asked him if he saw how unstable the horse was. He admitted that he only saw the shaking of his tail when the horse was lead out of the ring. I gave him my cell phone number and told him to contact me if the horse didn’t work out, for I was sure that the horse was neurologic. A short time later, the Amish gentleman came up to us. “Are you the lady who asked me about the Belgian? There is something definitely wrong with the horse. You can have him if you want him.” He handed me the sale papers. I couldn’t believe it. I thanked him, grateful that he had done the right thing for the horse.
I asked the “officials” in the auction office if I could have a vet come see the horse and put him down if needed. I was told a very stern “no”. I called an Amish friend who lived about a mile away, and asked if I could keep the horse at his farm at least overnight until we could secure a vet. We truly didn’t think the horse would be able to stand for the hour and a half trip back to Happy Trails. He agreed, and we settled the big guy in for the night. The next day we trailered the draft horse a short distance to a local vet clinic, where he was diagnosed with West Niles. A three day treatment was agreed upon, with the understanding that it should help remedy his situation.