For years now, my brother has been big into Mustang Rescue. He goes out across the state, watching carefully in fields, barns, or wherever he might find an old, unloved or abused Mustang, and he does his level best to find the owner, with the intention of convincing the neglectful or abusive owner that he (my brother) can take better care of the Mustang than the owner can, and that they either need to give over or sell the target of abuse or neglect. This often works, and he has in the past rescued several of these beautiful creatures and rehabilitated them back to condition.
Yesterday evening my brother asked me if I would go with him to Oakdale, about an hour's drive from here, so that I could help him rescue another Mustang, and that he really needed the help. I agreed, helped him hook up the trailer, and we headed out. We met an intermediary at a local gas station, who had offered to take us to the location. He called himself "Doug," tho I doubt that is his real name, and he DID lead us on quite a chase through the local countryside, but burdened as we were with the trailer we finally caught up with him at a cattle gap leading into the woods. We followed him from there down a very rutted and muddy path into a pasture, inhabited by a pair of old abandoned boats, a burned-out mobile home, and this poor, starved for attention, wretched creature.
Be warned, the pictures are a bit graphic, and if you are faint of heart or of gentle disposition I warn you now that you might be shocked by what you see.
This is how I first saw the poor thing, deep in some thorn brush on it's belly, it's blind eyes turned toward us. So poor was her condition that she didn't even have feet to stand on; what you see here is prosthetics that we were forced to fit her with to help her onto the trailer, and it was simply easier and more humane to leave them on for the duration of her stay.
My brother backed the trailer in, and with the help of "Doug," an electric winch, some clever work with a jack, some lengths of wood and a clever set of prosthetics assembled out of a pair of 7' long, 2" thick steel poles we managed to lever her front onto the trailer.
The difficult part was, naturally, getting her lame back end up onto the trailer, as the makeshift prostheses, no matter how clever, kept slipping. We ended up contriving a pair of skids out of 4" x 4" boards and sort of dragged her up by sheer force, with a bit of pushing and shoving to make sure she went onto the trailer straight.
I had a bad moment when I realised that her hide was scarred with bullet holes from 'sportsmen' and bored big game hunters out for a good time, with no consideration for the feelings of others, but then I saw that they were, if nothing else, fairly old, and were nothing more now than faded scars.
While we were preparing to carry her back to her new home I, being an old hand at losing things off trailers on the road, took a detailed safety walk around the trailer and it's precious cargo as best I could in the middle of the night with a bitter north wind blowing through my flesh. I was going to secure her side (her flank on the other side already being missing) when I brushed up against her and to my horror it fell off. I was deeply chagrined, but my brother simply patted me on the shoulder and suggested I place it inside her otherwise hollowed-out body cavity. Apparently he's seen this sort of thing before, and I was just not hardened enough for it.
After a good look-over this morning in the bright sunshine, my brother decided that this poor sweet creature was too far gone, and would instead become a donor to another rescue pony of his, one in better condition and better able to make use of the life-giving donor pieces that the Mustang we had taken to calling "Old Blue" could give.
Here we see my brother checking carefully to make sure that the recipient is ready to accept important bits and pieces, such as vent windows and a cowling from Old Blue.
Please, I beg of you--after seeing these pictures don't harden your heart. Do what you can, support anyone you know in the Rescue and Restoration field, no matter if they're working with Thunderbirds, Mustangs, Barracudas, Pintos, Cougars or Broncos. No matter the field, no matter the model, and no matter the extent of the neglect, please give generously of your time and your understanding.