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A 16-year-old mare is walking much better after a hoof trimming. Hannah Grover, hgrover@daily-times.com

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FARMINGTON — A 16-year-old mare is walking a little easier thanks to a much-needed pedicure.

Four Corners Equine Rescue director Debbie Coburn estimates Dulce’s hooves had not been trimmed in five years. Horses need hoof trimmings every six to eight weeks. Coburn went to Lumberton in late April to rescue Dulce after the mare’s owner’s daughter sent pictures.

 “She was in a little, tiny pen where she couldn’t move around much,” Coburn recalled while visiting the mare Monday afternoon at Animal Haven Clinic in Farmington.

The man who owned her surrendered her to Four Corners Equine Rescue and won’t face charges. Coburn said the little mare’s hoof problems began before the man got her three years ago.

“When he first got her, he tried to ride her and she kept tripping,” Coburn said.

Coburn said Dulce’s owner had struggled to find a farrier near Lumberton to take care of her hooves.

People who want to meet Dulce will be able to see her during the volunteer orientation and barnyard tours from 1 to 4 p.m. May 18 at 22 County Road 3334.

Veterinarian says hooves were severe

The veterinarians at Animal Haven anesthetized Dulce to saw off the excess. Since April 24, Dulce has had two hoof trimmings.

Animal Haven veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Bracken said Dulce’s hooves were “pretty darn severe,” but Dulce’s sweet demeanor made it easier for the veterinarians to treat her.

“We lifted up her feet and she never had a problem,” she said.

While Dulce’s hooves are looking more normal now, Bracken said it could take up to a year for her hooves to return to normal condition.

Animal Haven has not yet taken x-rays of Dulce’s legs to see if there was permanent damage to her feet. Bracken said horses with overgrown hooves can suffer from degeneration, abscesses and chronic pain.

Equine rescue is optimistic about Dulce’s future

Coburn said Dulce should be going home to the Four Corners Equine Rescue at the end of the week and will likely remain at the facility for at least a year while she recovers.

“In the meantime, she’s going to have a lot of mechanical changes to her feet and to the rest of her body,” Coburn said.

She said the mare will need physical therapy as her body adjusts to having normal sized hooves.

“Obviously she won’t be barrel racing,” Coburn said.

But Coburn anticipates Dulce will recover enough to be ridden once again.

“I’m hopeful she’s going to be some little girl’s first horse,” Coburn said.

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Other horses also need help

Dulce is one of five horses the equine rescue has received this year that Coburn describes as critical rescues. Many of these horses were emaciated and neglected.

Another one of these horses is a brown and white paint stallion with 18-inch-long front hooves that curled up at the end. The stallion, now known as Dreamer, cannot be handled and was kept in a pen with two to three feet of manure inside it.

“How he survived all that, I do not know,” Coburn said.

Coburn said people can donate to the equine rescue to help pay for the medical expenses for the five horses. Information about donating can be found at fourcornersequinerescue.org.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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