This first picture is Farola when she arrived at ACE mid-January. Volunteer veterinarian from Bosnia, Nermina Spahija, named her Farola because Nermina’s favorite food is strawberries. Farola is Arabic for strawberry. Nermina was involved along with all the vets at ACE in Farola’s care.
The photo of Farola where she is super dirty and looks real haggard was taken after she had a rough night in her stall and thrashed about. The stable boys had to help her up. She nipped one of them.
Farola had a huge wound on her withers from improperly fitting tack used constantly and the skin, muscles, all soft tissue was gone from this area. Farola was covered in cuts, scabs, wounds, abrasions, scars and emaciated. It was hard to find a bit of skin in good condition.
She was in such poor condition that as the vets treated these gaping wounds Farola did not bat an eye, just stood there not reacting to the pain.
Nermina thought she had been in such extreme pain with these open wounds for so long and was so malnourished that she did not have the energy to react as a typical horse would react to the vet’s cleaning and medicating of her wounds.
I arrived just a couple of days later and right away noticed Farola due to her horrible condition. I sought permission to walk her about the premises and give her extra feed and groom her. Yes, the vets were glad she could get some extra TLC. So I began a daily routine of arriving with apples and carrots for her and the other equine inpatients in the morning. In the afternoons I would take her to a sunny spot for extra berseem and grooming. Farola has a sweet personality and immediately began to recognize my voice and she was eager for our daily walk-about.
Her wounds were treated and dressed daily and by this time she was regaining strength
She began to react by nipping during the vet treatment she didn’t like. While no one was happy with nipping behavior it certainly showed that she was coming to life and had a bit of zest that was not obvious initially.
She had a very large open wound on the front of her hind leg up near the flank. It was beginning to heal after about 2 weeks at ACE. The wither’s wound was very slow to show any healing. Dr. David explained to me the wound was so deep that it took away all soft tissue and was clear down to the vertebra exposing them to air. This deep wound would take many months
Her grooming was coming along and the big knots in her mane fell out. ACE does not remove these knots as Egyptians believe they are created by angels during the night. (I think I understand that correctly). After they fell out she looked better, like a groomed horse. She became comfortable with me brushing her face and ears along with the rest of her. She enjoyed our daily walking in the compound and was always ready for another lap and nibble of berseem and grass.
She didn’t lose much hair and she was extremely hairy. The vets explained it was due to her overall very poor body condition.
As the days went by and I spent a few hours a day with her I began to wonder what would become of her after we left and her owner eventually came to retrieve her. Her wounds were nowhere near healed and she was in no shape to go back to work pulling a vegetable cart. Her long recovery was just beginning. So I began to think about possibly obtaining her and letting her live a life free from starvation and abuse. I talked it over with my husband and he was all in with the idea. I figured it would be difficult to find a place to board her. I had to have a place where I was 100% sure that the stable owner would provide good care for her in my absence.
Another ACE volunteer, Jenna Tonks, was friends with Lesley Hammam and had visited her West Bank stables. I was so fortunate to be invited to go riding with Nermina & Jenna at Lesley Hammam’s Blue Lotus Stable and Farms. Wow! It was clear from the start that Lesley embraces rescue horses and knows how to care for them and rehab them. All the folks at ACE know Lesley and speak highly of her. So, partway through the ride, I asked about the possibility of boarding Farola with her. Lesley said yes immediately and was eager to be part of Farola’s new life. This was an enormous step forward toward Farola’s new life. Now I felt that there was a path for Farola; she would have a wonderful new home.
Back at ACE I shared my idea with ACE managers Kim, and Ayman. They were glad for Farola’s possible new life but had to talk to the owner about releasing her. After a few days Ayman was able to track down the owner and he came in and they wrote up a contract selling her. I was so relieved and happy when Ayman came out and found me walking about with Farola to tell me the good news. Great news for Farola and me.
I spent a month at ACE doing general volunteer work and doting on Farola. Then my husband and I left Egypt and returned to the US. Farola stayed at ACE for another month receiving daily treatment and getting walked about by the stable boys as time allowed. Dr. David sent me updates and pictures & short videos of Farola during that time. In total Farola spent about 10 weeks at ACE. Lesley then arranged transport of Farola to her Blue Lotus Stables & Farm on the West Bank. Lesley made it so easy for Farola to enter this new and wonderful phase of her life.
Today Farola is leading a happy life with her new horse family, she still has a long way to go with her recovery but she is improving all the time and loving being able to just be a horse for possibly the first time in her life :-)