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Cusack: the story so far

May 6, 2011

by Neil Clarkson

New Zealand-born Cusack, like Dorothy during her adventures in the Wizard of Oz, is a long way from Kansas, but horse lovers around the world are determined to make sure he gets there to his new home.

Cusack ended up in an auction house in Washington state, with a price that had dropped to $US500.

Cusack in the kill pen this week in Washington.

Groups that monitor such auctions in the hope of rehoming horses like Cusack feared he was on a path to slaughter and a sharp-eyed Kiwi living in Florida, Susan Young, noticed his Kiwi thoroughbred brand. She contacted Horsetalk.

Deb Johnson saw a Facebook link about Cusack posted by a friend and stepped up to offer the 11-year-old gelding a lifelong home on her 40 acres in Kansas.

Within hours, an effort to get Cusack to Kansas was under way.

With time short, Horsetalk agreed to underwrite the cost of buying and shipping Cusack to Kansas, and yesterday launched an appeal to raise the money.

At the time of writing, $NZ920 had been raised, which is 48 per cent of the $NZ1900 target Horsetalk believes will be necessary to cover Cusack's purchase and shipping interstate.

There will also be some veterinary costs in getting the health clearances needed to move Cusack across state borders.

The carrier has asked that Cusack be boarded for a week or two to ensure his health is up to scratch for the trip.

Washington state resident Lisa O'Gorman has come forward and offered to pay for Cusack's board, supplements and feed for two weeks at the Back Forte Equestrian Center, which is nearby.

Cusack in the auction house in Washington.

Deb said she understood Cusack had already been picked up and was bound for the boarding establishment, where a stable had been prepared for his arrival.

He will be put on a carefully managed diet of grass hay, alfalfa hay and supplements to gradually build up his condition, with two hours a day on pasture.

An experienced vet checked Cusack earlier today and found him to be sound and healthy, but on the light side.

He performed a Coggins test (a blood test for Equine Infectious Anemia), the results of which will be known in 48 hours. A clear test will allow the issue of the necessary health certification needed to travel.

Deb said the circumstances that will bring Cusack to her are little short of a miracle.

Deb paid for Cusack at the auction house with her personal credit card and confirms she has already received that money from Horsetalk by way of transfer.

However, the fundraising continues, with the cost of health checks and the long trip to Kansas yet to be paid for.


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