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Shaun enjoying life, but feet still an issue

September 1, 2011

Kiwi thoroughbred Shaun is starting to come out of his shell, but continues to be foot-sore.

Shaun having dinner one day last week. He's behind a tape so none of his friends help him.
It may be heading into autumn in Shaun's little slice of Kansas, but the temperature is still pushing over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shaun, who raced under the name Cusack, is now in the care of Deb Johnson. He was rescued from kill pens in Washington state thanks to the generosity of Horsetalk readers, and was trucked half way across the US to his new home.

"I've got the mister on in the shelter," says Deb, "so everyone has the choice of cooling their heels in the wet sand and cooling mist.

"Shaun doesn't spend so much time in the shelter alone, anymore. He's even a bit herd sour, I'm happy to say. He's developing a connection with the herd, and they to him.

"Gunner and he often can be found grazing nose to nose. Even Bit doesn't hate him, and Eclipse finds him quite good company," she says.

"He's foot-sore and I am taking this barefoot thing day by day. The farrier said he didn't have enough hoof wall to keep a shoe, so we are trying barefoot.

"He's on a good supplement, so now it will just take time. If he doesn't take to bare foot, I'll try an Epona glue-on shoe.

"He eats about twice what the other horses eat, but has put on enough weight that I can no longer see his ribs. I can feel them, but he is looking more like a thoroughbred and less like a rescue."

Shaun eats in the shelter behind a temporary fence so he doesn't feel pressured by the other horses.

"He doesn't rush through dinner now, and is more relaxed," she says, which comes as a relief after a nasty bout of choke recently.

"He seems to be waking up, after being inside himself for so long. I don't think a human has ever asked his permission to touch him. Or said, 'no, you can eat until your ears are up'.

"If he takes off running with the horses, I cheer him on and he kicks it into a whole new gear. It's good for that egotistical arabian of mine who thought he was the fastest thing on the planet. It's good for Shaun, too."

Deb says Shaun still has a way to recover and she still wonders about the treatment and life he had in the US, that ultimately led to the kill pens.

"I know he had better care, and a better life in New Zealand. I wish he could have stayed there."

Life for Shaun has, indeed, been a journey, but the former Kiwi racehorse has found the one thing he needed most in his time of need: a loving home.



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