Day One: Cypher at Copper Ridge Ranch with Scott Mason
When you’ve been in the equine industry as long as Scott and Wendy Mason, you see these kind of cases- talented, well trained horses that through a series of unfortunate circumstances become victims of neglect. But Scott had been shoeing the chesnut Arab gelding, Cypher, for 16 years and in this case Scott was able to give Cypher a second chance. About 10 days ago, the Masons of Ellensburg , WA brought Cypher to their home and business, Copper Ridge Ranch where they immediately began his rehabilitation. Equis Feeds, friends of the Masons, donated enough Equis Golden Senior to rehab Cypher from approximately 720 lbs (2.5 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale) to a heathlier weight of 920 lbs (6.5 BCS). This is the first of a three part blog series on Cypher’s come back from starvation.
Cypher’s story is a little like the Black Beauty classic tale of love and loss. In his prime, Cypher had been a successful Arabian show horse. In his youth he was sent to a top Arabian trainer in Washington and shown competitively on the circuit for many years. You can see a photo below of Cypher as a six year old! But when family and finances got turned upside down, he was thrown out to pasture with another horse and quite forgotten. Unfortunately, his caloric needs were not being met with pasture alone even as the second horse remained at proper body condition. Finally, the situation took a turn for the worse, and Scott Mason brought him home on March 21st, 2015.
In the first few hours of Cypher’s arrival he was groomed thoroughly and bathed with a medicated shampoo. He was stalled in a quiet barn to keep his stress level minimized. Being very careful to not upset Cypher’s delicate digestive system, Scott started feeding him a quarter of a flake of timothy hay multiple times per day. In the first few days, the Arab gelding barely ate more than a half flake a day (2-2.5 lbs of grass hay). It was obvious that Cypher had indeed been in starvation mode as his appetite was extremely poor and his manure consisted of small quantities of miniature horse sized fecal balls. Over the course of five days, Scott slowly introduced the Equis Golden Senior into his diet at 1/2 of a pound per serving which Cypher ate enthusiastically. He kept track of the gelding’s increasing diet on a white board in the barn. After five days, Cypher was up to about 1.5 flakes a day (6 lbs grass hay) and 2 lbs total of Equis Golden Senior.
Day Five: Cypher on a regulated feed program.
After only 11 days, Cypher is looking much loved. On April 1st, he was taken to Valley Veterinary Hospital in Ellensburg and weighed in at 806 lbs on the livestock scale. It’s interesting to note here that the 86 pound estimated increase over 11 days has more to do with gut fill than actual muscle and fat deposition. It takes a lot of feed and water to “fill the pipes” of the digestive tract so to speak, and this accounts for much of the initial weight gain. This is supported by his increased fecal ball size and increased feed intake. In addition, his teeth were treated moderately and his vaccines were brought up to date. He’s up to 3 flakes (12 lbs) timothy hay and 4 lbs of Equis Golden Senior each day delivered in multiple meals. His appetite is more vigorous, and we look forward to bringing you up to date in six weeks on Saving Cypher Part II.
Learn more about Cypher and Copper Ridge Ranch on their Facebook page and at www.copperridgeranchellensburg.com.