METHUEN — The 10 draft horses surrendered to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in late June took a big step forward in their recovery on Wednesday with a special visit from area farriers.
Farriers are specialists who care for horses' hooves, an important part of the animals' overall well-being, including their ease of movement. It's the type of care long overdue for the draft horses who had been voluntarily surrendered from a property in central Massachusetts after their owner could no longer properly care for them.
The horses -- who are about a foot taller than the average equine and are known for their strength -- came to the MSPCA with broken and flared hooves, issues with their teeth, and with some of them being underweight. They range in age from 7 to 28, with one mare, eight geldings and a stallion, all Percheron draft horses except for one, a crossbreed named "ZeeZee."
Their medical care continued on Wednesday, as New Hampshire farriers Philip Carney and Joey Marks spent hours trimming and fixing the hooves of each of the big horses.
"They certainly needed it," Carney said.
The horses were led into a stock and sedated while the men worked, pulling the horses' hooves up onto the stock one-by-one and taking to them with grinders and other farrier tools.
It was the first of what Nevins Farm Barn Manager Gia Barss said would be several trimmings that would help repair the horses' hooves, as well helping to prevent infections and determine if there were any other issues with their feet.
"This is a great start," Barss said. "It looks kind of dramatic with the power tools going on, but it just speaks to how much work had to be done with their feet."
As the horses continue with their care at Nevins Farm, their medical bills are adding up. The MSPCA has set up a donations page online for anyone who would like to contribute to the horses' care at http://www.mspca.org/drafthorses.
The MSPCA will soon be looking to place the horses into new homes. For more information on adopting the horses, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Lisa Kashinsky on Twitter @lisakash23.