We were in the area of Vratsa and had driven up the mountain to go for a walk to a waterfall, near a small ski resort called Parshevitsa. In this part of the mountains the snow was melting fast. The roads were mostly clear and most meadows were free of snow as well. At about one o’clock pm, we drove off the main road and on to a small road. At the end of this road our walk would begin. After a few hundreds meters we saw a small group of horses at the side off the road near a stack off hay, one of the horse was lying on his back, moving his legs in the air. At first sight it looked like a horse having a good roll around, like horses do sometimes. But it quickly lay completely still and when we got nearer with the van, we saw that this horse was definitely not enjoying itself. It was lying on the very wet road and there was blood around it. First I thought maybe it was a mare, giving birth, but it turned out to be male. The horse was clearly suffering. If it had been a small animal, I would have taken it to the vet straight away. But that is not possible with a horse and we don’t know much about horses. But we did know that it was in urgent need of help. So we quickly drove to the two buildings near the ski slope. Using google translate we made clear what the problem was. But not their horse, not their problem. They couldn’t care less and didn’t know what to do either. From the main road we had seen a small building near the horses and drove back. We didn’t find help there, but we did find a dead horse lying around! We had seen quite a few very skinny horses already in the area. They have owners but not carers… The sick horse was still lying on the road and clearly in agony and it was horrible to see and not being able to help.
We tried calling two animal welfare organisations we found online, but their numbers were not working any more. We found one veterinarian in Vratsa online and called them. They weren’t coming up the mountain to help either, but gave us the number of an organisation that could help. We called this organisation, they gave us another number, we called them, they gave us another number… In the mean time I had found another organisation online, Animal rescue Sofia (ARS); https://arsofia.com . But they didn’t have a telephone number online. I send them an email but was worried they wouldn’t read it soon enough. We even tried calling the local police but they didn’t pick up. We decided to drive down, perhaps we could find help there. Leaving the horse just lying there was awful, but we had no choice.
After a few kilometres, we stopped at the first house that looked occupied. A man opened the front door, but looked rather annoyed about the disturbance. We explained the problem, he couldn’t care less either, but when I showed him the location of the horse, he nodded and made the sign for a telephone call, then slammed the door in my face. We didn’t feel the horse was going to get help soon. It was now two pm. We were feeling miserable and also angry about the lack of help and care! I checked my mail and saw a response from ARS! With a telephone number. I quickly called and explained the situation. The man promised to call back soon, while he would organise some help. And he did call back and said they were coming, but it would take at least an hour and a half to get there. So we drove back up to wait for them at the beginning of the road. The horse was still alive and so sad to see. Every time it tried to get up, it would bang his head on the road. I tried to support its head but he was too strong so I had to stop, for my own safety as well as that of the horse. At four pm a van from ARS arrived with three people. What a relief to see them! And one of them was a vet, thank goodness. They examined the horse and started giving it a painkiller and something to calm him. They put a blanket under his head and a halter on him so now we were able to hold his head on the blanket. Then another car arrived, it was the owner of the horse. He didn’t look pleased, but slowly he started to help a bit. Apparently he hadn’t know his horse was sick. The vet also started to give the horse IV fluid through a vain in his neck and more medication. But the horse was still in very poor condition and wasn’t getting up. It couldn’t stay on the wet road in the very cold air either. Fortunately the owner had a horse trailer and went to get it. With a lot of effort and everybody’s help, we managed to push and drag the horse in the trailer. The ARS gave the owner a lot of IV fluid and were going to keep in touch, the owner said he was going to call his own vet. It was half past six in the evening, we were tired, very cold and covered in mud and manure. The owner was going to take the horse to his stable, we drove off to our camp site and the people from ARS back to Sofia.
We kept in touch and on the third day we got some good news: the horse was standing again! And now, nine days later the horse is fully recovered :)))) We are animal rescue Sofia thankful, they drove a long way and did everything they could to help the horse. All for free. They fully depend on donations. We donated of course. Hopefully you will too. Their website is available in English as well. https://arsofia.com/donate/