Case Study: Zoe’s Recovery From Near Emaciation

The story that will follow is about a horsewomen, Marie, who adopted an older mare to save her life. The initial photographs of this mare are gut-wrenching and one’s initial response questions how anyone could allow a horse or any animal to be so neglected.

Then there are horse people like Marie. Her compassion, persistence, and devotion drove her to do the right thing. Stories like this are an inspiration to all horse owners. Marie, thank you for sharing your journey with Zoe.
– Dr. Robert E. Bray

This is my mare, Zoe. My equine vet estimated her age between 20 to 25 years old and we all agree she is a fighter!


By sheer luck and good will, Zoe was found and rescued by a couple in Tehachapi, CA on February 8th, 2015. She had been dumped in the field of an abandoned house. This couple told me that she was so weak that they weren’t sure she would make the one hour trailer trip to their house. They cared for her until I adopted her on March 25th. They were unable to continue her recovery and I just wanted to give her a chance at a happy, healthy life.

I have been riding since I was 3 years old, but having never seen a horse in this condition, I almost got physically sick when I first saw her.

When I brought her home, she was barely BCS 2, had a long orange coat, scabs all along her spine and other parts of her emaciated body, frayed hoofs, and she smelled! I remember thinking, “What did I get myself into?”

My first goal was to assess her health and obviously feed this girl. After a visit from my fantastic equine vet (Erica Maulhardt), a Panacur Power Pack, and blood tests, Zoe got a clean bill of health. There was basically nothing wrong with her except for her alarming weight. Her teeth desperately needed to be floated—she was unable to chew—but we couldn’t to do it due to her weight.

With this good news, I went to my feed store.

The clerk recommended the Integrity brand, but wasn’t sure which one. He put me in touch with my now hero and Zoe’s Angel: Dr. Bray, who is a remarkable equine nutritionist. He recommended Integrity Lite, and guided me with infinite patience and kindness through the process of re-feeding Zoe. That day, I also bought small hay pellets, salt, and Integrity Rice Bran.

I fed Zoe in small amounts, 6 times a day, for the first 10 days. I mixed the Integrity Lite, the Hay pellets, Rice Bran and salt, then added water to an “oatmeal consistency”. Zoe would devour the soft mixture. I would increase it very slowly every day (about 1/2 a pound). I continued this formula for 3 weeks in larger amounts. By mid-April (3 weeks later), she started shedding her long coat and looked horrible, but she was slowly putting on weight. Her vitality level was way up. Her head was finally up and she started to run at every opportunity.

It has now been a month and a half, and she is unrecognizable. This is after 5 bags a day of Integrity Lite, love and daily exercise.

She’s now about BCS 4. Her ribs are invisible and she has a shiny new coat and is the happiest, most loving mare. Zoe still has some weight to go, but is now able to handle her teeth being floated. So I expect her to put weight on even faster once she is able to chew hay.

Dr. Bray knowledge and Star Milling’s Integrity line of products saved Zoe’s life. So to all involved in her recovery, a heartfelt, “Thank you!” from me and Zoe.

Marie Sebastien-Tavitian,
Woodland Hills, CA

Zoe - March 8, 2015

March 8, 2015

Zoe - March 15, 2015

March 15, 2015

Zoe - April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

Zoe - April 19, 2015

April 19, 2015

Zoe - April 25, 2015

April 25, 2015

Zoe - May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Zoe - May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015

Zoe - May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015

Zoe - July 11, 2015

July 11, 2015