The Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) rescue horses in La Peñita had a special visitor on Friday afternoon. Dr. David El Fego Flores Alcalde, a veterinarian from Zacatecas, came to brand the horses using a “new to the area” method. Instead of marking the animals with a red-hot branding iron like we are used to seeing in the movies, Dr. David used a painless method of freezing the new J.E.E.P. heart logo onto the horses.
Each horse was tied off and separated from the others just outside their stable doors.
The area to receive the branding was carefully measured and marked off using the newly manufactured stainless steel branding iron as a guide. It was washed with soap and water, and then lubricated with more soap for the shaving process.
George Leavitt, J.E.E.P. Founder, had the branding iron made at a local blacksmith shop.
It is interesting to note that upon shaving Alma, we noticed that the skin under her light-colored coat of hair, was almost totally black.
The next step was to sanitize the area with alcohol to prevent any infections.
Dr. David then gave each of them a light tranquilizer injection to help minimize any possible jumping around in case the horses got spooked during the actual branding process.
Hermosa was the only one to be totally against the whole idea. I could almost hear her saying, “Hey you guys, just leave me alone… okay?” Flash, Billy Biscuit, Canelo, Alma and Peso were not necessarily willing participants either, but they were much more manageable.
After the tranquilizer kicked in, it looked like siesta-time around OK Corral (aka Hilltop Refugio).
The stainless branding iron was methodically submerged in liquid nitrogen at -196 °C (-321 °F) for a few minutes before each branding.
The branding iron (see top photo) was then carefully applied to the shaved patch on each horse. The tranquilizer was used so that the iron could be held steady into position for approximately one minute.
It took about 30 minutes to finish the branding of the six horses. The skin will blister, scab and fall off. In about a month, the hair will grow back white to show off the new J.E.E.P. “heart” logo.
Dr. David donated his time and expertise to the J.E.E.P. cause and only charged for the medication and nitrogen used.
I am excited to see the white hair logos on these beautiful horses.
by David Thompson
About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)
Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)
Your donation will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for our rescue horses. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.