This past May, Shelly Jones, Executive Director of 'Helping Horses Alabama,' got a strange phone call from a school bus driver in Bibb County. Jones was surprised to hear about a report of a 'three-legged horse.'
When she arrived, she met Pogo, a miniature horse who had lost his left hoof due to injuries sustained in an attacked by wild dogs in December. Jones named Pogo after he way he hopped on three legs like a pogo stick and the name stuck. Although, Pogo was in bad condition, Jones could tell he had a tremendous will to live.
"It's miraculous that he survived for six months with that injury with no medical care," said Lindsey Boone, assistant clinical professor of equine services and sports medicine.
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A temporary prosthesis was made for Pogo after he had lost virtually all muscle in his leg. The current, more permanent prosthesis was made by Hanger Clinic in Opelika after measurements were done and a mold of Pogo's led was made.
The thing that stood out about Pogo's prosthetic was its design. The prosthetic was covered in comic book super heroes.
"I chose that because he's a super pony and he demonstrated unbelievable power and a will to survive." Jones said.
Pogo, once very afraid of humans is now more confident and mobile thanks to the efforts of the school of Veterinary Medicine. His whitish-blond mane and bright blue eyes really captivate everyone in the room.
Although Pogo was a bit nervous surrounded by reporters, his curious nature got the best of him and his proud, super hero-esque personality shined through.
As Pogo walked up and down a small nearby hill for his physical training, you could tell he was making steady progress and he himself could tell.
"The biggest thing I think we can learn from him is that some of the exercises we use for human physical therapy, we can also integrate those into Pogo's routine as well," Boone said. "Dynamic mobilization exercises that are important to reestablish those muscle groups."
Auburn itself puts a big emphasis on equine research, examples such as cancer and stem cell research have paved the way for the University to become a leader in equine studies.
The plan is for Pogo to progress in his physical therapy and eventually become a therapy animal for people with special needs or fellow amputees to show them that with enough determination and fight, they can overcome and achieve anything.