“It ain’t my damn horse.”


IMG_1968The call came in on January 30th – about a very skinny horse that’s down and couldn’t get up. A few minutes later I was standing next to a 20 something bay mare stretched flat out on the cold, wet ground, about as thin as a horse could get and still be alive. In the same pen was an Appaloosa, not quite as thin but going downhill fast.

Sometimes I don’t even bother to ask questions. There is no excuse for this type of starvation, nothing the owner could say that would cause me to think he was even trying. Two hours later, with a signed warrant for seizure in hand, the ranch crew put her on a slide and transported her back to the ranch, along with the Appaloosa. Shortly after that she was in the Anderson sling, munching down on her first bites of hay. The Appaloosa was in a stall, doing the same thing.

Under Texas law, we’re able to do a civil case totally separate from any criminal proceedings, that allows the court to decide within ten days if the animal has been cruelly treated. After a delay of a few days, the court was held today.IMG_2077

Three officers, an Assistant DA and myself presented the case before the Judge, complete with pictures, vet statements, blood work, diagrams – everything we needed to prove beyond any doubt that the mare and her pasture mate were in bad shape.

All it really took were the pictures, but to be fair, the Judge asked the defendants questions.

On the Appaloosa, “Did you feed the horse?”

“Every day. I work all night and live 40 miles away.”

Judge: “When do you feed her?”

“In the afternoon, about 1.”

Mare & Appaloosa - WARRANT-SEIZURE -Texas City 1-30 and 31-13 030Judge: “So you drive home, sleep, drive down here, feed the horse, drive home, then drive back to work?”

“I just want my horse back.”

On the bay mare, owned by a different person, “Do you have anything to say?”

“It ain’t my horse.”

Judge: “Who does the horse belong to?”

“Some lady give it to me.”

Judge: “And where is she?”

“She moved somewhere else.”

Judge: “If she gave you the horse, then the horse belongs to you.”

“It ain’t my horse.”

The Judge awarded both horses to Habitat for Horses, leaving one defendant mumbling that it “ain’t my damn horse” and the other defendant waiting to get his horse back, which isn’t going to happen. Both will be facing criminal charges.

At the ranch, the horses standing around the hay bale will need to move over a few feet to make room for two more. These two are now in sanctuary: a place of rest and recuperation, a time to replenish their weak, starved bodies and to restore their souls.

We have no way of knowing where they came from, but we will know where they go after they are healed. Somewhere there is a family for each of them, a family that knows how to feed, care for, respect and love one of God’s greatest creatures.

I repost a lot of stories about what is happening in the horse world. That’s important to all of us, but sometimes the story is right here. These are the horses that are struggling, that try to make sense of man’s world. Often beaten, often starved, neglected, yelled at, ridden hard, denied water, denied even a spark of attention, they come through these gates as shadows of what they could have been in the right hands.

Our job starts with a soft touch on the cheek and hopefully ends when the same horse, now healthy and happy, jumps in a trailer and leaves for a new home. It might take two years, but it’s worth every dollar and every moment.

Over on the right side of the page is a blue bar that says, “Click here to donate now.” Everything we do, from buying feed to going to court to keeping this website up depends on those who click on that bar. Otherwise, we’re out of business.

A pat on the back feels good, but it never paid a bill. To keep doing what we need to do, we need your financial support. Please don’t wait. Do it now.

The horses thank you,

Jerry Finch

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Vicki Freiberger

    Jerry Finch, you are an angel!

    February 12, 2013
    • Judy Lane

      Thank you Jerry for saing the horses.

      February 21, 2013
  • Viktoria KS

    Is there an ID on the bay mare? I’m always on the lookout for TB that were given away a farm I board at, to “allegedly good homes”. If she has a lip tattoo, please advise. Thank you.

    Tweeting the article for exposure for your cause. @NorthStar326326

    February 12, 2013
  • kandy

    Makes me sick i will be down to show some love… speaking of which.. thanks to Tom & the guys at habitat wht was one of the hardest days of my life! my Babydoll who was suffering,consumed by her age & condition 30 yrs . Dr Milton assited us throughout, she became ill in dec w/ celluititis being the big hearted gal she was she fought the good fight after 24 beautiful yrs the time had come, in the most humane way possible these good people”took care of her” after a long embrace we parted, I dont now what I’d have done with out all of them. so thanks to all who helped! Now I need ta et my butt down there & volunteer sme time! xoxo 4 all yall do!

    February 12, 2013
  • carlene

    Thank God for you guys…you are one of my rescues that I donate to…will def..keep you on my list and my prayers….thank you

    February 12, 2013
  • Margaret

    Geez, Jerry this about kills me. I am sorry. All my funds went to Laura for her lawsuits. And to Ginger. I am struggling to put on the table the rest of this month for myself.

    If the guy that said “It ain’t my damn horse” had any decency in him why didn’t he call HS or someone else out to fetch the mare?

    All I can do is thank you for the tremendous work you and your volunteers do everyday for the horses. I wish I wish I had a few extra dollars for you.

    February 12, 2013
  • Karen LaRue

    I have been praying for this outcome all day today. I have helped pick her up from the ground twice in the last 2 weekends. I am so happy to know that the courts made the right decision. Now you and Habitat can really concentrate on helping both of them to get well. I can’t wait to see them this weekend. May God provide many blessings to you Jerry. You are His gift to horses.

    February 12, 2013
  • vicki


    February 13, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    Praise God that there are people like you who can help these animals and give them a new life. Has the bay made it?

    February 13, 2013
  • Beverly Herzog.

    I JUST KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU JERRY. And if i lived in your neck of the woods, i would love to work with you and the horses. I have 4 resues that are now lovely as can be. Best to you always.

    February 13, 2013
  • ginger

    Prayers all week that this outcome would be two more buddies at the Barn!!!! Hooray now I can bring them carrots and apples this weekend!!!Thank you for all you and staff continue to do and May God Bless!!!

    February 14, 2013
  • Reading your story after being awakened by the howling and wailing of 2 pups abandoned on my place this am(4am).This makes 10 pups in the past 2 1/2 weeks.the first being a litter of 8.It is around 37o here.No excuse.I also am involved in horse rescue-currently have a foster mare-Lola in my barn.There is no excuse for starving an animal to death-period.Our laws are not so good in WV.Thank you for being a fellow Warrior-there are not nearly enough of us yet and far too many of them(abusers).The pups have setled into slumber with full bellies and a warm bed-I enjoy reading your posts and send Laura a little something to help her each month with the mustangs.Namaste’.Would love to meet you and Terry someday.

    February 16, 2013