Last year, Habitat for Horses rescued over 350 horses from situations involving abuse and neglect. While some of the damage might have been caused by a lack of money or knowledge on the part of the owner, it all resulted in a horse coming close to death. The horse entered our gates asking for help, for one more chance, and that chance was given because of our supporters who opened up their hearts and checkbooks.
During the same year, Habitat for Horses found adoptive homes for 330 horses. These homes are inspected every six months, just to insure that the horses are safe, that any problems can be addressed and that both the adopter and the horse are happy. That’s our commitment to the horses we bring in – that they never again will suffer the pains of starvation or the horror of abuse.
In the process, we’re building the most active, and certainly the largest, equine protection organization in the United States. We’re actively involved with the Homes for Horses Coalition to establish minimum operating standards for the equine rescue community throughout the country. This year our goal is to adopt out 400 horses while still maintaining the assurance that the adoptive homes are the best we can find.
The stories are endless, many very sad, like the story of a horse we called “Amazing Grace,” a paint mare found tied to the bumper of a pickup truck for days on end without food or water. Minutes after she was signed over to us, we put her to rest because a massive cancer had taken over her body. The pain she endured must have been unbelievable, but we brought her to a place of peace I her final hours. Sadly, that was all we could do for her.
There are others like Lou, the almost dead stud that hid in the trees, afraid of being attacked by dozen other studs as several of his friends had been. For the first few days under our care, we had serious doubts that he would live, but Lou is now a strong, healthy gelding, ready for his new home.
And those two horses I mentioned? Brandywine and Dancer, both were close to death when we got them. Brandywine was left at a vet’s office to be euthanized and Dancer was taken from the kill pens at Sugarcreek Auction House in Ohio and shipped to us by one of our members.
Just a few weeks ago, we brought in another horse, one so close to death that it went straight to the vet clinic for emergency treatment. The mean-spirited owner had put a halter on Pegasus upside down and tightened it so tight that the horse could not open his mouth. The buckle had broken into the sinus cavity, leaving the horse unable to eat or drink. We arrived just in time.
Our Intensive Care barn is now operational, containing a complete operating room and lab so that we can save more of the lives of those weaken horses that pass through our gates. We need to train more investigators, be of a greater assistance to law enforcement, find more foster and adoptive homes, bring horses to schools so children can learn the stories of animal ownership and responsibility – all this while providing for the horses currently under our care – almost 280 of them, each needing daily feed and hay, medications, dental and hoof care. It takes a lot, but it’s worth doing, because otherwise they would never have a chance.
We can’t do all this without your help. While our hands do the work, it’s your dollars that buy the vaccines, pay the vets, feed and medications. Together, we can and will make it happen. That’s why I’m coming to you and making a personal appeal. We are making a difference and with your support, we will continue to be a positive force in the lives of hundreds of horses.
President of Habitat for Horses