The Resurrection of a Horse

About as thin as a horse can get and still be alive

August 5, 2013

IMG_1967The horse was struggling in the dust, trying his best to at least sit up instead of lying flat out. There was not much life left when we arrived, another skin and bones case of total neglect. Stuck in a dirt paddock and left to starve with no access to any food, it was easy to see that the small spark of life was almost gone. Someone finally called us and, after one brief look, we called the cops. Within the hour, we had the judge’s signature on the warrant and the horse, who stood briefly but collapsed again, on the glide and on the way to the vet clinic.

Four days in the Anderson sling, lots of IV fluids, special feeding (a handful six times a day ), medications, shots, and one morning he decided he was strong enough to walk on his own. As soon as we released him from his straps, he walked out the barn door and straight to the hay bale. Except for a drink of water, I don’t think he moved for a week.

Court was a joke. Maybe you remember when I wrote about it, because the owner showed up blistering mad. First he claimed ownership, then yelled at the judge, “That ain’t my damn horse!” He stormed out of the courtroom and into the hands of the police, who escorted him to jail. A convicted felon, he later made an attempt to kill one of our employees by running him down with his truck.

About as thin as a horse can get and still be alive

About as thin as a horse can get and still be alive

But that’s about the bad guy. The real story is about the transformation of the horse. I’m not sure who first mention the word “resurrection,” but it applied so well that the name stuck. We called him “Rezzie.” It was nothing short of a miracle to see life his turn around so drastically. I’m never in favor of adding pounds to a bone thin horse just to make them gain weight fast. It isn’t a game to see how quickly they return to something considered normal, and the vets agree – do it slow, let the cells rebuild, build the muscle tissue as the strength returns. Given a few months of intense care, the body will do the work as long as the human provides the ingredients.

One of those ingredients is love, and Rezzie got a lot of that. He would visit every volunteer that stepped through the gate, and check every pocket along the way for any hidden carrots. Once he learned the secret trick that rolling in mud meant getting a long bath and complete grooming, his twice daily mud rolling became a habit. Rezzie found that humans weren’t all bad, and that he was good, and that attracted the eye of the person who one day came into the office and said, “I’d like to adopt Rezzie.” When we heard those words, there wasn’t a dry eye in the office.

Part of this work is hard. Horses don’t always make it and, far too many times, I’ve seen those as close to death as Rezzie crash when they get to the ranch. It’s almost like they wanted to stay alive long enough to know that are safe, then they feel okay about letting go. Rezzie was there, at the turning point. A few hours later and we would have been too late. It was truly a resurrection, covered by more than a few prayers, tears and private hugs from employees and volunteers alike.

Rezzie today

Rezzie today

Most of the articles posted here are about the insanity of horse slaughter, about people who treat horses like so much garbage. They are the 20% who will never understand what it feels like to be around a horse. I spend a lot of time posting those stories, trying to keep everyone up on the battles as the occur. Those battle concern all of us, but they get so repetitious over the years that who said what really does’t matter. The real story happens in rescues large and small, from Florida to Maine to Seattle to Southern California. The mental and physical healing, the recovery and the resurrection occurs one horse at a time.

We’ve been doing this for fifteen years, and all of it has been done through the financial support of people like you. So take a look at Rezzie and let your mind hear him say, “Thank you.” You guys did this, you who sent the checks, who clicked the PayPal button, who dropped by the office with the envelope. Rezzie thanks you and I certainly thank you.

"Thank you."

“Thank you.”



Habitat for Horses is a 501.c.3 nonprofit equine protection organization supported solely by donations. As of today, we have 185 donkeys and horses under our care, plus two ornery, old mules. Most of them are here because law enforcement removed them from their previous owner. Our ability to rehabilitate and rehome them comes from the financial support of people like you. Please support us by making a donation for the horses we all serve. Click HERE to donate



AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Linda Parker-Fedak

    What a beautiful boy! And a wonderful comeback story. Every horse lover reading this must be in tears. Me too! So happy for his recovery. He looks wonderful! Thank you to everyone involved! May you all feel the blessings of all of those who helped. To the rescue person, please give this wonderful boy some extra loving from all of us who care so much!

    August 5, 2013
  • Robyn

    I love this story!….

    Rezzie was a lucky horse when Jerry came along….He looks Wonderful..

    August 5, 2013
  • karen

    Thank you for saving this precious life and all the wonderful work you do helping horses.

    August 6, 2013
  • Liz Steele

    I know this story well and I still cried when I read it. Rezzie lives with me now and owns a piece of my heart and soul. Thank you Jerry for all you do. I am so blessed to be a part of Habitat for Horses as a volunteer as well as an adopter. I am grateful.

    August 6, 2013
  • Arlene

    WOW he looks awesome !!!! How very wonderful Jfinch, he is magnificent !!!! Thank You for all you do !!!!!!! Hes back from the brink , how well deserved !!!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    I sure am in tears, it is such a heartwarming story about a very lucky boy, and he is gorgeous…. You see we all know slaughter has nothing to do with the people who just don’t have a clue when they abuse an animal, there are just so many that should never ever own any animal… Slaughter will never fix that… Thank you indeed to all that helped this beautiful boy and so many more, THIS is what we need to do with the money the Gov. wants to spend on slaughter ( $400,000 ) instead help rescue’s stop running away from them, fighting them, WORK with each other, WOW how hard would that be???? Maybe someday soon this will happen, I HOPE>>>>

    August 6, 2013
  • mary Gardner

    This is a wonderful story! I love horses and so happy he is getting all the love he can handle!!

    August 6, 2013
  • Sue

    Jerry, thank you and all your volunteers for everything you do.

    I know you love success stories. Theresa at Beauty’s Haven here in FL just rescued one who could not stand at all. Betsy Rose was rescued on Flag Day (June 14) and has come a long way since. She is nearly standing on her own, loves to graze and is very much loved.

    Also, a heads up on a potential problem adopter (from Remember Me Rescue):

    August 6, 2013
    • Karin Buckham

      we have been aware of Betsy Rose for month, another neglected & starved horse, making small steps and cared for by Theresa at Beauty Haven.

      August 7, 2013
  • Linda Taschereau

    What a beautiful story ! Thank you for sharing that 🙂 Sure nice to see some good news about horses/burros .Am an advocate & it has been hard to do & frustrating , to say the least !!BTW Wonderful job there pretty horse 🙂

    August 6, 2013
  • Jeri

    WOW! Sometimes there are no words and THANK YOU is so insufficient. Each story like this makes me tear up but each story is important because it’s about beautiful souls of both the survivor and the ones who helped him to survive. God bless each one of you….and Rezzie ~ may you have a long, long life filled with love in your new forever home.

    August 6, 2013
  • Kathy McCovey

    THANK YOU for healing Rezzie, and all the others that have come before and after him!
    May God continue to bless you and your crew!

    August 6, 2013
  • Kristin Logan

    So beautiful…A GREAT STORY!!

    August 6, 2013
  • sherriey

    he is so beautiful!!!!
    what can i say…but THANK-YOU and your staff for all of what you guys do….without you a there would be a huge void in this world…and a lot of sad horses and people like us here…Jerry, you are a gift!
    God bless you and your staff…

    August 6, 2013
  • Cathleen Trope

    Jerry, you rock. That’s all.

    August 7, 2013