August 5, 2013
The 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.
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.
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.
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