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Animals: Finding Joy in Rescue Horses

Joined: 4/28/2015
Posts: 2
About four years before my parents' friend, Bill, passed away, I began spending weekends helping him with his beloved herd of Paso Fino horses. Bill was nearly 80, getting more frail every year and struggling to care for the herd that kept growing each year. The market for them had declined as the economy struggled. One stallion ran with the herd and fathered a dozen colts a year. Bill was no longer able to feed them all with the hay produced on his place and money got tighter with each passing season. There were too many on the pasture and the grass was scarce.
Together we removed the stallion from the field and began marketing the horses on Facebook with a special page set up for them. The Spring before Bill passed away, there were over 90 horses on the ranch. In December when he died, the herd was down to 70.
When Bill died, his daughters did not want to keep the horses and made the decision to donate them to a private children's home that wanted to "run them through the sale barn" to make money for their own horse program. For horses that are untrained and of a breed not common here, that was a certain trip to the slaughter house. I knew how much Bill had loved his horses and maintained quality breeding stock even though he had let the herd get far too large. I fought his daughters as best as I could while caring for the beautiful animals. Finally they decided to give them all to me along with his pick-up and trailer. The cost to feed them was now all mine. Thankfully they sold the ranch to my youngest son at a reasonable price thereby guaranteeing the horses a safe home until other arrangements could be made for them.
The first few years were a huge financial burden and the horses care took more time than I could have imagined. Some of the older ones died that first year while younger ones perished of unforeseen illnesses, injuries, and cancer. My heart broke every time we lost one.
The Facebook page generated a great deal of interest resulting in nearly 30 horses finding carefully selected new homes. The herd is still larger than I would wish (I am "down" to about 30 still suitable for new homes), but they still bring me joy each time I see them at the ranch. I know all their names and their ranks within the herd. I have halter trained many of them and still have quite a few to go, but there is progress made each year in finding new homes for them all over the country. I have delivered or sent horses to Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana and Wyoming. I have met so many wonderful, caring people who find places in their hearts and corrals for these special animals. I have been truly blessed!
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Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
I know next to nothing about horses other than Paso Fino horses are are you. Good luck finding homes for the rest.
Posted: Friday, May 1, 2015 1:24:28 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your April 2015 Animal / Pet Story being selected as our winning adult essay. Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story about rescuing horses and finding them suitable homes.

We will be contacting you by the end of the week via your registration email about prize details.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Monday, May 18, 2015 7:28:27 PM
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