A Note of Thanks ~ It should be clear that no matter how sincere the intent and how passionate the call to do so, there would be no rescuing of horses in need without foster farms and caregivers willing to take them in. When I began calling for volunteers to take on these horses – phone in one hand, hay nets and spare halters in the other while trying to hitch the truck and trailer, I wasn’t sure I could reach enough people fast enough to keep me from trying to shoe-horn them into the facility at Trinity Farm. It would have worked but….
What an amazing thing to hear someone, with a busy barn and all that entails, instantly respond to my query with “sure, I can take one”! Especially when that ‘one’ is a stallion with questionable behavior, or when ‘one’ becomes ‘two’ because the horses are already bonded with each other and it would add to their stress to separate them. Or – the ‘one’ is so emaciated that the sight of her carefully backing off the horse trailer into a packed Friday night of lessons/boarders and parentsofsmallchildren instantly stops activity, causes hands to fly over mouths and emotion to trickle down cheeks. We seem to be surrounded by such ‘someones’ in Central Ohio, are continually blessed by them and we could not function without them.
Hope, Grace, Faith and a Pirate?!
It is my belief that horses become accustomed to the names we attach to them. Consequently, I almost never change the name of a horse that comes into my care – even if I think the name is really awful. However, when horses come to us out of the misery that these horses have shared, we change their names to symbolize and lend emphasis to the start of a new and better chapter in the book of their lives. In these next paragraphs, I am pleased to introduce you to “Hope”, “Grace”, “Faith” and “Pirate”.
With great relief, and a few quiet tears, Loraine Teets, (a Shepherd’s Corner board member and serious friend to all animals) and I drove the two trailers carrying the surrendered horses to the first stop, Carol Rennecker at her Hunter’s Creek Equestrian Center.
Carol has fostered horses for us before and is one of the kindest souls I know. Her barn is full of similarly wired boarders, students, trainers and helpers and I knew that they would surround the fragile little palomino mare, re-named ““Hope”, with great tenderness and excellent care. As noted above, Hope’s arrival momentarily stopped activity on the busy Friday evening. Emotions ranging from shock to dismay to outrage burst onto the faces of those present. It is a credit to Carol and her people that all of them chose to pour their emotion into quietly situating their new charge as comfortably and efficiently as possible and into commitment to help her in whatever way possible going forward.
Our second stop was at Dianne and Dave Pontia’s Bascom Hill Farm. Dianne is a DVM and has attended rescues with The Shepherd’s Corner in her professional capacity, lending us her expertise to assess horses on site for general condition and ability to travel. We prepare on-site notes and Dianne does more thorough follow-ups once the horses are secure in their foster situations. She had arrived on site with us earlier in the day and, after assessments were made, had gone home to prepare a stall for the little stallion, the foster she had agreed to take.
Loraine and I arrived at Bascom Hill Farm and unloaded the gaunt, but dignified, stallion. Loraine walked him to his freshly bedded stall and released him. We watched as he ambled slowly around the spacious stall, nibbled a bit of hay here, took a sip of water there and finally, eased himself onto the shavings and rolled. With a deep sigh, he paused, rolled up on his sternum, then tried and failed to rise. He opted to remain deep in shavings, quietly tucked in and resting. As he seemed to be at peace and in understandable need of rest after his day of travel and change, we opted to let him do so, and Loraine and I left him in Dianne’s excellent care to deliver our next two equine treasures. Dianne relates that when she came out later to check on him, he accepted a bit of help to rise and resumed concentration on eating, drinking and healing. How he came to his new name “Pirate” is a story for Dianne to tell – but ask her, its a cute one.
Our last stop was at Joan Promen’s beautiful Bookmark Farm. Joan had graciously made two spots available in her barn for us. Once we realized that the two black and white mares following each other around in the dry lot were to be surrendered to us, it seemed clear that the two spots were to be filled by them. As noted before, it had taken some time to get both horses on the trailer. However, once on, the little mares seemed committed to staying on the trailer, even after we had arrived at Bookmark Farm! It took another half hour or so to coax “Grace” and “Faith” down the ramp and a bit longer to convince them that their stalls (right next to each other) only contained good things. To be clear, they were not overly fearful, just unsure – and eventually accepted the assurances offered that life (and their accommodations) had indeed taken a turn for the better. When we left them, they were standing in deep shavings, had discovered their water buckets and were fully engrossed in demolishing their piles of hay.
As evening began reaching toward night, Loraine and I said our ‘goodbyes’ to Joan, her sister Annie and the small group of interested people speaking quietly outside the stalls of the two little mares. We cleaned out the trailer borrowed from wonderful Sharon Chappelear (who was actually using her trailer when I called asking to borrow it, hurried home, filled it with fresh shavings and hay so we could have it!), returned it and went back to Trinity Farm to finish up evening chores there.
Weary, drained, deeply saddened by so much of what we had seen this day – buoyed by the outpouring of help and hearts, grateful that four horses were seeing a better night, grieved over the ones remaining in the dirt lot – and for those in similar straits yet undiscovered. I wish I could tell you that a glass of wine and a good night sleep returned my heart’s balance. It didn’t, but we continue to be uplifted that so many others share these emotions, and are willing to do what they can, when they can – to help. This certainty, hand-in-glove with the sure knowledge that there are other horses, in other dirt lots – patiently waiting for hay, water, and attention that might never come, keep us going. Stephanie and Loraine
If you are interested in joining us in our efforts, this link will take you to a page of our website dedicated to the horses we are helping. It shares further information about The Shepherd’s Corner and also offers a link to donate funds through PayPal. http://theshepherdscorner.org/horses.html
Other donations of materials and time, or any questions may be addressed by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com