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There’s still time to make your year end contribution!

What an incredible year 2019 has been for us here at Pony Tales. So much has happened that we could not even fit it all in a short video to share with you all, but we did try. See the video here. To fit all of it in though, we would almost need to make a movie! Just this year, 143 horses have found safety at our shelter. Safety from abandonment, abuse, neglect, and slaughter. Dozens of homes no longer need to worry that the horse that they had to give up for any number of reasons will fall into the wrong hands. And so many more horses will go to sleep on New Year’s Eve and wake up in the New Year in their new homes.

None of this would be possible without you all though. It is only because of you that so many found safety and comfort by the end of 2019 and can go into 2020 without a worry or care. Our goal in 2020 is to raise those numbers to more than 200 finding safety. The first auction of 2020 is coming up soon and we are ready to save more from the slaughter pipeline. But, we will need your help. There is still time to make your year end contribution to the dozens and dozens of horses out there that will need our help in 2020. With your help, we can make 2020 an even more amazing year than 2019!

Are you ready? Every little bit helps. Every $5 adds up. In fact, a majority of the donations in 2019 were $5 to $10 and look how many were saved. The horses are out there. They are asking for help. Please help us help them today while there is still time for you to receive a tax deduction for 2019. Thank you all. We truly would not be here without you. 🙂

We wish you all a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve and a new year of fulfilled dreams. Because of you, so many of our dreams were fulfilled in 2019. Please join us in our dreams for 2020.

Sincerely,

Cindy Prince, Founder/CEO

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Horse Rescue Heroes is already an award winning show!

We were so excited and happy to hear that after the reality TV show Horse Rescue Heroes, that we are proud to be a part of, premiered at the EQUUS Film Festival this weekend, that it had won the Winnie Award and we wanted to share the news with you all right away! However, Mother Nature had other plans…again…the reality of horse rescue…

This weekend in Wisconsin was beautiful, relatively speaking, as it was a weekend of balmy days in the mid-30s. There was much work to be done here, as always, and we took full advantage of the weather and got as much done as we could with the few hours of daylight we are provided with this time of year. We picked up more hay. We mended some fences. We were finally able to strip the stalls in the old barn (though the soft ground and 8 inches of snow made that rather difficult), but it allowed us to bring in some horses who…with the upcoming tank in temperatures…are most appreciative of. We got everything ready that we could prior to today to prepare everyone for this impending “polar vortex”.

There were a couple things that we could not get done prior to the storm today though. One…was filling water tanks to ensure that the horses had plenty of fresh water to help heat their “furnaces” in this upcoming cold. We could not put blankets on those who were going to need them as it was so nice the last few days that they would have become relatively ineffective with the drastic temperature drop…leading to sweating  under the blankets followed by sub-zero temps. Our only option was to wait until today…during the storm…

We started the day out bright and early, sure to get out and get the blankets on and the tanks plum full before the storm hit and the temps tanked. No sooner did we get the blankets on that the snow/sleet started. The skidsteer thankfully started and we were able to restock the feeders that had gotten low before it was too awful outside. Then came the water tanks…

Extension cords for the tank heaters that had not yet been needed, were buried in the snow. The water in the tanks was starting to get slushy and the temperatures were dropping by the hour. We brought out new extension cords (several of them running 100+ feet and a couple running close to 300). The snow and the wind was relentless, but we trudged along. Dragging our last existing extension cord out, we discovered that the circuit running the heaters to the paddocks by the new barn kept tripping. We had two options…keep plugging them in and hope they don’t trip and the water freezes…or reduce the number of heaters running off of them. The obvious decision was to reduce them, but that would mean larger stock tanks that could be “shared” by adjoining paddocks. So, it was time to be off to Farm & Fleet. The trip to Farm & Fleet for us is around 30 minutes in perfect weather conditions. However, we were under a “winter weather warning” and it was white-out conditions. But…we had no choice…

We made the journey, with several stops to break ice off our windshield wipers. The roads were a nightmare and vision was terribly impaired due to the snow, wind, and white-out conditions. We purchased 2 300 gallon tanks for the 4 paddocks to share (by having 1/2 on one side of the fence and the other half on the other). I don’t think the yard workers at Farm & Fleet were very happy to see us, but they did not complain and even helped us break the ice off and wrestle with the toneau cover so we could load the tanks into the truck. We eventually arrived back here safe and sound, but conditions had deteriorated quite a bit and we still had to get the fences situated to provide for the adjoining paddocks with one tank and still had to get those tanks up the big hill.

To pat myself on the back (even just a little…lol) I drug both tanks through the new barn and up the hill myself. Nate was gone pulling a sheriff’s deputy out of the ditch and conditions were getting worse by the minute. When Nate returned, he grabbed his tools and we got to work fixing the divider fences so that the tanks would fit underneath and allow ample access to the water. While all of this was going on, I was also dragging 300 feet of hose around through the snow (as it continued to get buried by more) to the other existing tanks. I then drug the 100+ feet of hose out to the paddocks by the new barn and began filling them. For a reference, a 300 gallon tank takes an hour and a half to fill here. No, I did not have to stand out there the entire time, but I did have to trudge through (by this point) almost a foot snow going back and forth from tank to tank…they are not close…and I had to fill 6 of them…

None of them were empty, other than the 2 new ones we put in today, but it will be very sub-zero both tomorrow and Wednesday morning. My 70+ year old mother typically comes out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to do chores. She spends hours at it just plucking away, taking her time, cleaning in the shop while she waits for tanks to fill, but…I would not wish this weather…and this work…on anyone in those temperatures…so, there was no way I was leaving any of this up to her to do the next couple of days.

For the better part of the day, my gloves were wet. Either from early in the day when my hands got sweaty inside them, or from as they got wet just handling the hoses. By the end of the day (7 1/2 hours) they were not just wet, but they froze from the cold. The wind was raw. Only adding to the cold temps as they continued to drop. The snow finally stopped, but then the sky began to clear. I felt, as I moved from water tank to water tank watching the clearing in the sky getting closer and closer, that I was in The Day After Tomorrow when the skies cleared and everything froze instantly. Obviously it wasn’t that bad here, but the urgency to get done had me running on full-throttle as my legs and my back screamed at me to stop. My feet went from sweaty and warm, to wet and frozen. There was little point in putting my soaking wet, frozen almost rock solid gloves on, other than to block the wind. But, in the end, just as the sky was getting dark…it all got done.

The 40+ horses and donkeys here…have ample food, water, and blankets as needed, to get them through this vortex. Why am I telling you all this??

Because this is reality. While the TV show will provide an amazing insight to the reality of horse rescue…this is something it will not show (only because it did not film during the winter up here). But, this is what horse rescuers endure all the time in the winter…in WI and the other northern states. Along with the emotional drain and just the mental struggles that rescuing horses requires…the physical labor aspect of it, is often forgotten….

In closing though, I would like to leave you all knowing that the horses here, that your donations and your support help provide for, are ready. We busted our butts the last few days to make sure (as much as is humanely possibly anyway) that they will get through this first polar vortex unscathed. That while we realize that every horse owner out there in the northern states (and every other rescue as well) is enduring the same weather…that rescue it is not just an emotional/wanting to help horses thing. It takes massive labor, long days, and exhausting physical effort to do. This is a huge part of the reality of horse rescue. I am exhausted. Both physically and mentally, but…I will be able to rest easy tonight and let my body recover…knowing that the 40+ horses here are provided for and not facing an uncertain future or freezing somewhere with no food or water. And THAT is what keeps us going….

Some worry that donations go to “pay” those running or working at a rescue. And, sometimes, they do. But, you know what…there was no one else here to do the work that we did today (or most any day for that matter). I don’t know anyone who would (other than my mother) without getting paid for it. So…if you worry that maybe your donation won’t “go directly to the horses” (even though none of us doing this work are getting paid)…just remember that if we don’t do it…who will…and our time, our labor, in addition to your donations, goes directly to the horses….

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Who REALLY makes a difference in the lives of the horses?

Pony Tales itself does not make a difference in the lives of the horses. Pony Tales itself does not make the world a better place for horses. Pony Tales, by itself, is nothing. Nothing other than the vehicle by which your generosity and your caring makes it possible to achieve great things for the horses out there in need.

When Pony Tales began, over 5 years ago, we had nothing but a dream and desire to help as many horses as we could. Our first year, we were only able to help 2 horses. In just the last year though, because of all of you, 139 horses have already found safety at our shelter. Just think about that for a minute. From 2 horses our first year, to 139 (and counting) in our fifth year. NONE of this could ever have happened without you. It is only as our support grew that we were able to grow. We truly are nothing without you all.

Going into our sixth year, we have the goal of helping at least 200 horses get to safety here. As always though, we cannot reach that goal without you. This is not a “job” for any one person. As always, this will be a team effort. We will need each of you on board and making it possible for us to help them. We have over 5500 followers on social media alone. Imagine what just $5 from each of you could do.

There’s still time to make your #GivingTuesday donations. Whether you can donate $5 or $5000, no amount is ever too small. You’re not helping Pony Tales with your donation…you are helping horses…and THAT is everyone’s goal.

Please Give Now!

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What can $5 and 2 minutes do?

Most everyone has $5 and 2 minutes to spare. A person would spend more time and more money in line at any restaurant, convenience store, mall, or even just sitting at their computer/phone/tablet. It’s not much and it doesn’t seem like much, but…just imagine what it could do for the horses out there in need…

#GivingTuesday begins in 5 hours. It is a global day of giving celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. To help raise awareness of charitable causes and amplify donors’ generosity, Facebook is matching up to $7 million in eligible donations made on Facebook during GivingTuesday 2019. Facebook’s match for GivingTuesday 2019 begins at 8:00 AM Eastern Time (5:00 AM Pacific Time) on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. Donations are matched dollar for dollar on a first-come, first-served basis until $7,000,000 USD in eligible donations are made on Facebook. This amount will be reached in SECONDS, so be sure to donate right away so your donation is matched!! When you donate using Facebook’s payments platform to a nonprofit organization, 100% of your donation goes to support the cause you care about. But…as a “small” organization in the grand scheme of things (compared to the Red Cross, etc), Pony Tales will not likely receive any of the matched donations via Facebook. So…

Rather than asking just our Facebook followers to donate $1 to reach our goal (hoping for the elusive Facebook match), we are reaching out to all of you…including our “silent” followers who have supported us every step of the way. Our supporters who do not want praise or notoriety for their generosity. Our supporters who just…want…to help…horses in need… What are we asking for? Not much. $5 and 2 minutes from each of you.

Your $5 and 2 minutes of time, will change the world for an exponential number of horses. Every $5 adds up and every 2 minutes gets us closer to winning $5,000 from the Markquart Gives Back campaign that started today and runs until Dec. 13. Your $5 will go directly to the rescue, care, and sheltering of so many horses and your 2 minutes voting for us will bring us ever closer to winning $5,000 that will also go to the rescue, care, and sheltering of (our goal) of over 200 horses in 2020. We do not ask for any more than this from any one of you. You have proven over and over again that every little bit adds up and that has made it possible for us to have already helped 139 horses just this year. Your $5 and your 2 minutes, will help so many more.

It’s just $5 and 2 minutes. And then you can sit back and watch what amazing things can happen with that…

Thank you all!!

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My name is Wesley

My name is Wesley. I understand that it is a very special name. I was named after the brother of one of Pony Tales’ supporters. Wesley (or Wes) served 2 terms overseas and was shot twice 6 days before deployment home. He almost lost his leg due to internal bleeding as the shots hit a main artery in his leg. Many surgeries and skin grafts later, he is doing well and living a normal life with a healthy son, when they told him he’d never have kids. I too had an injury to my leg. They say it looks like an old rope or fence burn. It doesn’t bother me, but at the auction, it made everyone turn away from me. Only the killbuyers saw my “value” at the slaughter plant. They bid back and forth and just when it looked like one of them was going to get me, I saw another arm pop up.

Worried that it was yet another killbuyer, I looked at the new bidder and saw so much kindness in her expression, but also worry. I could see she was as scared for what might happen to me as I was. As the killbuyers continued to bid against her, one of them finally dropped out, but one kept going. I could see the worry take over her face and I could sense that her heart was racing. Please don’t stop, I silently plead to her. I had already watched so many other horses get run out to crowded pens. I didn’t want to end up in one of them. But, she didn’t stop. And I didn’t get run into a crowded pen. I was moved out of the ring back into the pen that I had shared with one of my friends. His turn was next, and while I knew deep down somehow that I was already safe, I worried for him.

It was with great joy that he came back to our pen a few minutes later and I hoped that the same lady had saved him as well. We hung out there together and shared worried glances and tried to console each other as more and more horses were sent into the crowded pens. Soon, a veterinarian came over to us and a couple of others near us. He looked us over and poked us with a needle. The horses in the crowded pens were ran onto large trailers and we could hear them fighting and screaming and calling for those that were being left behind. I don’t know how long it was that we waited after the crowded pens were emptied, but it seemed like forever. We were beginning to wonder what was going to become of us and our heads began to lower when all of a sudden she came around the corner. She talked to us and smiled and told us everything was going to be ok, but you could see the sadness in her eyes. There were so many she wasn’t able to save, but she saved as many as she could.

And for that, I am forever grateful. Me and 3 other horses (and a couple of donkeys even!) were soon loaded onto a nice enclosed trailer so we would not get cold or wet on the drive home. It was a long drive home and it rained the entire time. Wind would blow the trailer around a bit and we would all get a little nervous, but she drove slow and careful and we all arrived safe. We were tired and hungry and were very thankful to get to lay down in fresh shavings in the barn after getting our dinner and fresh buckets of water. See my arrival video here. A couple of days later, she told me what my name would be and told me why. I am proud to be named after a real military hero and I will do my best to make him proud that I am named after him. Thank you kind lady for bringing me and my friend to safety. We are excited to see who you are able to save next! Though I do hope to have a home of my own soon! 🙂 See my adoption information here.

Wesley’s story is just one of 29 from the many we have saved from the slaughter auctions this year. Next year, we are hoping to save so many more. But, we will need your help. The first auction we will be attending is in the beginning of January and we are hoping to kick the new year off with a bang! #GivingTuesday is just 3 days away. See our fundraiser post here. Our goal is to raise $10,200 that will go to saving horses in the upcoming year. With your help, we will be able to save so many more Wesley’s (and their friends). No amount is ever too small. Please. Give Now!

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53 Horses Helped in 3 days, but…there’s more…

From Friday, November 15, 2019 at 10:23 a.m. to sunset on Sunday, November 17, 2019, 53 horses of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages passed through our gates. This was an event that had been in the making since we were awarded the Full Circle of Life Grant from Horse Plus Humane Society on May 1, 2019. The grant consisted of a check for $10,000 to go towards the construction of a new barn that we were so desperately in need of. But, while the funds were amazing and we will be forever grateful, the mentoring and emotional support that they provided during this time was far more valuable. This was hours and hours of work for not just us, but for them as well. Especially in the beginning. As time went on and we began to get our feet underneath us and were moving forward, we did not need to turn to them quite so often. But, whenever we did need them, they were there. I’m quite sure that some conversations and issues and struggles were discussed not just more than once, but likely numerous times as the wealth of information filled our minds to capacity and caused some of it to spill over at times. Lol. That did not matter to them though. And they were more than happy to help us move past each roadblock and get over every hurdle, even if it was repeating themselves time and again.

It takes very special people to do what they did for us over the last few months. So many times we would feel like we were “bothering” them with what, in the grand scheme of things, were not huge issues, but they were issues that were causing us to lose focus and distracting us from our goal. Each and every time though, they helped us regain that focus, even if it meant we just needed someone to vent to. They were there. They brought us down to their shelter in Tennessee for a week of filming for the upcoming reality TV show Horse Rescue Heroes, but primarily to give us the hands on experience that would help us continue to grow and move forward and get ever closer to our goal. This “boot camp” as we called it, taught us more than we ever could have imagined and gave us memories that will last us a lifetime. At a time for us where it seemed as though we were being blocked at every turn and feeling completely hopeless, they gave us hope again and showed us how to get around the roadblocks.

The surrender event this past weekend marked the “end” of the mentoring and the end of the filming for Horse Rescue Heroes. The number of volunteers that attended was mind boggling. We have never had so many people willing to donate their time and energy, especially on such a cold, snowy, slippery day to come out here and help. It shows the support that our mission has. The belief in what we are doing. The desire our followers have to truly help us help as many horses as we can. Every one of them was amazing. Some, lasted out in the cold longer than others. Some, didn’t seem to want to ever leave. Regardless of how long each volunteer lasted, they helped us help 53 horses. Because of their help, because of the mentoring from Horse Plus, because of our hard work the last few months, because of so much….53 horses are no longer in danger of ending up in the slaughter pipeline. And that is such an amazing thing, for not just the horses, but their owners as well. Watch a brief video here.

I want to end with this though: I am not good with words face to face. I get emotional and I don’t like people to see me cry, so I censor my thoughts and everything I am feeling, thinking, going through. So, this weekend, as we were wrapping up the surrender event and the filming of Horse Rescue Heroes and the mentorship from Horse Plus, we did short interviews, etc for the show. There was so much I wanted to say, but with people there right in front of me (and cameras right there as well…lol), I couldn’t do it. So, I am going to take this opportunity to do it and I hope with all my heart that they see this:

Tawnee. Jason. Everyone at Horse Plus that voted for us to receive this grant. You really have no idea how life changing it has been. I am already crying as I’m typing…lol…shocker, right?! Not only was this an amazing experience over the last few months, not only has our organization grown beyond our imagination already, not only do we now have the new barn we so desperately needed and had always been a dream since we opened our gates, but you made my biggest dream come true. My dream of rescue organizations working together. Helping each other. Supporting each other. We had three amazing organizations with the same goal participating this weekend, but to have such a large, established, amazing organization such as Horse Plus take us by the hand and not only help bring us out of troubled waters and help us get to where we are now and to be so comforting, understanding, and just overall completely amazing people, well…it restored my faith that there are organizations in the horse rescue world that truly have one goal: help as many horses as possible. And tearing each other down, trying to destroy others, is not helping any horses…

That has been a dream of mine for so long. And it has been crushed and stomped on and burned so many times…that to see it come true now…I don’t even have the words.

Thank you. For everything. I can no longer type as I can’t see through my tears anymore Lol. But…thank you. We are truly blessed because of you and your are truly blessed people. We cannot wait for the next Boot Camp! We will be there with bells on!!

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In 12 hours we will be on our way to the auction.

In just 12 hours our rescue team will be on our way to the auction. I need to get to bed. But, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to sleep. So many things are running through my mind right now. I can barely even form a clear thought. The auction. The horses here. The work here that needs to be done. The surrender event next weekend. The two horses picked up today that are on their way here. My husband. My dogs. You name it. I’m thinking about it. In just 12 hours, we will be pulling out of the driveway with an empty trailer. In just 12 hours, my husband and our friends will be outside in the cold working on getting the new barn ready for the surrender day next weekend. And I feel guilty not being here to help. I feel guilty that, besides that work, he will have to be in charge of the horses, the dogs, the everything that goes on around here on a daily basis. I feel like I should stay home….

But, we are going into winter here. Actually, sadly, we are pretty much in winter already. Temperatures have been 15-20 degrees below normal for weeks now. And so many people out there are not prepared, or are simply unable (for whatever reason) to get their horses through what is shaping up to be a nightmare of a winter. The surrender day will help. Some. It will help those that are willing to let their horses go for free, and even willing to pay a low-cost surrender fee, to be sure that they will not wind up in the wrong hands. But, those people are the exception to the rule. Most people, unwilling to, God forbid, PAY someone to take on the responsibility for their horse(s), will ship them to auction so they get “paid” for having ever even owned a horse. But, I digress….

Those are the horses that need our help tomorrow. Those are the horses that have me feeling like I’m skipping out on work around here tomorrow. But, they are calling to us. They need us. And we can’t let them down. We need to be there to help as many as we can. The work will always be here. But, their chance at a new life, won’t be. We must go to the auction.

My husband can handle it. If he couldn’t, it would be a different story. I would like to say that I will be thinking about him and our friends out there in the cold tomorrow, and I will. But, for the most part, I will be focused on the horses who are now lost and alone at the auction. Dumped off like they never even mattered to their family. Tossed away because their owner wanted to make a quick buck and didn’t care who that buck came from or where the horse would end up.

So, tonite, I will try to sleep. I will try to make sure I have a clear head tomorrow. I will try to keep myself from bringing home more than we can. But, it will be so hard. We are hoping to save five. But, so far, we have only raised enough to save three. There will be upwards of 50 horses looking at us for help tomorrow. We know we can’t save them all, but we need to try to save as many as we can. Please help us at least save the lives of 5 beautiful souls tomorrow while my husband and our friends bust their butts outside in the cold so we can help innumerable more next weekend. Please. Give now. We are doing everything within our power here. Can you help us do more?

 

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Where were you?

Timon was saved from the auction in July. He arrived terrified with two friends who looked almost exactly like him. They were all beautiful. Their owner explained they just didn’t have time for them anymore and brought them to the auction with little thought (or care) about what would happen to them. And then walked away. Their owner didn’t even stay to see what happened to them. They didn’t stay to “no sale” them if the highest bid was not high enough to keep them off the slaughter truck. They unloaded them, filled out the paperwork so they would be sure to get paid, and drove away. We watched as the trio was unloaded and the fear in their eyes was heart-breaking. But, they still had each other and they were put in a pen together. And they found solace in that.

We watched for the three to come through the auction ring, hoping that by the time they did that we would still have enough funds to save them all. Sadly, we did not. They did not come through until near the end and there had been numerous other horses before them that needed our help. When their turn came, we only had enough for one of them. When we won the winning bid, we had .2 seconds to pick which of the three would be safe and which two would not be. The tears welled up in our eyes and our throats tightened as we fought to hold back the tears. We hoped and prayed that a home would pick up the other two, but it was not to be. Timon was moved out of the ring and back to his pen while his 2 friends were ran straight out to the truck awaiting them. Our tears overflowed from our eyes as we heard them all calling to each other. Never to see each other again. Where were you?

Timon was a basket case when we went to load him. He tried desperately to get a glimpse of his friends and called and called to them as he paced back and forth in his pen. For a while, you could hear them calling back. But, soon the banging and clamoring and the heartbreaking sounds of the slaughter truck being filled with those we couldn’t help stopped. The engine fired up and the trailer noisily pulled away as the sounds of his friends calling back to him faded into the distance. He continued to look for them and call for them. But, they no longer answered. His fear only elevated when he could no longer hear them and our hearts broke for him as we saw the desperation and terror in his eyes. Where were you?

 

The auction is such a traumatic place for horses to begin with and then to watch a horse be separated from his friends, his rocks, his security, because we did not have the funds to save all three was a horror story within a horror story. Timon is doing well now and has a wonderful new life ahead of him, but we cannot help but think of the two friends he had and the horrible fate they suffered because we couldn’t help them too. All three could now have amazing new lives ahead of them, but we were out of funds. Out of funds. Where were you?

The auction is this Saturday and we are hoping and praying that we will not be put in this situation again. Please don’t make us choose which one of a trio of friends will live and which two will not. It is the stuff that keeps us awake at night as the sounds of their calls fading off into the distance haunt us. Will you be there for them this Saturday? Can they count on you to help us help them? Or will we once again be asking…where were you?

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Exactly 4 weeks from today, it will all be over…

Exactly 4 weeks from today, it will all be over…

Exactly 4 weeks from this moment, we will all huddle together.  We will cheer.  We will talk about how everything went.  We will laugh.  We will sit together in silence.  We will think about what happened over the last 48 hours.  And…we will cry…and we will think (as always) if only.  If only last winter hadn’t been so hard.  If only the seemingly never-ending rain right now would stop.  If only we could have helped more.  “If only” we will say, think, mutter, dream…over and over.

And we will cry some more.  We will cry ourselves to sleep…likely for days and weeks to come.  We will wake up thinking “if only”.  And it will come and go in waves as we go about our day to day tasks and then we will suddenly be hit once again by the magnitude of what transpired, the magnitude of the number of horses we WERE able to help, the magnitude of lives changed forever, both human and equine, and the magnitude of our mission and how far away the goal seems.  How every time we turn around, there are more and more needing help.  How we feel like we are beating our heads against a wall at times…shoveling sand against tide…fighting what seems to be at times…a losing battle….

I know this, because I’ve been there before.  Twice.  I know how I was affected by the first surrender event that was held here at Pony Tales 3 years ago.  3 years?  Honestly, it is hard for me to even believe it was that long ago.  Some days…it seems like it was just yesterday.  I remember each and every horse that was surrendered 3 years ago though.  Yes, all 56 of them.  I remember hugging owners as they cried on my shoulder not wanting to let go of their horse, but knowing they had to.  Knowing that they were doing what was right by the horse.  Not them.  Not us.  I remember seeing horses with severely contracted tendons who could barely stand.  I remember a gorgeous horse with wobbles who could barely walk.  I remember a horse whose teeth were rotting away from the gums out. Oh, she was so gorgeous.  I remember a horse with severe navicular syndrome at just 7 years of age, who, once she laid down, could not even get herself back up.  I remember looking into the eyes of a horse so riddled with cancer that he could no longer even defecate and telling him that everything was going to be ok.  I remember them all.  And they haunt me…and I think…if only….

There is always a lot of talk and speculation around these events.  Talk of “high euthanasia rates”.  Talk about how we have some sort of “checklist” for what horses “make it through” and those that don’t.  If only it were that simple.  If only it could be that cut and dried…black and white…if this, then that.  If only…we weren’t human….

But, we are.  Just like the weather…we cannot control that.  We are human.  And we care.  So, we will look into the eyes of every horse that is surrendered that day.  Our shoulders will get wet as the owners shed their tears.  We will steal ourselves away into dark corners and cry so no one else sees.  We will hope and we will pray that things will change one day.  We will rejoice in those that have a happy life ahead of them.  We will be there, til the end, for those who do not.  And we will remember them…forever…and think…if only….

4 weeks from now it will all be over.  Every horse that is surrendered on November 17, 2019 will receive veterinary care and training evaluations.  If you would like to contribute to this enormous undertaking, no amount is ever too small.

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And so, it is done.

Like all good things, this too must come to an end. The hot days of summer, are over. The leaves of the trees are now vibrant with beautiful color as the days shorten. The hay fields turn dormant preparing for the upcoming winter. And so, it is done. There will be no more hay for us to cut this year. We worked hard all summer long to crop as much as we could for the horses here depending on us. We put in countless hours cutting, raking, tetting, baling, stacking. But, it was not just us. This was not an undertaking we could have completed without help. From the farmer who let us lease his land to the people who ran for supplies. Each person who helped, was needed. Every task that was performed, was necessary. There were no “small” jobs. There was not one helper we didn’t need. To manage, cut, bale, stack, etc. the amount of hay that we now have, took an army of incredible people doing whatever it is that they could do to help.

So, as we went to bring home the tractor and return the last hay wagon to its owner, I looked at the beautiful fall colors in the trees, the corn still standing to dry, and the fields that we cut that will now lie untouched under the snow for the next few months. And I could not help but reminisce on this experience over the last few months and to once again find myself humbled by the kindness and generosity of our community, our supporters, and of course, our local farmers. The people who dropped everything they were doing to come out and get the hay cut, baled, and stacked while the getting was good. The people who took time out of their own lives to help, even though there was no reason they had to, other than the simple fact that they wanted to. The people who stacked hundreds and hundreds of bales in that barn on the hottest of days. The people who offered advice, equipment, and the most valuable gift of all: their time. Why? For the horses.

Many of these people don’t own horses. Many of them don’t want horses. Some of them, don’t even like horses. (Weird, right?! Lol) But, they love animals and they don’t want to see them suffer. They support what we do because it is the right thing to do. They help us, so we can help the horses. It is really that simple. They don’t want anything in return. They don’t even ask for anything in return. They are happy just knowing that by helping us, they are helping the horses. They are happy knowing that they helped in whatever way they could. And for them, that is enough.

And so, it is done. There will be no more hay to cut this year and we will not need their help again until next year. But, we won’t forget them. With every bale of hay that we feed, we will think of them. With every nicker from the horses as we bring them this delicious hay, we will think of them. This hay would not be here if it wasn’t for their help. And so, we would like to give a ginormous thank you to each and everyone of you. In no particular order: Doug Aspen, Lenny Bowe, Jon Tuschl, Wade Aspen, Pat Peterson, Roxanne Sward, Adraic Bethel, Marisa Prince, Sam McCoy, Trevor Larson, Chuck Schindler, Rich Lofthus, Matt Larson, Edwin Martinez, Tim Lauffer, Dale Bergeson, and of course, the Krall family. There are simply not enough words to express our gratitude. The horses’ bellies will be happy and full because of you all. So, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. You are all rockstars in our book!