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The convenience of our disposable generation has come at a steep cost. Is anything but ‘shiny and new’ valued anymore?

Senior animals are often overlooked by potential adoptive families and it’s sad to say, but when horses are no longer useful, they’re often thrown away.

Too many old and broken ones are listed on craigslist or elsewhere for free. Sometimes people just stop caring for them when they are no longer useful. We’d rather see them euthanized than to have them end up in the slaughter pipeline or being worked all day every day for rental on a hack line at their ripe age.

Rescues hesitate to take them all, because nobody wants them. If we do, there is no room for younger adoptable horses.

But senior horses still have so much value.
  • Seniors have the most loving personalities.
  • They are appreciative and definitely understand that they have been rescued.
  • They are perfect for easy trail riding or simply companionship for another horse.
  • They can be therapy horses and be used to teach humans how to groom and tack.

Beyond having a ‘useful purpose’, senior horses make great pets just to love and appreciate for what they’ve done for us.

Senior horse Dusty’s adoption

We’re always looking for special adoptive families like Ashley’s. When Ashley fell in love with senior horse Dusty, we were thrilled that one of our favorite old men finally found his forever home. Except Dusty’s adoption would have left his old girlfriend, Misty, without her best buddy.

When RVR Founder Shawn Jayroe explained Dusty and Misty’s circumstances to Ashley, Ashley immediately welcomed both equines into her family, keeping the senior friends together.

We always aim for a perfect adoption match (like Ashley, Dusty, and Misty) and we’re building a unique adoption model to facilitate a wonderful retirement for our senior horses.

Our Save Our Seniors Program is a collaborative effort between RVR Horse Rescue, subsidized boarding facilities, show barns, human senior communities, horse sponsors, and general horse lovers.

One beautiful aspect of our program is having children experience first-hand the value of senior horses. If we can raise more ambassadors for senior horses, like our little spokesperson in the following video, perhaps within one generation, we can change the dismal plight of senior horses for generations to come.

Will you take on a senior? Check your local equine rescues.

Our Save Our Seniors official program Kick-Off takes place

Saturday, April 28th

during our annual

ASPCA Help A Horse Day event.

Contact RVR to learn more about our Save Our Seniors program or click here to learn more about our event.

Photo credit: Marji Lexton of Kindheart Photography

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RVR Horse Rescue by Shirley Alarie - 4M ago
Innovative “Save Our Seniors” Program The Challenge:

While adoption is our goal for every horse, special needs and senior horses have been the most difficult to place. Medical issues or age make them less attractive to potential adopters who want a horse that can be ridden.

Senior horse Sally

The need to find homes for these horses in loving environments gave rise to the creation of the Save Our Seniors (SOS) program. SOS utilizes foster agreements with boarding facilities and lesson barns, where seniors can train the newest of riders in basic horse care such as grooming, hoof care, and tacking.

In return our seniors will receive affection and quality of care and life.

The boarding fees are paid for by group sponsorships or group adoptions.

The most unique aspect of SOS, however, is the engagement of our state’s human senior population on behalf of equine seniors.

Our Solution:

Florida’s senior citizens are a large portion of our population. Like our elder horses, senior citizens are sometimes forgotten or overlooked, but still have much to give.

Senior horse Dusty’s adoption

RVR’s volunteers are visiting retirement communities, senior clubs and civic organizations, and church congregations to share information about SOS and our senior horse population.

We are inviting members of these various groups to pool resources and adopt a senior horse. The adopters, whether small groups or communities, would take financial responsibility for the horse, which would be boarded at an SOS facility.

Adopters would of course have visitation rights and would receive photos and updates from RVR or the SOS facility. The work of having a horse and the space required for one, however, are provided by SOS.

Benefits:

This new approach to adoption has benefits for both human and equine seniors. The horses are provided with loving care and attention, and senior citizens are engaged in a productive and gratifying program not limited by their physical wellness or community regulations.

RVR also benefits by having another place opened for a horse in need of rescue. Furthermore, SOS will allow RVR to accept senior horses that simply need rehoming – horses we currently must turn away.

It’s Already Working!

Senior horse Razzle Dazzle and her adoptive Mom

Though the SOS program is just over a year old, 7 horses have been cared for though the initiative. Our goal is to increase SOS horses each year for the next four years. RVR volunteers believe we have an innovative formula that will solve our challenge of finding homes for our seniors.

Our formal program launch

is being celebrated at our Help A Horse Day Event on April 28, 2018.  We are in need of event sponsors for this community breakfast fundraiser and, of course, donations in lieu of your presence are always appreciated.

Check out our event brochure and sponsorship forms at the bottom of the webpage at the link: SOS Webpage

We’d love to hear from you through our ‘Contact Us’ tab.

Let’s Save Our Seniors! Our elder equines still have so much love to give!

RVR Horse Rescue - SOS | Save Our Seniors - YouTube

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RVR Horse Rescue by Shirley Alarie - 5M ago

With February as Responsible Pet Owners Month, it’s a perfect opportunity to salute responsible pet owners. Most of us remember the euphoria of getting our first pet and the thrill of every pet thereafter.

At RVR Horse Rescue, our success is dependent on finding loving adoptive homes for our rehabilitated horses. Every adoptive family allows us to rescue another horse in need.

But what happens after the thrill of adoption wanes?
Senior horse Sally

As humans, our lives are ever-changing. How a pet fits into our lifestyle sometimes becomes challenged.

The lifelong commitment to a dog or cat is a lengthy 8-20 year commitment. That’s significant enough, but the commitment to horse ownership is even greater. The horses’ potential 35-40 year lifespan cannot be taken lightly. As pet owners, we need to seriously consider the long-term ramifications of any pet, but especially the long-lasting equines.

Advantage of Senior Horses

One excellent way to make a shorter-term commitment while still enjoying horse ownership is to adopt a senior horse. Twenty year-old equines are considered seniors, but most still have many years of good life left. Many seniors are more mellow and tolerant than their younger counterparts.

RVR Horse Rescue’s “Save our Seniors” program promotes the adoption of senior horses as pasture pals or as barn buddies for training novices on grooming and other horse handling.

Whatever your choice of pet, make an informed choice.  Doesn’t every animal deserve a lifelong commitment?

Senior horse Dusty's adoption
Coming Soon! SAVE OUR SENIORS! Stay Tuned!
About RVR Horse Rescue: 

RVR Horse Rescue in Riverview, Florida is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating any horses (and the occasional donkey) in need, but is most recognized for taking in the worst cases of abuse and neglect.

Their life-saving work is only possible through a dedicated volunteer staff, grants, and donations of caring people, like you.

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Verified status to RVR Horse Rescue as of November 27, 2017.

RVR is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is consistently ranked among top non-profits at https://greatnonprofits.org/Learn more at http://rvrhorserescue.org/ and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RVRHorseRescue/

Featured photo: Marji Lexton of Kindheart Photography

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RVR Horse Rescue by Shirley Alarie - 6M ago
What does it mean to Sponsor a Rescue Horse?

With the high cost of hay and feed, along with medical, dental and farrier expenses, sponsoring a horse helps us continue to care for our horses in need. It costs about $10 per day to feed a horse and RVR Horse Rescue is home to approximately 27 animals.

There are many people who contribute to the recovery and care of our horses. Each has a distinct and critical role.

Our dedicated volunteers provide the daily food and water. They muck the stalls and pastures, while providing a dose of TLC. Beyond that, each horse is assigned a Barn Buddy. This person devotes a few hours each week to the physical care of the horses. They bathe and groom and provide basic care. A Barn Buddy is a little like owning a horse without the financial responsibility. 

Sponsorship makes it financially possible for RVR to provide for these horses and keep them safe. Our sponsors make a monthly contribution to the care of a specific horse. These donations go directly toward the expenses for that particular animal. Sponsorships put a dent in the care and feed costs for each horse, and one of our goals is to secure a sponsor for each horse we care for at RVR Horse Rescue.

Local sponsors are welcome to come on site to establish a relationship with their sponsored animal, but this isn’t a requirement. Therefore, sponsorship is one excellent way for people not near the rescue to get involved.

We are always in need of sponsors for our incoming rescues and the recurring donation amount can be any amount you choose.

Why Sponsor a Horse?

Sponsors help free up funds to help rescue and rehabilitate more horses.

You get the joys of having a horse without the commitment. Our Sponsor program is a month to month donation so you can stop at any time.

We are a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, so your sponsorship is considered a donation and is tax deductible.

You get to create a bond with a horse that needs you!

If you're interested in sponsoring a horse CLICK HERE to be directed to our donation page where you can sign up for your monthly sponsorship.

Horses Currently in Need of Sponsors

We are always in need of sponsors for our newest rescues, like beautiful Ashley, who is pictured above.

Visit our Facebook page to see more horses in need of sponsors.

Click on Photos, then Albums. Then All Albums. The title of the album will note if we are looking for a sponsor. 

 

As you will see, Ashley, Indy, Ginger, and Angel are currently in need of sponsors.

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The post Sponsor a Rescue Horse appeared first on RVR Horse Rescue.

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RVR Horse Rescue by Shirley Alarie - 6M ago
Humane Lobby Day 2018 January 24, 2018

It’s easy to scroll past social media posts and ignore news broadcasts about animal abuse and neglect. This brutal reality is hard to see and easy to ignore. But we humans are the only voice these animals have and it’s actually easy to step up to make a difference.

Humane Lobby Day is sponsored by the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and takes place in states across the country. On January 24, 2018, scheduled events give animal advocates, like you, an opportunity to talk to your state legislators about passing laws that protect animals.

At RVR Horse Rescue, we fight a constant battle against the atrocities we see daily in regards to equine abuse and neglect. Too many times our hands are tied legally until the horses are beyond help.

Grandé

One recent case is a tragic example. By the time we could fight through the legal requirements to rescue Grandé, he was literally skin on bone. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many horses in his condition before and we knew his recovery was possible, if only he had the will to keep fighting.

Our amazing team rallied around our newest member and poured as much love and affection on him as we had. Our dedicated vet, Dr. Richard Gold, worked well into the night to try to tend to Grandé’s worsening condition. Volunteers nursed Grandé around the clock and hoisted him in a sling when he was too weak to stand.

And then Grandé couldn’t do it anymore. We lost him within a few days of his arrival.

An animal doesn’t get to Grandé’s condition overnight. Cases like his are lengthy, ongoing neglect. There is plenty of time to help animals who are on this troublesome path, but we need laws to allow good Samaritans, rescue groups, and law enforcement to step in sooner. We need laws to prevent animal abusers from getting more animals.

As we say at RVR Horse Rescue: We will be their voice.

Stand up and be their voice by showing your support of tightening and enforcement of animal cruelty and abuse laws across the country. Humane Lobby Day is one perfect opportunity to step up and start fighting.

Go to http://www.humanesociety.org/about/events/humane-lobby-days.html to find ways to help.

Take a small step by sharing this message! Thank you!

About RVR Horse Rescue: 

RVR Horse Rescue in Riverview, Florida is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating any horses (and the occasional donkey) in need, but is most recognized for taking in the worst cases of abuse and neglect.

Their life-saving work is only possible through a dedicated volunteer staff, grants, and donations of caring people, like you.

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Verified status to RVR Horse Rescue as of November 27, 2017.

RVR is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is consistently ranked among top non-profits at https://greatnonprofits.org/Learn more at http://rvrhorserescue.org/ and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RVRHorseRescue/

Photo credits: Karen Pack and Marji Lexton of Kindheart Photography

The post Humane Lobby Day 2018 appeared first on RVR Horse Rescue.

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RVR Horse Rescue of Riverview, Florida is Verified by Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

November 27, 2017, (Riverview, FL) – The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Verified status to RVR Horse Rescue as of November 27, 2017.

Verification means that RVR Horse Rescue meets the criteria of a true equine sanctuary/rescue and is providing humane and responsible care of the animals. To be awarded Verified status, an organization must meet GFAS’s rigorous and peer-reviewed animal care standards which are confirmed by a site visit and they must also adhere to a demanding set of ethical and operational principles. The verification status also provides a clear and trusted means for the public, donors and grantors to recognize RVR Horse Rescue as an exceptional organization.

“We are proud to announce the Verification of RVR Horse Rescue,” said Valerie Taylor, GFAS Program Director-Equine. “The dedication of this organization to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of equines-in-need in Florida is tremendously commendable, especially as all their work is carried out solely by an all-volunteer personnel base. In addition, the work being done by RVR to bring educational opportunities regarding equine issues to the community is helping to increase awareness of equine needs.”

“We are honored to earn our verification status from such an amazing organization,” said Shawn Jayroe, Executive Director of RVR Horse Rescue. “We are extremely proud of our volunteers and community supporters, and the countless hours of preparation they put into making this possible.”

The GFAS Equine Accreditation Program is made possible by a generous grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® and the Kenneth Scott Charitable Trust.

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. While the board includes those in top leadership at The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries. www.sanctuaryfederation.org.

About RVR Horse Rescue
RVR Horse Rescue is an all-volunteer organization that provides rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing to horses and donkeys in need. From its beginning as a rescue serving the Tampa Bay area, RVR is now recognized and called upon by law enforcement agencies and other rescues throughout the state of Florida. RVR has earned a reputation for stepping in when no one else can. RVR’s medical partners and volunteers have the dedication and expertise to handle the worst cases of starvation, injury and abuse. RVR functions as a hospital, with the ability to provide 24-hour critical care when necessary. RVR recognizes that it is not only abused horses that need a second chance. In 2016, RVR became accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and we now use our expertise to rehabilitate injured racehorses, providing them a quality post-racing life. To diminish the number of horses needing rescue, RVR provides support to horse owners in the form of gelding (neuter) vouchers as well as feed and hay support in times of need. Adoption into a loving home is RVR’s goal for every equine that enters our gates. 176 horses have found homes since 2011. There are no deadlines or expiration dates for horses whose adoptability has been lessened by age, health issues, or emotional challenges. RVR will continue to provide them with food, shelter and medical care, along with a hefty dose of loving attention from volunteers. RVR is committed to the enrichment of the Tampa Bay community through our love of horses. We offer educational programs for children, visiting schools and senior communities and hosting events at the rescue for Scout troops and other groups. We currently have three miniature horses training for certification as therapy animals so we can expand our presence to hospitals and nursing homes. We are keenly aware that by fostering engagement between humans and horses, we will simultaneously spread joy and knowledge, and increase awareness of equine needs. For more information, visit http://rvrhorserescue.org/ or call 813-280-9299.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/aspca.

The post RVR Horse Rescue is Verified by Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries appeared first on RVR Horse Rescue.

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Campaign to attain truck is successful!

Riverview, FL - When their truck was no longer reliable to rescue abused and neglected horses, RVR Horse Rescue began borrowing trucks of generous neighbors, but quickly realized a dependable vehicle of their own was a necessity.

A $10K grant from the ASPCA was the catalyst that sparked the full-fledged campaign to their supporters. When those donations were tallied and added to the grant funds, there was a sizable pot to purchase the vehicle needed.

RVR Horse Rescue set the next challenge before the local truck dealerships... Who would provide the best vehicle for the value?

Without hesitation, Bartow Ford stepped up with a beautiful truck, suitable for towing the precious cargo.

The purchase of the vehicle was an amazing effort between the ASPCA, RVR donors, and Bartow Ford.

This truck is just one more example of how people can change the world when they work together.

For more information, please visit RVRHorseRescue.org.

About RVR Horse Rescue

RVR was founded in 2004 by Shawn Jayroe and received 501c3 status in 2011. RVR specializes in taking in the worst cases of abuse and neglect. Over 180 horses have come through RVR’s gates suffering from starvation and physical wounds of abuse. At RVR they are rehabilitated and re-homed with loving families. Horses whose age and health status make them less adoptable remain at RVR in the loving care of rescue volunteers. Horses that arrive at RVR too late to be saved or who are terminally ill are comforted by the volunteers during their remaining time. RVR is an entirely volunteer run organization.

To find out more, please visit www.rvrhorserescue.org or www.facebook.com/rvrhorserescue.

The post RVR Horse Rescue is Back on the Road! appeared first on RVR Horse Rescue.

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RVR Horse Rescue is one of only twelve grant recipients!

Riverview, Florida— The ASPCA has awarded RVR Horse Rescue a $10,000 grant to help eliminate a significant obstacle in their their rescue efforts.

“Our lifesaving work has been hampered by the lack of a reliable truck,” said RVR Horse Rescue Spokesperson, Kelly Ford. “The ASPCA grant funds will support the purchase of a truck and will positively impact every aspect of the work RVR does. It will allow us to more easily transport horses needing rescue or medical treatment. We will be able to make feed and hay deliveries for the Angels safety net program, our LAR (Large Animal Rescue) team will be able to haul equipment and a trailer for rescue missions, and our CLEAR educational outreach program will be able to bring equine education to the public.”

“It is such an honor to receive recognition from the ASPCA for the work that we do,” said RVR Horse Rescue Founder, Shawn Jayroe. “We have not only benefited from their grant programs, but also from their guidance and partnership. We appreciate that they believe in us. However, the grant was only possible due to the support of our incredible volunteers and donors, who contributed to a successful Help a Horse Day event, one of the key elements that led to the award.”

But their goal of purchasing a desperately needed truck is only partially met with the grant funds. The balance will need to come from generous donors and future fundraising efforts. Tax deductible donations may be made through their website.

For more information, please visit RVRHorseRescue.org.

About RVR Horse Rescue

RVR was founded in 2004 by Shawn Jayroe and received 501c3 status in 2011. RVR specializes in taking in the worst cases of abuse and neglect. Over 180 horses have come through RVR’s gates suffering from starvation and physical wounds of abuse. At RVR they are rehabilitated and re-homed with loving families. Horses whose age and health status make them less adoptable remain at RVR in the loving care of rescue volunteers. Horses that arrive at RVR too late to be saved or who are terminally ill are comforted by the volunteers during their remaining time. RVR is an entirely volunteer run organization.

To find out more, please visit www.rvrhorserescue.org or www.facebook.com/rvrhorserescue.

The post RVR Horse Rescue Earns ASPCA Grant appeared first on RVR Horse Rescue.

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RVR Horse Rescue by Shirley Alarie - 6M ago

Let’s face it, the average family looking to adopt a horse (or any animal) doesn’t have the financial means, medical know-how, or time to rehabilitate an injured one. There are many other healthy choices that don’t come with the extra baggage.

Sadly, injured thoroughbreds are no longer useful to their owners, once they can no longer race, but their injuries also make them unadoptable. These ex-racers are too often left in a black hole.

RVR Horse Rescue has come to the aid of these horses in need. Through their association with Tampa Bay Downs, RVR has been rehabilitating and rehoming injured or retired racers for several years. In 2016, they received accreditation from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), allowing them to help even more.

The thoroughbreds’ stunning looks and grand stature make them fan favorites at RVR. Silver Knight is one example of an ex-racer who recovered at RVR Horse Rescue and awaited a new life.

Chantel Miller’s teenage fantasy of owning a large dapple grey horse, named Lancelot, was inspired by the movie First Knight. It was a dream that stayed locked in her heart for years, until one day shortly before Christmas. She joked with her husband, saying “I sure would like Santa to bring me a horse next year.” To her surprise, he replied, “This summer I will build you a stall and we can get you a horse next Christmas.”

Later, after seeing horses for adoption at a local flea market, the dream sparked back to life. The older horses at the flea market weren’t a match for the young family, but Chantel realized she wanted to adopt a rescue horse, rather than purchase one.

After her friend referred her to RVR Horse Rescue, Chantel spoke with the adoption coordinator and learned Silver Knight had just become available for adoption. She rushed over to meet him and fell in love. Her knight in shining armor, Lancelot, had come to life in Silver Knight.

After the adoption, Silver settled in with his new farm family that includes an eclectic mixture of a dog, a cat, two alpacas, a mini donkey, a mini horse, and a comedic turkey. His human family loves their new addition, but the most special surprise is the instinctive and profound connection between Silver Knight and his new little brother. Seeing Silver enjoy a snooze while wrapped in the warm embrace of little, loving arms conveys a depth deeper than words can reach.

The incredible folks at RVR Horse Rescue have worked their magic yet again by giving Silver Knight a new chance at life. But these happy endings are only possible with the help of caring families, like the Miller’s, who open their hearts and homes to rescue horses who need a forever family.

Photos: Chantel Miller Photography

The post Into the Arms of Love appeared first on RVR Horse Rescue.

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RVR Horse Rescue by Shirley Alarie - 6M ago

One of the most trying cases we’ve faced at RVR Horse Rescue was of tiny Warrior, one of four mini’s rescued in 2012. Warrior was starved by his owner, as we’ve unfortunately seen before, but his story went public and resulted in serious political backlash for RVR.

The case dumped an enormous amount of stress on our devoted team, but we overcame the adversity, banded together stronger than ever, and continue our relentless fight for equines in need.

Nearly four years later, Warrior's spirit is still alive to those he inspired in his final days.

Warrior's Namesake is Born

An RVR fan, Charles, proudly announced the recent birth of his new foal, named Warrior. Charles stated, “Name is in honor and memory of a precious foal in 2012. Shawn Jayroe, this is for you and RVR, horse angels.”

 

Our original Warrior was too far gone to be saved, but now his name will live on in another beautiful mini! 

New Warrior
The Original Warrior

The following excerpt from “A Healing Haven – Saving Horses and Humans at RVR Horse Rescue” describes the details of our original Warrior’s story.

 

"One of our most significant cases began when a local veterinarian was called to euthanize a horse in Plant City that had supposedly fallen off a porch. He immediately became suspicious about the claim when he arrived at the property. Of the four miniature horses there, all were in various stages of starvation and neglect, but two were far worse than the others. The vet refused to put down the horse, but called us instead.

Little Warrior hovered at death’s door. The horse that had supposedly “fallen off the porch” had actually been starved to the point of collapse. He simply lay motionless on the ground.

I’ve been rescuing horses for so long that I think I’ve seen it all, but sometimes the human capacity for evil still astounds me. Every case of clear neglect and abuse angers me, but I was enraged when I came on this horrific scene. Warrior had been tied on a patch of sand where he’d crumpled. No food, water, or even grass were within his reach. He was tiny. Miniature horses are normally fat little butterballs at 350 to 400 pounds. Warrior weighed half that. His dark drab coat draped over his bones, showing every contour. It was tragic.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many cases of this type of abuse. What made this one even more detestable was this baby was losing his life only steps away from the owner’s porch. She literally had a front-row seat to watch him waste away to a slow, cruel death.

Miniature horses don’t require much food to keep their compact bodies healthy. A measly cup of food a day, or about $10 a week, is all it takes. Knowing how long Warrior endured the starvation just infuriated me. I can’t understand or accept the mentality of someone who can treat a supposed pet that way.

We had to threaten the owner with a criminal investigation before she agreed to surrender all the minis. There was no way we were leaving with any of them still in her care.

It was out of the question for Warrior to walk to the trailer, but four of us were easily able to lift him using a sling. He barely budged with the movement. His head perked up out of curiosity, but he was otherwise a pile of dead weight. Fear and confusion clouded his eyes, although he settled into the back of the truck quickly.

He warmly accepted the love and compassion we showered on him. I guessed that the attention and affection he received in those minutes once he was in our care were the most he’d seen in years.

We carted his buddies Spirit, Sandy, and Sandy’s colt, Lily back to RVR for their recovery as well, although none were as desolate as Warrior.

At the ranch, we dove right into Warrior’s treatment. His neglected hoofs had overgrown to the point of being ridiculous. They’d grown four inches longer than they should have been, making it nearly impossible for him to stand until the farrier clipped them.

He gobbled up the bits of hay we offered during his exam—probably the first food he’d eaten in a very long time. Our compassionate volunteers rubbed his back, kissed his nose, ran fingers through his black mane, and willed him to live.

His dim eyes were glazed over and he could barely move, but Warrior licked our outstretched hands and nudged them with his nose. He accepted the love we gave and reciprocated in kind. His previous owner had nearly killed him, but Warrior still continued to love.

The pathetic little guy was barely present. His abuse had gone so far beyond tolerable that he mostly just laid still. We worked in shifts, turning Warrior over manually every couple of hours. It took several of us to hoist him up and steady him on his feet. He could stand for only fifteen minutes at a time before he’d collapse from exhaustion.

After two days, we found another horse rescue, Beauty’s Haven, near Ocala, who had a sling small enough for Warrior. The sling would allow us to suspend him, but it meant we’d have to commute nearly two hours to maintain his care. But, as I’ve always seen, people stepped up to the challenge. After we transported Warrior to Beauty’s Haven, we spent another two days nursing him in his new upright position.

But it wasn’t enough. Fourteen-year-old Warrior lost his remaining shred of life only four days after his rescue. We had given our all despite the towering odds stacked against the poor boy."

Shawn holding Warrior's head

Click here to read more about A Healing Haven - Saving Horses and Humans at RVR Horse Rescue.

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