At this point we have rescued hundreds horses. Wow, sounds impressive doesn't it? In a day to day operation it sure doesn't seem that we have had that many here. Well, after we explain what it involves to rescue a horse we are sure you will be even more impressed. We know we are. Let's start with the fact that there are only three of us and an occasional help from our rescue angels.
Rescuing a horse starts with finding it. That involves a few different things. We go to local auctions to out and out purchase horses in need, pay for them with our own money and haul them here at our own expense. Then there are a few rescue angels that find horses in need, buy them, bring them here and we reimburse them. Then there are those horses that the law gets involved with. We don't get many of those. There are area Humane Associations that have huge budgets that usually end up with them. Then there are the ones that we spot around the area. These are the hardest to handle. Most of the time the people that have them are good people that have fell onto hard times and can no longer afford to keep their pets. Some surrender them to us, then there are those that we have to call in the law to handle. Now the feed is usually here from earlier adoptions, but sometimes that runs out and we buy what is needed out of our own pockets.
Starved horses have very difficult feeding requirements. Most of their first meals when they arrive here is only hay because they have gone without food for so long that their stomachs have shrunk to about the size of a teacup. Grain will most often cause them to have colic, which can be deadly to a horse of poor health. We also have to start most of the horses on an alfalfa based pellet, we have found this to be the easiest feed to start them with. It is also very expensive. After we get the feeding problems worked out for each and every one of them, we start on injuries. If need be a vet is called. Which we always owe money to. But so far Walton and Harrmann Clinic has been very good to us. They let us have a running bill.
After food and injuries are under control we start behavior training. Almost all of the horses that come here are in need of training of some sort. Most have never even been taught to lead or tie up. They can be 5 years old and never taught anything. So the training of them is very time consuming. We also have to take in to consideration the state of their health when it comes to training schedules. In most of the cases it takes up to two years to get them healthy, trained and ready for adoption. When they reach this point if there is no one wanting to adopt them they go to work in the stable, if they have the temperament for it. If not, they sometimes become guide horses so they can also work in the stable but with one of us on them. If they are not able to do either, their training continues until they are adopted. Of course there are those that will never have full lives again. These have a home here at Halfway Home for as long as they live. Rarely they are adopted by people that wish to give them forever homes.
The horse rescue became such a large part of Halfway Home that we decided to create a subsidiary just for the rescue animal programs called Shannon's Companions. You can visit the website at: http://www.shannonscompanions.webs.com