Equine Welfare News

  • Video Report on Broken Arrow facility in Fallon, NV (Closed)

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    The following is a post by Robin and Denise of the Youths’ Equestrian Alliance.

    The Broken Arrow facility is closed to the public and has been for some time. But then again, Palomino Valley is closed during the government shutdown and is still visible from public roads. So, we decided to drive by the Broken Arrow facility on the way back home to Las Vegas, Nevada, and see “what we could see.”

    Please visit the Youths’ Equestrian Alliance page for more information about their mission and to donate to their cause.

  • BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Hears Findings from Scientific Review

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    The following is a post by Wild Mustang Robin of the Youths’ Equestrian Alliance.

    This post is hard for me to write. When I heard a wild horse had been murdered, I think of everyone who loved this wild one – especially kids.

    Not only has this beautiful stallion been slain by bullets, another was killed with arrows in the same area!

    This week there has been talk about wild horses being dangerous after a child was kicked while feeding a wild horse. Unfortunately it is us who are a danger to them.

    Wild horses are majestic and respectful but we must honor them. Feeding them is dangerous because it brings them down to the roads where they are in danger of being hit and they may fight over the food which can put you in danger. They are not public safety concerns – as some say – it is us who have taken away their safety.

    Because people feed the wild ones, they are more trusting of us and our cars. Please do not feed them.

    ♥ If you want to feed and pet a wild horse there are 50,000 in holding pens waiting for a kind touch and a good home ♥

    I teach my friends when we go out on field observations to never get too close to the wild ones and to never feed them. But we get to come back to the stables and pet adopted mustangs.

    Now, back to the horse-killer. I hope and pray we get justice for these horses and for all the people who loved them. I pray for all the wild horses and burros that they will be safe from bad people and cars.

    Can you help us continue our mission of teaching youth about the proper ways to view these marvelous and majestic creatures? Can you help us raise awareness about the horrible killings? Us kids want to know we live in a world where there is justice for animals. Your gift of a dollar goes a long ways! Thank you for your help!

    From,
    Wild Mustang Robin (Robin Warren)

    Please visit the Youths’ Equestrian Alliance page for more information on how you can help.

  • BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Hears Findings from Scientific Review

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    Excerpted from an article by the American Wild Horse Preservation.

    Members of BLM’s citizen advisory board heard findings from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review of the wild horse and burro program at a three-day meeting last week in Arlington, VA.

    Among the key findings: that BLM census figures, range monitoring data and Appropriate Management Levels lack scientific foundation. Also presenting at the meeting were members of the Navajo Nation, which presented statistics on its recent spate of wild horse roundups and asked for federal funding to continue to remove wild horses from tribal lands.

    AWHPC was on hand at the meeting to present findings of our report indicating that the BLM is giving away the vast majority of forage in wild horse areas to private livestock, and poll results showing strong public support for protection of wild horses and opposition to horse slaughter.

    To read the AWHPC’s eyewitness report on the meeting, please visit their website.

  • Fallon 149 Horses Saved

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    Excerpted from an article by the American Wild Horse Preservation.

    You’ll recall that these horses were rounded up by the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone tribe earlier this month with the blessing of our federal government.

    As a result of our lawsuit against the federal government, a judge last Friday issued an injunction temporarily blocking their sale at the auction. The sale continued with the auction of branded horses, about half of whom were sadly purchased by kill buyers.

    On Wednesday, the same judge lifted the order, clearing the way for the horses to be sold to the highest bidder. Clearly, we disagree with the verdict and with the actions of the federal government, which was complicit in making these horses available to kill buyers.

    Following the ruling, we did everything we could to save the 149 horses from slaughter. I’m happy to report that, after an amazing collaborative effort, these horses are safe.

    For more information on the horse rescue and to find out how you can help, please visit the American Wild Horse Preservation.

  • ASPCA Grants $273,000 to Groups Assisting Retired Racehorses

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    Excerpted from an article on TheHorse.com.

    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) announced Aug. 12 that 23 equine rescue organizations from across the nation have joined the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative, now in its fourth year. The ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative is a major grants program which aids in the rescue and rehabilitation of retired racehorses, repurposing the horses for other areas of the equine world, and giving them a new lease on life for events or pleasure riding.

    “Thoroughbreds frequently end up at livestock auctions … when their racing days are over, and it is through organizations like these recipients that retired racehorses are cared for,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “These rescues are committed to aftercare for retired racers, and we are thrilled to provide this opportunity to help them as they work to transition ex-racers out of the racing stable and into someone’s show barn or farm paddock. Additionally, they provide sanctuary for horses who are no longer physically fit for riding or adoption.”

    Check out the full list of recipients at TheHorse.com.

  • No Shelter from Sweltering Temps for BLM Horses & Burros in Holding

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    Via American Wild Horse Preservation.

    This summer’s sweltering temperatures are especially difficult for captured wild horses and burros held in BLM short-term holding facilities in the West. Although the agency requires that adopters of wild horses and burros provide the animals with shelters, it provides no shelters to the thousands of horses stockpiled in its own holding pens. In response to public controversy about horses standing in unrelenting heat and blazing sun at the BLM’s Palomino Valley Adoption Center near Reno, the agency installed sprinklers in some of the pens, but still stubbornly refuses to provide shade to the mustangs and burros incarcerated there. Now national organizations and national media are weighing in on these inhumane conditions. Please click here to read more about the efforts to force BLM to give captured wild horses and burros shelter from the elements.

  • Step In, Sally

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    Join 20,000 people in signing our letter calling on Sally Jewell to act to protect America’s wild horses.

    We need YOUR help in asking the new Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, to protect wild horses.

    As a conservationist and outdoor enthusiast, she brings to the Interior Department a different mindset than her predecessor Ken Salazar, a rancher whose pro-livestock policies were devastating to wild horses.

    However, Jewell appears to know little about wild horses and burros. During her confirmation process, she answered just one question on the issue, posed in writing by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In her response, she pledged to work together with Senator Wyden to “pursue effective and ecologically sustainable policies” for the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program.

    Now is our chance to bring this issue to Jewell’s attention and hold her to her promise to work together toward reform.

    We’re collecting signatures on an open letter that will be delivered to Sally Jewell in her first days as Interior Secretary. The goal to demonstrate that tens of thousands of Americans are fed up with the direction of the program and the toll it’s taking on wild horses, burros and American taxpayers.

    Take Action

  • Oppose Round Up of Oregon’s South Steens Mustangs

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    Via the American Wild Horse Preservation.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is giving the public just 17 days to submit comments on a plan to roundup and remove wild horses living in the South Steens Herd Management Area (HMA), which is located 75 miles south of Burns, Oregon. Known as the “Hollywood Herd,” the South Steens horses are both colorful (many pintos) and accessible, making them one of the most popular and frequently photographed populations in the U.S.

    Just four years ago, the BLM conducted a helicopter roundup in the mountainous South Steens HMA, removing hundreds of wild horses from the range. The horses were thrown into holding pens; most will remain in captivity in government holding facilities for life. Now, four years later, the agency is planning another roundup in the HMA, and targeting over 300 horses for removal.

    Despite sequestration and budget crises and despite the lack of holding space for captured mustangs due to the stockpiling of an astounding 50,000 wild horses, the BLM just does not get the message that its fiscally irresponsible and inhumane ways must change. The agency must stop rounding up and removing wild horses from their homes on the range, and start properly implementing a PZP fertility control program. Current wild horse numbers can be accommodated by modest adjustments to livestock grazing in order to give PZP the time to stabilize population numbers, and reduce the herd size over time.

    The BLM allocates 72% of available forage in this HMA, not to federally-protected wild horses, but to a private rancher who grazes his livestock on our public lands at tax-subsidized rates. This leaves ample room for the agency to adjust forage allocations to maintain the current South Steens wild horses on the range and avoid costly removals.

    Take Action

  • These donkeys need your help

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    Via  Donkey Whisperer Farm:

    It has come to our attention via the poster shown that a donkey roping event is scheduled for May 25 and 26 in Welch, OK. We stopped ropings in Eden, TX and Van Horne, TX last year. Please send letters and call to get this one stopped too!

    Donkey roping is a cruel and completely unnecessary “sport.” Donkeys are anatomically different from cattle, and their bodies cannot stand up to the rigors of roping the way a steer’s can. Their joints articulate differently, and they have a long cervical spine (neck) that is easily broken when stretched between two horses that weight 3 – 6 times as much as a donkey. In addition, given the length and design of their necks, their windpipes are often crushed during the event. The bones in their legs are often broken as well. Donkeys do not have horns to rope, and often the cartilage of their ears is broken by the ropes or by putting the “hats” on that normally protect a steer.

    Roping is an art, and the ropes need to land on the correct locations on the cattle in order to handle them without injury. Donkeys do not have the same locations as a cow does, making it much more likely to cause lasting injuries. Also a donkey’s skin is not the same as a cow’s, and often they end up with necks covered in blisters from the ropes tearing their skin

    For more information about contacting representatives to stop this event, and to see the damage that can happen to roped donkeys, please visit Donkey Whisperer Farm.

  • Marathoner goes extra mile to help horse rescue center

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    Excerpted from an article by Kimberly Piña in the Houston Chronicle.

    Five miles north of Katy on more than 70 acres of green pastures is where Pops and Honey are living out the golden years of their life, relaxing and enjoying time together.

    They often have visitors who spend time with them like Katy mom Kelli Kerkhoff, who said she is grateful to see the couple happy now after neglect and suffering marred their lives.

    “Pops is just really sweet and he was about to be sent off to a slaughterhouse so he was brought there,” said Kerkhoff, 39. “And Honey had been kept in a garage for a couple of years and she was underweight and malnourished but she’s there now and doing well.”

    Pops and Honey are enjoying a different kind of retirement as horses, being protected and cared for at the Blue Ribbon Equine Horse Rescue at 25150 Beckendorff Road. As a volunteer, Kerkhoff grooms horses, walks them around and feeds them.

    “I’ve always had a love for animals, dogs, cats and horses especially, and since they can’t speak for themselves, I have a strong urge to work with them,” said Kerkhoff, who grew up around horses as a child and sought out a place to volunteer after she and her family moved to Katy last year.

    Kerkhoff recently combined her love of horses and running to participate in the Chevron Houston Marathon in January to raise funds and awareness for the horse rescue. An avid runner who has competed in five other marathons, Kerkhoff trained with a Katy-area running group for six months to prepare for the Houston marathon.

    “I ran my fastest marathon yet by 13 minutes and qualified for the Boston Marathon,” said Kerkhoff, who ran in a rainy and windy Houston marathon. “It was a total shock that I qualified, especially considering how bad the weather was.”

    Kerkhoff was “Hoofin’ It for Horses” at the marathon, a catchy name that Blue Ribbon owner Barbara Jacobs came up with once Kerkhoff decided to run to support the rescue.

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • Federal Government Plans to Eliminate Wild Horses from 2 Million Acres of WY Public Land

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    Excerpted from an article on the Cloud Foundation.

    A federal court in Wyoming is expected to rule imminently on a proposed settlement agreement between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) that, if approved by the Court, would wipe out wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard, a two-million acre swath of public and private land in the southern part of the state. The settlement agreement, or Consent Decree, is in response to a lawsuit filed by the nation’s largest grazing association against the Interior Department. The settlement is vigorously opposed by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation and the International Society for the Preservation of Mustangs and Burros, who were granted intervenor status in the case.

    “The Consent Decree, if approved, will have extreme consequences for the wild horses that are currently roaming free on the public lands of the Wyoming Checkerboard,” wrote attorney Katherine Meyer, of the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal, in opposition to the proposed consent decree. “[T]he Decree proposes to entirely eliminate more than one-third of the current allowable wild horse population in the state. These are extreme measures that will not only negatively impact the Intervenors’ interests but will have long-standing and devastating consequences for Wyoming’s wild horses.”

    Continue the rest of the article here.

  • Horse-Slaughter Jobs Embraced in State Where Cowboys Roam

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    Excerpted from an article by Alan Bjerga and Amanda J. Crawford on Business Week.

    Tim Sappington is ready to buy horses for Valley Meat Co., which is seeking to open the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse since 2007. Right now he’s the only paid employee, and he puts his money where his mouth is.

    He eats horse meat. And he likes it.

    “I’ve eaten it for years,” said Sappington, who slaughters the animals himself and keeps a meat locker stocked at his home near Roswell, New Mexico.

    Sappington and others see the plan to reopen the shuttered cattle facility about 8 miles outside Roswell, near a ranch that is home to a Kentucky Derby winner, as a chance to reclaim jobs now going to Mexico.

    The idea of killing horses for food has generated heated opposition from animal-welfare advocates who say it is cruel and could introduce unhealthy meat into the food supply, and it has spurred legislation in Congress to keep it from happening.

    Read The Full Story Here

  • Scribbles the horse, bound for slaughter, gets a second chance — and an amazing reunion

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    Much of the story of Scribbles and her journey from a kill pen to a reunion with her former owners boils down to chance. Excerpted from an article by Christine Loman on York Daily Record.

    York, PA – It was late in the day, later than she usually stayed at horse sales, when Kelly Smith walked past a pen holding horses that had been sold for slaughter. Smith, the director of Omega Horse Rescue in Peach Bottom Township, noticed a brown bay mare with blood running down her leg. She and another rescuer tried to staunch the bleeding, first with napkins from a lunch counter and then with a coat someone had left nearby.

    For more than 20 years, she’s rescued horses and built relationships with others at the Lancaster County horse sale, including people who buy horses for slaughter. She got permission from the buyer to treat the horse and called a vet, who sutured the leg.

    By then, Smith said she wasn’t leaving the horse behind. She bought it for $360.

    Like so many times before, she took photos and uploaded them to Facebook to show her followers what she was doing.

    Hours later and hundreds of miles away in Harwich, Mass., Brittany Wallace, 16, was on the computer doing research. It was early in the morning on Nov. 13 and she had spent the night on the couch to be near the family dog, Kona, who was sick. Kona died at 6 that morning.

    She thought about her childhood, of growing up with Kona and her horse, Scribbles.

    Scribbles and Kona had joined the Wallace family in the same week when Brittany was 9 years old. The family sold the horse when Brittany was older, and later lost touch with Scribbles.

    Continue reading the article here.

  • Bureau Of Land Management Restricts Sale Of Wild Horses After Investigation Of Colorado Livestock Hauler

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    Excerpted from an article by Sandra Chereb on Huffington Post.

    CARSON CITY, Nev. — Sales of wild horses and burros will be restricted under new rules announced Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management after an investigation into the sale of more than 1,700 horses to a Colorado livestock hauler who supports the horse meat industry.

    “It is a response to that inquiry, which is being conducted right now by the Office of the Inspector General of the Interior Department,” said Tom Gorey, BLM spokesman for the wild horse program in Washington, D.C.

    Wild horse advocates said the rules amount to “window dressing” and won’t keep large numbers of mustangs out of the hands of so-called kill buyers.

    The inspector general is investigating what became of 1,777 horses sold since 2009 to Tom Davis. Wild horse advocates fear the animals were taken to Mexico for slaughter.

    “He’s the biggest buyer among all of our buyers over the years,” Gorey said of Davis. Since 2005, when the BLM first allowed people to buy horses in bulk as opposed to adopting them, the agency has sold 5,400 animals, Gorey said.

    An investigation of Davis’ wild horse purchases was published by ProPublica in September.

    Gorey said the inspector general is “looking into all aspects of the sales to Davis, including the whereabouts of the horses.”

    He said it’s unknown when the investigation will be finished.

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • Canadian horse welfare code up for comment

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    Excerpted from an article on Horsetalk.co.nz.

    Public comment is being invited on a draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines in Canada.

    Submissions on the code, proposed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) are open until February 14, 2013. All stakeholders are encouraged to provide input to ensure that the Code reflects a common understanding of equine care expectations and recommended practices in Canada.

    A Scientists’ Committee report summarizing research on priority welfare topics for equines can be found online alongside the draft Code. This peer-reviewed report aided the discussions of the Code Development Committee as they prepared the draft Code of Practice.

    “I’m proud of the collaborative effort committee members have shown since we began our work in early 2011,” said Jack de Wit, Director with the Equine Canada Board of Directors and Chair of the Code Development Committee.

    “The next step is opening the draft Code to input from the public. With the public’s help we will have a Code that is good for owners and the animals in their care.”

    Anyone can provide comments and suggestions on the Code; all submissions must be made through the online system.

    The code can be viewed at nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/equine.

    Continue reading the article here.

  • Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Opens ‘Second Chances Ranch’ at Correctional Facility

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    Excerpted from an article on BloodHorse.com.

    The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) has announced an agreement with the State of Illinois to open its ninth correctional facility-based farm, the Second Chances Ranch at the Vandalia Correctional Facility in Vandalia.

    A vocational training program in equine care and management for inmate students, Vandalia’s Second Chances Ranch will commence with a capacity for 30 to 40 horses with room to expand in the future. The TRF will be moving horses from non-correctional facility-based farms to the new center. The organization will also be working with the Illinois Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association on a plan for funding the retirement of horses in need from Illinois tracks.

    At Second Chances Ranch, as at the TRF’s eight other corrections based farms, inmate students will learn practical job skills and reap the proven therapeutic benefit of working with horses on a daily basis.

    A fundraiser is underway for the TRF to raise the capital funds needed to build fencing and renovate barns at the facility. The organization is also looking for supply and equipment donations from the surrounding areas.

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • Up to 6000 British horses face ‘winter of misery’

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    Excerpted from an article on Horsetalk.co.nz.

    Equine charities in Britain fear a winter of misery is ahead for thousands of horses, and want authorities and the public to step up to avert what they call the approaching equine crisis.

    The charities estimate about 6000 horses could be at risk as Britain heads into winter, and warn that they are already at breaking point in being able to care for neglect cases.

    The six charities – the British RSPCA, Redwings, The Blue Cross, World Horse Welfare, HorseWorld, and the British Horse Society – have laid out the growing problem in a report entitled “Left On the Verge: the approaching Equine Crisis in England and Wales“.

    It predicts that another harsh winter will leave animal charities physically unable to cope and asks what will happen to the increasing numbers of horses being abandoned or suffering from neglect.

    They have called on the public to rehome more horses and for horse owners to take responsibility for their animals and not pass the problem on to local authorities, charities and landowners.

    The charities have also called on the Government and other agencies to help rein in the problem before another winter takes its toll on horses.

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • Firefighters practice rescue skills needed in horse barn

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    Excerpted from an article by Bruce A. Scruton for the New Jersey Herald.

    FREDON — The barn was filling with smoke.

    The firefighters were there with helmets and turnout coats on, leading the horses, blankets over their heads, from one end of the barn to the other.

    It was a drill at Spring Valley Farm, one of the township’s largest equine centers, giving firefighters and some horse owners a sense of what to do should a real fire strike the horse barn.

    Running the training session was Bob Bishop, an insurance agent who specializes in agricultural properties, especially horse farms.

    “There’s 90 horses on this property,” Bishop told the firefighters and rescue squad members gathered Tuesday at the farm for a run-through of the property, common among firefighters when it comes to factories, school and other large buildings, but a rarity when it comes to a barn complex.

    Bishop’s presentation included facts on barn fires, especially fires involving horse barns. He also handed the firefighters a diagram of the property, including the several barns, main electric junction boxes and propane tanks. The drawings, one for each of the town fire trucks, also included roadways and the large pond that would serve as a water source in case of a fire.

    “These barns are like tinderboxes,” Bishop said, noting they often have baled hay — a good fuel source — and large open spaces where a fire can move along unchecked.

    Most barn fires are actually caused by wet hay that begins to decompose, creating enough heat to ignite itself spontaneously. Barns also have exposed electrical wires, which can be another ignition source.

    Bishop said a typical barn fire might last just 30 minutes but destroy the structure, so quick action leading the animals to safety is needed.

    Continue reading the story here.

  • All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?

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    Excerpted from an article by Dave Philipps for ProPublica.

    The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis this spring.

    The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that still roam the American West, rounding up thousands of them each year to keep populations stable.

    But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range.

    So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the last few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler named Tom Davis who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head.

    The BLM has sold Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009, agency records show — 70 percent of the animals purchased through its sale program.

    Like all buyers, Davis signs contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered and insists he finds them good homes.

    But Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own.

    “Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt,” he said. “What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?”

    Animal welfare advocates fear that horses bought by Davis are being sent to the killing floor.

    Read the rest of this compelling story here.

  • Famous Horse Was Discovered Neglected And Saved By A Rescue

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    Excerpted from an article by D.K. Wright for WTRF.

    On August 18, a draft horse rescue in Cambridge took in a black stallion. They knew his name was Ollie, and he was in bad shape, with two teeth knocked out, sore feet, a skin infection, dull hair and malnutrition.

    “He was probably 400 pounds under where he should be,” says Lisa Gordon, of Frog Pond Farm Draft Horse Rescue.

    Ollie thrived at Frog Pond Farm. He came around quickly on his rehabilitation diet of five meals a day, gradual gentle exercise, and vet and chiropractic care. Ollie was shockingly charming and polite, and quickly became Lisa Gordon’s favorite.

    “I always tease her about favoritism, how she favors him over everybody else,” said Emmi Gordon, Lisa’s 15-year-old daughter.

    Then Lisa discovered something amazing. Ollie wasn’t any old draft horse. He was Fox Valley Oliver, champion and reserve champion in the United States and Canada. Of all the Shire breed, he was a rock star among horses. He was chosen by the prestigious Breyer Company to be the model for their special edition Breeds of the World toy model horse.

    But since then, he had gone from rock star to rock bottom.

    Read the rest of the story (and watch a video about Ollie) here.

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