Helping People, not just… | Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue & Sanctuary
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Helping People, not just horses

When does "Closed for intakes" not exactly mean closed? When it's an emergency, of course.

GSH doesn't just exist to help horses, we exist to help people in addition to horses. No one, rescue, individual, or whatever, can help every horse that needs help, which means you have to learn to say no, and make your choices.

We've sometimes received criticism as a rescue that does not support the broker program/kill pen programs, and rarely puts money into the auction pipeline - and even the kill pens themselves manipulate that decision by saying we are "choosing" horses (not just us, any rescue who feels as we do) but we say, no, we aren't choosing horses. Every horse deserves to be saved. But we can't save them all, so we CHOOSE the people we support. And that means we don't support kill buyers and flippers.

Instead, we choose to help real people. People going through tough times. People in crisis. We help the way we can ... by helping their horses.

Meet Dudley, Raven, and Chickadee (DeeDee). Dudley is the bay wearing the blue halter, Raven is the black (we'll get a better headshot), and DeeDee is the bay with the orange halter.

About 10 days ago we received a late night email that broke our hearts. One of their owners, an 80 year old woman, had passed away the end of December. Her widower, taking care of the horses they both loved, fell and broke his hip and nearly died in the bitter cold trying to reach the house to call for help. He survived, thank goodness, has had surgery, and is on his way to recovery.

But ... the horses. Family came in to help, wonderful people, but they didn't know horses. All signs are pointing to their owner being unable to return home, and even if he could, it would be months before he'd be able to care for the horses. There was no question, we were going to help.

Emails exchanged, we learned a bit more. As we headed out yesterday we knew we were picking up a 23 year old stud and two mares, 16 & 17, his daughters. The mares have never foaled, which is odd, so we were hoping maybe studly wasn't actually a stud. He is, of course. The girls were described as nice, but the stud was "wild" and was known to charge at people ... though never actually hurt anyone. Classic intimidation games. That didn't get far with Nina and Andrea, and turns out he's actually a really respectful boy. Apparently he's been trained in the past. But, with everyone thinking they'd never worn halters, their ages and lovely fat condition, had the family not cared so much these horses had gone from very loved to high risk overnight. We are so glad they contacted us.

So, they are here now, and ready to start their new lives. "Studly Dudley" presents a bit of a problem - he's very old to geld, and there are risks, but he can't remain with us as a stallion. We would consider a well-vetted gelding and stallion only retirement home for him, otherwise we have no choice to proceed with castration.

The girls are very sweet, but unsure. DeeDee (16) is a bit more scared, but also more interested in people and more willing. Raven (17), is a thinker, and much slower to make decisions. It took quite some time to get her in the stall today, and we used some of our techniques that rarely come out to play, almost reverse psychology. She does have a cloudy and slightly swollen eye that we will watch.

But all three are super nice. The girls will be looking for new homes, after some settling in time and some more handling. All three were dewormed and worked on leading, and were brushed today. As you can see, they are shiny, plump, and well loved. They need farrier work, and Raven has some pretty good cracks to grow out, but it's nothing horrible.

We are glad to be able to help, and wish their previous owner all the love and healing power that we can. We will take good care of them, so please just take care of yourself. And to his family - you are angels yourself. When we sometimes get disheartened by the difficulty of being an animal advocate group in our part of the country, we just stop and remember all the people here, and how everyone takes care of their family and neighbors. There's a lot of good people out there, and we are grateful to have met some new ones.