Are Safety Nets Keeping Horses at Home?

February 16, 2017

February 15, 2017    

The days may be getting longer, but the weather is getting colder. Winter can be difficult for horses and their owners. Rescues typically receive the most calls this time of year because the grass is long gone and hay prices in many parts of the country remain high. 

Although we encourage prospective owners to be aware of the costs of horse ownership before taking on the responsibility, the reality of winter care costs can still come as a surprise to some.  

Just before the New Year, the local ABC affiliate in Jonesboro, Arkansas, aired a story about the increasing numbers of equine abuse and neglect cases being reported (  I have not seen data to indicate that this trend is occurring nationwide, but the amount of media coverage certainly seems to be on the rise.  

Whether numbers are truly increasing or not, it is important of find solutions to help the at-risk horses we hear about almost every day, whether it be through seizures and rehabilitation, one-day open shelters, owner education, or safety net programs. 

What I particularly liked about the article is the notion that these cases are rarely intentional. As Margaret Shepherd, Director of the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society pointed out, a donation of hay or simply scheduling a vet visit can often address the problem.  
So, this month, I wanted to write about safety net programs. It only seems logical that we can decrease the number of horses that become unwanted by helping owners keep their horses through the winter or other periods of hardship. These programs can potentially help a horse, an owner, a rescue, and another horse that the rescue can care for in its place; so it sounds like a four-time win to me!    

But, will supporting these programs really make a difference?  I’m on a mission to find out.  

In the meantime, the UHC is in the process of contacting several organizations around the country to learn about their programs, the owners that utilize them, and overall effectiveness. Although far from scientific, we hope to collect enough meaningful data to make some decisions about future fundraising efforts and programmatic goals. 

If you have received safety net assistance, or know someone who has, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us if receiving financial help made the difference between keeping the horse or giving him up, and tell us if the horse was still relinquished despite the help.

If you offer safety net assistance, we are eager to hear your results.  

For owners who need help now, the UHC maintains a list of organizations that offer safety net programs ( These include feed and hay programs in 14 states, as well as castration programs, veterinary and euthanasia assistance.  New resources are always being added.

This time of year, feed and hay assistance should make a difference between a horse staying at home or becoming unwanted. The mission of the UHC is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare… Please help us find out if funding safety net programs is an effective way to do that!  

Contact me with your safety net stories at

A Cinderella story for Cider, the rescue horse

February 13, 2017

Shoreview, Minn. [November 5, 2016] – Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” In the spring of 2016, six horses living in darkness were given a second change to get back on their feet and find a life of happiness at a horse rescue in Cochranton, Pennsylvania.

In May, Bev Dee at Bright Futures Farm was contacted about assisting in the rescue of several starving horses. The horses were locked in a barn living in deplorable conditions for at least three years, never seeing the light of day. From there, six horses began their long journey through rehabilitation.

“The farm at Bright Futures is a sanctuary,” says Dee. “Our team takes the worst cases because we can devote the time necessary to rehabilitating horses. In this case, I honestly didn’t even know if some of them were going to make the 20-minute trailer ride to our barn,” says Dee.

The six horses taken into rehabilitation had fighting hearts. Although they arrived knocked down, their will to live was nurtured by medical care and nutrition to turn a heart-wrenching situation into Cinderella stories.

After many months of personalized case, two of the rehabilitated horses, Jet and Addie, have found forever homes with the family responsible for discovering them and saving their lives. A stallion, Tanner, is in the homestretch of overcoming his ulcers. The mares, Journey and Inga, have remained together and are continuing to gain weight and thrive. 

All the horses have found homes except for one: a 16-year-old Rocky Mountain Stallion named Cider.

Cider’s Journey

Cider is a rescue horse saved by Bev Dee and her team of volunteers at Bright Futures Farm. Following frequent dental and farrier appointments to improve his body condition, Cider is now awaiting adoption and starting groundwork in preparation for a rider.
Cider arrived to Bright Futures after being suspended from the barn rafters in a sling. He received wound care for bedsores, skin care for dermatitis, extensive dental work and emergency farrier care.

Nutrition has donated more than $425,000 to participating rescue shelters, amounting to more than 800 tons of feed. 

To learn more about feeding rescue horses, connect with Purina Animal Nutrition and A Home for Every Horse at or Purina Horse Feed on Facebook and Twitter.

Purina Animal Nutrition LLC ( is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through morethan 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States. Driven to unlock the greatest potential in every animal, the company is an industry-leading innovator offering a valued portfolio of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is headquartered in Shoreview, Minn. And a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Finding The Right Horse

February 02, 2017

February 1, 2017  

Each year, hundreds of thousands of horses are transitioned from career or ownership. A growing number of these horses end up at risk of inhumane treatment.  The Right Horse Initiative, led by the WaterShed Animal Fund, has been developed to unify horse industry professionals, equine welfare advocates, and the broader horse loving public to improve the lives of horses in transition.

When I first heard a presentation by staff at the WaterShed Animal Fund, I was so very excited. They talked about how there aren’t enough resources for owners or low-cost options for end-of-life.  They talked about the need for strong collaboration among members of industry and better marketing.  They discussed the need to steer away from divisive issues and create a more optimistic language around horses in transition.  They talked about the need to share positive stories… to think outside of the box… to invest in programs… and to become a unified voice for the horse.

Yes.  A resounding yes! 

Since coming on board at the UHC almost a year ago, I’ve seen the coalition focus on the positive, to identify what is working, and encourage industry-related groups to find a model that works for them. The new UHC Roundup and Join the Effort publication are just two examples.  Every owner and horse lover is part of the solution, and together we can find and fund ways to help every horse have a purpose and to live a healthy life until they cross the rainbow bridge peacefully.

There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who would like to own and care for a horse.  We want to help new owners know what it means to “own responsibly” and to help them find the right horse.  This is why I was ecstatic when the UHC was invited to join The Right Horse Initiative. 

The Right Horse Initiative promotes horse adoption as one of the preferred methods of finding your next (or first) horse. This unique partnership will commit the time, talent, and resources to promote horse adoption through education, training, and public awareness on a national level. Together we are working to achieve our goal to massively increase the number of horse adoptions nationwide.

As a partner in The Right Horse Initiative, we’re proud to support a national movement reframing the conversation about equine adoption and emphasize the bond between horses and humans. We are good people for good horses, and everyone who loves horses has ownership in this movement.

Join us!

To learn more about The Right Horse Initiative, visit the





Vanessa's Story

January 31, 2017

Gentle Spirit Horses is a rescue and sanctuary for horses based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Forest City, Iowa. Our mission is to provide assistance to neglected, abused and unwanted horses, and through outreach and education, promote responsible horse ownership. Founded in 2010, Gentle Spirit Horses has pushed the definition of the word sanctuary and redefined it in many ways. In the last 7 years, our organization has assisted with adopting out or providing sanctuary to over 250 horses within the upper Midwest. 

In November 2016, Gentle Spirit Horses made the decision to step up and take seventeen wild mustangs in from a seizure case clear across the state. When faced with 800+ horses that needed help, we made the very difficult choice to focus solely on younger horses, under 4, and mare/foal pairs. It broke our heart to not be able to help any of the older horses and blind/special needs horses, but we had to make a choice and younger horses would have the best chance at gentling and adjusting to a new life.

This lovely sorrel mare gave me a moment today that reminded us WHY we do this and a reminder of why we have a policy of treating each horse individually. You see, that's Vanessa. She's a 6 to 8 (best estimate) year old mustang mare who came from the neglect situation. Miss Vanessa did not meet our criteria, but her two very bonded youngsters did. She was in a sorting pen with Stella and Eliana, who are probably 1 to 2 years old. And when it came time to load up the two girls and separate them from Vanessa, our person on the ground simply couldn't do it. Vanessa turned those big, worried eyes on her and our person was done for. A picture and a text and a "I know she's older and she's pregnant, but how do I separate them" and the answer of "you don't, bring her along" and Vanessa became one of the lucky 17 that we've taken in.

She has quickly become one of our favorites. She is smart, and beautiful. We talk to her like a human and she helps us out. Earlier today, we wanted to get Gemini, another youngster that Vanessa adopted, into the baby pen so she could start gentling and get her feet trimmed - she has a long back hoof that is concerning. Gem wanted nothing to do with me so we simply explained what I wanted to Vanessa and gently herded them towards the gate. Vanessa left the bale, walked over to the gate pushing Gemini and bringing Eliana along, and when Gemini went through the gate she just walked off and went back to eating. I know horses don't speak English but this girl is the closest that they come.

So, I was filled with absolute joy when I looked out a little while later to see her curled up sleeping in the hay. She looked so calm, so relaxed, so content, that I just had to snap a picture.
Vanessa has good feet and is the absolute last on our list for gentling of the mustangs. She's pregnant and will be gentled enough to get her shots and care, but right now she's doing great just eating and relaxing. She reminds me that every horse deserves a chance and that good things happen when we give up control and let the universe give us what we need instead of what we want.

Vanessa is going to make someone a fabulous horse someday, and I guarantee she is one that will make me cry tears of sorrow and happiness when she leaves. Whoever you are, her future person, you are a very lucky human.

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Double HP Sanctuary & Learning Center

January 12, 2017


And here is a photo of HotShot taken Dec. 16, 2016, going for a romp in the snow before heading back to the barn for supper and shelter from the below-zero temps. that we are experiencing here in South Dakota.
We want to share with you some stories and photos about some of the rescued horses who live at our DoubleHP Sanctuary & Learning Center (501c3 Horse Help Providers, Inc.) in South Dakota.  We are possibly the oldest horse rescue in South Dakota. We organized in 2001 and received our 501c3 more than 10 years ago. We have rescued and helped to re-home hundreds of horses over the years, and we are available to assist Law Enforcement in cases involving horses.  

Through our Volunteer and Horsemanship programs, we help people learn about horse care, horse costs, horse behavior, safety, and riding. But what we spend most of our time and money on is caring for the 14 rescued horses who live here. These are horses who were not adopted or were adopted but returned.  Slightly more than half  of our rescued horses are emotionally, mentally & physically sound; and they help people learn in our horsemanship program. We have both riding and non-riding activities. All of the horses here  are very much loved and have been promised a forever home here.

HotShot, OTTB

HotShot will be 27 in 2017! (We were a year off on his age, but this year we took a look at his Jockey Club papers so now we have his official age.)  His big story this year is that the day before the Kentucky Derby, one of our local TV stations called to see if they could come out and do a horse story for Derby Day.  When I told them about HotShot, they were very interested.  So they came out and ended up staying for four hours!  When we took a look at HotShot's official papers, we learned that one of his great grandpas was Bold Ruler.  This made an excellent Derby Day story for KDLT.

Here is a photo of KDLT Reporter Jack Eble. HotShot knew it was his day, and he loved the cameras and attention.

Jewel,  APHA

We rescued Jewel as an untouched 2-year-old.  She has always been pretty right-brained and requires a very confident rider.  This year, we HAD a confident rider in our barn for a few months.  Olivia, a traveling nurse, was in our area for a few months and hung out with us on her days off.  She and Jewel hit it off famously, and Jewel even got to go on her first trail ride and acted like she had been on a hundred trail rides.

This photo is Olivia and Jewel at Newton Hills State Park near Canton, SD in August 2016.

Lily, APHA

Lily was rescued from severe starvation as an untrained 3-yr-old. Her owner left Lily and friend out in an open field in a South Dakota winter, with no food, no water, no shelter. Lily's friend died, but Lily somehow survived. Nobody adopted Lily when we offered her. Her future was too unpredictable.  She had had no hoof care and was not sound. We gave Lily a home here with us and have watched her bloom over the years.  This year she and her human partner officially graduated from Parelli Level 3.  They scored a 3++ on their Liberty audition in September 2016 and are now advancing through their Level 4. 

Lily and Darci in 2016. 

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The Gelding Village

January 05, 2017

Crash, owned by Nikki Rebel, was the 100th stallion gelded

Photo Credit: Cathy Threadgill
January 2017

I was recently reminded why I did not pursue medical or veterinary school.  Let’s just say that I don’t do well with needles, knives, and blood. So, when I decided to attend an Operation Gelding clinic last month, it didn’t take long to realize I could only view the most graphic tasks from behind the lens of my camera.  Thankfully, Dr. Freeny didn’t have to treat me from collapsing after a vasovagal response.  But, I digress.

After nine months at the office, it was definitely time to visit a clinic and see the process first-hand. There was no better opportunity than to be in Flower Mound, Texas, to celebrate 100 castrations for long-time Operation Gelding participants Lacey Edge and Kaye Garrison.  

Lacey hosted her first clinic in 2010.  She had learned about the UHC and the Operation Gelding program through the AQHA while doing research for a school project. At the tender age of 13, Lacey decided that she needed to help fill a need in her area by hosting a no-cost clinic. After gelding 20 horses (the UHC’s limit for funding) that first year, she couldn’t be stopped. Now in college, Lacey returned home for last month’s clinic and has plans to offer one nearer her school in the spring.  

Although Lacey was the driving force behind the clinics, it takes a village to make them successful. Her mom, Kaye Garrison, has the registration tasks down to a science. She says that advertising is easy at this point – they almost always have a waiting list – and the rest of the process includes good communication and follow up with participants. 

Many organizers say that finding a vet is often the challenging part, but Lacey and Kaye have been lucky to find two amazing vets over the years!  For their first four clinics, 4-H Veterinary Science Club parent and local vet, Dr. Shepard volunteered his time. After the girls completed 4-H, Kaye was again on the search for a vet and was referred to Dr. Freeny, a local vet who had participated in an Operation Gelding clinic during her junior year at Texas A&M University. Once Dr. Freeny was on board, she found another vet willing to donate clinic space and convinced her medical supply company to provide syringes, gauze, and other necessary supplies. This is her third year as lead vet with Operation Gelding, and she is truly committed to the cause, not only donating her services, but creating a dynamic learning experience for students who volunteer.

The weather couldn’t have been better the day of the clinic… sunny with a high of 72 degrees, not normal for mid-December.  Kaye picked me up at the hotel and we drove to the site.  Dr. Freeny outlined how the day would proceed and we were ready for the first patient.  I watched and photographed the procedure (taking upwards of 300 photos), but as fascinating as it was, it was just as interesting to talk with the owners and hear stories about their horses.  

The 100th stallion, Crash, was aptly named after busting through several fences to be with the herd even though he was just a few weeks old.  The nurse mare foal, now two, also survived a bout of strangles, but has experienced a full recovery. Because of his calm demeanor and standing only 12.3hh, he will grow up to be the grandkids’ pony.  

We also met a mini whose owners chuckled when they claimed he was there for “brain surgery.” True to form, he was a little spitfire both before and after the procedure. The little guy had been through a lot, being rescued only a few months ago after being attacked viciously by a pack of dogs.  
Both owners realized the importance of gelding and were grateful to participate in the program. 

Ten volunteers participated on the day of the event: Lacey, Kaye, Dr. Freeney, her husband, three veterinary students, a college sophomore, the supply company rep, and a professional photographer.  Total volunteer time, including pre- and post-event tasks… 116 hours.  
I’ve always felt a sense of fulfillment when fundraising and writing grants so that the UHC can support no- and low-cost clinics. It feels good to do good.  But even more so, I feel an extreme sense of gratitude for the amazing people who make these clinics happen…the organizers, the veterinarians, the facility owners, the husbands, the horse owners, the students, and everyone else who donates their time and expertise.  

These volunteers are the village that makes a gelding!  

P.S.  We’re also excited to announce that Hope in the Valley Equine Rescue will hit 100 stallions gelded at their clinic this month!

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December 2016 A Home for Every Horse News

December 21, 2016

Hey All!

I rarely get to come to the A Home for Every Horse faithful followers in first person, but I am so excited to do my first personal blog post right before the holidays! For many of you, we have met in person or via a phone conversation; but for those of you that haven’t met me, my name is Mariah Hammerschmidt. I have been the program coordinator of A Home for Every Horse for four years. This program is one of the most rewarding programs I have the opportunity to work on. I am so honored to be able share the tough times that turn into the most gratifying moments with over equine 600 rescues each year.

A Home for Every Horse allows us come together as a community to help rescues through many programs, like the Equine Comeback Challenge. But there are also those once-in-a-lifetime programs that leave me feeling inspired and astounded at the sheer generosity of spirit that AHFEH generates. I am speaking, of course, about the Clydesdale Surprise that myself and my team got participate in in early November of this year.

In the spring, Purina, A Home for Every Horse’s title sponsor, contacted us about the opportunity of a lifetime. We had the opportunity to present a very special equine rescue with a very special surprise. After months of planning, many secretive phone calls and visits, the big day had finally arrived.

On what was the first very cold day of the winter season, the A Home for Every Horse team (myself included), the Purina team, a video crew, and a very special group of eight celebrity horses, made their way up to Fairplay, Colorado to visit the Far View Horse Rescue. We were met by a group of over 30 rescue volunteers who were more than willing to show us around their rescue and give us a view of “a day at the Far View Horse Rescue”. As the snow fell the volunteers worked tirelessly doing daily chores and working with the rescue horses.

As the day was nearing an end, Purina had one more surprise (other than their visit) for the volunteers at Far View Horse Rescue. After gathering all the volunteers together, thanking them for their hard work and dedication over many hours throughout each year, a full Budweiser Clydesdale hitch arrived, pulling two tons of donated Purina horse feed.

It was an inspiring sight: The Budweiser Clydesdales moving down the hill as the snow began to fall. The gentle giants stood quietly at the gate as the Purina feed was unloaded. The Far View Horse Rescue volunteers were incredibly surprised and amazed at the generous donation, as well as its stunning delivery.

To say that it was an honor to be involved with such an amazing surprise, really does the amazing day no justice. If you missed the video, please make sure to go and watch. Not only do you get to learn about the work Far View Horse Rescue does for their horses, and the Budweiser Clydesdale horses are as majestic as ever. We are so excited to have been a part of this, and thank Purina for their endless dedication to rescue horses. 

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Roman and Bud

December 20, 2016

We adopted Roman, a 12 yr old OTTB who won over a quarter of a million dollars for his owners before he was cast away, Roman is a gorgeous black 16.3 gelding. Winning races all over the country. When I had inquired on Roman with Diana, the lady who runs Voice for Horses, I decided I definitely wanted Roman to be mine forever, but also asked her if she had any 'husband' horses...and she said that one of his pasture mates was a 15yr old Belgian Gelding, Bud, Amish bred with one blind eye, who did a couple years as a Mounted Police horse, until his rider got injured - I said SOLD! (I did withhold the eye tidbit from the hubby until he was home...hehe) She waited for me to be ready - which took about 6 weeks - to ensure the stalls were done, the paddock safe and secure (from dogs entering). She put me with a great shipper who literally brought them to our driveway. It was a piece of cake, an expensive one, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

I have been heavily involved in animal rescue, mostly dogs and cats, and the occasional critter, for over 20 years. When I was 26 I adopted my first OTTB from VfH, and had her until she passed; in the meantime I also adopted another OTTB, Sttich, from VfH as my 'riding horse' who I boarded at my friends Hunter/Jumper farm. He has also since passed. There was no doubt that once I moved to the country and had acreage, pasture and a barn, I would be adopting more and finally having them at home. I was just thoroughly blessed that VfH had two more for me! Diana saves a lot of horses and it was a joy to be able to now adopt four horses from the same great lady!!!

We rescue - we foster - we adopt – it’s what we do. I am unfortunately very aware at how many animals are cast aside every year so there is no way I would ever go to a breeder for any animal. Nor would we ever breed our own, although fostering babies is a blast and I hope to foster baby horses someday too!

I am always aware that issues may arise, health concerns, behavior problems and the like - but - when you rescue an animal those things come know going into it - but you don’t care, because going to a rescue is first and foremost, deal with the rest later. Being able to literally save an animal who didn’t have a certain future is the most heartwarming thing I ever do. I love fostering dogs - especially expectant mothers, and knowing that not only did we save a life - we saved many! With horses, we know that they have horrible futures ahead if they go to auction or a meat buyer - or any buyer could just be a liar and lead to an unsafe future. A future with an ugly end. For so many this is the case.

Roman, my love, my baby boy, has his own set of issues, none that we won’t eventually work out. I adopted him in April of 2016, and his last race (a win!) was in July of 2015. He’s wound pretty tight, but as to be expected from a horse whose only job was RUN FAST. My first time on, I lasted about 6 seconds in the saddle. Thank Goodness for helmets! I haven’t fallen off again, but he has tried. He needs to learn how to just relax - and now - so do I! In time we'll get there. We don’t strive to show or compete, we just strive to be partners for the next 15+ years. For now, we play, we graze and we get snacks and take walks down our dirt roads (yes, I lead him). All of the kinks will work out in time. Neither of us are in a rush. We love life! 

Bud, of course is the complete opposite. He is a big ole happy lazy horse, and he’s perfect for the hubby. His bad eye doesn't bother him and it adds character. Neither of our horses have flaws - they have things that make them special and unique. He’s beautiful and sweet and a total pig in his stall. He’s perfect, OK, except he wants to eat fingers after all of the treats are gone. Slobber Monster.

I’ve worked and been around horses for many years, but having them at home – it’s just amazing!!! There really isn’t much better than looking out my windows and seeing them graze, there’s nothing better than taking a few steps out of the house to give my boys love and treats. They're my pets just as much as my other animals...they just cost a lot more. But - they smell much better too!

~Jamie and the Misfit Farm.

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The Christmas Pony

November 27, 2016

December 2016 

For how many years have children been putting “a pony” on their Christmas lists?  Thankfully, I didn’t get my wish until just over a year ago, but many kids do. Don’t get me wrong. Horses and ponies do wonderful things for kids; kids learn responsibility, build confidence, learn trust and patience, as well as the importance of preparation, goal-setting, and follow-through.  Plus, they are outside and away from phone screens, TV screens, and computer screens getting fresh air and exercise. There is indisputable evidence that horses can be good for kids.

But, owning a pony is a big responsibility, literally and figuratively. Consider these questions: What happens to the pony if the child loses interest?  What happens to the pony when your child goes to college?  What happens if the pony gets injured and is no longer rideable? Even if we could have afforded a pony, my parents would have never kept it after I left for school.  

If you believe that your child is ready for a Christmas Pony, please pledge to be responsible owners. 

First, do your homework and ask for professional help to find the right pony for your child’s experience. Purchasing a pony that isn’t a good match for your child’s goals and experience usually ends up with an unwanted pony. They don’t come with gift receipts and 180-day return policies (although many reputable sellers will agree to take a horse back after a short trial period).

Second, understand the costs of ownership. To help you consider all costs, including some you may not have thought of, the UHC has created a Cost of Ownership resource sheet, which is available on the website. 

Third, plan to work with a trainer or experienced horse person if this is your first horse. It is worth the investment.  Finally, have plans in place to deal with specific circumstances such as the questions posed above. Expect the unexpected to guarantee the welfare of your new equine partner. 

In an ideal world, owners would keep (or at least provide for) their horses until they cross the rainbow bridge, but it may not be realistic to keep a pony for 30 years. Let’s face it, things happen. Responsible owners, however, know what options exist for their horses before they become unwanted.

So, are you absolutely, positively sure you are ready to jump in so your young one can jump on?  

You might consider having your child unwrap some other options first to ensure his/her interest is long-term. Great gifts include riding lessons or monthly trail rides.  Partial and full leases are also excellent options to learn the responsibility of ownership without the long term commitment. Volunteering at a local stable or rescue is another option, which can be a gift to both your child and the rescue. 

Thinking back on my childhood, volunteering at a rental stable was the best thing I could have done. I had fun, I was out of my parents’ hair, it didn’t cost us anything except some good laundry detergent, and I learned all those things that I mentioned above.  Plus, it kept me out of trouble!  

It might have taken 25 years, but I was finally ready for my Christmas pony. 

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Road to Recovery: Beau the Belgian draft horse

November 18, 2016

Shoreview, Minn. [July 15, 2016] – The lights had gone out.

Randy Hanshaw was in the darkest trenches of the horse world, a kill buyer’s lot. Hanshaw, a long-time horse enthusiast, and operator of Pasture Time Equine Sanctuary in Fredericksburg, TX, a participating shelter in’s A Home for Every Horse program, was on a mission to save a horse and give that horse a home.

He wanted to buy them all, but he could afford to save only one draft horse that day. Hanshaw had already identified the horse to add to his rescue: A Belgian draft mare to be named Corinna. Corinna was standing next to an emaciated Belgian gelding. When Hanshaw looked into the horse’s eyes, he saw nothing but a vacant expression – the lights seemed to have gone out. Hanshaw mulled the decision that so many horse lovers have to make; he didn’t know how, where, or even if he could afford to save both horses, but he knew he must also save the nameless horse. He bought both the Belgian gelding and Corinna, making room in his trailer, his barn and his heart for two more horses.

Like so many horses sold at auctions, the Belgian gelding’s history was lost in the shuffle. The only detail that remained was that the horse wound up in Louisiana, headed for slaughter. Without a past name for the horse, Hanshaw names his new friend Beau. Beau’s first matter of business was to get checked out by Hanshaw’s veterinarian. The veterinarian had bad news: Beau looked very old, perhaps 25. Though he stood 17.2 hands, he was 500 pounds underweight and had a severe upper respiratory infection.

“He doesn’t have long to go,” Hanshaw’s veterinarian said.

Despite the grim prognosis, Hanshaw decided to try and save Beau. He looked at what it took to protect his health, introduced him to the other horses, and found a diet that could put some weight back on the horse. Hanshaw had hoped that good old fashioned country living could help Beau recover and, if not then, at least he’d be comfortable in his final days.

Corinna had similar dire health problems. Much like Beau, she was severely underweight and getting worse. Corinna had severe diarrhea and was refusing all food including hay. Trips to the veterinarian produced only temporary results, and everyone was preparing for the worst. Nevertheless, Hanshaw was confident he could help his horses recover.

Shortly after having his teeth floated, Beau was able to start eating hay again. The changes helped the horse return to a normal fed consumption level. The color also started to return to Beau’s coat, going from muddy brown to a brilliant roan color.

The transformation took just six months. Today, Beau is at 100% of his proper weight. Hanshaw says the lights are back on in his eyes, and he has a new romance in his life. An older Belgian mare originally from Pennsylvania has taken a shine to him.

Hanshaw attributes both Beau’s and Corinna’s reversal of fortunes to a loving home, pasture mates, veterinary care, and Equine Senior® horse feed.

Randy’s story is provided as an individual’s experience with Purina® horse products and is not a representation of actual results that can be guaranteed. Because of factors outside of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC’s control, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to: financial performance, animal condition, healther or performance cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.


For more information, visit

Purina Animal Nutrition LLC ( is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States. Driven to unlock the greatest potential in every animal, the company is an industry-leading innovator offering a valued portfolio of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is headquartered in Shoreview, Minn. And a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

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