Her mighty battle cry sounds more like an asthmatic trumpet. And her profile does not quite align with the traditional steed leading the cavalry charge, what with the foot-long ears. But Missy Mule blazed the trail in a new program battling America's unwanted horse problem earlier this month when she became the first equine to find a new home as a direct result of A Home For Every Horse on Equine.com.
The program, sponsored by companies including Tractor Supply Company and Purina Mills, is a collaboration between The Equine Network, the nation's largest publisher of equine-related content, and The American Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Coalition which seeks to place, foster and sponsor America's 170,000 unwanted horses. Efforts began last month to solicit and post free listings for horses available for placement through nonprofit rescue organizations on Equine.com, the industry's largest website for buying and selling horses, trailers and farms. The Equine Network is using its connection with more than 1.5 million horse owners each month to promote the program in its online and print outlets.
Brad Gaver and Jennifer Swanson, co-founders of Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue in Loxahatchee, Florida, rescued Missy Mule from a kill lot. They believed the flashy young bay with four white stockings would be a prime candidate for rehab and training at their 65-horse facility, where they've helped more than 1,650 equines over the past decade. However, the striking mule, was, well striking.
"When you asked her to do more than what she wanted to do, she started kicking at you," said Gaver.
It didn't endear her to folks shopping for a new equine partner. Plus, there were some other quirks.
"Um, she did tend to go after people," said Swanson.
However, a couple weeks after listing Missy on A Home for Every Horse on Equine.com, the rescue got a call from a mule-loving family in northern Florida. Even after hearing all about Missy's behavior they came down to meet her. They fell in love. And so did Missy. Her new family owns a male mule with the same white stockings.
"These folks understand that she's not a mean mule, but that someone was mean to her and she developed defensive strategies," said Gaver. "Now she's learning that people and working are fun and love."
Gaver and Swanson were not having success listing Missy on their website, and were thrilled to learn about A Home for Every Horse. "This is an amazing program," said Swanson. "It's one of the most positive and forward-moving actions taken for unwanted horses in America. What we needed in the rescue community was a national place to list our horses." They found it on Equine.com
Swanson feels Missy is the perfect equine to kick off adoptions through A Home for Every Horse. After all, she says, "that mule is an excellent kicker."
To learn how nonprofits can list horses for free on Equine.com, to view horses available for adoption, please go to www.ahomeforeveryhorse.com.
To learn about sponsoring A Home for Every Horse on Equine.com, contact Dave Andrick: (717) 303-3790 ext. 1002, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue please go to www.PureThoughtsHorseRescue.com.
For more information about unwanted horses in America, please go to www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.