This past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris and Jenn Micek at 4M Horse Training outside my hometown. These two are passionate about horses and equally passionate about rescues. As I said in my last post, I’ll be researching horse rescue and interviewing folks involved in this noble and expensive venture.
I’m not kidding about this being expensive. Rescued horses almost always need a vet, meds, a special diet. They are almost always a drain on the rescuers’ resources. But what heart tender toward these animals could turn them away? Chris said his vet cuts them a break by giving phone consults and a discount on his services, but still the costs can add up.
Chris and Jenn never said a word about the expense, though. They were too full of stories of rescues, successes, and losses like Angie, pictured above. Angie was a different kind of rescue–she was a drop-off.
One day, Chris got a phone call: “Do you rescue horses?”
“Yes, we do.”
That was all he heard from the mysterious caller.
Some time later, after the Micek family had returned from a trip to town, they found Angie in their front yard, her papers tacked to the same tree her lead rope was tied to. Personal information had been blackened out on the papers, but Chris is no fool. There’s more than one way to track the owner, and soon Chris was giving the man a piece of his mind about the condition of this mare.
You’d have to see Chris: He’s not the “Tall drink of water” of western movies. I put him at 5’8-5’9 tops. His eyes are bluer than a clear October sky and his voice is low, melodic and gentle. But he knows how to pick his words for maximum effect and deliver them with such steel in his voice that shouting isn’t necessary. I imagine the culprit who allowed Angie to degenerate so felt lower than a horse’s hooves when Chris finished with him.
Unfortunately, by the time Chris and Jenn got Angie, she was in the advanced euthanasia stage of DSLD, a disease that inflames the animal’s connective tissue. She had been misdiagnosed, and the previous owner hadn’t bothered with a second opinion. The kindest thing to do was to put her down.
Although I’ve seen more expensive price tags, Peruvian Pasos aren’t cheap. They are descended from the horses brought to America by the Spanish Conquistadors and have a noble lineage. Their four-beat gait makes for a smooth ride; their long mane and tail give them an air of elegance. How anyone could abuse or neglect such a magnificent animal is beyond my comprehension.
Chris didn’t give me all the details of Angie’s owner. Perhaps the man wasn’t ready to be a horse owner. Maybe he bought the animal for his daughter who lost interest once Angie began to show signs of lameness. Maybe he didn’t realize the expense involved in keeping a horse. Whatever the story, how I wish he had forfeited ownership sooner so Angie could be saved.
I’ll tell you more about the Miceks and their mission in posts to come. Meantime, have you hugged a horse lately?
What a tragedy. 😦 And I dearly *wish* I could say I’d hugged a horse lately… Beautiful post title, BTW!
I’m so sad. Angie was beautiful. Praise the Lord for folks like the Miceks.
@ Katie: Thanks for the compliment. You and I both wish we could hug the horses! Hubby knows he’s going to have to get me a pair when we move to the farm.
@ Shaddy: I agree: Praise the Lord for the Miceks and folks like them. I’ll be posting a bit more info about them and their work. They were so gracious with their time last week that I have enough info to fill a book. Wait! It will fill a book! That was the point!!! 😀
As a horse lover and a caretaker, people like that make me sick. I don’t mean to be harsh, but when people lack the common sense to be a horse owner and they mistreat them, they should go through the same treatment they put those poor animals through. Guess I’m a punishment should fit the crime type of gal.
I applaud the rescue people. Though they can’t rescue every animal, the ones they do is wonderful.
I’m afraid there is going to be far more incidents of abuse and neglect now, esp. for older and injured/unhealthy horses. I’m still doing my research, but regardless of what people thought of horse packing plants, they were still more humane than what’s going on now. And not all the people who are neglecting their animals are villians. Some have had their hands tied by current laws and their own financial circumstances.
The more I research, the more heartbroken I get. But there are a lot of folks like the Miceks out there, and horse lovers everywhere need to adopt some rescuers and donate financially to their causes. The expense can be incredible!
Yeah, the packing plant deal is still a hot button issue among the horse world.
What’s worse is all the people who had horses and now can’t afford to care for them. They get this bright idea to release them into the wild, thinking they can make it and they can’t. The poor horses die, never knowing how to fend for themselves like the mustangs who know what to do.
It gets me how the animal rights people think they’re helping by getting stupid laws passed when they hurt the animals even more.
You made my point for me. Horses are noble and majestic creatures, and no one likes to think of them as delicacies on a European table or in Fido’s bowl. It is far worse to think of them lame, emaciated, and abandoned because the owners can no longer afford to take care of them, but they can’t sell them either, nor can they put them down without an act of congress. The activists effectively took every alternative away from the small ranchers and rodeo folks.
I grew up tending to horses. My dad loved them and was especially fond of paints. What stories we use to share around the dinner table of his exploits with his horses.
We noticed on a trip to Dallas last weekend, how many horses the horse ranches have this time of year. Maybe something could be done to limit the amount of folds they could have a year. The problem is sometimes in the industry itself.
What kind of shape were the horses in, Walk? Some ranchers can afford their animals, others find out too late they can’t.