Sheila got the call from the family to come and get her. Relieved, she got her truck and trailer and immediately returned to get her. Once back at Have A Heart Horse REscue, the mare, Sandy went down. It took a crew to rig a hoist with a lift that could help her stand. If Sandy were to survive she would have to be able to stand. It took 3 weeks before Sandy could finally get up on her own.
A few days after rescuing Sandy, another complaint came in about an emaciated horse named Teddy who was also too weak to stand. Another bitter cold night, Teddy probably wouldnʼt make it through the night in his condition. The owners warned he was hard to catch so anticipating a long hard night, Sheila recruited volunteers to help her catch and load the horse. When they got there, he was ready to go, he practically leaped into the trailer. He seemed to be grateful to be going anywhere to get away from the pain and suffering. Teddy was even worse than Sandy and required the hoist for at least a month before he could stand on his own.
Have A Heart Horse Rescue now had two horses that required 24 hour care and a hoist to help them get up. Most animal rescues would have put these two horses down. The time and energy in rehabilitating horses that require a lift is usually beyond what most rescues are able to provide. Sheila knows when a horse has given up the fight and when itʼs time to end their misery. “Itʼs very hard for me to look in the eyes of a horse that has the fight and will to live and have it euthanized,” states Sheila. “As long as I have the time and energy I will do everything possible to save them.”
Animal rescues rely solely on donations. When Have a Heart Horse Rescue took in Sandy and then Teddy, they were already over their budget for the number of horses they could care for. Stephanie Billingsley, with Mississippihorses.org got to work to try to raise the additional funds needed to feed and care for the extra horses. “I know the economy is bad right now but if every horse owner in our state could send in $5.00 we would be able to save and place many more horses,” states Stephanie. “There is usually nothing wrong with these horses that proper feeding wonʼt cure. Whenever we get in a bind and thereʼs no one to turn to for help we can always count on the online community of FOBʼs - or Fans of Barbaro.” This is an online community whose main objective is to keep horses, especially retired race horses, from going to slaughter. The group has over 3,500 members and has raised more than 1,000,000 since the death of Barbaro in 2007 to help save horses from abuse or slaughter.
When Stephanie asked the FOBʼs for help, they immediately started sending in money through pay-pal. In two days, over $300 was raised to help Have A Heart provide food and shelter for their newest rescues. While most horses that have been starved become food aggressive, Teddy and Sandy contentedly share their food trough. They have bonded and now do everything together. Now that they no longer need their lifts to stand, they are even able to run and play together. These two arenʼt out of the woods yet but Have A Heart will never separate them. When the time comes, and the right owner comes along, they will go together.