Ever wonder how the myriad of horses find new homes at the Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary near Linn Creek?
A recent incident shows how volunteers often find themselves scrambling with little notice to rescue starving, abandoned or injured horses.
On June 24, Realtor Janet Page of Eldon was asked to identify a property in rural Morgan County. It was in a remote area and wasn’t visible from the road. Uncomfortable about making the trek to an isolated location, she asked her husband, Rick, to check it out.
He returned to say, “Janet, we have a problem.”
There are starving horses on the property, he told her.
“I immediately called my dear friend, Virginia Rice, who is an affiliate to Missouri Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary,” Page explained. “I told her what Rick had found and gave her directions.”
Rice acted quickly, and was there in 15 minutes with three bags of grain in hand. She found six horses in dirt pens with no water and no hay or food to be found. She reported that the horses were starving, skin and bones, and barely standing. Someone did show up to say they were caring for the horses and would get them some hay.
The next morning, Rice and Page returned to the property to see if the horses were watered and fed, and again found no care had been given. While Rice and Page tended to the horses again, the owners showed up.
“We shared that we were there to help and vowed to not let the horses die of starvation,” Page said. “We suggested that the horses need more care than they were able to give and suggested Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary as an alternative for these beautiful, sweet animals suffering.”
By that evening, the owner had made contact with Connie Hendrix, president of the rescue, and agreed to sell the horses for $500 ― a small price to prevent further suffering.
“It was hard to sleep that night, worrying that the owner could change her mind,” Page said.
The following morning, a group of people showed up to rescue all six horses. This included Donna Ogle with a large trailer and Hendrix with a smaller one. They had food and gear and were ready to bring the animals to a safe place.
“The site of those trailers rolling on the property with rescuers made my heart skip a beat. This is going to be a good day,” Page recalled. “What happened next is truly magical.”
Here’s how the rest of the story goes:
Page 2 of 2 - Ogle immediately started bonding with the older horses (a true horse whisperer), according to Page, as she calmed them and patiently coaxed each into halters giving each a promise for better days to come. Hendrix, working on release forms for each horse, encouraged the owner to give up histories and other facts that would make their transition better. Rice, seeing that the horses felt safe and loved with all this new commotion taking place, calmly walked a painfully thin mare around on a lead line to make her feel special.
“Three amazing volunteers saved the live of these horses,” Page explained.
Next came time to load the horses.
“Oh, my goodness,” Page said. “The two young geldings had never been haltered or trailered, or ever out of their pen. It had no gate, so we had to take the fence down. But these three women knew just what to do to entice these two into a trailer without harm to the horses or themselves. Once loaded, these horses knew they were going on wonderful adventure.”
The four mares knew immediately when leads were on, the gate was open and the trailer was there with hay that it was time to load.
“They all went in more than willingly, even though they were weak. Very sweet horses,” Page said.
As they pulled out of the property with the ailing horses, heading to Linn Creek to safety and food, Page recalled that by chance her husband, Rick, had found six starving horses. Before noon two days later, the horses were saved and no longer suffering.
“It was truly a miracle,” Page commented.
“I thought about the many months to come, each horse getting the special care it needs, the vet visits and farriers, and the expense and time it will take to bring them back to their full beauty. I hope they all get forever-homes some day and live the lives they deserve. I plan to visit Missouri Forget Me Not Horse Rescue in a few short weeks to visit the six horses I came to love in those three short days. Thank you Connie, Donna and Virginia. I am so grateful,” Page said.
For more information, check out missouriforgetmenot.org; or call Hendrix at 573-216-3838.