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Please Consider the Adoption Option

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Karen Bayerl
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Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:53 am

This story starts with a phone call coming in from a Sheriff’s Department in another county in Wisconsin saying that they have 27 horses that need to be rescued. They are in varying degrees of starvation. Some are stallions, so the mares may be bred. There are some younger looking ones. To add to the difficulty of the situation, these horses have been stashed away out in this pasture for many years and the majority of them have never been touched by human hands. The few that may have been handled in the past have not been handled for years and years. This county has no humane officer and we are the closest horse rescue they could find. While they wanted to help these horses they had nowhere to go with them. There are not many rescues that can take in 27 starving horses all at once, including stallions, and we certainly could not take this on by ourselves. We started by getting the word out on our website, looking for support and possible foster homes, and by making a phone call to another horse rescue called St. Francis Horse Rescue and Retirement that we also work with. After contacting enough horse savvy friends, and along with the crew of this other rescue, we made the 2 hour trip with our horse trailers to do what we could for these 27 horses.

While most of us who arrived on this mission have been working in the trenches of rescue for years, the sights that we saw when we arrived brought us to our knees. These horses ranged in body scores from 1 with the very best being 3 on the Henneke body scoring system (1 being absolutely emaciated and most of them scoring 1 or 2). We all gathered our composure and got to work on a plan of how to round these untouched horses up and into our trailers. We accomplished loading these horses onto our various trailers by using a series of gates, ropes and other materials to make chutes to the trailers. There were two horses in particular who seemed to be the worst of the bunch, and these are the two I will highlight here. These two have come to be known and loved as Baby Cakes and Gracie.

When these seasoned rescuers first laid eyes on Baby Cakes we were all worried she was not going to make it. She actually did collapse a few times during the round up, but we eventually picked her up, got a halter on her and put her in our trailer. Gracie would follow, along with the others later.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:54 am

The weakest one being carried into the trailer.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:56 am

Baby Cakes and Gracie made the trip safely to our facility. They acted unlike any horses I’ve seen get off the trailer and into our paddock. They did not look around at all and were not even curious. They were near starvation and had not seen much food their entire lives. They still were able to walk. They saw the hay pile and gingerly walked to it and started to eat.

It has been a very long haul in their physical rehabilitation with a few ups and downs in the very beginning. Even just hay was a shock to their system. While these girls were both over 2 years old, they were still nursing on their dams. It takes a long time for horses at this point of starvation to rehabilitate and gain all of the weight that they need.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:57 am

Along with their physical rehabilitation, just as important is their emotional well-being and learning that humans are good and break through their fears. They needed to learn to be touched and handled and halter trained. They needed their dewormers and vaccinations as soon as they were healthy enough to receive those as well. The very first touches by humans brought about a reaction as if they had received a high voltage electric shock. We spent time with both of the girls each and every day showing them that human touch is a good thing. For the first few months the girls would welcome our touch, but as soon as a person came by that they did not know they would run and hide. With patience and consistency the girls really came around and have become horses that crave human touch and companionship.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:58 am

Baby Cakes first accepting human touch.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:00 am

The girls had to spend a good long time in a paddock and not able to be out with the herd during their physical and emotional rehabilitation, which took a full year. This year included their physical rehabilitation, halter training and handling and being able to be caught, haltered and handled on a regular basis. Turning them out into the herd has been another whole adjustment situation for them, but they have both done beautifully and are very well adjusted and enjoying life at the rescue, never having to feel the pains of starvation ever again.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:01 am

Baby Cakes meeting one of her new herd mates at MHWF.
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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:02 am

I was hoping to be able to end this story with the adoption of both Baby Cakes and Gracie, but that just has not happened as of this moment. Both of these girls are sound, healthy, well adjusted and an open slate, ready for someone to take into their hearts and home. They currently live with us at the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. (MHWF), in Central Wisconsin. MHWF is a 501c3 nonprofit charity dedicated to helping horses. This is only one of many stories of rescue. There are also many horses that come to MHWF that are donated to the organization by people who simply cannot keep their beloved horse for a variety of reasons, ready to be adopted and start their new life. In this economy and with the ever-changing horse market, horses are getting hit very hard and need our help. It is extremely expensive to care for horses, and MHWF is run strictly by volunteers with no funding other than private donations and fundraisers. If you would like to read more about the 27 horses that were rescued that day, please visit http://www.equineadoption.com and you can find updates on the discussion forum. Please do not forget about the horse rescue and adoption facilities out there that so desperately need our help to continue doing the work they do. Please consider the adoption option to support these organizations and the magnificent creatures we call horses.
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Stephanie Moon
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Stephanie Moon on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:37 pm

Thanks for sharing Karen. They both have turned into beautiful little horses.

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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Please Consider the Adoption Option

Postby Karen Bayerl on Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:01 pm

Thank you so much Stephanie. They have had a lot of guardians and supporters to bring them along their way.


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