Every horse that has come into our lives is because of a very special horse, “Willing Spirit.”
After years of abuse at the racetrack, and 14 years of neglect we were amazed how she immediately loved and trusted a young girl who had shown her kindness. This pathetic equine was first noticed standing in a weedy field, with her head hanging low. It was obvious that she had given up on life, and we could not ignore her pain. We later were told that she was to be sent for slaughter with a few of her friends, but she was too thin and sickly and was left to die in the field. All her friends that she had spent years huddling with were gone. She was totally alone.
Permission was given for 11-year-old Courtenay to “befriend” this pathetic creature. She stood like a statue the first time in years that she was groomed. For over an hour Courtenay brushed the burrs and knots out of her mane and tail. Spirit adored the attention. Her teeth were floated so she could once again eat hay.
How she loved her twice a day meals. She stood at the fence waiting for her special friend to visit daily. Within a short time, her colour changed from a pale sorrel colour to a lovely bay. After she had gained several hundred pounds, she was brought “home.” She had gone for years without shelter, and how she loved her own little barn. The first time Courtenay put a saddle on her, Spirit hardly seemed to breathe as she was so proud. She had not been ridden for 14 years and when Courtenay got on her back she was absolutely regal. Spirit and Courtenay had a very special bond. Spirit would watch for Courtenay to come home from school. She enjoyed Courtenay riding her bareback and they would play together. It was very touching to see this loving, trusting relationship grow daily.
Because of Willing Spirit and her loving and forgiving nature, we were inspired to help other horses that deserved a safe and happy life.
Since then, we have rescued over 160 horses and placed all but the horses living here presently into loving homes. We brought 5 shipments from the feedlots in Alberta in 2002 and 2003 as thousands of wonderful horses were being sent to slaughter due to the worst drought in over 100 years and hay was too expensive to feed the many horses there. We started as "The Alberta Crisis" and as a group were compelled to save as many horses as possible and give them the “happy endings” they deserve.
It soon came to our attention that there were many wonderful local Ontario horses that needed assistance. Horses whose owners had lost their homes and the horse had no place to go, starvation cases, neglected horses, former race horses who no longer could race, show horses who were elderly or lame. Once a horse is lame, there are not many homes available as few want a lame horse. If we can not find the perfect match of a permanent, committed home, they will stay here where they are happy and safe.
© Marian Adoranti Photography