S: FHHR Fabulous Family Stories Album 1
FC: Freedom Hill Horse Rescue Fabulous Family Stories Album 1
1: About our cover January 16th 2007 FHHR pulled a scared yearling belgian gelding from slaughter. That same day we got a call that a half blind, crippled senior mare was being abandoned at auction and needed somewhere to go. We had room on the trailer so I said put her on with the gelding. A bit later I was told a mis-shapen mini mare also needed help. I figured a mini wouldn't take much room and told them to put her on too! WELL the sight that came off the trailer that day was one to behold ! First comes off a trembling GIANT baby belgian, a skinny senior mare with one eye and a left knee the size of a football and a mini that was built like a buffalo. Welcome Babe, Maggie and Fiona! Inside this remarkable book of Memories you will find their heartwarming stories. . . .
2: Maggie when she arrived January 2007 | Felling good all cleaned up and gaining weight | Maggie her last summer in sanctuary at "Maggies Place"
3: You walk in and she pricks her ears, Blind or not she knows no fear. A nicker rumbles in her old gray throat, But is muffled by her thick winter coat. And although her legs are old and sore, She follows you to the feed room door. Fill her food with supplements- she gets 3, But she still may never be able to walk around freely. She follows you to her roomy stall, You fill her bucket hanging on the wall. She eats her food extremely slow, At 80 her teeth are old you know. You brush her coat, full of burs, Care and love is the only cure. You say that her chances are slim, But you fail to see the heart within. For you fail to know the history, Of a horse so great as Maggie. -Maggie R. Mason Written by Samantha Dobbins FHHR Volunteer | Maggie
4: Caste in the Snow It has been 5 or 6 years since Southern Maryland acquired any snow that stayed for more than a day. We get snow in 1-2 inch drops. So it was a real surprise to get 18 inches over night!! We bedded down the girls and gave them some extra hay for the night, bundled them both in their winter blankets, filled both buckets and headed for the house. I had made an impromptu gate to confine them to the barn since I was expecting cold and freezing rain. Back at the house we settled in for a nice night of tea and TV. . . . Until we lost the electricity. I knew I would find frozen buckets, but I had bigger surprises waiting. The wind and snow had knocked down my "gate". The whole barn was full of snow. Not just the stalls, but the wood bay, the feed bay every thing!! After feeding, and another stack of hay I let the girls out of their stalls. Everything was covered with snow anyway, so I figured they could stretch their legs. They stayed pretty much around the house. But when I looked up after a short while, I didn't see them. Off I tromped into the field. As I battled my way down the hill I spotted a dark lump in the field. "Ah, Maggie", I thought. "Silly horse has to roll in 18 inches of snow" Then I noticed that her head was coming up and then resting on the snow again. With my heart racing I plowed through the snow as fast as my little fat legs could move.
5: Maggie was down and Sadie was pacing at her side watching her nervously. Maggie couldn't get up. Her blanket was caught tight under her and straining across her neck and shoulder. Her legs were bent and her feet were cast hard against a wall of hard packed snow!! She looked tired and terrified. I called to my husband to get some scissors while I dug her legs out with gloveless hands. I had no idea what to do!! I moved her legs and rubbed and rubbed. I tried to help her get up. When she rocked, I pushed at her shoulders and withers hoping to raise her momentum. Sadie frantically bit her neck, tried to pull her up by the mane!! Gibby, my beautiful German Shepard Dog, nipped and nuzzled her. But we couldn't get Maggie up. I sat in the snow, jacketless, gloveless holding Maggie's head in my lap and crooning to to her. Paul came back with the scissors and we quickly cut off Maggie's blanket. We tried to raise her again, but Maggie was quitting. Paul had brought the phone and all the numbers with him. I started calling for help while Paul went off again to fetch a jacket for me and a snow shovel. I was still leaving messages when Paul got back and we started digging Maggie out. We dug the snow out from under and all around her until she had plenty of room to move. But Maggie couldn't get up, and she was quickly losing her will to try. The vet was my last phone call. "Her legs probably fell asleep," she said, "roll her over and she'll use the momentum to get up. Call me right back after you do that and if she's not up I'll head out that way . . . ." I love my vet. Paul and I stood wondering how two small people would roll an 850 pound horse. He took her front. I took her back, and we just pushed as if her life depended on it. Finally, after 3 tries, over she went. She stood up and wandered off as if nothing had happened. Sadie and Gibby came to nuzzle my hands in gratitude and Maggie wandered away up the hill Written by Randi Altman Maggie's Foster Mom
6: As you can see, Maggie was greatly loved by everyone that met her. She had a special spirit that seemed to hover around her and keep her safe and happy. It was evident she had some troubling times. Her past included an eye injury that left her half blind and a knee injury that left her half crippled. She was in very poor flesh when she came to the rescue and was about to be abandoned at Sugar Creek Auction house in Pennsylvania at the ripe ole age of 29. How do we know her age? Well that is a story in itself and too long to tell in this book BUT to make a long story short, we had her DNA tested and we discovered she was a 29 year old QH with the registered name Rose Sayer. Her true identity found . . .
7: Maggie was so loved by her foster family, that the farm she lived on has since been named "Maggie's Place". Maggie's last summer in her sanctuary home was a happy one for her. She had friends to play with in the pasture and a family that loved her and made her feel very special. Late that next fall, she was laid to rest on the very farm that was named after her. She was buried at the feet of her favorite shade trees. Though she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she will forever be home at " Maggie's Place " WE LOVE YOU MAGGIE MOO !
8: Tessa was one of 200 mustangs that survived the Three Strikes Ranch starvation case in Nebraska. 200 wild mustangs were pulled off the Nebraska ranch and taken to a fairground to be rehomed. A wonderful thing happened and all horses found safe haven within 30 days ! WHO said the Mustangs are unwanted? Not Makayla ! She adopted our Tessa and she tames this Mustang spirit with her LOVE | Tessa
11: Big John By Mary Stearn Conto The irony of the situation was not lost on any of them the day they drove Big John to the rescue farm. He is one in a million; an 18.1 hand magnificent creature of horse flesh, Cleveland Bay by breed, and a certified hero by right. A former police horse, Big John at age 26 had rescued and saved as many lives in his long career as the Rescue Farm he now calls home will surely do. And in yet another twist of fate, this was the second time he had been "rescued". Not always a police horse, Big John started his career as a gangling His strength, height, bravery and unflappable personality earned him every prize he and his first owner sought during their six years of eventing, and the team was on their way to national fame and an indelible reputation when tragedy struck. On a dismal, chilly and rainy fall day in Virginia, Big John and his rider began the beautifully designed but challenging cross country course that was to change his life forever. Looming mid way through the course was a large timber obstacle, and being one of the last horse and rider teams to go, the footing was now muddied and slippery. Big John's approach was perfection, and as he launched his huge frame up and over, some spectators there even said he was grinning.
12: But the big horse's right hind hoof lost its traction, and he propelled himself and his massive weight up and onto the timber with a ear piercing crack that resounded with the pelting rain. His rider thrown over and down the hill on the other side, Big John hung lifelessly tangled in the timbers by his left stifle. He crashed within seconds to the ground in a heap of tangled limbs. Swelling at his hip and lame on his left hind, Big John hauled himself up and called to his bewildered and muddied rider. A horse with a lesser spirit may have been put down there and then. Big John's owner knew if any horse could come back from an injury like this one, it was "the Big Guy". And indeed he did. After months of recuperation for his shattered hip and torn stifle, Big John's second career began. Uniquely as tall in human terms as Big John was in equine, a 6' 5" Mounted Police Lieutenant entered Big John’s Virginia barn to pick up another retired eventer that was to be donated to the unit. "I want THIS one!" the Lieutenant said as Big John stuck his massive head over his stall door directly into the Lieutenant's chest as he walked down the aisle. He was told about the dramatic accident, told that in another three months into his rehabilitation program they would have a better handle on his future soundness, and told that if Big John was not sound for the rigors of eventing but sound enough for police work, they'd give him a call.
13: Exactly three months later, the Lieutenant answered his phone and within minutes was on his way to Virginia with truck and trailer to fetch Big John and swear him in as a Police horse. Phase two of Big John's life had begun. At age 11, Big John began a ten year career as an exemplary Police mount and together they worked as the lead pair in events on the mall in Washington, D. C., the Virginia Gold Cup, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia among many others. For their heroic efforts during the bombing and aftermath at the Olympics, the human/equine pair received the highest commendations. Ending such a stellar career with what was to be a gracious retirement for both of them though, was eerily not to be. Big John was to live his remaining years happily at a large retirement farm, complete with rolling lush pastures, babbling streams, and numerous other horses. They were to be well cared for with dignity and love. And they were, for a time. Tragically, the lone owner of the farm died, and most of the horses were moved. By some quirk of fate, Big John and his pasture mates down in the 'back 40' of the farm were overlooked. Months later, and after a summer long drought, the police went on their scheduled check of their horses in retirement. Having heard nothing from the farm owner, they assumed all was well.
14: They found the farm closed, the house vacant and not one horse in the front acreage. Driving what seemed like miles to the back pastures, they were greeted by the sight of weak, trembling and horribly emaciated animals. To their horror, they were to also find several owned by others already gone, lost to sun dried pastures and a dried-to-a-trickle-stream. Vets were called and in short order a few more horses humanly euthanized on the spot, too far lost and suffering to be nursed back to health. And yet there stood the big guy. Proud and magnificent as always, they remarkably still saw the "spark in his eye" that was Big John. And they brought him home. At the police barn they vetted him up, fattened him up, loved him up. Under the daily ministering of his fellow officers, the sparkle in his eye came to match the fattened body, the shiny coat, the mischief in his mind and the life in his heart. And the love of his new owner's heart found him here. Adopted by his new owner Big John lived, thrived and played on a pastoral 600 acre historic farm in Southern Maryland. Lightly ridden along the farm roads, Big John continued to serve, proudly prancing and jigging while going "to work" at what he surely saw as his role as "the farm police". With an almost imperceptible limp and no pain, head raised and eyes clear, ears pricked and ready, John surveyed crops, tractors, other horses, cows and the occasional chicken with the ease and intensity that he had shown steadfastedly in his eventing and police days.
15: Sadly, a health issue required that his new adoptive Mom find her beloved Big John a new situation. Being the people oriented and work loving horse that he is, Big John not only needed but deserved a person to care for him daily and show him the love and appreciation he had so earned. In turning to Freedom Hill, Big John's Mom knew he would find just the right place. The all volunteer group at Freedom Hill works hard 24/7 to rehabilitate and place horses from the PMU debacle, saving horses from the horrific auctions and kill pens, and rehabilitating those that were starved and abused. At the time of this writing in the mere 10 months Freedom Hill Horse Rescue has been open, they have to date placed 25 horses in new homes. What a testament to their efforts! Big John was adopted for the last time by a wonderful, caring family in St. Marys County MD. He lived to the end of his days grazing in big pastures and lounging in a huge 12x24 stall. Cheers to you Big John! We look forward to meeting your Gallant Soul once again.....
16: Fiona | Fiona came to use one fatefull day when she was found abandoned at an auction. She was confused and scared. She was quiet and kept to herself . . . wanting to be alone | We named her Fiona. On the outside she has a humped back . . . but on the inside she is a Princess ! | Now, three years, later Fiona is an ambassador for the rescued. She goes to schools, fairs and various events to help people learn about The World of Horse Rescue.. In the picture, above she is helping to educate the children at Beach Elementary School about careers that involve horses. The children LOVE to see Fiona and enjoy her special spirit.
17: Reno | Reno . . . a lovely blue eyed, gaited gelding was already tagged for slaughter. He came into the rescue a scared, dirty mess. | Now he is safe, happy, sweet and clean in his new home with Amber. Ambers Testimonial | " I can't tell you how much I LOVE Reno and I Thank You for finding him for me. I call him my little Unicorn ! "
18: Blondie: Mare of Mystery | Mesa | Blondie
19: When we first brought her in from New Holland Auction House in P.A., Blondie was several hundred pounds underweight. She was starved half to death and given the chance, Blondie wouldn't stop eating. We couldn't tell her age. Some can guess a horse's age by its teeth. But Blondie's front teeth had been worn down to nothing from a diet of hard corn on the cob she may have lived on before she came to Freedom Hill. The closest we could come to her age ? Just plain old as the hills. After months of good veterinary care, appropriate feed, fresh hay and pasture, Blondie's weight and girth were certainly increasing. Everything looked better, except for some reason, you could still see the outline of Blondie's ribs under her coat.
20: One day, Blondie gave us a clue to the mystery of where all this food was going. By late spring, her belly was unmistakably round, protruding out from her persistent ribs. She was bagging up with milk! Could Blondie be expecting a baby ??? Volunteers were very confused. How could this happen? We have never had a stallion within a mile of our mares. Then we learned that as horses wait for auction on a feedlot, there's little effort to keep the stallions and mares apart. With the chance of slaughter all too likely, anything is allowed to happen, and frequently, it does. Blondie's foal, Mesa, was born in June 2006. He was a gorgeous palomino paint colt that was a model and testament to Blondie previous beauty. Mesa was born happy and healthy and knows nothing of the hard life his mother lived prior to coming to Freedom Hill. Blondie was adopted by Chrys and Harry Hill and will live happily forever on their farm. Mesa was adopted to a local family. We are so glad to know that Blondie and her colt will have a brighter future !
21: Carmella | After - Happy | Before - Sad | Simple as that !
22: Masons Morning with his Friends
25: The End | But it's really just the beginning look for album 2