Monday, April 22, 2013

Rescueing a Family of Horses

This past weekend was quite an amazing experience for the Warner family. We have been looking for projects to help surviving families and returning veterans who suffer from PTSD as  a result of the the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Equine Therapy has appeared to be very successful for veterans with PTSD and Melissa and I have thought it might be a benefit fot surviving families from these enduring wars. This past spring break we spent quite a large chunk of time at Solid Rock Therapuetic Riding Ranch in Uniontown Ohio. I have to admit I was taken back about how calming it was to love on a beautiful horse.

We had been speaking with Nikki Von Gutten, the executive director at SRTR about purchasing two horses to be used exclusively for military veterans and surviving families. Little did we know how quickly this dream would become a reality.

The S N Warner Family Association is pleased to share through the Private Heath Warner Memorial Fund we were able to rescue a family of horses - a mother and her two boys. They were literally hours away from being slaughtered when rescued. I have been taken back at the horrendous treatment of horses. These horse were owned by a dentist in Cambridge, Ohio. Apparently, tired of caring for these beautiful creatures he left them to fend for themselves in the fields  until selling them for slaughter. That is a different story for another day.

Let me introduce you to our special new family members, Courage, Heath Bar and Annies Hope.
I can't tell you how exciting and sad it was to meet them for the first time. Heath Bar came from the horse trailer first. He carried himself with such elegance; he appeared regal in fact. As he approached  I was surprised by his physical appearance...gaunt, scarred and unkept. He was followed by his brother Courage. He was so thin his ribs and flanks were visible. It was so sad. Lastly came their mother, Annies Hope. Again gaunt, ribs and scarmarks. All had their slaughter tags on their hind quarters - 240, 241 and 242.

I could not help but think of how mistreatment breaks spirits of not only horses but people. The amazing thing- the one thing that heals both is love. It is now our turn to love these horses back into physical and emotional health and in time they will heal so many through their unconditional love.
Today I spent my lunch visiting our new friends- feeding them carrots, straw and peppermint candies while speaking softly and slowly hoping to build trust. It was during this time I just sat and wrote this first of many blogs. I look so forward to sharing this journey with you.

As  I sat quietly I reflected on my son Heath. I am amazed how his life and legacy have touched so many people. In fact, I have come to think I am part of Heath's legacy. His death has created a new, authentic me. I chuckled to myself to think I am now turning into a farm boy. I was covered in straw as I left the barn and I loved it. Please join me on this journey. I will share photos as I can. These are pics of our new friends as they arrived at Solid Rock:)

Heath Bar


Annies Hope

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