chrissyHere’s Chrissy, the sorrel mare laying (okay, more like buried) in the round bale. Chrissy was adopted by Brandy Olsen and is enjoying her life of relentless hard work with her friend Mister (the dark gelding).

Okay, maybe there’s not so much hard work. As you can see she’s got it pretty rough! And she can’t seem to relax!

Charlie Brown, My “Rescue” Pony

Four years ago, my parents adopted Charlie Brown, a horse from the Hooved Animal Rescue. He was one of 45 horses, abandoned, and, thankfully, rescued. Charlie was my dream come true. I had been riding dressage for three years. I didn’t really know Charlie until after he was broke to ride, when I rode him in one of my lessons. In that lesson, I found the best horse (in my opinion) in the world. From March to July, we trained Charlie at intro level. Charlie and I went to the Midsummer Dressage show, mostly for fun, not caring about scores and being happy if I did really well. Over fall, winter and spring, we took a slightly larger step in dressage, trying to do a bit more. The next summer, we felt fairly confident at intro, and had taken a shaky step towards training level.

In late June 2005, we were planning on taking Charlie to the Dressage Lite in Mason City Iowa. Well, what do you know; he would not take a step into the big scary trailer. That summer, we trained him to associate the trailer with food. Soon, he was walking in and out without a problem. We took him to the Midsummer show in July, taking on the trailer. That Saturday was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Charlie and I had received a 71% and a first place in intro. We had officially graduated. That Sunday, we took on training level. It had rained the night before. Charlie refused to go through any puddles.

That winter, we succeeded in becoming round. At last! We were so excited to go do the team challenge in Mason City. Then, one day, I came home from spring break. We got a call from the barn. Charlie had gotten a gash on his elbow area. I couldn’t ride for a month and a half. I was crushed. We had worked so hard. The day before we left, we gave it one more try, and succeeded. I could take him to the show. We went, not expecting the greatest scores after not being able to ride for a month and a half. Charlie gave it his all. He was fantastic in my mind, but not the judges. I didn’t care. I was just happy to ride my horse.

Last winter, once more, we worked and worked and worked. We had improved so much. In the spring, we did some jumping for fun. A horrifying experience (for Charlie anyway) but, finally making it over. We took him to Mason City again this summer, doing great. The next weekend, waking up at 4:30 in the morning, we took Charlie and two other horses to Parkside Dressage. It was the craziest weekend of my life but it was so much fun. On Saturday, we arrived at 6 AM. In our first class, my sister, Kate, and her friend Rachel and I place first second third. On Sunday, I could not believe it. Rachel and I were in the same class, Kate in another. Before my ride, I realized that Charlie and I had some tough competition. Rachel, who had rode earlier than me, had gotten a 70%. Charlie and I had the best ride of our lives, coming up 1% below Rachel. When I walked out of the ring, Charlie and I realized we had some fans. No one could believe that this wonderful, great- gaited horse was a rescue pony.

Later that day, in our last ride, we confronted and conquered our fear of puddles. What a ride. It was pouring rain. By the end we were soaked through.

Charlie is the most amazing horse I’ve ever met. We have bonded so much throughout the years. When he sees me coming to his stall, he nickers. When I fall, he stops dead still and looks at me like he’s asking “what on earth am I doing down there?” The only people I can’t thank enough for Charlie Brown is the organization that rescued him.

Dave’s New Life

To Drew and the other great volunteers:

dave_beforeJust would like you to know how wonderful “Dave” is. We could have not asked for such a kind and sweet horse. He is working out just grand and has adapted very well to his new home.

When he arrived at French Lake stables last Friday night, December 23rd, 2005, he took a good look at the new surroundings before exiting the trailer and let out several whinnies to announce that it looked just fine here. When entering the barn he proceeded to greet all that were waiting for him with several more announcements that he had arrived and was anxious to see them all!

Dave – now Juddie Dave (or Jud) – and Meg have become fast friends. She has been spending time with him each day and all is going very well. All others at the farm seem to enjoy him also and have complemented on how nice he is.

dave_afterThe new and improved Our other horse, Buddy, is a little jealous, however we have informed him that he needs to get over this stage and NOW is a good time for that. I think this soon will pass as we include both in activities.

Thank you again for the perfect match. We could have not asked for a better gift in this special horse.

Drew and others, you have a special gift and are caring beyond words for all of these animals. We should all be thankful that there are people such as yourselves there to provide the care and kindness needed to the animals who are so deserving of it.

Sue and Meg Miller

Nora and Kaylea

When I found out what a horse was I fell in love. Every day I would ask my parents “When can I get a horse?” they would always reply “Sometime.”

nora&kayleaKaylea and Nora (June 15th 2005)Then one day I went to a conference and my teacher said “We’re getting my daughter a horse – do you want to board at our house.” We answered “Yes.” One night I was over at the Hill’s house and my dad came to pick me up and when I got in the house I went over to the couch and sat by my mom and my dad sat in our chair and they said “We’ve adopted Nora.” I didn’t believe them at first then the showed me the papers. I will never forget that day: 5/27/05.

We put her in training for a month and for the last three days my trainer Joe wanted me out there. On the second day (which was 7/2/05) she started to buck even though I grabbed her neck and swung off my parents felt safer if we kept her at Majestic Knights. Now I keep Nora out there with Ashley, Sam and Lexi.

Thanks to all the people who helped me get Nora, they are Drew, Wendy, the Hills, my trainer Joe and most importantly my parents.

– Kaylea


rambo01I met Rambo about seven years ago or so. He had recently been acquired by the MN Hooved Animal Organization. He was being cared for at Freedom Stables in Maple Lake. I had recently started working there on weekends helping out with the barn work and care of the horses. Rambo was a scrawny, scared-looking little boy. He had an end stall near one of the doors so that he could easily look outside. I learned his story from Kevin and Laura Holen the owners of Freedom Stable.

It was not a nice story and it sickened me to learn how a person could so carelessly mistreat their horses. His prior owner kept him in a dark stall all the time. He never went outside. The stall was filthy and who knows how long he had been standing in his own waste. His hooves were so long they were curling up like elves shoes. He was malnourished and did not trust any human. He was so small and underdeveloped. I don’t remember all the details, but he was rescued along with several other abused horses.

When my husband first met Rambo it was love at first sight. We knew we could not adopt him because I already had a herd of horses at home and did not have room for more at the time. Whenever my husband would come to Freedom he would always stop to say “Hello” to Rambo. At that time, Rambo was still learning to trust humans. He was very timid, but coming along. He was being fed every day and turned out to a wonderful lush pasture to play with other geldings.

Well, the day came when someone adopted Rambo. My husband was crushed. He knew that Rambo was going to a good home, but still wanted him to be with us. The person that adopted him was a boarder at the barn and had a couple of other horses at home that Rambo could be with. Sue (Rambo’s new owner) would often trailer Rambo over to the barn to say “Hello” and I was always glad to see him.

rambo02It turned out one day that Sue sadly had to give Rambo a new home. She knew that my husband and I loved Rambo. The MN Hooved Animal Organization has ownership contracts for life, but Sue thought we could transfer ownership to me. When I told my husband that Rambo needed a new home he said he wanted him to live with us. I also explained to Eric that no matter what we did or where we went, Rambo would be with us forever. Eric was so excited. I also told Eric that Rambo would be different than our two mares. He had trust issues and didn’t have that puppy dog mentality as our horses did. I knew it would be a long road, but it would be a good experience for us all.

When Rambo moved in, he was so far from what he is now. I know Sue had done a lot of work with Rambo. He trusted her, but with a new family, he had to start all over again. This shows you how badly he was treated before he was rescued. He would never come to me when I came to the pasture. In fact, he would race to the other side of the pasture to get away. He was a nightmare to catch. He absolutely did not like the farrier and for the first couple years I had to use a tranquilizer to have his hooves done. He did trust me to pick up and clean and mess with his feet, but when that farrier came he would tremble and sweat and be combative. I have two excellent farriers. They were/are so patient and so kind with him. Rambo now can stand and have his hooves done without tranquilizer.

I did not start ground training with Rambo right away. I let him be a horse. The time I spent with him was feeding, grooming, talking and just hanging out in the pasture with him for two whole years. To be honest, I was worried about what would happen when I started training him. I wanted him to really trust me when I started.

His training and round pen work was a dream. He was so eager to learn and wanted to please. I cannot express how hard he tried and how easy it was to train him. And he moves so beautifully. He and I have learned so much together. I would not give him up for all the money in the world. It has been two years since I have been riding him. I trust him with my life. I know that no horse is perfect, but he is darn close. He is so willing and such a good boy. I trusted him so much that after a year, I put my son Justin on him. Rambo has always been good with him.

This year Rambo is “teaching” my husband to ride. Eric has ridden a few times and Rambo is doing a good job with him. I am thinking that Eric will be good enough mid-summer so that Rambo can show him the trails at Maria State Park. We will see.

Thank you, Drew for rescuing such a beautiful soul and allowing him to be in our lives.

The Bundy Family
Stacy, Eric, Justin and Jordan
Rambo and Gigi