Sherman’s Transformation

When Sherman came to the Hooved Animal Rescue, the poor fellow was miserable. With ribs clearly showing through his dingy hair, you could almost feel his hunger. His head hung low, his eyelids sagged – as you can see in the “before” picture, he was clearly not a happy horse.


success_sherman_afterNow look at him! He’s alert, full of vim and vigor, and his coat is absolutely gorgeous! You’d almost think we had switched horses on you. (Well, we didn’t.)

It always delights us how, with the proper care and attention, a horse can turn around and look as magnificent as Sherman does today!


Hello to all the MHARF people. So last spring, after I lost my event horse (who was also a Rescue) to severe colic, Drew pointed me in the direction of a horse named Guy. I took him in, not expecting much, and by this fall we were leading the pack in our last Beginner Novice horse trial (although a knockdown in Stadium put us in third place overall).

guyI have been so amazed by the progress this horse has made, and by the complete turnaround in his personality, that I wanted to be able to share with the world what a difference we can make in the lives of these animals, if we are only willing to try. The thing that has truly touched me about Guy is the absolute turnaround in his outlook on life – where he came to me dull, disinterested, and aloof, he now looks for treats and rubs and scratches, and gets the ‘I’m so proud’ look on his face when we put in a clear jumping round, and looks for me over the fenceline when I walk by. You all know this about Rescues – you’ve worked with one or many. To the right is a picture from yesterday’s schooling session on the cross country course with Guy. He LOVED it!!! (And so did I!) .

Here is the link to the video I’ve created about this special horse – please pass it along to anybody you think would like to see this message, or anybody who wants to make a difference in the life of a horse (and have that horse make a difference in your life, too!). Thanks to all of you!

– Rachel Walker, Walker Farms

Update on Buddy – FKA Gemini

Hello MHARF! I thought you’d like an update on Gemini (now Buddy). He has been a great horse.

buddy_gemini My family adopted Buddy in December 2008 as a companion (or “buddy”) horse for my other horse. I never thought that I would enjoy riding him so much! I was unable to start working with him in the summer of 2009 due to a wrist surgery, but this April, I was determined to get him ready to show in the Isanti County Fair. I had a lady help me by coming to my house for lessons, and we progressed great. I found out that Buddy has great turns and stops.

The fair was his first show with me (and the first time in a trailer and off our property since getting him). We weren’t quite ready; we did games but mostly trotted, and he was quite stubborn about bringing his head down, opening his mouth from the bit, and other small things. However, for his first time away from home, it was a lot of fun. My friend rode my other horse at the fair, and they were stalled by each other (Buddy also has “separation issues”..but getting better!) He was not scared from anything, and if you remember, he is blind in his right eye, but it hasn’t bothered him at all. I also showed him in the Sunday WSCA open show of the fair in the 17 & Under walk/trot games—we got reserve high point! I also put a poster on his stall at the fair about MHARF and many people stopped to read it and comment. They were very interested in his story and his blind eye.

buddy_gemini01I have taken it quite slow, but I want to make sure I get things right. I am a freshman in college now, so I don’t get to ride as much, but when I come home I ride him and he keeps progressing. I attached some pictures from the fair, and as you can see, he is wearing a tie-down and a cavesson, but doesn’t need either now. He gives his head nicely when I ask and doesn’t open his mouth much. I always have ridden him in a simple eggbutt snaffle with a copper middle piece, which he goes great in.

When I come home from college, I know I can just go and get on him without really any problems. He has never bucked or reared. We are still working on the separation—he always needs to know where my other horse is, so that is the “problem” now (not a bad one). I hope to ride even more next summer, and perhaps try some new riding styles with him for fun (maybe dressage!). I also enjoy riding him bareback. He and my other horse are in a wonderful pasture (about 2 ½ acres?) and they get it all to themselves, along with hay and a bit of grain. He is a lot of fun, and I always get comments on how “cute” he is! Thanks again for a great horse.

– Anna Smegal

Maggie the Bunny

Hi, I am Maggie (aka Buttons), and while I may not be a horse, I believe I’m just as important and should share my story. When people think of MHARF they don’t often think of anything other than horses, well maybe a donkey or mule too. I was a rescue too, and I’m definitely not a horse – although I enjoy treats and hay just as much!

maggieI’m an American Fuzzy Lop bunny and I am very grateful that Drew doesn’t think of MHARF as just about horses! Drew found me at a Critter Exchange in an extremely small cage that was very dirty – more than you’d even expect a bachelor pad to be. When she got me home she found out that I had maggots eating away at the tissue on my little bottom, most likely because of my living conditions. Drew got the maggots off and cleaned me up. My foster family, who had three rabbits of their own, agreed to take me in as a foster – and I managed to hop my way into their heart and they adopted me. While my name is officially Maggie, Buttons is my nickname since I am cute as a button! Just see my photo – wouldn’t you agree?

When I first came to my new home and started to hop around, very slowly, I would run into things – I never had any room to hop you see, so didn’t know how to judge distances. It didn’t take me long to learn though and I began doing “Bunny 500” laps around my enclosure (which was a circular dog exercise pen) with my ears flopping in the breeze. Since I was so malnourished, I had to eat lots of hay, veggies, and timothy pellets before I could be spayed.

hoppyhourUnfortunately the vet reported that I had uterine cancer, which is very common in female bunnies that are not spayed. They also determined that due to my living conditions I had scarred tear ducts so would need my face washed on a regular basis, and after a few very basic tests it was agreed that I was also deaf. My eyesight was good, however, and my hopping ability was tremendous!

I didn’t let my medical issues stop me from enjoying my new life. I attend Rabbit Hoppy Hour (a photo of a hoppy hour is to the right) where I can socialize with other bunnies, and I have even taught my family all about rabbit agility. I am proud to say that I was top of my class at the Golden Valley Humane Society’s bunny agility classes. I am a Yellow Band bunny and I do walk nicely on a leash with a harness, and will be moving on to the next level of agility soon.

Just think of me as a tiny, floppy eared horse flying over tiny stadium jumps! I just love it! So even us non-horse rescues can go on to accomplish great things! While I may not be a champion of a breed registry – I am definitely a champion in the eyes of my family.

– Maggie Buttons (typed by her humans Todd & Tammie, as they have opposable thumbs)

Chief Concerto – AKA Frederick – AKA Frodo – but really just plain Fred

Horses have always been the central passion in my life, from the time I could crawl (the neighbors made my parent buy the rocking horse that I was always crawling over to ride on their porch at age two) until now at age 50 – pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Medicine on muscle diseases in horses. After a 10 year hiatus from Three-day eventing, I had found my “perfect” horse, a half-starved racehorse named Tricky. At seven, he was ready to take on Training level when an unfortunate accident ended his life. I was devastated. Thanks to Dr. Julie Wilson, I learned about the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue, Drew Fitzpatrick, and ultimately, Fred.

Fred is also a racetrack washout, and was brought to MHARF at two as a severely underweight cryptorchid stallion with three other Thoroughbreds. I had been watching the racehorses coming into the rescue for over a year when I spotted Fred on the website. Drew prepared me for what to expect, but it was still shocking how truly neglected these horses were. Fred is not a “garden variety” racehorse – he has impeccable breeding, and is a half-brother to Bellamy Road, a Derby winner. The other horses in his group were equally well-bred. On my first visit, Fred was standing only by leaning against the stall wall for support. I was afraid to lead him out of the stall or even pick up his feet, but I could see the fire in his eyes and the fighting spirit that was still in him, even in this horribly abused condition. I told Drew I was interested in adopting him when he was out of rehabilitative care.

chief_concertoFred came to me in a few months, when he was strong enough to undergo the relatively complicated surgery needed to geld cryptorchid stallions. He spend a leisurely summer recovering and then settling into his current kingdom at Savehaven Stable, where he is the uncontested leader of the herd. In 2007, Fred started on his career as an event horse by attending a few clinics at places like Pine Meadow and Freedom Farms, training with hometown Olympic hopeful Becky Holder and Eric Dierks, for example.

Fred is now competing at Beginner Novice levels, and scored a respectable 37.4 on his first dressage test and went clean cross country at the formidable Otter Creek course in May of 2008.

This photograph was taken June 21, 2009 at the Fargo Alpha Equus English Riders Eventing Show, where they have a special competition for retired racehorses. Fred won the Novice division, finishing on his dressage score of 23 points. Last year, Fred won the Beginner Novice Horse division at Trott Brook Horse Trials, and finished third in the Area IV Beginner Novice Championship.

I am so thankful to Drew and MHARF for helping Fred and all the other horses in their darkest hours. I hope that everyone who reads this feels the same and helps in whatever way they can to give these horses a second chance.

– Lisa Borgia