Horses and people naturally come together and everyone is better for it. A similar magic happens when two Maine organizations that serve horses partner to produce spectacular outcomes for horses who were once abused and neglected.
MSSPA celebrates its collaboration with the highly skilled and dedicated folks at Horses With Hope in Hope, Maine. Both organizations work with horses, many of whom have suffered at the hands of humans and are in need of retraining and new homes. The MSSPA primarily receives horses who have been abused or neglected and removed from their owners by Maine law enforcement agents. Horses With Hope also receives horses into their care who have experienced difficulties and have been rescued from livestock auctions or other circumstances that put them at risk for abuse or even slaughter. Both organizations are dedicated to rehabilitating horses, training or retraining them for productive lives, and finding every horse its right home. When the two organizations join their efforts, excellent outcomes are achieved. Such is the story of Buck.
Buck and Scotch were rescued in December 2017. Society staffers were shocked by the circumstances in which the horses were being kept. Both were being abused, kept in a junk metal trailer without being turned out or stabled, dragged from place to place by an owner living in her car. Scotch, a mare, was skeletal and filthy, with multiple infected wounds from living in a metal trailer. Buck, a twelve year old stallion, was being cruelly restrained with his head tied to the floor of the trailer. Sadly, following months of painful daily wound care and medical treatments for her other serious problems, the determination was made to humanely end the mare’s suffering.
During this time Buck was gelded and began the process of recovery. He was socialized through daily handling, along with receiving professional care from veterinarians and farriers working with MSSPA staff. With time and patience, Buck began to show increased confidence and trust in people. Although he continued to exhibit behaviors common to breeding stallions, he also demonstrated some knowledge and experience under saddle. At the perfect moment, a training stall at Horses With Hope became available and staff from the two organizations began discussing whether Buck might be a candidate for higher level training at the Hope facility. There were concerns regarding his ability to focus on the work, whether his physical deprivation or restraint might have left him with permanent deficits, and a number of concerns about his adoptability. The horsewomen at Horses With Hope were optimistic and agreed to put Buck into their training regimen with the proviso that if he couldn’t make progress, he would return to MSSPA for maintenance, perhaps in the sanctuary program.
The result was far beyond any prediction that could have been made on the day Buck arrived at MSSPA. This talented gelding has been adopted into a job that seems custom-made to showcase his skills. At the grand Mount Washington Hotel, he leads the trail ride offered to guests. He is lucky to have avoided a fate worse than death and that the resources of two dedicated organizations, each committed to helping horses recover from abuse and neglect, were mobilized to save him. Each day Buck reminds us that there is a right home for every horse.
We applaud you, Buck, with your survivor’s spirit and stout heart made to climb Mount Washington. We salute all the gifted, kind folks at Horses With Hope who have partnered with the MSSPA to help train, retrain, and re-home the horses that we love. We thank each of you who support the work of the Society and all horse rescue efforts. Making the perfect life for Buck and for each horse who comes to our programs couldn’t be done without your volunteered time, generous financial support, and commitment to humane treatment of horses.
We will share additional success stories as Horses With Hope works their equestrian magic on two super sweet geldings from the MSSPA. Shane, an adorable Haflinger gelding and Walker, a high energy Arab gelding, are in training with Horses With Hope. Both are available for adoption and may be viewed on the MSSPA website or in the flesh by appointment at Horses With Hope.