Steve Hindi and Janet Enoch of SHARK on rodeo cruelty (and investigations) on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 8/31/16)

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Join us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Aug. 31, 2016

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm ES

Listen Live (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

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Our guests tonight are Steve Hindi (President and Founder) and Janet Enoch (Investigator) of SHowing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK).

SHARK was founded in 1993 by former hunter Steve Hindi, and has stood almost alone in exposing the horrific animal abuse, countless lies, and corruption of rodeos in general and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in particular.

The PRCA National Finals Rodeo: The “Superbowl of Rodeos” was first exposed in 2007 when SHARK’s video cameras documented Charles Soileau, then Vice-Chairman of the PRCA Board of Directors, secretly using the cruel practice of electro-shocking horses. SHARK again exposed the NFR in 2012 and 2013 for continuing to use electricity to make horses perform. SHARK also exposed the electro-shocking of horses at The Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo for 3 years straight until the rodeo finally BANNED the practice in 2008.

SHARK used undercover video to convince many schools to stop using donkey basketball games as fund-raisers.

Horse Tripping: SHARK exposed and contributed to the banning of horse tripping in Illinois, Oregon, and Nevada. In “Mexican rodeos,” horses are purposely tripped as an event. These horses commonly have their legs, backs and necks broken, as well as many other injuries.

Steve's Pic Steve Hindi

Steve uses his hobby of flying remote controlled aircraft to document otherwise hidden cruelty, and other illegal activities.

Octo 1 SHARK “Angel”

SHARK also battles tirelessly against rodeos, bullfighting, live pigeon shoots, turkey shoots, canned hunts (and all hunting), circuses, zoos, marine parks and animal scrambles.

Click HERE to learn how rodeos promote horse slaughter and click HERE to learn more about horse slaughter.

ShameonCheyenne.com exposes one of the world’s most infamous rodeos.

You can see all of SHARK’s rodeo exposés on YouTube by clicking here.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585 Continue reading

HAVE YOU TRIED TO BALANCE YOUR WILD HORSE AND BURRO “CHECKBOOK” LATELY?

Guest OpEd by Grandma Gregg

“…only about half of the foals survive to become yearling age…”

I am sure you are aware that the BLM wild horse and burro populations are almost always wrong and that they usually use 20% annual increase as their standard. Independent research has shown that the “average” annual foaling rate is about 20% (SEE LINK https://rtfitchauthor.com/2014/04/28/report-wild-horse-population-growth/).

Even an Elementary School Dunce knows math better than the BLM

Even an Elementary School Dunce knows math better than the BLM

The issue that the BLM refuses to consider is that only about half of the foals survive to become yearling age (less than reproduction age). This gives us an annual herd population increase of only about 10%. Additionally, adult mortality must be factored which reduces the increase even further … to even less than 10% actual herd increase per year. I am aware that this is only average and that many factors (disease, climate extremes, changes in habitat, etc.) vary from year to year, but facts and simple math certainly contradict the BLM’s average herd increases of 20%.

With that in mind, take a look at the BLM’s population numbers and increases for our Oregon Three Fingers HA (below chart). Note that one year they even used a 67% increase – and this herd has been PZP’d in the past. Using this knowledge, it is my estimate that there are only about 100-140 or so wild horses on the Three Fingers, which is even less than the 150 planned capture/removal proposal.

If you have ever tried to balance your checkbook, you are aware that if you continue to take more money (or horses) OUT than what is being replaced … it is not long until you have a negative balance. That is what the BLM is doing – managing for extinction.

Three Fingers Oregon HMA per Herd Stats

ThreeFingers

From: “Moore, Larry” <l2moore@blm.gov>
Date: August 29, 2016 9:24:22 AM PDT
Vale District BLM Plans Emergency Wild Horse Gather

Vale, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Vale District is announcing a plan to conduct an emergency gather of wild horses in the Three Fingers Herd Management Area (HMA).

The Cherry Road Fire, that started August 21, 2016, burned approximately 90 percent of the Wildhorse Basin pasture, where more than half of the estimated 279 horse herd resides. The remaining horses reside in the Riverside pasture. Currently, the remaining 10 percent of the Wildhorse Basin pasture has limited water resources or forage.

For this reason, the BLM’s Vale District is planning to gather approximately 150 wild horses and transport them to the Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. It is estimated that between 80 and 120 wild horses will remain in the Riverside Pasture in the southern end of the HMA.

The post-fire recovery period for the HMA is generally two active growing seasons for upland vegetation. The removed horses which exceed the low end of the Appropriate Management Level (AML) will be prepared to be included in the adoption program. The Appropriate Management Level for the area is 75 to 150 wild horses.

The start date of the gather has yet to be determined, but is expected to take place as early as August 29, 2016. The length of the gather is currently unknown.

Statistics associated with the gather can be found at: http://go.usa.gov/xW2Zk.

The Three Fingers HMA is approximately 25 miles south of Vale, OR. The HMA is bordered on the west by the Owyhee Reservoir, on the south by the Leslie Gulch Road, and on the north by the Owyhee Dam. The Cherry Road Fire has so far burned more than 35,000 acres to the west of the Owyhee Reservoir.

The public can visit and view the horses once they arrive at the Wild Horse Corral Facility any time during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Additional information about the BLM’s wild horse and burro program is available at:

http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/whb/

Larry Moore

Public Affairs Officer

Bureau of Land Management, Vale District

U.S. Department of Interior

(541) 473-6218

(541) 709-1457

R.T. Fitch on Voices Carry for Animals Radio Show on Tuesday night

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JOIN US on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 at 7:00 pm CST
DEBS LOGA
5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE (HERE!)

Call In (917) 388-4520 press 1 to speak

Hosted By Debbie Dahmer

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Guest will be: R.T. Fitch- President of  Wild Horse Freedom Federation
 WILD HORSE FREEDOM FEDERATION
“Putting People between Wild Equines and Extinction.”
Wild Horse Freedom Federation advances the power of individuals to take informed and compassionate action to ensure the safety, welfare and lawful disposition of free roaming wild horses and burros.  Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is an organization particularly focused on wild equine protection, research and education.  They do so by monitoring wild equine habitat conservation, advocating awareness for the environment and conditions as they relate to wild horses and burros, non-invasive research programs, legal intervention and more.
RT’s blog:  Straight from the Horse’s Heart    https://rtfitchauthor.com/
“Voices Carry for Animals” 2nd Year Anniversary! Special Thank You goes out to Marti Oakley, All former guests, and All Listeners for making this show a total success. The more voices and actions takers the stronger we become to get positive changes made for the animals in need. They so well deserve. All Lives Matter and All Ages Matter including all the animals. Put a little love in your heart and do your part. Help the voiceless, helpless, innocent, and defenseless. All animals should live in Peace, Comfort, Love, & Freedom. It’s up to all of us to make it happen. Thank You ALL So Very much! – Debbie Dahmer

Continue reading

One Woman’s Complaint Leads to Roundup of NM Alto Wild Horses

By Dianne L. Stallings as published on The Santa Fe New Mexican

“n 2014, a horse from the herd labeled as a nuisance was sold at auction for $42.59 by a business already charged with several counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Documents indicate he probably was sent to slaughter.”

photo courtesy of wildhorsesofalto.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of wildhorsesofalto.blogspot.com

ALTO — About a dozen free-roaming mares and their foals were hauled away from the Southern New Mexico community of Alto on Friday in response to a complaint lodged by a resident who contended they were a nuisance, posed a danger to traffic and were damaging property.

Caroline McCoy’s efforts to corral the horses upset neighbors and advocates for the herd, who gathered to try to work out a solution and halt the herd’s removal.

Many people in the area also called the state Livestock Board and the Governor’s Office to lodge complaints. They questioned why the feral herd is not protected by federal law, like the mustangs and burros roaming on Bureau of Land Management property. These horses, which state officials say probably wandered off the Mescalero Apache Reservation 20 to 30 years ago, are treated as stray animals rather than a part of Western heritage.

The horses taken from the Alto area will never run wild again, said New Mexico Livestock Board Executive Director Ray Baca, who was on hand Friday.

The stallion of the herd was not among the horses corralled and removed, because McCoy was unable to secure him on her property, a requirement of the removal process. Those watching the effort said the stallion was “going crazy” nearby as his mares and foals were loaded and hauled away.

The horses will be confined for at least five days for examination by a veterinarian, checked for brands, microchips and other signs of ownership, then put up for auction on the livestock board’s web page dealing with lost, found and estray horses.

“I think the biggest thing I am looking at right now is that we examine these horses for tattoos or brands, or microchips or such to make sure they don’t belong to a rightful owner,” Baca said. “And if an owner comes forward, they have a right to them, of course, by providing proof of ownership.

“We’re going to take them to a facility where we can work with them closely and have our veterinarian look at them, as well as our inspectors,” he said.

Baca estimated about a dozen horses were involved.

“We will publicize them for five days and people can come forward and bid on them at that point,” he said. “The public bid is held on our website.”

The exact location where the horses will be confined until they are bought had not been designated when they left, but later in the day, the destination was pinpointed as Santa Fe. A herd advocate said Mendoza said photographs of the horses will be posted on the board’s website Monday.

“The major concern and problem now is that we find a safe place for the horses that has adequate care and facility for them,” Baca said.

McCoy, 77, said she and her husband have been dealing with the horses since they moved to the area from nearby Nogal a year ago. When they arrived, fences had been broken down, and she repaired and improved the arrangement.

“I’m an older person riding my mare, and she becomes so upset with all of these horses,” McCoy said. “When I’m riding and come across them or my mare is in heat and there is a stud out there, it’s dangerous for me.”

The horses also eat her flowers and put hoof prints in damp ground, she said.

“But more than that, these are not wild horses, not the romantic mustang,” McCoy said. “These are abandoned horses just turned loose in the mountains. … Unfortunately, many residents treat [the removed herd] like deer, which is really illegal to feed, and put out grain. They say they will eat out of their hands, which they will. But when we were working with them this morning, these are not horses that are gentle by any means. If someone didn’t know what they were doing, they could get hurt.”

There are also dangers to drivers, she said. “I’ve seen people hit one of the mares once.”

By being rounded up, the horses will have a chance for a good home, McCoy said. “We talked about that immediately, and they will be advertised, and they are legally bound to do that,” she said of the Livestock Board. “I know people ready to bid on them.”

But a positive ending for the horses isn’t guaranteed. In 2014, a horse from the herd labeled as a nuisance was sold at auction for $42.59 by a business already charged with several counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Documents indicate he probably was sent to slaughter.

Alto resident Russell Perrin said his family enjoyed having the herd in the area and watching horses that he didn’t have to feed. They didn’t eat the flowers like the elk and deer, he said. They just trimmed the grass.

Comment directly at: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/woman-s-complaint-leads-to-roundup-of-alto-horses/article_6ef061a1-ac8e-51c1-8d31-38f8fe104ed7.html

Feel Good Sunday: Tiny Pony Rushes To The Bus Stop Every Day To Greet His Favorite Little Girl

By becca Rebecca Endicott as published on Little Things

When I was a kid and would ride the yellow school bus in the mornings and afternoons, my dog would always walk me down the long driveway to keep an eye on me.

In fact, lots of people have similar stories, like this faithful family dog who dutifully waits for her favorite people while staying with the pet sitter.

But of course, much as we love dogs, they aren’t the only faithful animals around! If you were lucky enough to live in the country or head to the stable every now and then, you’re probably well acquainted with horses and their incredible displays of loyalty!

If you’ve ever seen a horse show affection to a favorite person, it may not surprise you to know that down in New Smyrna, FL, there’s a sweet pony waiting around for an extra special little girl.

Her name is Madilyn, and after hearing her story, we aren’t at all surprised by how devoted her beloved animal companion is.

Facebook/ Sean Patrick Training

Facebook/ Sean Patrick Training

When Madi hopped off the school bus on August 16, there were three faces waiting for her at the bus stop.

Her dad was there, saddled up on one of his horses — and next to him, Madi’s pony, Taco, was eagerly awaiting his little lady!

If you ask us, Madi seems like one lucky little girl to have such a devoted pony (and dad!) in her life, and 40,000 people on Facebook agree, sending this photo into the viral stratosphere!

After all, not every kid gets to grow up with a dad who’s a professional equestrian trainer, with the stables to prove it!

Madi’s dad Sean Patrick is a trainer and educator for the horse community, who dedicates his time to, “using kind, effective horsemanship principles while developing confident riders and horses with perfect trust, great respect, and endless skill,” according to his website.

Facebook/ Sean Patrick Training

Facebook/ Sean Patrick Training

That means that he keeps trained horses at his stable and also trains young horses.

If you ask us, this seems like every girl’s dream come true!

Not only does Madi get to spend her days in the company of a whole host of different horses, she actually gets her very own pony.

In the process, she is also growing up with a lot of the skills her dad teaches, ranging from good horsemanship skills to the work ethic needed to take care of horses — hey, it’s hard work and someone’s got to do it!

If you ask us, this horsewoman-in-training already seems to be doing a pretty amazing job of making sure the horses in her care get plenty of love.

In fact, Madi and Taco seem to have a pretty incredible connection. Taco may pick Madi up from the school bus, but she returns the favor by making sure his coat is clean and his hooves are pebble-free!

And she also makes sure to help out with the other horses at the stable, helping with grooming, washing, and no doubt, mucking out the stables.

But Madi isn’t just a young equestrian in the making.

Facebook/ Sean Patrick Training

Facebook/ Sean Patrick Training

She’s also using her growing skills in horsemanship to raise money for a cause close to both of their hearts, their local Childhood Cancer Foundation.

This past summer, Madi had surgery and chemotherapy after a frightening diagnosis of liver cancer.

It’s a scary battle to face, but Madi’s courage shines through, and we’re relieved, but not at all surprised, that she went through treatment and emerged in March 2016 cancer-free and with a smile on her face…(CONTINUED)

http://www.littlethings.com/taco-waits-for-madi/

Video Update: Few Clues in Murdered Wild Mustang Case

Story by George Knapp as broadcast on LasVegasNow.com

“Let the Finger-Pointing Begin!”

Please Comment on the BLM’s Long Term Plans for and Removals of Wild Horses at Sand Wash Basin

Update from Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats

The Colorado BLM published the Environmental Assessment for the Sand Wash Basin Herd in Colorado on August 6. The deadline for comments is September 4, 2016.

Corona of Sand Wash Basin ~ photo by Carol Walker

Corona of Sand Wash Basin ~ photo by Carol Walker

It is extremely important that you write and comment because the way that the EA is set up, on the surface it looks as though it is a proposal for a simple bait trapping of wild horses, giving at least 80% of the mares PZP-22 for birth control and then removing 50 horses. You might say “well, that’s not so bad.” But in actuality, it is a 10 year plan that opens the door for helicopter removals down to low AML over the period of 10 years, with no opportunity to comment later on the plan. This part of the EA must be changed. Currently, if you look on the BLM’s eplanning website for the project here:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/projectSummary.do?methodName=renderDefaultProjectSummary&projectId=59798

The length of the project is 10 years, with the start date at 03/28/2016 and the end date of 9/30/2016.

And the paragraph that really concerns me is this one:

“In 2016, it is estimated that up to 50 excess wild horses would be sent to the GEMS for adoption. The number of excess wild horses removed in the future may vary depending on holding space at the GEMS or BLM preparation and holding facilities. The number of excess horses removed from the HMA would not reduce the population to below the low end of AML within the Sand Wash Basin following implementation of the proposed action.”

This opens the door for the BLM to remove more horses down the road, without public comments, possibly even down to low AML which is only 163 horses. This urgently needs to be removed from the EA. If what the Wild Horse and Burro Expert Ben Smith told me is true, that they are only doing removals this year and the 10 year part is just for the annual administration of PZP-22, then that needs to be spelled out clearly.

Current population estimate of the Sand Wash Basin Herd is 550 wild horses, and that number does not include foals born this year – there are estimated to be 57 foals born this year. Appropriate Management Level, (AML) for the Sand Wash Basin Herd is 163-362.

This population estimate was made doing an actual ground count by volunteers, the very best way to get an accurate count. I applaud the BLM for this paragraph: “Population estimates in the Sand Wash Basin HMA are likely to be close to the actual number of horses due to the volunteers that observe the horses in a consistent manner, and track foaling and death loss.”

The biggest concern I and others have had was that the BLM could schedule a helicopter roundup and remove 444 wild horses. They do not have room for these horses in short and long term holding. So they worked out a plan to use bait trapping, intending to capture 80% of the mares in the herd and give them PZP, and then remove 50 young horses who will be sent to the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS) for training and placement. You can read about them here: http://greatescapesanctuary.org/

There are three alternatives in this EA:

Alternative A: Bait trapping, Fertility control using PZP-22 and removal of 50 horses which will be sent to GEMS

Alternative B: Bait Trapping, Fertility control using PZP-22, No removal of horses

Alternative C: No Action

The Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area is 157,730 acres, and there are 4 grazing allotments for livestock ranchers grazing sheep in the area. It is a very dry and arid area, and some years have better rain than others. But in my opinion the very best thing that could happen for this herd would be to raise the AML to 350-600 and retire all the livestock grazing leases, and make Sand Wash Basin a Wild Horse Range. Sand Wash Basin wild horses should be managed as the principle species in this Herd Management Area, as mandated in the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act.

This is the BLM response to raising the AML:

“Current monitoring data does not support raising the AML for wild horses within the current multiple use balance established under the RMP. This alternative was not brought forward for detailed analysis because it is outside of the scope of the analysis, and would not be in conformance with the 2011 Little Snake Field Office ROD and Approved RMP which direct the Secretary to immediately remove excess wild horses, and is inconsistent with the BLM’s multiple use mandate.”

This is the response regarding managing wild horses as the principle species and making Sand Wash Basin a wild horse range:

“Alternative D of the Little Snake Proposed Resource Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (October 2011) analyzed an alternative under which the Sand Wash Basin HMA would be designated as a wild horse range and managed principally, though notexclusively, for wild horses. This alternative would still have included population management,though the AML may have been raised as AUMs allocated for livestock grazing would have been reallocated to wild horses. This alternative was not selected in the RMP.”

Usually RMPs are changed about every 20 years. This is not acceptable. This needs to change.

I encourage you to select alternative B or C – the horses are going to be safest in their homes, with their families.  And make sure you ask that the 10 year part of the plan be only applicable to the administration of PZP-22, and that any future removals of wild horses from the range needs to comply with NEPA and have a public comment period beforehand. I would also recommend that you ask that the public be able to observe the bait trapping.

Please comment by September 4, 2016.

Public Comments Can be mailed to:

Little Snake Field Office at 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625

or submitted via email to blm_co_sandwash_hma@blm.gov.

Comments are due by September 4, 2016.

BLM Postpones Oregon Roundup of Wild Horses Targeted for Gruesome Spaying Experimentation

Recent news releases indicate that the Oregon BLM office has postponed it’s plan to harass and breakup wild horse families in the “Three Fingers” area due to a wild fire dubbed the “Cherry Road Fire”.

Steens HMA wild horse family, about to be destroyed by BLM for experimental sterilizations ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Oregon Steens HMA wild horse family, about to be destroyed by BLM for experimental sterilizations ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The ‘fresh’ mares captured from the postponed helicopter roundup were to be transferred to the BLM’s holding facility in Hines where they would be subject to grotesque, non-sterile and antiquated spaying experiments overseen by Oregon State University.

Although at first glance this may be looked upon as a reprieve for the federally protected wild horses of Eastern Oregon but comments from BLM spokesman Larry Moore indicates that the fire may be used as an excuse to rip even more wild horses from their rightful home at a later date,

“Now that even more of the forage has been burned completely, that will likely necessitate more horses bring gathered, though at this point we can’t say for sure,” said Moore.

No indication was given as to the status of private livestock that are allowed to graze upon the Congressionally designated wild horse’s forage at federally subsidized rates.

Pregnant Wild Horse in Idaho Stabbed to Death Ahead of Adoption

Source: Multiple

Dee had been adopted and was only hours away from going to her new home when she was killed.

AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – A local ranch owner is looking for some answers after finding one of her mustangs stabbed to death.

Click Image to View Video

Click Image to View Video

It happened Sunday morning on Fish Hatchery Road in American Falls.

“A Little Piece of Heaven” ranch in American Falls said around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, one of their mustangs was stabbed to death.

“Around 2:30 the dogs were going crazy and we just thought it was coyotes and we came out and one of the mustangs was out here, Dee, laying in the field,” said Erin McGuire, whose mother Kimberly Clark, owns the ranch.

Dee was about 5 or 6 years old and was pregnant. She was due to have her baby in about a month. When Dee was found, she had bled to death from what appeared to be two different stab wounds.

Dee was first stabbed near the fenceline that runs along a public access road. Dee then ran to the middle of the field where she ended up with a second stab wound, this time in the head.

“A Little Piece of Heaven” ranch is a temporary home for rescued horses. It works with the group “Miracle Mustangs” who saves dying horses and those would otherwise be sent to slaughter. The ranch is one place horses are sent to and cared for until they can be adopted to permanent homes.

Dee had been adopted and was only hours away from going to her new home when she was killed.

The ranch said she was a great horse and they already miss her a lot.

“She was a sweetheart,” McGuire said. “She made us all laugh. She was like a dog, she was one of the sweetest mustangs we’ve had here so far. She would go up to the irrigation pipes and bite at the water like a dog.”

The ranch reported the incident to the Power County Sheriff’s Office, who is currently investigating it.

Clark wants to encourage anyone who may know something to call the sheriff’s office and let them know.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to raise money for a reward to catch whoever is responsible.

Around 5 p.m. Monday afternoon, a veterinarian and police took another look at the horse. They said Dee’s nasal cavity was completely shattered. They believe that injury occurred first, and then wound in her side occurred second.

The vet said it’s possible the wound in Dee’s side could have come from a branch as she ran, but it could also still be a stab wound. He said the nose wound is unexplainable, and believes someone did it. Clark said police aren’t ruling anything out at this point and they told her they won’t have conclusive results for about a month.

If you have any information you think could help with the investigation, call the Power County Sheriff’s Office at 208-226-2311.

http://www.localnews8.com/news/Mustang-stabbed-to-death-in-American-Falls/41319972

Facebook post saves a horse from slaughter — and perhaps many more in the future

as published on Lexington Herald Leader

She was a 10-year-old Belgian in Pennsylvania, a former work horse, rescued from a slaughter pen with hooves so damaged she could barely walk.

Jamie Puckett, center, and other teachers at Julius Marks Elementary School went to Walnut Hall Stock Farm on Aug. 8 to meet Mercy, a rescue Belgian draft horse that will be the ambassador for Take the Reins, a new service learning program at their school to teach children about the equine industry and benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Tom Eblen teblen@herald-leader.com

Jamie Puckett, center, and other teachers at Julius Marks Elementary School went to Walnut Hall Stock Farm on Aug. 8 to meet Mercy, a rescue Belgian draft horse that will be the ambassador for Take the Reins, a new service learning program at their school to teach children about the equine industry and benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Tom Eblen teblen@herald-leader.com

It was a slow Saturday afternoon in January at the L.V. Harkness & Co. store on Short Street. Owner Meg Jewett was surfing Facebook when a picture on one of the horse rescue pages she follows leapt off the screen and touched her heart.

It was of a 10-year-old Belgian in Pennsylvania, a former work horse, rescued from a slaughter pen with hooves so damaged she could barely walk. Within minutes, Jewett had bought the mare she would name Mercy.

Then Jewett, who also owns Walnut Hall Stock Farm, started thinking through the challenges: How would she get this horse to Kentucky? If she could save her, what would she do with her? And how would she explain all this to her husband?

As it turns out, husband Alan Leavitt, a fellow horse lover, had bought a 29-year-old rescue Standardbred he had not told her about. So that part was easy. The rest, not so much. Jewett and her farm staff went to Pennsylvania with a trailer, carefully brought Mercy back to Walnut Hall and spent months nursing her back to health.

What is Mercy’s future? The gentle giant who loves nothing more than having people pet her and feed her horse cookies is beginning a second career as the “spokes-model” for a new service-learning program for Fayette County Public Schools.

The program, called Take the Reins, has two goals: to teach children about horse care, the industry and compassionate service; and to raise money and awareness for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.

Mercy will be taken by horse trailer Aug. 29 from her forever home at Walnut Hall to Julius Marks Elementary School, where 750 students will get a chance to pet her. That will launch a Take the Reins pilot program, which organizers hope to expand to other Lexington schools next year.

“I feel very honored that this has fallen into my lap,” said Julius Marks Principal Lynn Poe. “It’s bringing the real world into our classrooms and teaching children that it’s not just about receiving but about giving back.”

Jewett is a founder and board member of the 11-year-old Kentucky Equine Humane Center, located on a 72-acre farm in Jessamine County. The center cares for about 50 horses at a time. Some are brought there by authorities after they have been found abandoned. Others are surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them because of health or financial problems.

With a lot of help from the industry, including Alltech and the major equine veterinary practices at Rood & Riddle and Hagyard, the center’s small staff heals and retrains horses and finds them new owners.

The center takes horses of all ages and breeds from Kentucky and has sent them to new homes all over the country.

“The eventual goal is for every horse here to be adopted,” said Karen Gustin, the executive director. “A lot of our placements are a perfect match: the right people, the right horse at the right time.”

More than 1,000 horses have passed through the center, spending anywhere from weeks to years there in rehabilitation.

“You really do see magical things happen with our horses,” Gustin said. “Some of them don’t make it, but a large majority do.”

The idea for Take the Reins developed quickly this year as Mercy healed.

Gustin and Jewett had always wanted a fundraising, education and community outreach program for the center. Laura Schnettler, a center volunteer, works for L.V. Harkness, as does Mindy Mobley, the PTA president at Julius Marks.

They found eager partners in Poe, an award-winning principal with a background in both the horse industry and service learning curricula, and Alltech co-founder Deirdre Lyons, whose company is the presenting sponsor of Take the Reins.

While Mercy is the face of the program because she is gentle with children, Julius Marks students will actually “foster” a 5-month-old black and white grade colt that was brought to the center from Eastern Kentucky after his abandoned mother died. The center staff has named him Patrick’s Bullseye.

Julius Marks students will write letters to the colt, draw pictures of him and write stories about him, Poe said. In math lessons, they will calculate how much hay and straw he needs and what that costs.

Young students will grow carrots for Patrick’s Bullseye in the school garden, and fourth- and fifth-graders will take field trips to the humane center and see him. The school will have guest speakers from the equine industry, and the curriculum will incorporate elements of the state’s guidelines for college and career readiness.

“I can see some of them becoming veterinarians, veterinary assistants, farriers, farmers, running non-profits,” Poe said. “Our kids are so creative, and they are ready to make a difference in this world.”

Poe said she has talked with the principal of Locust Trace AgriScience Center about how its high school students could collaborate with her children on the project. Julius Marks students and their parents will raise money for the colt’s care, which costs about $500 a month. Fundraising ideas will come from the students.

“There are all sorts of ways that they will create, they will lead and we will support,” she said. “You know, the best initiatives come from young minds.”