Let the celebrations begin!
For ten years, Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue has saved more than 300 horses, many from dire circumstances, nursed them back to health then either retired them to the Whispering Hearts pasture or rehomed them appropriately with the expectation they will live happily ever after.
The rescue celebrated this success on July 8, 2017 with a fundraiser open house inviting every and anyone to come, meet the horses they’ve been reading about on Facebook and drop some money along the way.
Volunteers had the basis covered: 50/50 tickets, flea market stuff strewn across the yard, bake table, WHHR swag table, barbeque, bounce castle, raffle with more than 100 items up for grabs including a large screen TV, and silent auction including a helicopter flight for two over Niagara Falls.
I’ve written about Whispering Hearts before, and promoted the annual calendar fundraiser, but it’s worth a second visit to this 48-acre farm because recently WHHR founder and director, Brenda Thompson, formally an animal cruelty officer, literally wrote the book about horse rescue.
Well, she contributed to a document actually. But that document, “Ontario Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue,” is the first of its kind in the province providing standardized care procedures to those with big hearts rescuing abused and abandoned horses.
Developed by a committee of individuals representing different aspects of the horse industry (from non-profit to racing), these guidelines offer insight many novices might not consider. For instance, developing diets is complicated for starved horses and unique to each, requiring adjustment at various stages.
Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue, specifically Thompson, has experience nurturing the extreme cases. She announces new arrivals and shares progress on the rescue’s Facebook site. Twinkle, for instance, was found as a foal near death by a WHHR volunteer and driven immediately to the rescue.
Twinkle lived in Thompson’s home for the first weeks of his life, requiring around the clock care and feedings. Twinkle’s story landed in the local newspaper and she’s now thriving, having graduated out of her dog coat to an actual horse blanket and has taken her place in the barn.
More recently, a family of five poorly socialized donkeys who’d never been dewormed, vaccinated or had their feet trimmed, landed in WHHR’s care. Despite internal parasites and lice to treat, gradually reshaping their overgrown hooves pose the biggest battle.
Open house visitors got to view the progress of Whitney, a 15-year-old draft cross who experienced extreme neglect before an emergency transport brought her here. Her body condition is still a telltale sign of former suffering, but her journey to health progressing.
Many cases are not so fortunately, of course. In some cases, all the rescue can do is provide some end of life comfort to some animals.
However, today is about celebrating the successes and hundreds of people turned out to shower affection on the approximately 60 horses and donkeys living out their golden years. Some available for adoption. (Check out the list)
What’s next at Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue?
The tack shop is open daily selling second-hand, gently used donated Western and English riding equipment along with horse treats and WHHR gear.
If you’re in the neighbourhood – or willing to make the trip to Haldimand County, Ontario – Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue is hosting three one-day horse rehabilitation seminars on July 22, August 12 and September 16, 2017. Each address a different topic such as adjusting feed regain body condition and how to build trust with an abused horse. Only $30 per clinic or $75 for all three.