“Second chances create a legacy of hope”
By: Ashley Ford
Horse Haven of Tennessee was started in 1999 by the founder’s dream to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome God’s abused and neglected equine. Since our induction, Horse Haven has helped over 1,200 horses! Our primary focus is to assist law enforcement to rescue horses that are in dire situations. Truly the horses have no voice of their own and their only voice is those who speak out and report abuse and neglect. Our goal is to give horses a second chance at life because they deserve to never go through what they’ve been through ever again. Our goal is to create a legacy of hope through rescue.
One of the most recent memorable rescues that Horse Haven was a part of happened on a cold winter’s day. The team was called in to rescue not only on a neglect case, but also abuse. Two horses were found in desperate need of help. One of which was an 8 year-old, Quarter Horse, whose name is Chilly. It was apparent on her intake that she suffered years of abuse and neglect. According to the Henneke Body Score chart, she was classified as a “one” by the veterinary. This classification means that her ribs and pelvis were prominent and she had no muscle mass. She was extremely emaciated and had a long road to recovery. The light had left her eyes and she had lost hope until our team stepped in and saved her.
As the days, weeks, and months passed by, Chilly regained her strength and stamina. She spent her time grazing in the lush, green pasture and enjoying a round bale and grain daily. Slowly, her bones became less visible and her spirit seemed heightened. She seemed happy and at peace. She was finally to a place where she could be evaluated on her training and skills. Chilly had a hard time understanding that not all human touch was negative. Volunteers spent countless hours reading to her, grooming her, and showing her that there is brightness and sunshine in this cruel world. Although she progressed tremendously in those few short months, it was still apparent that she needed additional professional training due to the extensive abuse she endured during her life. She was then enrolled in our “Second Chance” program. This training program is tailored to pair horses with local trainers who will give them the necessary skill set to have a successful adoption. Haylee Logan, a Knoxville trainer, was paired with Chilly to begin training from the ground up. Haylee noticed quickly that Chilly needed months of training to overcome fear and the unknown. She spent several weeks working on basic groundwork and grooming. Her goal is to provide Chilly with right skill set to be a low level jumper. She feels that Chilly has the skills and abilities to pursue this discipline.
“Chilly has been quite a challenging horse to train. I think the most rewarding thing about working with a horse that’s challenging is when they finally come around and relax. When Chilly became relaxed enough to stand in the cross ties and let me handle her feet, that was a big step. Working with rescue horses is always rewarding but it’s especially rewarding working with those horses with trust issues.” ~ Haylee Logan
Haylee and Chilly have truly become the perfect match. They both understand and trust each other. At times, horses that have been abused take a lot longer to trust humans than those who haven’t. Rescue is raw and real, but it’s also worth it. At Horse Haven, there is no greater joy than to see beauty come from ashes. Each of our horses receives the upmost care, love, and kindness when they enter through our barn doors. We spend time rehabilitating not only the visible wounds but also the wounds not visible to the human eye. Our barn is truly a place of rest for the weary and hope for the hopeless.
Our organization is a not for profit, 501c3. We are funded by grants and donors. We need continued funding to continue our mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome God’s abused and neglected equine. You can donate through our website at www.horsehaventn.org! We appreciate donors like you who further create a legacy of hope for horses in need.