Since moving to Ohio I have made friends who work with Standardbreds and they keep telling me they are the best horse breed ever. The description from each of them is always the same, sweet, willing, kind, steady and reliable. After meeting one or two I decided to go on a quest to find one for Stillwater Stables. I have been looking at Standardbreds for about 1 ½ years and for one reason or another each horse I met was just not the right one to come. But the more I went to look at them the more I was convinced that we needed one as part of our team.
Through a friend I got the number of a lady who rescues Standardbreds and Saddlebreds from the kill pen and she had just rescued a Standardbred named Major Boomer. I called the lady and she said that she had just gotten him in and was not sure if he would be the right fit for us because she did not know him very well but said she had another one named Med that she thought would be a good fit.
So on February 28th I went to meet Med to see if he would be a good fit for us. He was kind, beautiful and looked to be of amazing care and health. She had rescued him a year and a half ago and she had done a great job with his recovery as you could not tell that he had been neglected and abused. But there was no connection between us no matter how much I wanted there to be one, so she decided to let me meet Boomer.
Boomer was standing in the cross ties, and when I approached to put my hand on his neck he placed his muzzle on my cheek and ever so gently began to nuzzle me. There was an instant connection from which he told me he was supposed to come home with me. When his current owner who had rescued him took off his blanket, the sight of how prominent his ribs stood out and the extent his hips protruded brought tears to my eyes. In addition to that, I was deeply moved because here I was looking at a horse who had been thrown away as trash, been neglected, mistreated and starved yet he was still choosing life. He had been mistreated by humans yet showed no hesitation to still love and trust them. I knew at that point he belonged at our program.
At Stillwater Stables many of our teens struggle daily to choose life. Many of them have been through situations that have left them hurting, struggling, depressed, bitter, suicidal, questioning and dead inside. It is easy for others to assume that “teens are fine,” or ask, “What could they possibly be going through?” Sometimes people judge that “They just need to just get over it” or that, “junior high/high school are the best times of their lives.” And while it is impossible for me to show how emaciated a teen is on the inside, the damage done by others to Boomer was out in the open and fully exposed. I could see the correlation to how broken and damaged many of our teens are. If we could get a snapshot of what a teen looks like on the inside as they struggle on a daily basis to choose life, to trust others, to believe in themselves and to understand that life is worth living, well, I reckon it would look a lot like our Boomer.
Yet while it is obvious that Boomer has had neglect, it is equally obvious that he has not given up on life. He is choosing life and it permeates from him instantly to those he comes into contact with him, encouraging them to choose life as well. He is willing to give people a second chance, and the love he has to offer is contagious. I left that day inspired and excited to bring my new partner back to the stables.
On March 7, his owner delivered Boomer to us along with a month’s worth of hay and grain. She was excited about Boomer’s new purpose and being a part of healing the lives of kids through the horse she had rescued. Boomer arrived excited for the new adventure. Some of our teens were here to greet him and he immediately showered them with love and infused them with hope.
Due to his past, Boomer requires some extra help with vitamins and vet care that will also give you an opportunity to join with us to bring healing to this amazing horse and to the teens who will be caring for him and who become part of our program this upcoming season. Below are some ways that you can help meet the needs of Major Boomer.
Horse Guard Weight Gain
This product is a multi-vitamin supplement that has added pro-biotics to help with digestion and ingredients to help with weight gain. The cost is $2.00 a day including shipping and will last for 80 days. This will not be something he will need to be on permanently – it’s just to aid in getting his weight up and to ensure we do not upset his stomach as we change his diet and add more food and supplements. After we get his weight to where it should be then he will be on just a regularHorse Guard supplement.
Teeth Floated and Sheath Cleaned
Horse’s teeth are continually growing so it is important to have their teeth “floated” on a regular basis. Floating the teeth is performed by our equine veterinarian (Dr Bryan McNabb) who uses an electronic tool with different attachments to file and shape the teeth. It is important to maintain the teeth because it will ensure that there are no sharp points as well as uneven growth that would prevent Boomer from eating easily and comfortably. When teeth get sharp and uneven it is difficult for them to eat well and affects digestion. We can add more food and supplements but if he is struggling to chew effectively it will do us no good. He currently takes a long time to eat his meal and appears to struggle at chewing.
A male horse’s “sheath” can get blocked with stones that cause difficulty with urination. It is important to clean them once a year to ensure no blockage. No one knows the last time that he got either of these procedures done so we would like to have that taken care of very soon. The cost is $219.00.
Boomer is currently on Dumor Senior grain, which comes in a 50 lb bag and can be purchased for $13.99 per bag. If you like, you can go to Tractor Supply to purchase and schedule a time with Connie to drop it off at the farm and get a chance to meet our rescue hero. Or you can send us the money by check, credit card, or PayPal and tell us how many bags you would like to purchase.
Spring shots are important to keep Boomer protected against the different diseases that horses are susceptible to. In the spring we vaccinate for Flu/Rhino/East/West/Tet/WN (which is all given as one shot) and costs $70.00. The other vaccine we give is for Potomac Horse Fever ($24.00) and Strangles ($22.00). You can donate for the shot of your choice or pay the full total for all of them at $116.00.
Boomer is a big boy and will be eating a lot of groceries. He is getting a mix of first cutting and second cutting hay and we will be increasing the amount he gets each week. He is currently getting 20 pounds a day total of hay and we will be increasing that to 25 pounds next week. Our bales are approximately 60 pounds each so he will be going through about 3 bales a week. The cost will be $6.00 a bale since we are using both first and second cutting.
This is just a few of the things he is in need of. You can also send a general donation specified for Boomer that we can use for other things as well or designate it to one of the areas above. All donations over $25 will receive a photo card “Thank You” from Boomer and then another photo card in 3 months from now so you can follow his improvements as you participate in his rescue and recovery. All donations are tax deductible.
For His Kids and Horses!