I would like to tell you a story about fate. I have a loose belief in fate, at times I feel like it’s all around me, and others…not so much. But this time fate included a horse, a little girl, and a group of amazing people who saved a horses life.
Cami is a beautiful little girl who rides Trooper, he’s her best buddy and the two of them have shared a million laughs, smiles and probably miles in her time coming here for Hippotherapy. The connection between these two is truly breathtaking. This little one has touched all of our hearts, as we have watched her ride over the past year. As many of you know, Trooper is former racehorse. Not a great one, his talents were in the show ring, but a racehorse just the same. His Jockey Club name is Prince Moon Sun, and the children who come here love to talk about how they ride a racehorse. He was the reason we started the Excelsior Thoroughbred Advancement Program with our friends at Second Chance Thoroughbreds. Because we love these horses, we watch the trainer listings at Finger Lakes for retiring horses that could be suitable in our programming, or trained for placement in other programs.
Back in November of 2013, a lovely horse named Camies Kruzen came up on the listings. I was speechless! We always say to our Cami “Look at you! Cami’s Cruisin’ now!”. I had a twinge in my heart, it was purely sentimental…maybe even a little silly. But I reached out to see if Camies Kruzen had been placed. If not, I was going to purchase him personally, and pay to have him rested and restarted at Second Chance Thoroughbreds. When I checked, I was told he had found a wonderful home. He was going to move to PA with a trainer and at the time I was grateful. Little did I know that less than two months later. He would be in desperate need of rescue.
I was contacted by Collette Duddy at Second Chance Thoroughbreds on January 4th to see if the Excelsior Program could help network for some horses in need. Three horses in particular, were in serious need. Of course we were happy to help. Anything for a OTTB in need!
Imagine my shock when one of them was Camies Kruzen. My heart sunk.
Here is how it unfolded. After some initial pleas for help went unanswered, a caring individual named Jessica Pierman contacted Second Chance Thoroughbreds to help. Three horses were purchased to get them safe. SCT paid for Camie (a former Finger Lakes horse), Finger Lakes Finest paid for Silver Bag (raced at Charlestown, Parx and Woodbine) and a client of Jessica Pierman paid for Silver Velvet (Charlestown, Thistledown, Timonium and Penn National). Over the next few days we worked with Second Chance Thoroughbreds and Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue to coordinate safe shipping and rehabilitation for the horses we could help. We all immediately began fundraising to secure the money we would all need to rehabilitate the horses that would be going to each rescue. Within an hour, we had raised funds needed for the veterinarian, and our friend Jo Anne Normile of the Saving Baby Charity, offered SBC’s assistance, and gave us an emergency grant of $150 to use toward Camie’s immediate needs.
I called the Veterinarian and scheduled two horses, Silver Bag and Camie, to have their Coggins done via rush and to take a look at them to make sure they were safe to ship. I sent funds to a local feed store so Alex Hillegass, our volunteer caretaker could get them all started on a safe re-feeding program. I alerted the Veterinarian to the issue, and she told me she would observe the other horses if possible and give us her professional opinion on the situation. The day she arrived at the barn, the horses had been moved out of sight. One in particular, Bedrock Blues (Finger Lakes), was is need of veterinary attention for swelling in the hind that resembled Lymphangitis and Cellulitis. He was removed to an undisclosed location that morning, which leads me to believe that the horse was moved intentionally to avoid being seen by the veterinarian. At this time, Bedrock Blues is still in the care of the former owner but negotiations are underway.
Camies Kruzen is now safe and under the care of Second Chance Thoroughbreds since his arrival on January 11, 2014. He will need extensive physical rehabilitation. In my opinion, and based on past experiences with horses and rapid weight loss, it seems as if the horse is at least 350 pounds down from his original weight. He has been in the lady’s care since mid November, so that equals a loss of nearly 6 pounds per day in body weight since he left Finger Lakes Race Track. Imagine that level of depravity. Our sincere thank you goes out to Alex Hillegass for helping get these three horses restarted with a safe re-feeding protocol before they arrived!
Camies Kruzen will finally get the fresh start he was promised. He will never know starvation and neglect again. He will only know respect, compassion and dignity. Thank you all for helping make that happen.
I am so proud of the people who banded together to make it possible for Camie and the others to make it to safety. Second Chance Thoroughbreds truly puts the health and welfare of the horses before all else. I am so grateful to be a volunteer for this wonderful organization. Many thanks also go to Jo Deibel of Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue for her assisting in the rescue of these horses and taking Silver Bag to safety, the constant communication, advice and assistance. And to Jo Anne Normile of the Saving Baby Equine Charity for her support, guidance, and for assisting our efforts with a $150 grant. Thank you to Angie, Susan, Shelby, Barb, Cristy, Trisha, Carol and an anonymous donor for helping us with generous donations for Camie’s after care. There are others, and I will update this with your names as soon as I have you all, and throughout this endeavor. And thank you to Alex and Jessica for all their hard work, behind the scenes. You helped save lives, all of you, and for that we are so grateful.
Camie’s Kruzen is comfortable, warm and eating well. In the meantime, please continue to share our fundraising efforts. He is safe, but help is still desperately needed with his aftercare expenses. And please take a minute to share your thanks with Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue and The Saving Baby Equine Charity. These two organizations were a godsend to us with help, guidance and shoulder to cry on. This effort would not have been successful without this wonderful team effort!
And I know that I can’t wait to introduce Camies Kruzen to a very special little girl, and I have a much renewed belief in fate!
Please visit our friends and be sure to tell them THANK YOU for all they did to ensure these three horses are safe and sound!
Borrowed Freedom Equine Assisted Therapies, Inc.
Excelsior Thoroughbred Advancement Program
Bedrock Blues has been sold to Lucinda Finley of Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds, he is on his way to safety!