Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Healing Weary Hearts: Rescuing Horses, Rekindling Hope

A few weeks ago, a high school student, Nathalie Perry-Freer came to the rescue to interview Jim. Here is the essay she wrote! This is an author to watch!

Copyright Nathalie Perry-Freer

We turned the station wagon into the driveway just past the little house, going through an open gate and inching through mud-puddles the length of the car and the color of chocolate milk. Pulling into an open yard, my dad parked the car in front of a hay barn stacked floor to ceiling with bales. "I think we're in the right place," I said, spotting the words "HyTyme Equine" on a white horse-trailer across the yard. For a moment, I wondered how many hurting, starving horses had ridden in that trailer, spirited away from their suffering toward a brighter future.

As we parked our car, a man stepped off a blue tractor and began walking toward us. He was middle aged, with grey hair and a bushy grey mustache, dressed for the weather in jeans, a rain jacket, and mud caked tennis shoes. I opened the car door and stepped out in to the inches-deep mud, realizing that Converse probably had not been the best choice of shoes. Tucking my notebook into my raincoat to keep it dry, I walked around the car. Jim Elliot shook my hand and introduced himself, and I was immediately relieved, glad that I had found the man I had arranged to talk to. Plus, he was a friendly looking, welcoming guy.

I had begun corresponding with Mr. Elliot a week and a half before, arranging to visit his ranch, HyTyme, in Eagle Creek, Oregon. I was here to tour his ranch and interview him about his horse rescue operation.
Mr. Elliot gestured toward the tractor, and told me he had just finished putting a big bale of hay in that pasture, and he had to go spread it out, but I could watch if I wanted. I followed him across the deep tractor tracks ridging the muddy yard and over to the pasture gate. There, munching happily on the round bale of hay, were five or six beautiful, solid looking horses of mixed coloring, all with the large, feathered feet of draft horses. As I walked over to get a better look at the horses, Mr. Elliot opened the gate and drove into the pasture, spearing the round bale on the metal spike of his tractor and driving it further out into the field. Most of the horses finished cleaning up the hay left behind and ambled after him, but two noticed the open gate and, I imagine, decided the lush green weeds just outside looked pretty tasty. They wandered out the gate and started chowing down, leaving me nervously hoping that I wasn't expected to prevent their escape or get them back inside.

As I gazed at the horses, a middle-aged woman crossed the yard and walked up to me. She was tall, with fluffy chestnut hair and wearing the same type of practical clothing as Mr. Elliot. She introduced herself as Sam, and asked why I was visiting. I told her that I was working on an article about horse rescues, and she told me that she boards her horse at HyTyme and helps Mr. Elliot out. She introduced me to the two escaped horses, Holly and Hobbit, calming my fears by telling me in a relaxed voice that Mr. Elliot would get them back inside when he was done. Turning to me, she said, "One of the things that just tickles me to pink is how Mr. Elliot baby-talks when he gets around his horses. You don't see many men who will do that." She gave me a big smile and then, seeing Mr. Elliot returning, she went to talk to him about a horse with a puncture wound. Her comment about Mr. Elliot stuck with me. Throughout the interview, I noticed how he would walk up to a horse, stroke its nose, and start baby-talking to it in his deep voice.
* * *
    Jim Elliot manages HyTyme Equine Rescue, which houses forty-five rescue horses. He is not an English show rider, or a Western barrel racer, or a steeplechaser, or a retired jockey. He doesn't even ride horses all that often. He's not making a profit; he has more rescue horses than he can really afford and his rescue operation is getting next to nothing in donations these days. Yet Mr. Elliot works every day to provide a safe, happy place for horses who have been through the unimaginable—starvation, abuse, and neglect. His work isn't gaining him fame or fortune—he rescues the horses that have been pushed to the bottom of the heap, who are no longer shining and beautiful racers or rodeo horses, but mud-caked, mangy, starving creatures. The only possible explanation is that Mr. Elliot works for nothing but love of his horses. "I just like horses like most people like dogs," he said.

In her memoir Chosen by a Horse, author Susan Richards says, "Horses were the thread that had been there from the beginning, through the pain of childhood and the drinking and the marriage, the thread that seemed to keep me stitched together" (87). This is what is so wonderful, so magical about horses. Horses have an ability to touch people, to change them, to heal them, and to capture their hearts. The little girl who begs her parents every day for riding lessons, and reads Black Beauty from cover to cover, feels the pull. Injured or disabled patients who under go hippotherapy and therapeutic riding at stables like Forward Stride in Portland, Oregon find horses help them to heal (Von Lunen). A self described "city boy," Dr. David Asmar (a veterinarian at Eagle Fern Equine Hospital in Estacada, Oregon), found horses so captivating that a high school job as a stall cleaner transformed his future, leading him to a career as an equine veterinarian. As Dr. Asmar told me, "We're here ten hours a day and on call half the time." That's not the kind of job a person takes because he wants to make money, become famous, or even because he just wants to support his family. There are jobs that a person can get without the years of schooling—jobs that offer shorter hours, more time off, and better pay. So why would someone pick such grueling work? "You gotta like doing it," said Dr. Asmar. "The rewarding parts compensate."

Despite their magnetism, their appeal, their innocence, many horses are not in the care of people who love and cherish them. One of the hardest parts of learning about horse rescues is researching the problems that cause horses to be there. It is wonderful to read the success stories of rescued horses. But for any horse to end up at a rescue, there is an unpleasant back-story. Reading page after page about people who abuse, neglect, and horde animals is terribly painful, and still worse is the sheer number of stories; animal neglect and abuse are so common that it is easy to find stories and articles about them. Searching the recent archives of the Oregonian for stories of neglected and abused horses, I immediately got fifteen or more hits describing the horrors that the poor subjects had faced in the hands of ignorant or cruel owners. As a horse lover, I immediately gravitate to any story in the newspaper about horses. Unfortunately, these stories all too often feature horrible tales of horses whose ribs jut from their sides because they have been starved, whose coats are patchy and falling out due to rain rot, whose hooves are cracked, and who walk around with open, bleeding wounds for lack of care. The stories range from neglect due to poverty or ignorance to outright cruelty and awful abuse.

According to Kimball Lewis, a former special investigator of animal cruelty crimes, cases of neglect are by far the majority of cruelty cases involving horses. In his experience, cases of intentional abuse of horses formed "less than 5% of my total caseload. In other words, horse neglect cases have comprised more than 95% of my caseload" (Lewis).  The truth is that horses are expensive—they eat a lot and require a great deal of care. Unfortunately, this often leads to horses that are not cared for properly.

The cases of neglect are sad because often the people involved were, at least originally, well intentioned. Look at the case of Jessica Attaway—in 2008, this former Sutherlin Stampede rodeo queen was charged in a case of severe animal neglect. Her two horses, Asia and Liberty, were kept locked in a barn. They were starved nearly to the point of death (one of the horses was 400 lbs underweight), while looking out from their pest-infested prison over a field of grass (The Register-Guard). The cruelty of this is unimaginable, to be starving while gazing out over a lush pasture of food. Yet this woman did not buy horses with the intention of starving them. Her horses ended up in this terrible situation due to a lack of resources, not malicious intent. In the courtroom, Ms. Attaway said, "I tried my hardest." Sadly, her hardest was not enough to keep Asia and Liberty from starving (Duncan).

According to Habitat for Horses, starving animals may be also be suffering simply due to "a lack of knowledge" (Habitat for Horses). A child begs for a pony, but doesn't know how to care for it, or a family doesn't think through the cost of feeding the horse, and ends up starving and neglecting it because they can't afford to buy feed or pay the vet.
The cases of outright abuse of horses, in which owners intentionally harm their animals, are few, but they are often so horrible that they garner more publicity than neglect cases (Lewis). The story of Hero is a particularly sad one. Hero, formerly Nikko, was living at Camp Tamarack, an Oregon summer camp for children, when he badly injured his leg (Muldoon). According to Oregonian, the camp decided that it would be for the best if he could find a new home, so that his injury could be the focus of his new owner. They asked the camp's wrangler, Russell Daniel Willeford, to find a new place for Nikko to live. Instead, Willeford took the injured horse into the woods, shot him twice in the head, and left him to die. But Nikko didn't die; instead, Officer Fred Peal found him. The horse, whose head and brain were full of pieces of the bullets, was in dire condition, having lost about half of his blood and acquired a terrible infection. (Muldoon). To think that a man whose works with horses every day could do such a terrible thing, and leave a horse in such unimaginable pain, is beyond belief. These days, Nikko is called Hero, and lives happily at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, where he helps to heal the hearts of hurting children (Muldoon).

I could list many other cases of abuse and neglect just in the state of Oregon—they are terribly common. In fact, the story that originally turned me on to writing about this topic was that of a horse, renamed Grace, who was rescued from a pasture near Winston, Oregon in August. Poor Grace was 400 pounds underweight-she weighed only 560 lbs according to the Strawberry Mountain Mustangs website. The Oregonian article "Gaining pounds—and Facebook friends," says that Grace was ranked far below a 1 (the lowest possible score, indicating "famished") on the Henneke body-condition scale, a standardized scale used to evaluate a horse's body condition based on her amount of fat. Yet Grace is now gaining back weight at Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, a horse rescue in Roseburg, Oregon (Von Lunen). She even has her own Facebook page—and 5,380 people "like" it (Grace-the little horse with the big spirit). Her story inspired me to learn more about the heroic people who rescue horses from situations of abuse and neglect.
* * *
After luring Holly and Hobbit back to their pasture with a cup full of grain, Mr. Elliot offered to answer my questions as he showed me around HyTyme. The thought made me a little nervous—I was remembering the crazy notes that had tumbled over the page as I was trying to follow Dr. Asmar on his tour of the veterinary clinic. And here it was still raining, and we were tramping through deep mud. Still, what could I do but agree? After all, Mr. Elliot was taking time out of his busy day to talk to me about HyTyme and the work he does.

It's not just anyone who goes out and starts a horse rescue. Mr. Elliot and his wife bought HyTyme Ranch in 1988, and at the time, it wasn't exactly prime real estate. There were a bunch of "old clunker buildings" in the middle (which Mr. Elliot replaced with a riding arena) and two unusable chicken barns that had been devastated by the Columbus Day storm of 1962. Fortunately, the chicken barns, once repaired, became ideal housing for the rescue horses; they are not divided into stalls, and so can be sectioned off to shelter more horses (Elliot).

HyTyme did not begin with the rescuing of horses, but instead with the breeding of horses. Jim and Sherry Elliot breed Drum Horses, which were first used to carry the kettledrums in the English Cavalry (American Drum Horse Association). They are enormous—draft horse mixes that traditionally had to be strong enough to carry the rider and the two heavy kettledrums. The Elliots got started with their breeding stallion, Apollo, a horse so large that upon my first glimpse of him, I exclaimed out loud, "Wow. You're huge!" Apollo is impressive, a mix of 5/8 Gypsy, ¼ Shire and 1/8 Clydesdale, with black and white coloring and the enormous feathered hooves that are so distinctive of draft horses. He is the father of all the "babies," as Mr. Elliot affectionately calls the draft horses that have been bred at HyTyme. Out of necessity, the Elliots have reduced the number of Drum foals they have bred over the last couple of years, as demand for horses in this economy is very low.

HyTyme Equine Rescue started with an online ad offering horses for sale. The ad, which Mr. Elliot saw in 2005, led him to an Eastern Oregon feedlot, which he describes as an "awful, awful place" (Elliot). The feedlot was "home" to at least 100 horses, 50 of which were old rodeo horses, which are never given the chance to be adopted. There, a couple of women were volunteering their time to find and place ads for any horses that looked like they could be adopted. The feedlot had bought the horses by the pound, and their adoption fees were by the pound as well. This alone gave me an idea of how terrible this place must be, to be selling the horses by the pound like they were nothing more than meat. Mr. Elliot returned from that trip with three horses, and so began his rescue organization. He has made nearly fifty trips to the feedlot, and in the years since, he has rescued horses from every imaginable background and situation.

I followed Mr. Elliot back across the muddy yard and into the semi-darkness of one of the converted chicken barns full of horses. I have to admit, despite knowing that it couldn't possibly be true, I always imagined that any person who could abuse or neglect a horse must be a monster, an evil creep, or a cruel and heartless criminal. However, Mr. Elliot told a different, sadder story. He said, "half the time they are not animal people, and half the time they are just really broke and poor." The economy has been rough on horses, animals that are expensive to take care of and often seen as luxury pets. Mr. Elliot said the awful truth is that some people are forced to "let their horses starve because they can't afford to put them down." It can cost up to $500 to euthanize a horse, and some desperate horse owners don't even have enough to let their horse die humanely (Elliot).

I heard the same sad story from Dr. Asmar, the veterinarian. "I can sit up here and preach harsher penalties blah, blah, blah," he said, "but if you have to pick between feeding your kids and feeding your horses, you're going to pick feeding your kids."

"It's a hard time right now," Dr. Asmar said. Horse prices have dropped dramatically, and many people are just dumping their horses on BLM lands or giving them to already overstretched rescues (Asmar). "There is no way to fix the economy," said Dr. Asmar, and unfortunately, this is the truth. While the economy remains bad, horses, in their helplessness, will suffer even more than their human owners. These days, everyone in the horse community, from big suppliers to local vets, is pitching in to help the equine victims of the recession (Asmar). We're all just "helping each other out" Dr. Asmar said, telling me that companies have donated vaccines to Eagle Fern, and that Eagle Fern, in turn, provides discounted veterinary services to HyTyme. Even with the discount, HyTyme can only afford to get the vet out to the ranch when a horse has gaping wounds or serious illness, not for things like checkups—Mr. Elliot administers vaccines himself.
More and more we are seeing the effect that the economy is having on horses, horse owners, and the industry as a whole. According to the Oregonian article "Oregon's horses feel the sting of recession," Oregon has seen a significant increase in the number of horses neglected and abandoned in the past couple of years. "In this economy, we're finding a lot of animals that have been abandoned," Don Thompson (spokesman for the sheriff's office), is quoted as saying (Terry). Barbra Khal, a vet who just started a new rescue, is quoted as saying "Within the last three years, this is the worst, and it's not getting any better" (Terry).

An online article from Horseman Magazine expanded on this issue, looking at the problem across the whole nation and the horse industry from top to bottom, from racing stables to horse people with a one-stall barn and an old horse whom they have known and loved for years. According to the article, owners who are hit by the economy and face pay cuts or layoffs must get rid of horses, and even owners who are "gainfully employed" are having to let horses go when faced with "soaring prices for feed, hay, supplements, and veterinary care" (The Economy and the Horse Industry). And this, of course, causes a chain reaction. There are so many people trying to get rid of their horses at any cost that the price of horses has been driven to "all-time lows." To make matters worse, the economy is such that few people are looking to buy horses, which are "often considered a 'luxury item'" (The Economy and the Horse Industry). As there are no longer slaughterhouses in the United States to buy unwanted horses for meat, there is no longer a minimum price guaranteed for horses, which further undermines the market. Many people are looking to give their horses away, but rescues are full to bursting, and are finding themselves in the position of turning away many poverty-stricken owners. One rescue in Michigan says they "turn away about 100 horses a week, and owners often leave in tears as they realize they may have to euthanize their pet horse" (The Economy and the Horse Industry). But as mentioned above, euthanasia is often prohibitively expensive, ranging from $200 to $500, and there is also the issue of disposing of the horses' body which, if euthanized, is full of lethal drugs and cannot just be tossed into the woods (The Economy and the Horse Industry).

    As so many horse owners are forced to give up their beloved pets or their breeding stock, the rest of the horse industry suffers accordingly. Expensive specialty shops catering to the needs of English show jumpers may have seen a sharp drop in patronage, but they aren't the only ones. Even the timber industry is affected, as "sales of wood for fences, barns, and shelters have decreased, as have wood shavings used for bedding and stalls" (The Economy and the Horse Industry). The horse industry is an important part of the U. S. economy, and its hardships have wide reaching consequences.

Of course, horse rescues were around long before our nation's economic troubles started. I think it would be safe to say that there have been horses in need of rescuing since humans began domesticating the horse so many years ago. One of my favorite childhood books, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, tells the life story of Beauty, a horse who, though he has some wonderful owners, also experiences and witnesses much abuse at the hands of cruel masters in 19th century England. Big problems other than the economy also contribute to the neglect and mistreatment of horses. "Some ranchers turn their stallion out with 100 mares and only want to keep 4 [of the foals]" (Elliot). Some people breed horses just to sell them and make money, similar to puppy mills. Both of these practices lead to an excess of unwanted horses with no place to go, further overloading the horse market and the overflowing rescues.

If people can't find homes for their horses because of the bad economy, they often take them to auction. Since it is against the law to slaughter horses in the US, the horses are bought and taken to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada, often a journey of thousands of miles. They are put in stock trailers made for cattle, which are far too short to accommodate their height; they are forced into a terribly uncomfortable position with their necks down and travel for days in this position, sometimes even giving birth in the cramped trailers (Elliot). The trailers are hot and the horses are given little to no food or water (The Economy and the Horse Industry). But, since they are headed to slaughter, those responsible don't care that they are inflicting such awful cruelty on the horses. And the suffering does not end when they reach their destination. "The Economy and the Horse Industry" says, "their death is not quick or painless. They are generally stabbed multiple times in the neck with a puntilla knife to paralyze them. They are still conscious when they are hoisted up by a hind leg to have their throats cut" (The Economy and the Horse Industry).

Compounding every issue discussed above is the fact that many rescues are going under because they lack donations and simply can no longer provide for their horses. Mr. Elliot doesn't know what they do with their horses, and said, "maybe I'm a little scared to find out." I can only imagine how hard it would be for the owner of a rescue to face the fact that he can no longer take care of the horses that he saved, and that he must either give them to another overextended rescue that may or may not be able to take them, or sell them at auction. And the owner of a rescue would know better than most the horrors that await many horses sold at auction. The choice would be excruciating; I can understand why Mr. Elliot may not want to know what happens to those rescue horses. For a man running his rescue on a shoestring budget and getting little to nothing in donations, the idea probably hits too close to home.
* * *
Crossing the converted chicken barn, Mr. Elliot and I walked up to a small group of horses. Mr. Elliot pointed out Boss, one of the horses rescued on his first trip to the feedlot, where she was stunted by starvation and so badly stuck in the mud that they needed a tractor to pull her out. She and the other horses rescued that day (Abby and Velvet), were "covered in mud," Mr. Elliot said "but we couldn't get it off them because they wouldn't let you touch them." Boss wouldn't let anyone touch her for a long time, and though the other fillies rescued that day recovered, Boss still isn't quite right.

We continued through the chicken barn, Mr. Elliot walking up to each horse and telling me his or her story. Not all the horses had histories as sad as Boss's; Lyric, a beautiful horse, was just given to them by a cowboy, even though she was worth thousands of dollars. She is "super trained," and is now the lesson horse at HyTyme.

We walked out a small side door and down a narrow aisle of grass under the dripping eaves of the barn. I followed Mr. Elliot down the length of the aisle, tripping over rocks hidden in the grass, while attempting to write down what he was saying and simultaneously trying to look up at the woman on the gorgeous show horse who was riding dressage in the arena to my right. A fat drop of water splattered over my notes from the roof of the barn, snapping my attention back to the interview.

We emerged from the alley and walked up to the fence of an expansive pasture stretching off as far as I could see. Almost immediately, one of the horses came up and started inspecting us through the fence. I reached out my hand, stroking her soft brown face. Mr. Elliot introduced her as Cassie, telling me that she wasn't originally a rescue. Instead, her owner was boarding her at HyTyme. The woman, a soldier, went to Iraq, and when she came back, she "wasn't right"—he thinks she had a "bad time" there (Elliot). A few months later, the owner disappeared. She had mentioned moving to Alaska, but Mr. Elliot said he thinks she may have gotten into drugs. He is now trying to find a new home for Cassie. It didn't seem like it would be too hard a job—friendly and curious, Cassie got impatient when I stopped paying attention to her and, turning her head to reach through the gaps in the fence, she began chewing on my raincoat, hair, notes and anything else within reach, leaving brown streaks of horse grime. Mr. Elliot continued to tell story after story, starting with the name, breed, and history of every horse we passed. He nodded toward Peanut Butter boy, telling me he is "the field clown and escape artist." He pointed out a long thin slice of pasture where two horses, one white and one chestnut, were cropping grass side by side. Juliet, the chestnut mare, and Tempest, the white mare, have been at HyTyme since 2005. Tempest is blind, but Juliet, Mr. Elliot said, is "her eyes" and her guardian; Juliet won't let anyone near Tempest. "They act like sisters," he said with a smile. I was struck by Mr. Elliot's affection, care, and personal connection to his horses. He knows each of the horses the way you or I know each of our friends or neighbors—where they come from, who they are, what they are like. It amazed me that a man who sees horses come and go, and whose ranch is home to over fifty horses, can know each and every one of them.
* * *
    Mr. Elliot and I walked through the second chicken barn, past Sam grooming her own rescued horse Lily, and up to the entrance that opens onto the muddy yard. We stood there, watching the rain drip off the roof and into the puddles as I asked him the last of my questions.

Throughout the visit, I had heard stories of horses that were abused and neglected by their owners, and it made me curious as to whether he had ever been to court on account of one of his rescue horses, to testify against the owner. He said that he had been involved in court cases twice, once for a case of horses being heinously abused by a woman in Sheridan, which caused quite a stir in the horse rescue community, and once for a very interesting case in 2007 that involved Velvet, a black mare rescued on Mr. Elliot's original trip to the feedlot.

A teenaged girl came to HyTyme with her mom and trainer; she wanted to take Velvet, train her as a summer project, and then resell her. However, adopting out a horse to an owner merely looking to resell is against HyTyme's adoption contract. Mr. Elliot offered to let the girl train Velvet and then adopt her out to a home approved by HyTyme. In recognition of the girl's time and work, which would go into training Velvet, Mr. Elliot agreed to split the adoption fee with her. However, while Mr. Elliot was on vacation in Montana for a dog show, a friend called, telling him that there was an ad on Craigslist for Velvet. The Elliots abandoned their vacation and went to retrieve her. About two months later, they got a letter from court saying the girl wanted them to pay compensation for having taken "her horse." Mr. Elliot asked for a juried trial, thinking "if I'm gonna go to court, I'm gonna let everybody hear about horse rescues." A little while later, he received a letter from California saying that Judge Judy wanted to try his case. Upon hearing this, the girl backed out—but oh man, what a story!
* * *
My last question, the one I was most eager to have answered, was "Is there a particular horse that stands out in your memory?" It seemed to me that after having seen so many horses go through his rescue, some who went to wonderful new homes and some who never lived long enough to have that chance, the horse he remembered most would have to be remarkable. I expected a spectacular success story—maybe I've been watching too much Disney, but I imagined that he would tell a story with a fairytale ending, a story in which a near dead horse lives and finds a perfect new home, with a little girl who gets up every morning to brush her and rides her after school for hours, and pampers her with carrots and apples. Instead, Mr. Elliot told me Iris' story.

Iris was a racing quarter horse, sent to a feedlot when she was no longer fit to race. She was picked up by the woman in Sheridan, who "rescued" horses, only to take them to the inhuman operation she was running, which dealt in a terrible form of animal abuse. By the time that Iris was actually rescued, and taken to HyTyme, she was deathly afraid of people. "We could never touch Iris," Mr. Elliot sadly said.

Three years ago, she split her knee wide open, exposing the joint. Mr. Elliot learned that this is a death sentence for a horse—the wound always gets infected, ruining the cartilage and causing the horse lameness and a great deal of pain for the rest of its life. Their only choice was to put her down. But there was a problem—first they had to catch her. "It was one of the longest days of my life," he said. "Such terrible things happened to her. We tried everything to switch her around but we never could" (Elliot). It was a heartbreaking note to end our interview. Iris' story reminded me that not every rescue horse can be fixed. Some have been hurt beyond saving.

As my Dad and I drove back out through the mud puddles and on to the country road, Mr. Elliot's words echoed in my head. I thought about HyTyme Ranch, where expansive pastures and converted chicken barns house horses that have been saved from every imaginable situation of pain and misery. One sentence in particular popped into my mind, something that Mr. Elliot had said as he was talking to my Dad. "We're not the perfect place in the world," he said, "but we have some of the happiest horses in the world."

I imagine that if I woke up tomorrow with the ability to speak to horses, Mr. Elliot's horses would tell me the same thing. "Hey Boss," I'd say, looking at her through the fence. "How do you feel about HyTyme Ranch?" And she'd look at me, and say, "Boy, am I a lucky mare! One day I was starving, stuck so deep in mud I couldn't move. Then, like an angel, Mr. Elliot arrived at my feedlot, and took me away from all that misery. He brought me here. Sure, it's no fancy pants showing barn, but I'm fed, I'm dry, and I'm safe. Mr. Elliot rekindled my hope; I may never recover completely from my former traumas, but I love HyTyme. I am happier here than I ever imagined I would have the chance to be."

Mr. Elliot and others who do similar work, who labor every day to provide a place where the hurt and unwanted can come to be loved and cared for, are true heroes. Their love for their horses shines like a beacon, throwing all the stories of abuse and neglect into the shadows. This love and commitment towards innocent animals, victims of poverty and cruelty through no fault of their own, left me inspired and filled with hope. To those who rescue animals from all situations and give them a place to be loved again—to those who receive little in the way of thanks or help, thank you.


    Many thanks to my father, Dr. Steven Freer, who helped me to revise my paper, and drove me to and from Eagle Creek. Additionally, thanks to my mother, Katrina Perry, who also helped me to edit and revise my paper.

Works Cited
Asmar, David. Personal Interview by Nathalie Perry-Freer. 30 Oct. 2010.
Duncan, Chelsea. "Judge orders former Sutherlin Stampede rodeo queen to serve at animal
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    24 Oct 2010. http://www.habitatforhorses.org/thehabitat/why.html.

Works Consulted
Bella, Rick. "Wasted away, her legs like twigs, a mare and a boy connect." Oregonian,
    The (Portland, OR) 2 Aug. 2007, Sunrise, Metro Southwest Neighbors: Tigard: 04.
    NewsBank. Web. 5 Nov. 2010.
Bruder, Jessica. "Two malnourished horses seized in Clackamas County." Oregonian,
    The (Portland, OR) 23 Feb. 2007, Sunrise, Local News: C05. NewsBank. Web. 5
    Nov. 2010.
Eagle Fern Equine Hospital. 2Point Solutions, 2010. Web. 9 Nov 2010.
"Henneke Body Condition Scoring System." Habitat for Horses. N.p., 2010. Web. 28 Nov 2010.
HyTyme Equine Rescue. Mac, n.d. Web. 9 Nov 2010.
"Two horses neglected Roseburg, OR (US)." Pet-Abuse.com:Animal Abuse Case Details.
    N.p., 2008. Web. 24 Oct 2010. <http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/14620/OR/US/>.

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