July 24, 2024
Mild Giants Draft Horse Rescue on a Mission | Horse Information and Equine Events

Functioning horses are not celebrated like Thoroughbreds and other sport horses. These draft horses, barely noticed when pulling weighty products on a farm, can be discarded like an old tractor and bought for slaughter when their lifetime of labor is in excess of.

The Light Giants Draft Horse Rescue (GGDHR) in Mount Airy, Maryland, has been operating for virtually two many years to modify that ugly procession. The rescue describes by itself as the first and major of its sort devoted to rescuing and re-education these “gentle giants” for adoption and supplying them with for good households in retirement.

GGDHR founder and Executive Director Christine Hajek rescued her initial draft horse in 2000 and proven the rescue in 2005 with her (now) partner James McIntosh.


Christine Hajek, founder and govt director of Light Giants Draft Horse Rescue, with her adopted Clydesdale crossbreed, Twister.

Given that, the non-financial gain has rescued far more than 1,500 horses, placing most of them into permanently homes. “We actually started off the rescue method for the reason that I presently had five rescued draft horses by 2005 and I both experienced to gradual down my rescues or start out a rescue farm and I selected the latter,” Hajek claimed with a smile.

The facility is situated on almost 350 acres in central Maryland, an hour west of Baltimore. There are ordinarily concerning 150-165 horses on the farm with the dominant breed remaining Belgians. Hajek explained Belgians are the most well-liked working horse of the Basic community. The two other dominant breeds of rescued draft horses are Percherons and Haflingers. GGDHR spots 80-120 horses with adoptive family members each yr, she explained, and it normally takes a personnel of 36 total-time staff members and 200 volunteers ranging in age from 14 to 81 to treatment for the horses, enable with adoptions and staff members exclusive functions and fundraising functions.

It prices about $1,400 to rescue a horse and get it to the farm, Hajek stated, with an supplemental $700 to $1,000 for vetting and health-related care in the very first thirty day period. Ongoing care for each and every horse is about $300 for every month. Hajek stated the regular hay and feed bill alone for the horses at the farm is upwards of $40,000. Working earnings will come from grants, specific donations and business support via specific situations — which include races held on the farm’s trails.

“Yes, it can be overwhelming at times,” Hajek reported. “We could not do it with no the volunteers, quite a few whom give us far more than 20 hrs a thirty day period grooming and caring for these horses.”

Hajek claimed many of her most seasoned volunteers are assigned a certain horse for a person-on-a single floor training to aid make them additional adoptable.

Patty Mitchell is a retired trainer and has been volunteering at the farm for much more than a ten years. She stated she’s “always petrified staying close to horses,” so her choice to volunteer “seemed outrageous,” but it turned out to be existence modifying mainly because it helped her gain self-confidence about all animals. “Now I give treatment and really like to these horses who clearly show their appreciation in reciprocating that enjoy,” Mitchell stated. “I wander, feed, and groom them along with a lot of mucking out of stalls which is all component of maintaining the horses healthy and all set for adoption.”


Birdie, a Belgian draft horse, romps in a pasture at Mild Giants Draft Horse Rescue in Mount Airy, Maryland.

Mitchell has also worked with a Girl Scout troop that volunteered to enable wash dozens and dozens of horse blankets at the rescue.

The Gentle Giants’ draft horses also journey to schools, church buildings and nursing houses, and take a look at other teams in the course of the 12 months. “These horses are pretty quiet when traveling to children or nursing household inhabitants, and it brings a pleasure and peace to a lot of,” Hajek reported.

Around 70% of the horses rescued are acquired at auctions by outbidding meat consumers and brokers who invest in horses to ship out of the place for slaughter. “Horse meat is nonetheless common for human use in Europe and Japan the place it is deemed a delicacy,” Hajek mentioned. “In the U.S., horse meat was integrated in pet food stuff right until the 1940s.”

The group’s remaining rescued horses come from proprietors who can no lengthier treatment for the animals or they are acquired via humane law enforcement in Maryland and encompassing states.

“Our goal is to uncover an adoptive, eternally household for just about every animal inside of a calendar year,” Hajek claimed. “But if that relationship isn’t manufactured, the horse stays with us until finally we uncover it a home.”

Discover more about Mild Giants Draft Horse Rescue and its plans by viewing its internet site: gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue.org.

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