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National Help a Horse Day
Serenity's Story

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National Help a Horse Day Serenity's Story - image banner

National Help a Horse Day is celebrated on April 26th. The purpose of this day is to bring awareness to the equine rescues and sanctuaries. Lately, there have been too many heart breaking stories of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. One of our very own Equine Specialists at Midwest Veterinary Supply, Elissa Baertschi, encountered an equine rescue first hand. This is her story:

3 photos of Serenity - image banner

The first time I saw Serenity, she was posted on a Craigslist ad that simply stated "Arabian Horse Mare $200 – nothing fancy, rides nice, comes when called," and two photos of a very skinny, emaciated horse. Something in her eyes drew me to her and I posted the ad on Facebook asking if anybody would be willing to help donate funds to rescue and rehab her. The outpouring and generosity was amazing. By the next morning, I had received donations of money, veterinary care, farrier work, feed, temporary housing, and supplies. I have dubbed this wonderful group of people who all came together to make saving this mare possible, "Serenity's Syndicate". We were able to purchase Serenity for the bargain price of $100.

On Labor Day weekend 2013, three fellow rescuers and myself drove the 2½ hrs to pick her up and trailer her back to Lexington, KY. When we arrived, a man came out leading an almost lifeless horse that stood with her nose inches above the ground, dull eyed, and no spirit. Her hip pins, spine, ribs, and tail bone jutted out of her scarred body; she was in even worse shape than the pictures led me to believe. He informed us that she was being fed a "healthy" diet of cornstalks and that we could feed her grain if we wanted to "kill time". Serenity loaded on the trailer without issue and we hauled her to the quarantine facility where she would stay for the first two weeks until she could be fully vaccinated, vetted, monitored, and given a clean bill of health. She didn't make a noise until we reached the Lexington city limits, where she let out a loud and what seemed like happy whinny. She was on her way to finding a new home!

The vet came out immediately and to everybody's surprise she was in much better health than we expected, all things considered. After reviewing weight, blood work, teeth floating, and implementing a strong deworming protocol, the biggest questions still remained…will she gain weight? If so, how long will it take? We worked with an equine nutritionist and under her directions started Serenity on very small amounts of grain twice a day, along with good quality grass hay. Over the next several weeks, we steadily increased the amount of grain and watched her weight. One month after being rescued Serenity had started to fill out. Her ribs were barely visible, her spine was covered, and she was starting to gain some muscle.

Two months later Serenity was barely recognizable. While working with her it quickly became apparent that she had an old knee injury that would prevent her from being ridden, we have had vet confirmation. At one time, it was clear someone had taken a lot of effort in training her before she fell into the wrong hands. As winter set, it became difficult to find her a home and she spent the cold Kentucky weather hanging out at the farm with her horse friends. Springtime came and brought a new set of challenges. We learned that Serenity was pre-insulin resistant. Monitoring this condition was an easy process by providing a grazing muzzle and time in a stall or dry lot to allow her to eat hay.

Serenity - day of rescue and ready for adoption day

In July 2014, we thought we found the perfect home, a therapy center for disabled children. The purpose of Serenity was to be a therapy horse and her new home was thrilled to have her. Unfortunately, their program changed and they were not able to keep her and so she returned to the Syndicate. While sad as it was to find out that the therapeutic riding program discontinued, all things are meant to be. After several months she found her forever home and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect fit! Her new family had heard about Serenity through a friend and had recently bought a small farm and wanted to get a retired horse to love. They came to the farm to see her and it was love at first site for both of them. A year and half later Serenity is still flourishing at her new home. I am blessed to receive regular updates that she is getting spoiled and treated like a princess. Now she has the care and love she was missing for so long.

Rescuing Serenity was an experience I'll never forget. It truly shows how important horse health is in Central Kentucky and the outpouring of generosity was unbelievable. Seeing how happy she is with her adoptive family makes all worth it. Thank you everybody involved for your help in saving Serenity.

Elissa's story is how one person made a difference. If you are thinking "I can't actually rescue a horse but want to help", ASPCA.org is a great resource to find out where in your local area you can help. It also gives tips if you are hosting a rescue event. There are many ways to help out, from financial donations toward rescue or donating your time to an equine sanctuary. National Help a Horse Day helps bring awareness to the world.

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