Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Hedley's Give a Home To Fleetwood

Holly Hedley contacted Theresa Manzella about Fleetwood - following are the photos she sent and what she wrote about adopting Fleetwood - who now has a wonderful forever home with the Hedley family.

Hi Theresa, this is our Double C Ranch. We have four horses...Hogan and Rango--our very large pussycats. Then there are Gideon (the palomino) and Fudgy (the special needs horse from the Camas Prairie rescue).
We have three separate fenced pastures. Two are large side-by-side rectangles and the other is a large adjoining square. Those pastures are all pretty green grass, and we rotate them.
Then there are three separate fenced corrals--one is medium sized and grassy. Another is a medium square walk-through. And the third is our hippotherapy corral with tie offs and mounting platform.
We are off Hwy 200 in NW Montana (Sanders County) and it is quiet, other than kids playing. Speaking of which, we have our twin 8 year olds, which do the hippotherapy. And two boys that will be seniors in high school next year, who do not ride at all. All four are present around the horses. They like them, and willingly do feeding and cleaning.
I am fully involved with the community, serving as School Board Trustee, and spending much of my day at school; either assisting or troubleshooting issues with our special needs sons, or addressing administrative issues in an official capacity. I deliver Meals of Wheels on Mondays and coach our Special Olympics track and field team. In the summer I take on full-time teacher role to continue our son's therapies (speech, occupational, and hippotherapy) in the classroom we have at home.
My horses are my therapy and theirs. I love to brush, lead, and talk to them. I do not ride much because it is difficult to be in a position away from assisting the children for any length of time. I find brushing and leading to be things THEY can join me in. And it's teaching them how to care for others. The brush strokes are good for their physical therapy. Multiple benefits.I'll attach some photos of our ranch that I took today, along with some human photos taken previously. Enjoy!
Thank you to the Hedley family for sharing your loving home with Fleetwood.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May Meeting and Weed Info

Hey Willing Servants!

We had a great meeting last night with some new faces present and a lot of good ideas generated! Thank You to all who came!

We also had a really comprehensive presentation made my Melissa Maggio of the Ravalli County Weed District on Toxic Weeds to horses. IT WAS REALLY GOOD and I learned a lot! It seems there are a lot of nasty weeds in our valley masquerading as pretty wild flowers that threaten the health of our horses! THAT’S IT! The pretty wildflowers HAVE To GO! Be sure to read her notes at the very bottom. That’s where you’ll find the serious symptoms and effects listed. Yeiks!

To see or save Toxic Weed presentation as Power Point (save) or PDF (view) click here and look under the ARTICLES section.

Have you hugged your horse today? I’m headed there now!
Theresa Manzella

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The FashionABLE Affaire!

Our heartfelt thanks to Crazy Horse Consignments for working so hard and long to put on this amazing event. It was beautifully put together and a great time. The cowboy auction (yessiree, there were handsome cowboys auctioned off!) was such fun and some lucky high bidding ladies will enjoy the trail ride, ranch labor or custom tack provided by these gentlemen! The door prizes were awesome and the vendors had some really beautiful items. We were so lucky to have Shane Clouse, a really well-known and talented musician, provide such enjoyable entertainment.

The Western Fashion Show was wonderful - the models young and old, male and female, did such a great job (although no doubt that the little ones were the most adorable) and the clothing was spectacular - from show clothes to carharts!

For those of us who came hungry there were delicious snacks - cheeses, dips, veggies, garlic toasted baguette, cake, cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries, wine ...
Jeff and Virginia Hudson were there to man the Willing Servants booth and Theresa gave an overview presentation to the audience about Willing Servants.

Here are a few photos from the day - we hope a good time was had by all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Misty Finally Goes Home

Thanks to Jeff and Virginia Hudson, who picked Misty up in the Bitterroot Valley and hauled her down to West Yellowstone, Misty is finally in her new home with Ann Stovall and her mother.

Almost there ...
Finally home

Misty meets more of the family

After plenty of squealing ...

A meeting of minds!

Ann's horse loving mother is blind, and Misty is her new horse to love and care for. The family, which includes an adorable blind mini horse who keeps company with a mini mule and 5 dogs, lives on a peninsula of a lake where they get bison coming to the house in the bitter part of winter. Thank you to this family for sharing their home and love with 28 year old Misty.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bailey Has a Friend!

From Kim Dorman who is doing such a nice job of caring for Bailey - just look at how much his condition has improved in one month.
Bailey had his first day with one of our horses. We put him out with Shine, my mom's 15.2 hand arab gelding. They LOVED each other immediately. Whatever Shine did Bailey would do. Bailey wanted to eat out of the same hay pile (even though there were 4 of them), drink at the same time, roll at the same time, etc. They spent 20 minutes chewing on each other.

We have been brushing him daily and the long nasty hair just keeps coming out in matted clumps. We are hoping Shine will work on him during the day.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mascot Justice Bailey

Kim Dorman, who is currently providing Bailey's home and care, sent these recent pictures of our mascot, Justice Bailey. Isn't he a cutie?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Small Horse World

Two wonderful older geldings, Traveller and Dandy, were recently adopted into a loving home. One of the people who was reached in the email forwards from one horse person to another about these horses responded with this information.

"I am quite sure that the Mandy's Jim Dandy gelding is a gelding that Penny and I purchased at the sale in Powell in 1984. I rode him that summer as the range rider for a ranch here in Sheridan on their FS Allotment in the Gravellies Mountain out of Ennis. We did sell the gelding that fall to some friends of Char Steele that lived out of Stevensville. Glad to hear he is still alive and doing good. Was a nice travelling horse with a excellent disposition. He was broke to saddle by young lady at Powell. I don't remember her first name, but her Dad was a good friend by the name of Leonard Foxworthy, who has since passed away. If I remember correctly the young lady taught him to lay down. Pete"

It IS a small world - especially for horse people.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Native Jet Goes Home

Linda Perry-Turner tells the story of her adoption of Jet below. Thanks to Linda for giving Jet such a good home and to Eva Melody for taking such great care of Jet and getting her ready to go home.

On Adopting Jet
Linda Perry Turner, Ph.D., D.V.M.

Cassie lost her mother, a 25-year-old gray Arab named Q.T., in the spring of ’08 due to a strangulated intestine. Q.T. was Cassie’s best and only friend in our 1-acre pasture where Cassie was born on Easter, 1989. We all did some grieving but eventually my husband, Dan, and I began the search for a pasture mate for our lonely mare. Due to rising hay prices, I was leaning towards a pony or mini-horse (Cassie’s a small, 14 hand quarter horse cross) but the Bitterroot grapevine failed to turn up a suitable substitute for her missing mother. Finally, we looked at a 16-year-old gelding that turned out to be too large and much too dominant for our little girl and a 28-year-old mare with the opposite problem, being too submissive for our half-Arab with attitude.
On February 10th this year, I attended Dr. Corey’s presentation on “The Unwanted Horse” sponsored by Shawn Gleason, D.V.M.. After the talk, I chatted with Kim Dornan and Theresa Manzella about our continuing search and I learned about Jet. Dan and I met Jet the following weekend at Eva Melody’s place, where Jet was being fostered, fattened, and vet-checked. We found her to be a gentle 23-year-old ex-barrel racer paint mare that hadn’t been able to compete for the limited food resources available to her former herd. But she hadn’t lost her spirit and was responding well to Eva’s care and good nutrition. She seemed perfect.
A week later, Eva, her friend Beth, and their generous neighbor, Jane, trailered Jet to our house. Eva led Jet into a corral within the pasture while I held Cassie, who was obviously excited at the prospect of a new companion. We’d already bought some of the same hay that Jet had been eating at Eva’s place plus the ingredients for a special mash recommended by Dr. Gleason. A new halter and feed bucket completed our preparations for Jet’s adoption. The first meeting of the two mares stimulated some snorting and posturing over the corral fence but they soon settled down to grazing from the hay buckets we’d made available to each of them. Within an hour they were nose-to-nose over the fence getting to know each other and urinating constantly with excitement. Within two hours they were taking turns sticking their necks between the rails for a closer look and smell and then Cassie began nuzzling and licking Jet’s neck. If one moved to a different area of the corral, the other followed. Introductions were going well.
I haltered Jet and led her out of the corral to show her the pasture, the barn, and her new fence line. Dan walked Cassie beside us to add some control to this new situation. All went well until we led them to the feed trough filled with hay at each end. After a little shifting around, Jet kicked out at Cassie and Cassie kicked back-nothing serious but an indication that Jet was feeling threatened over food. So we separated them for a few more hours and let them out to roam the pasture together only after they’d been hayed and grained one more time. It’s been just over six hours since Jet arrived and they’re a team already. Cassie has a friend. Jet has a new home. Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Update on Crystal Peaks "Hero"

The following is an update on the story of "Hero" as sent from Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. If you do not know the beginning of this story, you can see it here. Hero is another horse like Able, whose will to live and forgive inspires us to be better people.

An Update on Our Hero
By Kim Meeder
God is so amazing. Only He can take what should be the end of us . . . and have that same hardship be the axis by which our entire life rotates toward greater depth and fulfillment in Him.
We have discovered that Hero's rescue was not the 'happy ending' of his story but, instead, it has become the very beginning.
Now we know that 'avalanches' are not only restricted to falling snow! Since the release of the 'Hero Story,' we have been BURIED under a wave of pure, white compassion. In response to your kindhearted encouragements and inquiries, we wish to give you an update on how our little Hero is progressing.
After four weeks in the intensive care unit at Bend Equine Medical Center, the devoted veterinary team that was caring for Hero determined that his blood volume had finally reached a safe level for them to remove his destroyed left eye. Once Hero was sedated, Dr. Wayne worked on his eye and head, while Dr. Wendy attempted an aggressive skin stretching procedure to help close the wound on his leg.
Our little Hero has since come home to a real hero's welcome. His story of undying hope reached across the Northwest and beyond. While pulling up the ranch driveway with my sweet boy in tow, I could hardly believe the sight that greeted us! Tears streamed down my cheeks as I drove through a cheering hallway of waving arms all reaching out to welcome us. Over 300 people had gathered from all over the Northwest and Canada to hail this once abandoned horse into his new family. A large contingent of media was also waiting to cover this inspiring story. Hero was finally home.
While slowly maneuvering through the applauding crowd, I was so deeply moved by every bright and cheering face. Amongst the crush, Hero backed out of the trailer and turned around to survey the scene with his one remaining eye. He was not afraid, he was not nervous. His only expression was one of pure awe. I wondered if he might be contemplating if this is what it feels like to finally enter Heaven. Surrounded by your beloved, many clothed in tears of joy at your long awaited arrival, cheering, clapping, and embracing . . . because you've finally come home.

Within these past months, we have seen a tremendous amount of healing that has taken place. As this restorative season continues, we are learning more every day that only a small portion of this renewal has actually occurred within our little horse, the majority has taken place within your hearts, lives and families. Individuals across the nation have been profoundly moved by this brave horse that just kept choosing to never quit. The mountain of cards, letters, emails and phone calls all give unique testimony to this fact. In an effort to help Hero, a small group of children from Paisley Middle School participated in a student-led 'walk-a-thon' and raised $1,200 to help buy the expensive bandages his leg wound requires. A young man sent his sincere encouragement - from Holland. A five year old boy opted to forgo his birthday right of receiving presents and chose instead to give his 'birthday money' to Hero. Held within a brown paper sack, was delivered his winsome gift of several bandages and fifteen dollars. News of Hero's story made headlines in nearly every local newspaper and to our incredulous surprise, even made the front page of The Oregonian on Christmas Day! Within the stir of publicity around this kind, little horse, hundreds have contacted us with their own beautiful story of renewed hope inspired by Hero. One envelope came to the ranch containing nothing but a Post-It note. The message was simple, but earnest. Without name or identification, it merely said, "I was thinking of ending it all, until I read about Hero. I have decided to change my mind . . . thank you."
The message of Hero's life is straightforward, 'If I can make it . . . YOU can make it. If I can survive miraculous odds . . . so can you.' His life is a testimony to the fact that we have a Miraculous Lord. Like a great scale, it is often out of our deepest tragedies that our greatest hope, our greatest joys arise. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 gives testimony to this truth. Our suffering isn't something that happens because God isn't paying attention. On the contrary, our suffering has great purpose. The all-encompassing comfort that the Lord gives us in our time of need is powerful enough to not only heal our heart - but also those around us who are suffering in a similar way. God's comfort in our time of distress is so prevailing, that His healing hope not only fills our heart, it overflows to all in need.
Amongst a steady steam of visitors, our sweet boy is settling in very well. His leg wound, though severe, is slowly closing. He is making new friends within our herd and is enjoying life simply as a horse, never again to be confined to a stall or sequestered away from his own kind. At the sound of my voice, he answers with a high pitched call in return. While changing his large bandage, I have learned to feed him a small amount of grain to quell his curiosity and keep him from licking the back of my coat, chewing on my hair, or stealing my hat. He doesn't seem to know that he should be depressed, sad or full of rage at the injustice he has endured. Hero just never has a bad day. Instead, he is bright. He is joyful. He is incredibly playful. Yet, most of all, he has clearly chosen to simply be . . . happy.

By his example, he inspires me, along with countless others - to do the same.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Unwanted Horse - Dr. Douglas Corey

Dr. Douglas Corey will speak on February 10, 2009, at 7:00 PM at the Bitterroot River Inn in Hamilton, Montana. The seminar is free.

Dr. Corey practices veterinary medicine in Walla Walla, Washington. As the 2007 president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Dr. Corey chaired the committee on Equine Welfare as well as the Development of Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities. He has been the chairman of the American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Committee and has been involved in the American Horse Council and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Please do not miss the opportunity to enjoy this informative evening. For more information, contact Dr. Shawn Gleason at 406-961-1321.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bailey's First Hoof Trim

From Kim Dorman:

Bailey had his first ever hoof trim and he did great!!! Wonderful Rick Peverly gave him his trim free of charge.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Young Justice Bailey

Meet Justice Bailey...our new mascot and poster child. Wha da ya think? Ain't he something!? What a face...Huh?

Justice Bailey represents living proof that our program of helping horses by helping the people who own them and preserving their dignity is working. He's already a local celeb - see Tuesday's article in the Missoulian:
"Advocates Name Horse 'Justice Bailey' After Abuse Trial".

I met him a month or so ago when I delivered a ton of hay to his owner. Recognizing that he really needed to get out of their, I offered to buy him at that time, but she declined. After having some time to think about it and realizing that she really does have too many mouths to feed, she called me Fri night ... the night of our big court victory ... hence his name ... Justice. We added Bailey to commemorate the Judge that gave the Heydons 2x's as much jail time as the prosecutor recommended. Now that's justice! Do you think Judge Bailey will be honored? Maybe Justice Bailey will make him proud in time. She drove a hard bargain, but we managed to procure him by trading hay. What a deal! She needs the hay to feed the rest of her herd while she tries to sell them and find them homes .. and she didn't need the horse. She did the right thing ... and I believe we did too.

Justice Bailey will be treasured and cared for by Kim Dornan and Sharon Wyche until such time as he is ready to receive formal training under saddle. At that time, he'll come to my house to live. We'll be keeping you posted as to his progress and hopefully we'll be seeing improvement in his body condition as pictures are taken from month to month.

The Minis Go Home!

Here is Holly's and Mattie's adoption story - told by their new Mom!
Arriving at our bodyshop, Two Rivers Autobody, on a Monday morning is never my favorite. I'd rather be drinking coffee, smelling the wonderful barn smells, and listening to my horses eating their breakfast just like the day before.
I flipped the lights on, turned on the computer and downloaded my emails. There it was, another email from Jeff Hudson forwarded to me from Theresa Manzella, sending me pictures of horses. These were not just horses looking for a better life as before, these were minis. Everyone in St. Ignatius knows I want a mini. Not a purebred or show quality or something fancy, just a mini. Just another warm body to hug and squeeze and just maybe a horse I can bring to work just like my dogs. I dreamed of using my mini as a lawn mower on our front lawn of the shop as an excuse to have it with me.

After reading the email and cursing Jeff in my mind because I knew he put me on a mission - how was I going to tell my husband Pat that I want to bring home yet 2 more horses. You see, last winter my herd grew from 2 to 5 because of neglect, abuse, and a divorce. My husband Pat loves every one of them and wouldn't trade their mischevious ways for anything but often warned me that he was at his limit. And truthfully, I agreed. But this was different - they we're real horses, they were minis! Monday came and went and with our workload I didn't find a way to break the news to my husband that I really really wanted to bring them home.

Wednesday was a long day at our shop in St. Ignatius. My airbrush project was finally done and being shipped out of state. It was late, around 8pm and we were still at work winding down. I sat down in front of the computer and called my husband in. I found the email and showed him the pictures of the minis. He read the words and looked at me and said " Whatever!" To me that was a - YES! He said it was a good deal (I'm sure to justify it in his own head) and walked out of the office.

The next morning I was on the phone to everybody, Jeff Hudson, my business neighbor, Donna Morton, and my daughter. A call to Phyllis in Butte I rambled a quick list of references over the phone she told me she would get back to me. The following morning Phyllis emailed me and told me that I was approved from the owner and to come get them as soon as possible. I was so excited! The days crawled like a snail on an upward slope in the snow. I kept myself busy arranging an enclosed trailer to keep the elements off them on the long ride home and I sent my truck out for service. Trailer arrived on Friday afternoon and not longer after that my truck was delivered back to me.

By Friday afternoon every available space in the truck was spoken for. Saturday morning I woke up before 6am (and for those who know me know thats totally unnatural for me - I'm definitely not a morning person) . By 8am the truck was loaded with trailer, my daughter Jessi Clarkin, Donna Morton and another good friend and fellow animal lover Sara Udall. A quick stop at Cenex in Missoula for some diesel and a few bales of straw and we were on the road. The drive was effortless. With laughter and stories the trip went real fast. Around Drummond, Sara got a call from her daughter Stacy who is in college in Dillon. She wanted to meet us to see the minis. By the time we reached our turn- off in Butte, Stacy was traveling right behind the trailer. We stopped at a gas station, left her car, and crammed her into the already full truck. Fifteen minutes later we're pulling up a windswept driveway and saw the owner leading the girls out to our trailer.

There was a lot of screeching with excitement and admiration as we piled out of the truck and ran to the minis. As I talked to the owner we switched halters and decided it was time to go as I could see the emotions rising in her. She knew we would take the best of care and once again I guaranteed her it was so. We loaded them up and dropped off Stacy at her car and headed home.

By the time we arrived home, my husband Pat had cleaned the pen, found a shorter bucket for water and lowered the feeder to an appropriate height. We tucked them in and stared at them for hours until the darkness and cold sent us inside. Sunday found us and friends standing around in their pen playing with them. A neighbor who has a student from Russia, Anna, that has never seen a mini horse came to enjoy them for a few hours. When everybody left I cut a hole in our garden fence so they could have a direct route to our backyard so I could enjoy them even more. I have been warned though, "They are not to come in the house." We'll see.

Kathy Clarkin ( new mommy of mini's )

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kaehl and Autumn Crick

From Theresa:
Who would have thought that this organization would bring us together with so many wonderful people. Autumn Crick called last week asking for assistance on feeding their 7 horses. She and her husband Kaehl have both recently lost their jobs and while their horses have not had to go hungry as yet, Autumn wanted to make sure they wouldn’t have to. So she called to ask about our emergency hay ration program and how it worked. I told her what we had to offer which was a really good price on some nice barley hay and while we really didn’t have the luxury of a large quantity to give them the hay, we would be happy to extend our good deal on to them; take and IOU and work our whatever payment arrangements worked for them. They were happy with that arrangement and through our discussion I learned that she sings in church and her son helps with a child after school program. I thought to my self…”We need to recruit these people!” Interestingly, I had a note on my desk that had been there for a couple months with Autumn's name, phone and email address, given to me by Kim Marthens indicating that this person wanted to be on our Network list. Due to my fat fingers, I had input her email address wrong and the emails I sent were bouncing back to me. I had called and left her a message some time ago but we hadn’t yet connected … so I just left the note there as a reminder to me to follow up on it again in the future. So it was interesting that when she called and told me her name…I kinda felt like I already new her as she was wanting to be part of our group for awhile. Man power associated with bucking bales is always a problem to be worked out. We had the hay bought, but it was still being housed at the ranch where we bought it, under roof, safe and sound. But the rancher was anxious to have it moved and neither Kim or I were very excited about the prospects of unloading it ourselves. The rancher loaded it for us with his farm hand, but unloading 7 tons was not an exciting thought. So I shared our predicament with Autumn and I’ll be darned if she didn’t come up with a solution for us. She volunteered her husband, Kaehl saying…”Why not? He’s not working and he’d be glad to help!” So that’s the way we worked it out. We traded them ½ ton for their efforts in unloading aprox 4 tons and we have an IOU form them on the other ½, Very nice people! I’d like to help them find work if we could. He is a truck driver with 25 yrs experience. He has his CDL and HAZMAT ratings. He’s pulled double bottoms to Canada and belly dumps and most recently he worked on the road crew building Hwy 93. He has also run lots of heavy equipment She is into retail sales and has various experiences including real estate. If anyone has work to offer them, they can contact them at 369-1762…and it is with their permission that I share this info with you. They want to be working!

Follow up 2/2/2009

Dear Theresa,I've been wanting to write sooner but Kaehl and I have been out job hunting alot. We wanted to let you know how very greatful we are to have the help and how we also were very glad we could help move the hay for ya'll. It made us feel good to be able to contribute. Kaehl and I read the blog and we thought it was cool. I'm so glad about the horse trial being a success for them (horses) and those of us who luv horses. Here are some pics of our horses eating the hay we got from ya'll. One is a little blurred.Sincerely, Autumn Crick

Friday, January 30, 2009

Heydon Animal Cruelty Trial Outcome

Once again the courtroom and the overflow room were filled with people who came to witness the proceedings today. Curtis and Craig Heydon were found guilty on all 22 counts of Animal Cruelty and abandonment. Judge Bailey sentenced them to 6 months jail time on each count, with all but 30 days on each count suspended, awarded custody of the four horses to the Bitterroot Humane Association, ordered the Heydons to reimburse the BRHA for all the costs incurred for caring for and obtaining treatment for the horses, and fined them $585.00 for each count. In his sentencing, the Judge stated that the Heydons had at no time taken any responsibility for the horses, they refused to pay for their care, and, in fact, blamed the horses for being the problem. He stated that their treatment of the animals had resulted in torture of the horses. And if that was the end of the story - it would be wonderful. But it's not. As soon as sentencing was complete the defense attorney dropped an appeal on the judges desk. Now the Heydons can return home, none of the penalties are imposed, the horses' legal status is still in limbo, and everything begins again in District Court. The good news is that justice was served this time ... and hopefully it will be the next as well. The community owes huge thanks to Prosecutor John Bell and many others who worked so hard to see justice prevail in this case, including the jurors who spent so much time listening to testimony and deliberating.

To view the Ravalli Republic's online article posted this afternoon regarding the verdict click here.

Here are a few of the comments we've received regarding the outcome of the trial.
"Congrats to all involved, and thanks to the County Attorneys Office for going the distance.
Change of Venue is not done just on request ... there will be a litmus test the defense will have to meet to prove they could not get a fair trial in Ravalli County. And just saying they are going to appeal and going through with it are two different things once they look at court costs, and all other factors.
Relish the victory, breath deeply and remain calm. Remember Camp Collie went ten months for a final victory... but it will be worth it in the end.
Great job to the individuals and community team that has spoken up for these horses!!!!!

Dave Pauli, Northern Rockies Regional Director AND National Project Director
The Humane Society of the United States
Northern Rockies Regional Animal Protection Team
490 N 31st Street; Suite 215,
Billings, MT 59101406-255-7161 (f) 7162"


"Theresa,The most heartfelt thanks to you and everyone else at Willing Servants for helping make yesterday's conviction become a reality. It was the sweetest news I've heard in so very long. From my household and critters to yours, thank you, thank you!April Christofferson"

"CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Theresa, you and your wonderful friends and helpmates have made this a better world. I am so proud to know you and to be a small part of this effort. All my friends and loved ones join me in saying THANK YOU!
with love and encouragement. Jane Aldrich"

"Congratulations to you, your volunteers and especially to the horses. I know it took a lot of effort for folks to come to the courthouse and spend their day there. I'm sorry I was not able to join you. I was with you in spirit. Debora Lay EAP Equine SpecialistHaven's HorsesHamilton, MT"

"Dear Theresa,
Thanks for all the support you and your organization gave to the humans and animals involved. I appreciated your upbeat nature and your obvious foundation for all of us to lean and build upon! I appreciated your call. May our paths cross again without the stress of abuse! Jesse Applebury"

"Yeeeeaaaaa hoooooo!!!!! It couldn't be better!!!!! Good For You Theresa! You worked hard for that one, and lots of people are very happy for what has been done! And what is going to be done in the future! God Bless, Jeanne Burruss"

I love your emails :-). You are sooooo good! I ran later than expected at my appointment so I was unable to make it to the Edge in time to join loss. I am sooooo happy with this outcome, as I know we all are...this is sooooo amazing! And kudo's to all of you who were able to
make it to court day after day....I'm sorry I couldn't be is
school .... see you soon and God Bless! Nancy"

"Hi Theresa! I can't tell you what an impact this case has had on me. When I got that great, great, call from Joyce (when I was in Missoula), I cried for happiness! What WONDERFUL news, thanks to you Theresa. I hope you got "my" hug from Joyce! And I loved seeing you guys on t.v.. What a fantastic group we have - we're all close friends to each other. I respect "everyone" in our club. It's the best organization I've ever been involved in. That was something, you being there until midnight last night......boy, I wish I was there today. I'm just amazed how you've created a fantastic upgrade in our laws ... I'll get some good sleep tonight, finally!!! Take Care - Dale"

Final Day Of Heydon Trial

Yesterday all the testimony was concluded in the Heydon Animal Cruelty trial and the jury began deliberation. The courtroom was still full to overflowing on the third and last day of the trial. The jury was in deliberation late into the night, and will reconvene today at 10:00 am. Last night some of the people who have been attending or following the proceedings gathered to await the verdict and share dinner. During the friendly discussions of the evening, one man said something to effect of: even if these men are not convicted, not held accountable for their indifference to suffering, much good has still come out of the series of events. And that is true - many community members are working very hard for new and effective animal protection legislation, Willing Servants was formed to provide support and services to assist horses and owners, and others in the community consistently make themselves and their resources available for rescue or assistance efforts on their own. In the grand scheme of things, the Heydons are no longer really significant. Working to ensure that people like them cannot just walk away from abuse and neglect, that penalties are in line with offenses, that prosecution is sure and swift and fair, that people in the community have support for their horses when they need it - that is what is really important here now. Let's remain steadfast in our commitment to these excellent efforts.

To see the Ravalli Republic newspaper account of yesterday's testimony, click here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Day of Heydon Trial

Many of us were able to attend the trial. Here's Theresa's great email report on the first day of the trial.

Although I started the day a little bit nervous and apprehensive…I ended the day in court feeling pretty confident and positive about the final outcome. I’ll share a few quick highlights. And these won’t be exact quotes as I’m just going real quick from memory.

First off…there were over 40 people there to show their support of Dawn, Q, Able, Diamond, Casino and Magic. WAhhhooooooo! Way to go horse lovers! The court room only held 14…so we went in by order in which we showed up…those getting there the earliest got in first. And then they did have an overflow room for us that people could watch it on TV…and we overflowed that too. Our Treasurer, Kim Dornan and Secretary, Sharon Wyche were the very first ones there, but they gave up their seats for others…and they attended to other WS business during the day….delivering T shirts and photo journaling the adoption of DANDY and TRAVELER! Yeaaaaa…it was a good day all around.

The trail did not get started until 11am and the first hour was spent giving the jurors instructions and then the attorneys gave their opening statements. As far as I was concerned, they we’re guilty after hearing just the opening remarks…but I suppose they would squeal that wouldn’t be fair so we’ll be there for two more days.. Attorney Bell did a good job of giving a thumbnail sketch of the whole story in his opening remarks. I watched the juror’s faces and I must say they were all pretty stoic with only an occasional slip of an expression.

And then their attorney gave his opening statements….and it sounds like their whole case is resting on the EXPERT testimony of Dr Dick Richardson. Who, according to their attorney, has said that Able was not emaciated when he was brought in, but fit and thin…and a thin horse is far healthier than a fat horse. And Able should be likened to a Model…we like our women skinny and that’s the shape Able was in….Model thin. I can’t be positive…but I’m pretty sure I saw disgust on Judge Bailey’s face.

It’s worth mentioning that every objection their attorney made was overruled. Every one…the whole day.

Dawn was the first witness and did a fantastic job of keeping it together and painting a picture that the jurors could vividly see in their minds eye. And when Attorney Bell asked Dawn “Would you compare Able’s condition to a Model?” Did he look like a Model horse to you when you first saw him…She said “No…he looked like a dead horse.” Dawn was probably on the witness stand longer than anyone else as she had to give the overview of the whole story.

We learned that the Heydons called Able…Bay Baby. Personally I like “Able” better.

Then Q was up after lunch. She did very well also! She said she was nervous, but you would never know it from watching and listening to her. He story was in perfect harmony with Dawns…so the jurors got to hear the same story twice.

Then Mike S. took his turn on the stand. Mike has a pretty impressive resume with horses and ranching and he combined just the right amount of emotion with some powerful statements….Like “I’ve never seen a horse in that poor a condition.” “I sent Dawn on ahead to get more help, because I thought I was going to have to put him down and I didn’t want her to have to see it.” He made very sure that the jury knew that they had given Able butte 4 times…more than any other horse in his history…to get him off the mountain and BEFORE he went to Blue Mountain vet clinic. So what Dr DICK saw the first time was a horse on a lot of butte with his pain masked and managed. He was great and gave powerful testimony!

Then we heard from a Brand Inspector who informed us that the Heydons did not have the proper travel papers. They did have coggins tests on the horses…but not health certificates and they were cited for that. Not looking good for them.

Then we heard Deputy Pease (?sp) I honestly can’t remember any particular point he made…but he helped Dawn and Q relax in the Witness room…so he’s worth his weight in gold!

Then we had Deputy McGoldrick…(again ? on sp) God Bless Him…he was the Deputy who confronted the Heydons at the storage units where they had the make shift paddocks set up…and he taped his and Deputy Moles whole 25 minute conversation with the Heydons….and we got to listen to the whole thing in court today and it was admissible as evidence. We got to hear Old Man Heydon say on the recording …”There is nothing wrong with those horses!” “I’ll get a horseman with some authority to tell you there isn’t anything wrong with those horses.” “That horse is not going to stay at a vet’s office, needlessly for $50. a day! No sir …I won’t stand for it!” “Let me tell you something about that horse…He’s stubborn and lazy! He went down on us 5 times during this trip!” And Deputy McGoldrick did the right thing in calling Deputy Moles to the scene as Deputy Moles owns horses and he, upon his arrival to the scene… SET THEM STRAIGHT! And it was all on tape! We probably all need to write a thank you letter to him…because you all would have been proud of him! He said “I have horses that I pack into the back country for 6moths at a time and I’ve never had a horse look like this!” And he said “I’m impounding the horses because it is OBVIOUS that you do not have the necessary knowledge to provide adequate care for the horses.” There was lots more…but you get the gist.

He’ll be first on the witness stand tomorrow. I can’t wait to shake his hand and say “thank you.”

Keep sending up prayers….and I’ll keep you posted on the progress…but it’s looking good so far!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heydon Horse Abuse Trial

Today's news was going to be about picking up hay for emergency hay supplies to tide people over in a tough spot - but tomorrow morning is the Heydon Animal Abuse Trial, and that can't go unmentioned. The details of the case have been covered quite a bit, so there's no point in going over them here. Suffice it to say that the defense of the parties involved is offensive - period.

There are a lot important issues related to this trial - the animal protection legislation that is making its way through the state legislature right now, the unwanted horse issues, how to deal with the abuse and neglect issues in our own communities. However, now I'm just going to quote from an email Theresa sent today talking about the two women who found the first horse subject of this trial, named Able because he is.

"...What they saw…what they smelled…and how it made them feel to see such a beautiful animal…Left for DEAD! Lying there…with his saddle still on tight. Can we even try to imagine how it must have felt to be on a great trail ride with a good friend on a beautiful summer day…excitedly anticipating what the day might bring….what creeks they would cross and how had they changed from the last time they traveled this path…what wildflowers they might see…what wildlife they might encounter…and then to find Able lying on the trail, near dead…and the heart wrenching, gut twisting pain and frustration that they endured over the next 3 days….JUST TO GET HIM OUT OF THERE. And that was only the beginning of it! And then the frustration of feeling accountable and responsible to a horse they had saved, but yet not having any control over anything that happened to him after they released him into protective custody. They really need our prayers and our support. They need to be able to look out into the audience and see familiar, supportive faces. I know we won’t let them down."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Media News Today!

This morning Theresa had a great interview on KLYQ talk radio in spite of having a pretty bad cold! She was afraid she would sound like a frog, but sounded downright normal as she used the opportunity to spread the word about the mission of Willing Servants to serve as a safety net for horses and horse owners (maybe they have some kind of a croaky voice filter at the radio station :-) ). She gave details about the upcoming Final Act of Kindness euthanasia service that is scheduled for January 29th, and the exciting keynote lecture by very well-known Douglas Corey DVM coming up on February 10th. Check the website for details about these events.

Also, today Willing Servants' new biweekly column, In The Round Pen, shows up in the Ravalli Republic newspaper. The first article is Knowing When To Report A Case Of Horse Abuse and has some good, concrete information about easy to use body condition criteria and step-by-step guide for how you can determine equine neglect/abuse and what to do about it. If you see what you believe to be neglect or abuse - remember that you may be all that stands between that horse(s) and its suffering. I will get the article posted on the website tonight and add a link to it from this post. Here's the closing paragraph of the article.

"The lord has given us dominion over the animals, but to whom much has been given, much is expected. With horse ownership comes responsibility, 24/7, 365 days a year, especially when it's 20 below."

To link to the full article click here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In The Beginning ...

Willing Servants was born out of one woman's desire to create a positive response to a horrible case of horse abuse that rippled through the horse community from coast to coast. Theresa Manzella, horse trainer, breeder and competitor, enlisted community help to put together an auction to raise money in order to provide some kind of safety net for horses. The organization began in October 2008 and has already utilized its network to place 13 horses. Willing Servants offers emergency hay to provide feed for horses whose owners are in temporary difficulty, accepts horses that owners can no longer provide for in order to find them permanent homes, offers a Final Act of Kindness euthanasia service for debilitated horses when appropriate and seeks to find many ways to provide information, support and education to horse owners who can benefit by it. Many members of the community have joined in this effort to stand between tough economic times or lack of knowledge and severe consequences for horses by providing these types of support. This coalition embodies the Willing Servants belief that together we are ABLE. We welcome your particpation in this journey and will share it with you here with accounts of struggles and successes through stories and pictures.