Guest Ranch dilemma of rescue/retiring horses!

Our Guest Ranch dilemma of rescue and retired horses, put us in a difficult situation Last August 2018. We made the hard decision of letting go two beautiful horses and find them a forever home.

This is the story of Travi and Zeus.

‘Canadian Fjord Horse Rescue’ comes to the rescue!

bringing Travi back home

unloading travi

herd welcomes travi back home!

Travi rolls her stress away

travi back home with Honey

In January 2019, we got a phonecall from the Canadian Fjord Rescue network that Zeus was surrendered to their care, due to ‘aggressive behaviour’ of Zeus.

Kate from the Rescue org. told me that Zeus was quite underweight and a big sweetheart when they delivered him at a temp. foster home in Kelowna!

I immediately called the lady I sold Zeus to in August, to ask if Travi was still in her care, and she told me that her son rode Travi daily and permanent injury was no longer an issue!

Next day, I got a message on Facebook, that Travi was sold mid December to a lady in Langley as a ‘Drill” Horse!

So I contacted this lady who bought Travi as a ‘7 yr old well broke riding horse’, but she had noticed the injury while ‘trying to ride her’!

“The moment I put a bit in her mouth she reares”, she told me! “Travi has never had a bit in her mouth, because she is green broke with very minimal riding experience due to a permanent injury”, “and btw she is at least 16 yrs old”, I told the new owner.

She told me about her disappointment but needed Travi gone asap to make ‘space for other horses’ in her stable. She suggested we take Travi back and we were happy with her decision.

We found a Horse Transporter and January 24 2019 and brought Travi back home after picking her up at Sun Meadows in Barnhartvale where she was dropped off!

She nickered when she heard my voice while looking for her in those dark stalls! I put a halter on her, and she followed me like a puppy into our horse trailer. (She is not an easy trailer loader at all)

After unloading her at the ranch, all horses came running down the fence for an abundant greeting. We took Honey out of the herd to reunite with Travi. She always had a strong bond with Travi!

We are now in mid February and The Canadian Fjord Rescue network have been screening people for a forever home for Zeus, but have been unsuccessful so far. We hope to get Zeus back as soon as the roads are safe to drive with a horse trailer.

We are very grateful that there are still sincere rescue organizations out there that address horrible situations for horses.

Because horses are innate prey animals and their need for survival depends on herd life, with an alpha mare and a lead stallion, most dominant unreasonable people can get away with how they treat the horse. The horse, most often locked up in a stable environment and deprived from those basic necessities, becomes quite dull and robotic and eventually a true victim!

Their dependency on the ‘kindness’ of their human is a far cry from how they lived once in the wild!

Manipulating animals and their deplorable living conditions on a large scale, for our food consumption and hobbies have become the norm and are largely accepted in our ‘civilized’ society.

We learned a HUGE lesson through our horses and made a promise to our herd, never to part with any of them so they can live out their lives in harmony with our herd!

Sometimes I wonder, are we exaggerating when it comes to feeling for the horse, when there are so many people suffering in this world?

But then I think, animals have no voice and are helpless in almost all situations. Also the under valued joy and peace horses can bring to troubled or sick people is a gift and a very powerful therapy.

In the end we all do get a calling when we listen to our inner voice, open up our hearts and embrace our Horse journey as good as we possibly can.

5 replies
  1. Susan Telford
    Susan Telford says:

    I have tears in my eyes with this story, and I believe whole-heartedly with your decision to keep all of your rescues for all their lives. I felt my stomach lurch with your comment about Travi running along the fence line when you left! I would not have slept until I could get them back. Have you thought about Crowd funding, to help with the cost of keeping your charges throughout their lives? I promise if I ever win the lottery, I’ll be contributing to your Ranch. Maybe you could set up somewhere on your website for people to contribute even a small amount on a monthly basis that goes directly to your retired horses for food/vet care etc.? I would contribute monthly! You are doing such an amazing job, and I wish there were more people like you in the world. Animals have no voice, but they speak volumes to the chosen few who care to listen with their hearts, as you do.

  2. Maria
    Maria says:

    O dear, I know that you do a really GREAT job with your horses. Wishing that everyone did what you guys doing?to their ? horse?

  3. Anne Patterson
    Anne Patterson says:

    The story of how your two horses ended up in such dire straits despite your good intentions really struck a chord. The truth is that it is a bad time in history to be a horse. The cost of property in the Lower Mainland, the uncertainty of hay production and resulting high price of forage make it hard to find good homes for even trained, sound horses. Our aged horse has Cushings, and requires very expensive medication to survive. He loves his farm and friends and familiar routine and would be devastated if he left his home. We also have an arthritic Fjord who we started gently under saddle at age 16. He is thrilled to go for half hour ‘trail rides’ around our property a few times a week, but cannot do more than that. We have realized that you either keep a horse for life or consider a humane end for horses that are no longer rideable. They are family. The rewards of a lifelong relationship with a horse are immeasurable for both animal and human. How wonderful that you returned them to their forever home.

  4. Sarah reid
    Sarah reid says:

    After visiting your ranch, I can say with an honest heart, that I so wish every horse could live as they do at Campbell hills. The love, respect and generosity shown to those amazing creatures is admirable, and should be set as a standard to all horse owners. Although you can not be responsible for the actions of all humans, please continue to spread the word and lead by example….there are so many wonderful horse owners that unfortunately, although they love their horses, could be doing things so differently to ensure the happiness of their loyal companions….I hope that when shown the way, they will make the necessary adjustments to the life styles of their horses and see what a difference it can make to their overall standard of living, and quality of life. Thank you for leading the way, thank you for caring enough to try and make the world better for these extraordinary creatures…never stop, never give up….you’re an inspiration, you have changed my life and my relationship with horses forever….you’re an incredible teacher. Thank you Bernadette!


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