Newspaper Archive of
Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
April 5, 2013     Hidalgo County Herald
PAGE 6     (6 of 10 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 6     (6 of 10 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
April 5, 2013

Newspaper Archive of Hidalgo County Herald produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

6 HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD ,FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2013 Where there's Harmony, and Hope...there are happy horses in Portal By DAWN NEWMAN-AERTSIfor the Hidalgo County Hera~c~ At the Harmony and Hope Horse Haven, based in Portal, AZ, Ruth Plenty gets up early every morning to care for more than 60 horses who have found a second chance, and a home -- after aban- donment, neglect, injury or you might say...a string of bad luck. Plenty, who still reveals a hint of her New Hampshire up- bringing, is but one person in a much-needed network of rescue operators who don't have to look much beyond their own pasture to know that the last few years have been hard on horses. "It's really about a down economy, the rising feed and fuel costs we see," says Plenty, from the ranch that stretches across 40 fenced acres in the San Simon Valley. Here you'll find old thor- oughbred horses and blind ones, horses that have earned cash prizes and racing trophies, and those that can barely statid when they arrive through her gate. But that is the norm in equine sanctu- aries these days, says Plenty. Some horses here are quirky, or stubborn like old folks; oth- ers, more mis- chievous and playful like kids. They don't ask for much, says Plenty, but they give back quite a lot. For her part, Plenty takes in an av- erage of four to six equines per It was horses hoped'to reclaim. Today, at her Plenty is up before 60 plus horses anxious for atten- tion, for the proper mix of grains and alfalfa in bins. Medications are added as needed and water tubs are topped off..By mid-mornihg hoofs and months are due to be looked at. Plenty doesn't often get the one-to-one time she and the horses are fond of. But She always takes time to nuzzle and pat, or just talk to them, by name. "I've found lots of satisfaction in this work,", says Plenty of her time on the ranch. She reminds visitors, like these she ious to greet her for a simple rub lessly last year to gather volun- on the head. teers for two fundraisers that Portal ranch, She estimates that each raised almost $2,000 in dona- daybreak withhorse costs an average of $140 tions. At the Portal, Ariz., based Harmony and Hope Horse Haven, Ruth Plenty oversees the care of more than 60 horses who have found good care and a home after injurY, abandonment, ne- glect, or mistreatment. " J *t ,~ .I~-L J. ' "~ ~ '( ' year at the 'ha- ven' in Portal. The Harmony and Hope Horse haven cares for more than 60 She believes horses and provides 12 different diets for seniors, and quarter- her own love for horses, racehorses and the sick. Among the general feed prod. horses began at ucts like barley and alfalfa tubs, Plenty has recipes for active and age 3--some- hot-blooded seniors, along with low protein feeds and high quality time between supplements. her first ride on a draft horse, and a visit to the County Fair, when she went to 'bear hug' a Shetland pony. "The pony spun around and kicked me in the head," says Plenty, "But my aunt says I've had this horse dis- ease ever since." Accord- ing to Plenty, her own vi- sion for this rescue ranch took hold in the 1990's. In fact, it was Plenty's early experience with the harsh realities of race track life that led to a rescue commitment. "My husband and I had spent roughly 15 years working with the racing industry in Phoenix, breeding thoroughbreds, and dealing with a side of the race track world that was too often heartbreaking," Plenty said. She saw horses that were injured, oi drugged, beauti- ful horses that didn't win enough races, athletic horses that weren't wanted. She knows that only a few of those horses found second ca- reers. "Some were sent back to the breeding barns. Others filled a demand for pleasure riding, or became back yard pals," says Plenty of those years, "But many others were sent to auction, and their next trailer ride ,was to the slaughterhouse?' That said, the equine industry continues to turn out thousands (of various breeds) annually, and thoroughbred breeders (alone) are known to register at least 40,000 foals a year. of these horses has a story to tell, a situation they've been through. From the seat of her tractor, Ruth Plenty appears comfortable as she hoists bales of hay and moves in and Out of 'the'cot- rals with ranch-hand expertise. Some of the rescued come to her from owners that can't or won't care for them any longer. Her gate en- trance sign, 'God is my Partner' sums things up. SECOND CHANCES, AT HAR- MONY & HOPE... "Unfortunately new owners don't fully understand what it takes to care for a horse long term...the costs of properly car- ing for them. Horses have a long life span, so maybe they can't af- ford the rising cost, or maybe they have their own health issues," Plenty explains. As both care- taker and friend,~ she makes two rounds of the corrals each day - that's a lengthy hodge-podge of 60 corrals that add up to roughly seven miles of walking and cart- ing buckets of feed. She says that her horses, with all their quirkiness, are much like close friends. Th6re's Blue, with the bad knee and Mr. Porter, whose eye was purposely dam- ~iged, Wood Town Bob, Santoni, and Tux who won all those big purses, and Cody who is blind but finall retired. As she passes through the corrals, most wired and bent, horses not only take no- tice of her company, but are anx- t typical year. Then, there's the cost of vaccinations, worming and hoof care (every six to eight weeks), fly repellants and masks and blan- kets for the ill and elderly through the winter. She says an illness can be costly, and to euthanize or to bury is an addedexpense. , "I have to admit that sometimes the worst fear I think about, is where the next hay load will come from, but that's just what horse rescuers deal 'with." Today, a handful of dedi- cated volunteers are at the cor'e of her sanctuary." They, says Plenty of her supporters, are well trained and compassionate people,- including local people like ,Bobby Schurian,. Joy Sdanei~le? :~ind Madelid6,~#h~r. "These people come in;.here and give hours of their time, to love and care for these horses - they're the ones that carry grain pails, scrub the tubs, brush them down when they need it -- or, the less glamorous jobs, like just clean- ing out stalls. "But it all has to be done," says Plenty, "day in, and day out." And, the need to care for or place unwanted horses is growing. Horse industry estimates show that over 100,000 horses are sold at U.S. auctions each year. Most are shipped to feed lots, and slaughtered to become products in countries like Mexico or Asia. "I find that thoroughbreds, in par- ticular, are so drawn to human companionship," says Plenty of her experience. "So you can't help but bond with them through the year. But, like people, person- alities can be damaged or strengthened depending on the care or connection they've had with their owners or trainers?' Over the years, Plenty has found both mentors and benefac- tors. She credits a handful of dedi- cated horse-lovers like Grace Belcoure (CERF Foundation) and Pam Berg (GEVA) and others who have provided hundreds of horses with a secpnd chance. Last year, Harmony & Hope Rescue was awarded funds to update gates and fencing through (CARMA) a thoroughbred fundraising organi- zation in California. She points out that local residents, like Debbie Anbinder, worked tire- EACH HORSE HAS A STORY .... Unfortunately, horses can ar- rive cranky, frightened, or just 'head-shy' if they don't feel well and there's a few who carry mistreatment from the past. Most times, they respond with their own kind of gratitude, says Plenty of her life-long pas- sion for horses, "I tell people there might be a lot of work here, but I've been doing ex- actly what I've wanted for the past 17 years-- what I feel is important in life. When I can't do it any more, just lay me to rest with the horses." While her sched- ule would seem rigor- ous to a greenhorn-- two feeds a day rain or shine, medicines to apply or stalls to clean it's mostly rou- tine for Plenty and volunteers. "We try to get the hoof cleaning done for at least 10 to 15 of the horses each day. The pens are cleaned regularly. Then there's worm- ing, and vaccina- tions?' She is par- ticularly proud of the well-stocked storehouse--a place, she says, that operates'a little like a catering company, but keeps things organized. Here, you'll find a room full with horse staples. "We have roughly 12 different menus for the horses," says Plenty of special di- ets for seniors; quar- ter-horses, race- horses and the sick. Among the general feed products like barley and al- falfa tubs, she has recipes for active and hot-blooded seniors, along with low protein feeds and high quality supplements. She explains that horses, like fine ath- letes, hav.e summer and winter diets to follow. "You could say this was al- ways a personal thing I had to do," says Plenty of the horse haven. "Bringing them back from injury or neglect is never easy, but it's been awfully rewarding." That said, regional horse rescues lo- cated in places like Aztec, NM, and Green Valley, AZ, likewise continue their work to provide a second chance to horses who de- serve,' proper care and hopefully a permanent home. "I have my busy days, and routine ones, and once in a while, a sad day," says Plenty of the 60 or so equines who call her rescue, a home. "It's not easy sometimes, but I've never have a bad day when I'm with the horses." For more .information visit Harmonyandhope horsehaven .corn Somewhere in time or in space; there must be some sweetpasture place; where creeks sing on and tall trees grow; a paradise where horses go; for by the love that guides this pen, I know great horses live again... - Stanley Harrison At the Harmony and Hope Horse Haven based in Portal, Ariz., Ruth Plenty gets up early a.m. to care for more than 60 horses who have found a second chance, and a permanent home-- after abandonment, neglect, injury or you might say...a string of bad luck. For more information visit the website, Harmonyandhope . t In February, Edward Elbrock of Elbrock Water Systems (right), stepped forward to offer his as- sistance by donating most of the plumbing ma- terials and supplies needed to install an under- ground watering system. The network of pipes and (20 remote water faucets) will allow for more efficient and convenient watering routines at the Harmony and Hope Horse Rescue. Mr. Elbrock's generous contribution of materials along with the help of local residents, Leslie Grimm, Jerry Aerts and Jacob Mahle devoted more than 12() volunteer hours to the digging, trenching, and water-pipe installation project. The below-ground water system also received contributions from residents in Rodeo, and Portal, Ariz., the San Simon Valley, and donations of support from across the country. Solution for THE TWENTIES from the 3.2~L 12 edition appy Pirthalav Jp1'J]5 rove llo=, Dad and Big Bt.othet' Tri'