Four years and two days ago, my ex-husband and I loaded up two tiny ponies and brought them home to stay. One was a little, palomino filly with a deep love of cuddles, and one was a little, chestnut colt with an attitude that outpaced his stature. They were an anniversary gift from my ex-husband (probably the best gift he ever gave me), adopted from one of my favorite animal rescues, Guardian Oak in Moberly, Missouri.
Both had been rescued from the New Holland auction with their mothers. I met them originally when they were just a few months old. They were as cute as buttons and so small my ex picked them up to trim their hooves.
Rescues get a bad rap, especially in the equine world, where, admittedly, taking on a poorly behaved or unsocialized animal can be dangerous. But these two, under the care of Sherri Crider, her family, and her volunteers, were well-socialized from the start and have always been exceptionally good for me. (Well, I mean, Slash did go through a visit the neighbors phase that I probably could have done without…and he does occasionally have Napoleon Complex moments like any self-respecting pony, but that’s just his pony power showing through.)
On that first day, as yearlings, they loaded into our trailer without a hiccup. Since then, they have proven themselves around children.
And by doing just about anything I’ve asked of them…
I could not ask for better ponies, and I likely wouldn’t find any better if I scoured the local breeders.
It’s hard to beat a Guardian Oak pony.
A few weeks ago, Guardian Oak revealed that they would be closing their doors. Sherri, the founder of the rescue, has been running operations in spite of her diagnosis of MS for years, but her condition is worsening rapidly (she’s been hospitalized four times in the last year alone), and she wants to see GO’s horses placed before her body makes it impossible for her to continue.
This scenario is every rescuers greatest fear. The thought that something might happen to Sherri before these animals are homed terrifies her. She’s afraid that they might end up back at auction where they are once again condemned to terrible futures.
To further complicate matters, Missouri is experiencing a drought and subsequent hay shortage that is making it extremely difficult and expensive to feed GO’s rescue horses in the meantime.
Taken together, the rescue is finding itself in crisis.
I’ll be bringing home two more GO ponies in a week and a half, something I’m excited about even though I wish it were under better circumstances.
Gemini and Cody will be joining our little band of misfits very soon. I’ve met these sweet natured boys before, and I’ll be honest, I have big plans for them as ambassadors for Secondhand Hearts.
When I drive down, I’m planning to haul a trailer load of good, Illinois hay down with me to help with the hay crisis, as much as I can raise money to buy. Every bale of hay buys GO the time they need to find homes for the horses (most of which have been through a lot). Each bale costs $5 from my supplier (far less than such a bale would cost in MO right now). If you’d like to donate towards hay costs, comment or privately message me. Every cent will go towards purchasing hay for GO, and every bale counts.
In the meantime, please keep Sherri, her family, and her rescue in your prayers. Please send good vibes and refrain from judgment. Trust me when I tell you that this woman has a heart of gold and a deep love for all the animals in her care.
Gemini and Cody will be coming home soon. I can’t wait to introduce you!