Neglect. Job loss. Illness and injury. Blindness. Old age. Changes in life circumstances. No longer wanted.

These are just some of the reasons horses, ponies, and other animals, large and small, end up at Horses' Haven. From sad beginnings to happy endings, happy beginnings to sad endings, and everything in between, their stories are riveting. If you've taken our barn tour, you've already read some of them. We invite you to read on and share our tears, triumphs, love and losses.

Click on thumbnail images to enlarge


  A Day at the Auction
In keeping with our promise to use money from our Canister Program to purchase a needy auction horse that might otherwise go to slaughter, Dec.7, 2002, we hooked up the horse trailer, gathered up some volunteers, took the canister money and headed for the auction.

When we arrived, we went straight to the barns to see if we could spot any horses in desperate need of our help; sadly there were. Then we went to the stands to wait for bidding to begin on the horses.

The first horse we selected, an aged Tennessee Walking horse with clear suspensory damage and lameness, was the second horse to come through the auction. Unfortunately we did not get our bid in fast enough and he was initially sold to a dealer who we fear would have sold him for meat. We didn't give up, however, and were able to purchase him from the dealer after the close of the auction. He was very sweet with a kind eye and positive attitude despite his problems, and enjoyed life here at Horses' Haven for several years before going on to horse heaven.

Our other choice, a rail-thin chestnut mare, was brought in later and we were able to win the bid on her. She had a beautiful sweet face and kind disposition. Her paperwork listed her as 10 years old; there was only a number printed in the line where her name should have been. We gave her the name Spirit to reflect the time of year and her indomitable spirit.

Kia Before
Kia before

Kia After
Kia after

  Adoption Successes
Kia, a Thoroughbred mare, came to us as a seven-year-old found wandering loose in Sumpter Township. We picked her up at the request of the Michigan Humane Society and soon discovered she had EPM. She had a wonderful racing career and we suspect she was taken off the track because of the EPM. As you can see, she came in with a curly, heavy, scruffy coat, was very thin and very depressed. We put her on an EPM treatment program; she made remarkable progress.

Kia was adopted and is living in Dexter where she is in training and ridden daily by her new mom, Shirley. She and Shirley have formed a bond and are thoroughly enjoying life together and looking forward to many happy years together.


Angel before

Angel today
  Angel and Cloud
Angel is a Saddlebred mare who was about 24 years old when she came to Horses' Haven in Dec. 2007 after being seized by animal control. We were so sad when we saw her come in with her little friend, Cloud, as they were both so painfully thin.

We heard that Angel's baby disappeared when it was about five or six months old, and was still nursing. She was bred again; that baby was kicked by the stud, and never walked right again. Angel then became a surrogate mom to little Cloud, whose mother was traded for hay when he was two months old and still nursing. She let him nurse and looked out for him just like she was his real mom. Boy I sure am glad they found each other, otherwise we might never have known them.

As you can see, Angel has filled out nicely and is now healthy and beautiful thanks to all the care and love she has received here at Horses' Haven.

Angel is available for sponsorship and companion adoption


Casey when she came to Horses' Haven

Casey in 2009 (to the right of her friend Winnie)

Moses when he came to Horses' Haven

Moses today

(Right) Joey when he first came to Horses' Haven

(Far right) Joey after. Yes, it's the same horse.

  Casey, Joey and Moses
We couldn't take the twelve or so horses that were going to be rescued on the western side of the state, so we told the Animal Control Officer just to send us the two worst.

Oh my, they certainly did! Casey was a bag of bones and mad at the world for the situation she was in. She was in her 20s. Moses was her two-year old son who knew nothing about nothing. About a month to six weeks later, the Animal Control Officer called again and admitted she actually had three horses that needed to come to HH. We said if she could arrange hauling we would take the horse. Well, here came Joey, a half- or full-brother to Moses.

Moses had never been in a trailer; it took six men from Animal Control to pick him up and put him in it. It also took a crew of volunteers to get him out of the trailer and into a stall. He was so frightened! So we immediately started basic training, using Barb's "Five-Minutes A Day" program. Moses had his mom with him for the first lesson, which really helped. She needed a tune-up as well. But at the end of Five Minutes a Day only once a week for four weeks, Moses knew how to whoa, stand and move his body to the left. He also learned to move to the right, back up, turn around, go into the stall and come out quietly and a few other minor things.

When Moses got a wound on his hind leg (horsin' around with his buddies), the vet came out to take a look and sedated him to treat the wound. The second time, he was only a bit squirmy to have his wound treated and dressed again. After that he stood like a statue for his dressing changes and healed up well. He likes the volunteers and all the attention.

Joey is lively but very sweet. He has his nose into everything outside, but he has good manners and listens well as long as someone is firm with him. He's a happy kind of a guy and he learns quickly.

Casey is available for sponsorship and companion adoption.
UPDATE: Both Moses and Joey were adopted and are enjoying their happily ever after at their forever homes.




Dorothy, aka Dottie
  Dorothy's Story
Back in 2003, one of our volunteers went to the auction to see what it was like, and while there spotted Dorothy. She was a rack of bones and was so skinny that her head was the widest part of her body. She had scratches and fresh cuts all over her face, maybe from going down in the trailer, and she had blood coming from both eyes, and one was protruding.

Can you believe that people at the auction were actually laughing at her? Our volunteer was so upset that she bought her, and knowing that Horses' Haven would know what to do, asked if she could bring her here. She was a pitiful sight when she came in. We found out that she had gone through both an Ohio and Michigan auction in a two week period.

The great volunteers here got busy as soon as she arrived and cleaned her up, put her on meds to take down the inflammation and also gave her antibiotics to fight off any infection. We weren't sure she was going to come around. She acted like she was in a coma for the first two weeks she was here.

She's doing good now and we see her run to the gate to greet volunteers and sponsors who come to see her.

Dorothy is available for sponsorship and special adoption

Lily before

Sparky Before
Sparky before

Sparky after
  Lily and Sparky, the Canister Ponies
Sparky and Lily came to Horses' Haven from the auction. They were purchased with canister money collected from the numerous canisters our volunteers have placed in businesses around the state.

Lily went through the auction one Saturday night and was seen by one of our board members. She was being ridden, even though she was very lame. The seller did not accept the winning bid and took her home. Our President, Barbara Baker, put her investigative skills to work and managed to track down the owner of Lily, talking him into selling her. He didn't know who he was selling her to, and we think, thought he found an opportunity to unload some ponies to someone who didn't know what they were buying. When he brought Lily out, he also brought Sparky with her, telling us if we liked old ponies, we would love Sparky.

Well, he was right, we did. She was very thin, with a patchy coat and a large sore on her neck. Lily, while in good weight, was very matted. Both were hungry and thirsty and grateful for the full bucket of clean water and food they received when they arrived. Sparky quickly acquired a taste for Stud Muffins and during the many years we enjoyed her company here at Horses' Haven, used to frisk everyone to see if they had any for her.

Sadly, both of these ponies have since gone on to horse heaven where we hope to see them someday. Without your support of this valuable program, these two ponies, and others we helped because of the canister program, would never have come to live at Horses' Haven and would have continued to suffer.


Pickles feet when he arrived

Olive before

Pickles after

Olive after putting on some weight
  Olive and Pickles
Michigan Humane Society asked us to pick up a horse, estimated to be about 30 years old that probably needed to be put down, and a pony with overgrown feet. Both had been abandoned in a field. The two clung to each other. The pony was in too much pain to move and the mare refused to leave him, so all they had to eat was as far as they could reach. We don’t know what they did for water.

The two were picked up by one of our board members who agreed to foster them temporarily. When the vet came, he made the surprise announcement that the mare who was supposed to be 30 years old was only a two-year old! She was stunted for her age, quite thin with no muscle tone whatsoever, and very wobbly in her hind quarters. She was named Olive and was put on a weight building plan and turned out for much-needed daily exercise.

We were able to find a wonderful foster home for Olive so she could enjoy having a home and family of her own finally. She was extremely sweet and was a favorite while she lived at Horses' Haven.

The pony was named Pickles and the pictures show his long, elfin feet and why he was in too much pain to move. The farrier went to work on him immediately, but unfortunately even with repeated efforts on the part of the farrier, medication and time to rest and heal, he was still in a great deal of pain and laid down most of the time. The painful decision was finally made to end his pain and he was humanely euthanized.

Although we lost Pickles, we still consider this a success story as without the support you give us to help them, they would probably have eventually died a slow painful death from neglect. Instead, Pickles was given relief from his agony and dignity and comfort in his last days, and Olive enjoyed the love of our volunteers, the green grass and room to stretch her legs in our pastures, proper nutrition, supplements and medication that made her stronger and eventually, a foster home...a home she could call her own.



  Rusty's story
Ionia County Animal Control seized this 12-year old pony stallion named Rusty and arrested the owner on two counts of animal cruelty for failing to treat the pony's debilitating condition.

Rusty had Keritomatous, an uncontrolled and rapid growth of keratin deposits resulting from a lesion and subsequent infection. He couldn't bear any weight on the injured hoof, his non-weight bearing limb was atrophied and his right front limb has become overdeveloped. While the vet who examined him felt that with time and a fair amount of money Rusty could make a viable companion or pasture pet, the county did not have the funds for the treatment. They were looking for an individual or group willing to help this 12-year old stallion or they would have to euthanize him. This would have been a shame because otherwise he is healthy mentally and physically.

A pre-vet student at MSU read the article on a website and promptly contacted Horses' Haven. We called Animal Control and the Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and we picked Rusty up.

The owner was charged with one count of failing to provide adequate care and one count of allowing the animal to suffer through neglect. Both charges carried a maximum of 93 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and 200 hours of community service.

Rusty was seen at MSU's Large Animal Clinic and radiographed and examined by several of their veterinarians. Unfortunately, because the nature of the grotesque growth on his hoof and the radiographs not showing any viable bone, their recommendation was to have him euthanized which was done so a necropsy could also be performed.