4-legged lame and dying, Chance made it home

Chance was a hopeless case upon whom everyone had given up before Brenda Lewis intervened

Chance was a hopeless case upon whom everyone had given up before Brenda Lewis intervened

He stood in crippling pain on four bad feet. Most who looked at him just shook their heads. His condition seemed hopeless.

But not to Brenda Lewis. She disputed what two horse rescues said, when they briefly considered and then declined to help a Thoroughbred named Chance. And she bristled when warned not to go near the starving wretch “with a ten-foot pole” because he would never recover.

Lewis had seen a hell of a lot worse in her life; she witnessed her mother and three siblings die from the ravages of Huntington’s Chorea, an incurable genetically transmitted disease that attacks the brain.

JB’s Crown
Nickname: Chance
Sire: Crown Ambassador
Dam: Favorably
Foal date: May 15, 1999
Looking at Chance, who could barely stand as he starved in a field eight years ago, she saw nothing but possibility.

She embraced Chance (Jockey Club: JB’s Crown) and the opportunity to help him. She would do everything in her power to bring him back from certain death, and take a place in this world by her side, which had been so unfairly vacated by her three younger siblings and mother.

“When my brother and sister were diagnosed, and I wasn’t showing symptoms, and I was the oldest, it was clear I wasn’t going to get the symptoms. But watching my little brother and sister dying, when there was nothing I could do” was the most desolate experience imaginable. “This is why I started rescuing horses.”

Chance was her first hopeless case.

Lewis was warned not to take this horse, becasue he had no chance

Lewis was warned not to take this horse, becasue he had no chance

He arrived so lame back in 2005 that he took 20 minutes just to hobble off the trailer to his new stall.

Immediately her farrier and veterinarian swooped in to do what they could—his shoes, carelessly nailed to soles were pulled off, and other other ministrations. But she was warned, he would likely not make it through the next three days, but if he could make it through ten, he just might.

She second-guessed her decision many times while forcing the crippled horse to walk, just a little, on her veterinarian’s admonishment that the horse would not heal if he did not move.

Up and down the barn aisle they went, she in tears, he nearly falling into her, day after day.

“He walked like a person does when they’re really drunk. He’d take a step and nearly almost tip over. The lady that owned the barn where I was at the time warned everybody else not to go near him because she was concerned he might fall on top of someone,” Lewis says.

After their walks, he stood perfectly still in his stall. He didn’t swish his tail or twitch a muscle. He moved his head between his water bucket and hay, but otherwise waited it out with a glazed look in his eyes, she says.

“Then one day, it was around the 10th day I had him, he swished his tail. I couldn’t believe it. I ran out of my barn yelling, ‘He’s going to live!’ ”

Chance pulled through, and though he'll never be a riding horse, he has found a permanent home with the charity named for him: Another Chance Rescue

Chance pulled through, and though he’ll never be a riding horse, he has found a permanent home with the charity named for him: Another Chance Rescue

Not only did he eventually blossom into a beautiful animal, who, while no spring chicken anymore, could still run around a pasture and fall in love with her other permanent Thoroughbred, Lady Bug.

And Chance inspired her to do more.

She founded her Grafton, Ohio-based horse rescue Another Chance Equine Rescue, named it for him, and dedicated it to helping other hopeless cases. Since its inception in 2009, the nonprofit agency has rescued some of the sorriest-looking animals, brought them back to health and re-homed them. Proving to her, she says, that there’s a perfect person out there for most of these horses.

Part of the rescue’s mission is to help horses who have been forgotten, and to find permanent good homes for horses who had “no chance” and to end the suffering of a horse that without intervention would die a slow and painful death.

“People often try to thank me for what I do. I always tell them that there’s no need to thank me. When I lost my family, I turned to horses, because I loved them so much as a child. And they saved me,” she says. “My heart is filled because I can save these horses. No thanks is ever, ever needed.”

40 responses to “4-legged lame and dying, Chance made it home”

  1. Luis

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring story Susan on never giving up hope. May God Bless Brenda Lewis for her belief and outstanding foundation.

  2. Cath Stephens

    Jane Pashina December 15, 2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink | Reply

    I can hardly type through my tears … what a beautiful person you are . . . . it breaks my heart the way some people treat their animals. All they need is to be loved and for someone to believe in them and see the sparkle and spirit through the pain/sorrow they have endured. Amazing.

    I was close to tears myself reading this article Jane.

    The most truly terrible thing I have found is that people will treat horses in ways they would never dream of treating a cat or a dog. The levels of cruelty I’ve seen when pulling horses off of a racetrack have been horrifying to me, and trying to put those poor hurt, traumatized horses back together again takes a lot of work.

    The horse in question here; “Chance” is but one example of what happens to many off the track thoroughbreds and standardbreds. Believe me, I have seen worse hard as it is to imagine. It takes great love, great faith and a strong will to bring such horses back from the brink of death, especially when they hurt so much that many of them want to escape the pain they feel through death. To convince them to fight for life is not an easy thing to do.

    “Chance” would have been in terrible pain, and the ability of this woman to turn him around in such a short time to where he was ready to fight for his life is miraculous.

    Honestly, I firmly believe that there should be a group put together to help each other rescue horses like this. There are many rescue organizations, but few of the caliber to save horses in the state Chance was in or worse. These are the people who need to band together regardless of location. Ideas can be swapped, techniques can be shared to the benefit of all, and most of all, we can help each other when needed.

    People who have this kind of gift are rare, so we need to network together as doing so will give more horses a chance at life. Being in different areas means we would have a much wider range of horses that could be taken in from many parts of the country.People of the caliber of Ms. Lewis (not sure how to address her)and the innate gifts she has are very rare.

    I say, lets find more people like that, band together from all over the country and we can give a larger number of horses a fighting chance and have them placed in good homes.

    My way of choosing a good home is simple. I will not sell a horse to someone who is not willing to come and see the horse. People can lie to each other, but they cannot lie to a horse – they see you for who you truly are and I will not sell a horse to someone, or place one with someone whom the horses tell me are not good people. Mine are Arabians, so better at reading people than most.

    Besides, a horse is one half of a partnership, they have the right to choose whether or not they wish to go with someone. People have called me stupid or crazy for this viewpoint, but I will stand by that belief of mine. Horses see what is really there, their minds although different to ours re fully capable of reasoning to a decent level, thinking for themselves and a lot more.

    Ms. Lewis already has an organization for this, but more people in different areas would make a big difference. I for example have a vet who will treat rescue horses for free. Rescue is something I will be doing as there are no facilities to take on horses in my particular area. So I’ve made some people very happy by saying I’ll be taking rescues when our property sale finishes going through.

    This is just an idea, feel free to dismiss it should it be seen fit to do so. But I don’t want horses to die because someone is not around that can at least TRY to do something about it. I think a network across the entire country, publicity to SHOW people what is really going on behind many scenes, videos, photos, reports, these all need to be made known to all people from all walks of life. Only then can things be changed.

    And remember, the greatest changes in our history always began with one man or woman and an ideal/dream/idea. One person can make a difference, for once they lead the way, others are willing to follow.

    Ask yourselves, are you willing to follow the example set by this amazing woman?

    I am. And I will.

    1. victoria racimo

      Cath, thank you for your ideas and inspiring can-do attitude. How do I contact you?

  3. Jane Pashina

    I can hardly type through my tears … what a beautiful person you are . . . . it breaks my heart the way some people treat their animals. All they need is to be loved and for someone to believe in them and see the sparkle and spirit through the pain/sorrow they have endured. Amazing.

  4. Kiki Anderson

    I did this same thing with my horse Sunny. He was 500 pounds and had to be carried out of the trailer, and our vet almost wouldnt look at him and kept saying he wont live through the night. I chose Sunny instead of buying a young trained showhorse. i have been doing physical therapy and massage with him for the past four years after school (im 14yo) and now we can do short trail rides and he got second in a small show! He also has a facebook account “Sunny” 🙂

  5. Linda Lozon

    what a lovely thing to do for Chance

  6. Cath Stephens

    I am so glad to see someone else with the heart to take on what most would consider hopeless. I’ve done it myself more than once and will continue to do so. I helped a mare who was 22 that the vet said could not be saved, everyone said she was not going to make it through that winter.

    I looked into that old ladys’ eyes and I saw a spirit that was not ready to go by any means.

    The smell and touch of her coat told me she had a massive tapeworm infestation – the vet said she had no parasites after he claimed to have tested her stool.


    She was a skeleton on four legs covered in skin, and in the coldest parts of winter, she came back from the brink.

    Her owner who was mislead by those around her cried when she saw what happened to a horse she thought was going to die. Today, this half mustang, half Arabian is 27 years old, round, full of energy and still being lightly ridden. She was 22 when I saved her life.

    Good on you lady.

    My total respect and admiration.

  7. Angela

    Thank you for sharing this story. Chance looks wonderful, grazing in his peaceful paddock. He is obviously well groomed & I’m sure he appreciates the care that Brenda & the other volunteers are giving him.

    God bless all who rescue abused or neglected animals … or help needy people … as Jesus said, “inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these … you did it unto Me.”

    Merry Christmas to Chance and all his friends!

  8. julia

    read this story through tears.. so glad you believed in him, you are both beautiful!

  9. jean

    Such a beautiful heartwarming story..thanks for sharing. You’re right, when you’re doing something you love, no thanks is needed. However; those who have the compassion and love for horses really appreciate your determination and will to really give “Chance” another chance at life! So happy for you both. (-:

  10. Brenda Lewis

    Thank you everyone for so many kind words, but these horses really have saved my life and have given it a purpose. There is very little I can do by myself, the credit goes to all our volunteers and Board of Directors. The rescue started because so many people cared and wanted to help me, help Chance. We all realize not every horse we take in will be perfect,but not everyone wants a perfect horse and we are here to give them Another Chance. The rescue mends the hearts of the people who help the horses and the horses very much help “fix” us also !!

  11. Karen

    I’m a member of this rescue and Chance is no longer able to be ridden due to a fused ringbone from his racing days. He is very much loved and spoiled and as long as he is in no pain and happy will remain that way! He also LOVES popcorn balls!!

  12. Lisa Melone

    Wonderful story—had me in tears. So glad there are people like Brenda out there, willing to take a chance on the lost souls out there. She truly is a hero.

  13. Marilyn Lee-Hannah

    Stories…and people…like this renew my faith…

  14. Suzanne Hurst

    I read this story through my tears. I am so thankful that there are folks like you out there, who not only LOVE horses, as I have all my life, but also have the means to save them! You are truly a hero, and it occurs to me that you turned tragedy into a happy ending for many of our equine friends.

  15. myrna treuting

    what was the breeding on this horse? I had a bunch of JB horses and they were wonderful jumpers.

  16. Pioneer

    The horse is the amazing and happy part of this story. I will tell you that my family has been ravaged by Huntington’s Chorea. All though I was adopted I can’t even imaging what taking care of three siblings and a mother with this disease would be like. It was my Mother with this disease. Bless you for your kindness and positive life for animals. You are an inspiration.

  17. gael daisley

    Well done from Skye Australia

  18. Jonelle Demmons

    On 12/4/13 I received a call from someone who’s family members were going through a divorce and there were 2 horses stuck in the middle of it all, so for a couple days I contacted shelters and rescues that I could think of, and everyone was full, and unable to take on 2 needy horses. So on 12/7/13 my husband and I hooked onto the trailer and went to “see” the horses, it was then that we knew that they could not stay there one more day!! Baby, a STB mare was blind and totally dependent on Dolly, an emaciated little white pony!! The man explained to us that neither horse had been touched in at least 4-5 years and that they had lost their halters some years back in their small barbed wire enclosed paddock. It took 4 of us almost 2 hours to corner and halter the terrified blind mare! We then loaded up their winter supply of 60 bales of hay and we brought them home, right then and there! 6 days later I am still fundraising to get the vet, farrier and dentist to our farm to tend to their needs, but progress is being made every day! It took me 2 days to scrape the mud from Dolly’s teeth, and it is still going to be a long hard road for them both, but I have committed myself to their care, and in the end, their progress will be my reward!!

    1. Melissa P

      Oh my goodness! Isnt’ it wonderful that you and your husband were able to help. I hope you will give Sue progress reports! I know that there are surely many of us who would love to hear how they do and who are praying for all of you.

  19. Kristi

    Great story. I’m glad chance had another opportunity to have a happy ending. Why can’t he be a riding horse after his rehab? Is he still lame?

  20. Phyllis McMurrry Tate

    She is right that thanks are unnecessary. I’ve helped dogs, cats, and horses (even a baby bird and baby bat). They say thank you as clearly and eloquently as you can imagine. One old horse arrived here so starved and near death that I cried when he came off the trailer. No one thought he would live. It was a struggle, like with Chance, but he did live. The light returned to his eyes and the coppery shine returned to his coat. The amazing thing is he never put his nose into his feed without first giving me a soft knicker. Only then would he eat. I know he was saying thank you. He was in his late 30’s, by vet estimate. And he had 2 happy years in a lush pasture with other happy horses before he passed away.

    1. Melissa P

      Another terrific story. Thank you for sharing it. You have been blessed to be part of his life and he was blessed that you found him.

  21. Florence Webber

    I’m crying after reading your story..thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a kind, wonderful, warm-hearted person!! I love all animals but to me, horses are very special. Thank you so very much!

  22. Susan Crane-Sundell

    Chance found his “person” and when he didn’t even believe in himself, Brenda believed enough for the both of them. Sometimes both people and horses need second and even third chances, it is good to know there are people like Brenda who don’t give up!


    Almost more then any other story, this one has so deeply touched me. Thank you and yes, thankmyous to Brenda, even though she says she doesn’t need them…

  24. Michelle

    You are a very brave and strong person. Thank you for taking a chance on Chance and saving his life.

    I have two thoroughbreds whom I have rescued and I cannot imagine my life without them.

    Bless you and everyone here who cares about horses.

  25. Whitney Mulqueen

    Thank you Brenda……I have tears in my eyes – so happy you took a chance on “Chance” 🙂

  26. Linda Pavey

    Bravo again, Brenda! This story never gets old, and you are doing wonders with horses in Chance’s honor. Keep up the good work!

  27. kathyh

    ““My heart is filled because I can save these horses. No thanks is ever, ever needed.” But Thanks Are Sometimes Well Earned and Deserved .. And This is one of those Times..Thank-you For Doing What You Do and Your Compassion and Dedication in Giving These Horses The Chance They always deserved~

    1. cheri vaughan

      Agreed 100%

  28. SpotOn

    No where in the article does it say that the farrier work was done at the track. Many of the track farriers I have worked with are better than some of the hacks that have never seen a race plate. To me it sounds like it was someone “trying” to play farrier and that had no clue at all. To nail shoes into the soles of a hoof takes someone with no instruction at all.. or someone just plain cruel.

    I am so happy that Brenda found him and decided to take him home.

    1. Kristi

      He had 53 starts in four years and did’t win much money. Not overly fast. His last race was June 1st 2005 so it is very likely that his shoes were put on at the track. He did’t finish his last race. Reports said he was “sore”. Maybe it was his feet, or it could have been an injury. If he had racing plates on when he was rescued it would be pretty obvious that is was done on the track.

  29. SusanA

    Love the name “Another Chance…” “Thank you” does even come close to saying what most people would feel when they read this story. Chance is certainly a beautiful guy!

  30. Wendy Scott

    Chance is a prime example of the awful farrier work done at so many tracks. Well done Brenda, good call.

    1. sylvie hebert

      you are so right wendy Scott

  31. Melissa P

    Look in the dictionary for the word “hero,” and you will find this wonderful woman’s picture – or you SHOULD! Thank you for this up-lifting story!

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