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Selleria on the day she was rescued.

Trampled kill-pen mare readies for show

The mare’s bandaged feet oozed with abscesses, useless to deflect the blows that rained down upon her. One sharp kick, and then another, came without mercy from a band of frightened horses who tore at the tattered coat of the weakest among them. As she lay in the soft mud of the Hermiston Auction in Oregon last February, her life spiraled away. “There were a couple of mares who stood guard over her, but the alpha mares were pretty relentless with the attacks,” recalls Mary Lei, founder of local rescue Rescuing Equines in Need (REIN), who watched in horror as […]

Diorella survived a serious head fracture two years after receiving extensive care through the efforts of her owner Jan Vandebos.

Jan Vandebos: ‘I wasn’t prepared to let her go’

An all-out effort to save the filly Diorella began in the horse’s third year of life, after she flipped on the lunge line and fractured her skull. So severely was she hurt that she writhed and seized in the dirt, unable to stand without falling back down. It was horrifying to witness, says her owner Jan Vandebos. She had stepped away for a brief moment on June 28, 2012, and returned to find her horse, who had just been lunging with a groom, crumpled in the dirt. But she did not flinch away from the animal she loved. Moving quickly on […]

Silent Retreat schools for a new career with Nicki Wheeler, up,  and Barbara Jo Rubin.

A moment in the sun comes for a prison horse

A horseman, who once enjoyed a glorious heyday working alongside famed Sir Henry Cecil, took a chance last year on a Thoroughbred who never had his moment in the sun. There was just something about the 6-year-old “lead-locked” gelding with clicking stifles that charmed the heck out of seasoned Scottish horseman Nicki Wheeler. So when Silent Retreat was returned to the unglamorous stables at the Vandalia Correctional facility in Illinois, where Wheeler now works teaching inmates horsemanship skills, she threw caution to the wind. “We had shipped him and three other horses to the Springfield State Fair as sale horses, […]