911, The Pony Express

Published 11:27 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

By Pebbles 

Who does not relate to the powerful word, express? To express oneselfan area of expertise, manifesting my desires, with a oneverb application. To express or squeeze out, like that girth that expresses all my air. How do you expect me to breath? Please take it off before I faint from oxygen deprivation at my waistline.  

Most importantly, the express of operating at high velocity, nonstop, full speed ahead.  This latter verb aptly describes an effort last month in HERD rescue. My mistress Heather spied a tiny pony on the Internet, the second most adorable creature on the planet, after me of course!  As she clicked on his post, she discovered a whole group of tiny ponies in a kill pen at Moore’s Equines in Pennsylvania. Each one broke to both ride and drive. There were also two youngsters in the mix: two-year old colt and a four-month old filly. She was no more than 20 inches tall at the withers, with the colt being 30 inches tall.   

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Moore’s is a kill pen that neither Heather or her close friend and animal advocate Jennifer Demyanovich have ever visited before to save lives. They had no network of haulers or quarantine partners to call upon to get the ponies off this lot quickly. Pickup at this kill pen is only allowed on Thursday. These precious ponies, all six of them, had 48 hours to be saved from the slaughter truck.  

First, Heather wrote Chris Phipps, a Facebook friend who saved a thoroughbred from this lot earlier. He was winning at horseshows with this magnificent steed and posting about the horse’s ability.  Chris advised Heather to notify the lot owner and inform him that she represented a 501c3 organization. At Moore’s, only a confirmed charity partner is invited to fundraise on the lot’s page.  

NextHeather needed to find hauling prices to North Carolina from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and a place to board them short term until transportation could be arranged. This step was necessary as Tim Riffe, HERD’s trusted hauler, was out of commission as a deer leapt out in front of his truck on the expressway. Both the truck and the deer were badly damaged, the deer beyond repair. The truck limped along to the body shop.  Therefore, Tim could not help my mistress in distress to head to Pennsylvania.  When Heather received the hauling price from another transporter of $850 per pony, combined with pickup fees of $75 to $100 to just get them off the lot, her heart sank. Each one of these gems would be over $1,350 to save including their bail amounts if she tackled this route. A new game plan had to be formulated quickly.  

First effort of the evening was for Jennifer to create a post with the ponies to shine a light on their terrible plight and share it in groups on Facebook.  Heather was working in Washington, DC and hit the hay at 11 p.m. The following morning Jennifer’s post had begun to work its magic. It resulted in one of the ponies being bought immediately by an anonymous home, five left to save.  Another HERD member in Texas, Katie Garcia, spied a buckskin pinto pony Heather had shared as a solo post. Katie had to have him for her young son. She sent his bail directly and worked on transport all the way to Weatherford. Two down, four more to save. 

Another angel donor who is very supportive of HERD also saw the ponies’ post. She runs her own sanctuary for miniature horses and small ponies in Arizona. She messaged Heather with help to bail the beautiful, tiny colt. His lovely eyes and wide blaze were heart melting. Now Heather had to find a place for him to go and Jennifer came up with the answer. Buck’s Pride a sister 501c3 in Virginia welcomes stallions. Although pint size, this pony was a stud.  Sarah Twitchell, the founder of the rescue agreed to take him. Bail was sent.  Three more were in desperate need.  

Buck’s Pride quickly confirmed the rescue was willing to take in the four-month old filly to save her life. Several HERD members sent donations quickly and this tiny baby was marked safe.   

Then the next miracle transpired.  A lovely woman who specializes in competing with driving ponies wrote Heather. She was able to save the chestnut gelding standing 34 inches tall if HERD could assist with $140. Absolutely, help was on its the way to save him. Then within minutes, Heather Templin wrote my Heather saying she would full bail the tiny dark brown gelding. She planned to name him Latte and was also willing to help with one more if there was some bail support to save the last pony.  

The last pony had no hope on the horizon, so Heather and Jennifer had named her Annabelle Lee. Her mane was luxurious, and her tail dragged the ground. Her face was the definition of innocence, so unlike my naughty persona!  Down to the wire, it was Tuesday afternoon and the slaughter truck left within an hour.  Here comes the day’s blessing.  Another angel donor stepped forward and asked what was needed, and the money was delivered immediately. Annabelle was safe and could leave the kill pen with Latte on Thursday morning. All the ponies were saved in just under 48 hours.  

First came the photos of Latte and Annabelle Lee safely home. Next came the chestnut pony’s image munching hay in his posh trailer. Sarah got home to Virginia Thursday afternoon and sent images of the two toddler ponies together; so grateful to have each other after this frightening experience of being weaned from their mothers and sent through auction to a kill buyer.       

Call it trial by fire, sailing unchartered waters, or just plain mission impossible when Heather and Jennifer started this effort. Better yet, expressing my opinion on this matterit was an effort equivalent to the marvelous pony express!