By Cate Cummings FNP IFMCP
I am so happy to share the following information about a long-standing horse rescue in Viola, Idaho, named Orphan Acres, Inc.
I recently had an informative conversation with its Founder and President, Brent Glover, while he was on his lunch break during one of his typical 14+ hour days (7 days/week) at this devoted horse rescue. Talk about a LOT of work and DEVOTION by this dedicated man!
He currently has 79 horses at the rescue (but he never knows when he will be asked to assist in another rescue or how many new horses will need his help). He has been at this for over FORTY-FIVE YEARS!!! His rescue has taken in not only horses, but also wildlife that needed help and healing before they were released back into the wild once again. Brent did have a great childhood helping raise horses and exotic animals (even lions!), and now with all of his experience running Orphan Acres, I believe Brent must be one of the wisest horsemen on the planet!
Orphan Acres’ Mission Statement is to “provide care and rehabilitation for abandoned, neglected, abused and malnourished horses while educating the public in equine rescue, rehabilitation and all aspects of horse ownership and care.”
This horse rescue all began in 1975 when Brent began by helping a few abandoned horses and since that time he has rescued over 4,800 horses placed in his care. The majority of the horses have been rehabilitated and then adopted out to worthy homes, but for those horses who are not adoptable Orphan Acres becomes their forever home for the rest of their lives. And, some of his rescued horses have then gone on to live into their late 40’s (for example, a horse named Bueford lived until the ripe old age of 49 years!) at Orphan Acres, so you can imagine the loving care and attention to these horses’ needs that Brent and his volunteers provide for them!
Speaking about volunteers, the COVID pandemic has placed tremendous stress on an organization such as Orphan Acres which depends on volunteers to help all of these horses out on a day-to-day basis. Before this event Brent was able to rely upon a fairly steady stream of volunteers to help him with the daily needs of the horses at Orphan Acres. But, with the pandemic, the number of volunteers has dwindled to the point where Brent is caring for them mostly by himself. This is rather taxing (and you can tell by the length of time he has been doing this that he is not a ‘spring rooster’ anymore). Can you imagine having to feed and water 79 horses, taking care of special needs horses, and doing this day in and day out in the Idaho winter season nonetheless? Most thankfully, he does have a farrier who comes to the rescue almost every Saturday and volunteers trimming the horses’ hooves. I trim my two horses hooves, so I can imagine how much help this wonderful man gives these horses, too.
Brent takes a very personal approach to each and every horse at Orphan Acres. If there is a horse that has poor dentition due to age, Brent does not decide it is then time for that horse to ‘go to horse heaven’ (as in euthanasia). Instead, he adapts that horses’ diet to make it possible for the horse to keep on eating and maintain its nourishment. Due to the growing number of senior horses, Brent and his volunteers are half-way through building a new barn so that the older and special needs horses can have their own stalls in which to eat their special meals when they no longer can eat a normal horse ration.
He knows each horse by name and he knows their history. Rescuing and bringing horses back to a healthy life is Brent’s main focus in life and literally consumes most all of the waking hours of his life. After he is done helping feed, water and clean up after the horses, he then does all the paperwork in the evening (because of COVID-19 he lost his secretary and no longer has help in this important part of the rescue either). Think about fundraising, public relations, and bill paying. For example, his electric bill is usually $1,000.00 to $1,500.00/month during the cold weather so that the water troughs do not freeze and the horses can drink water when they are thirsty. Wow! that is a BIG electric bill, right?
Orphan Acres cares for all types of horses including stallions. He once had to rescue a formerly very abused Arabian stallion named Telegraph, who was highly fearful of humans. Telegraph came all the way from Maine! Brent met the transporters about halfway across the U.S. as he was picking up another horse he was rescuing there. How did Brent get this fearful stallion onto his trailer? By backing each horse trailer up end-to-end, they were able to transfer this very unmanageable stallion into his trailer. Then, once finally home at Orphan Acres, he spent 2.5 years patiently gaining this stallion’s trust to the point where Telegraph would follow Brent around like a puppy dog and stand calmly while Brent sat on an overturned 5-gallon bucket to trim his hooves! Under Brent’s great care, Telegraph lived another happy and healthy 12 years! Talk about devotion, patience, caring and respect for the horse! Brent lives the life of honoring and promoting the dignity of horses.
Orphan Acres depends entirely upon donations to fund the essential needs of these equines. Here is another hard fact that Brent shared with me…. at least 46 horse rescues have closed recently because they lost their donor base and volunteers due to the pandemic. That is why horses like Telegraph have traveled from locations as far away as Maine so that they would be able to live out the rest of their years in peace and happiness.
Sometimes a person wills their estate to a horse rescue like Orphan Acres. Other people give many thousands of dollars to such admirable rescues. These donors have been immensely kind! But, many of these large donors are dwindling because they are having health complications or have passed away. On the other end of the spectrum, some people give only $1. Brent said if a million people would give $1, this could help these horses out very much for a very long time.
Please consider donating some of your time and some of your money to help these horses whose lives depend upon the help of a dedicated hard-working horse rescue so that they can once again live a healthy life with dignity. Please donate to Orphan Acres.
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