A new Facebook group has been formed called Wisconsin Horse Alerts, Warnings and Dangers. I know you don't want to join one more group, but I promise that THIS one will only be giving out crucial information. Stuff about Sterling Rachawl release alerts, disease warnings, missing horses, horse theives, etc. Join it and please do contribute! Let's work together to keep the Wisconsin horse community safe.
Speaking of danger, in Darlington, a horse and buggy got into a fender-bender with a car. Thankfully, no one (including the horse) was hurt.
New cases of EHV-1 have now been confirmed in Kansas, Colorado, California, Manitoba Canada, and South Dakota. So far there have been two confirmed cases here in Wisconsin. Remember to bring your own buckets and other equipment to events, and maybe cut down on the number of barrel racing and rodeo events you attend. Those seem to be the places where the disease is popping up.
Ukarydee Horse Campground Pedophile?
Someone asked me to look into the background of Ukarydee horse campground owner Mike Harris and find out if there was any truth behind some accusations made about him on Facebook.
Here's what I can say for sure:
In 1997, Michael G. Harris plead guilty to 1st Degree Sexual Assault of Child and Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child.
It's case number 97cf57 on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, if you care to look it up. You can still find a record of the case at this Homefacts link, but it has been removed from the WI Sex Offender listings, probably because the case is so old.
Harris was 37 when he was charged. The age of the child was not given, so all we know is that the kid was under 18. I guess Harris could simply have had a relationship with a willing teenager, and then been prosecuted once the parents or cops found out. However, Mike Harris was sentenced to ten years in prison. I don't think a judge would have done that if this wasn't a real case of repeated child rape. The definition of 1st Degree Sexual Assault in Wisconsin's statutes seems to back that up. (Click the picture below to enlarge it:)
You may choose to think, "Well, Harris served his time, so it's all good." But personally, I wouldn't bring my kids to Ukarydee horse campground in Arkdale, WI.
Missing Horses Fund Dead in River
The two horses reported stolen or missing from LUVS Morgan Horse Rescue in March were found dead in a nearby river by a kayaker. Cops think that the horses simply wandered into the icy river and drowned, but there are still unanswered questions in the case. The horses were from two different herds, and the horses should not have been down by the river. One of the horses was used in the therapy program V.E.T.S (Veterans Equine Trail Service).
Now then, time to deliver on another very late promise I made to you folks:
During Midwest Horse Fair, I met the new Wildcat Mountain State Park Manager, Bob Ramsey. Here's what he's had to say: Ramsey is a long-time horseback rider, and is determined to make Wildcat more trail-rider and horse camper friendly. He vows to install some high-ties, level and gravel camping sites, work on the water situation, and repair trails. Some new trails will open, some old unsuitable trails will be closed. He's also going to repaint and replace most of the park's signs, because he feels they're confusing, they're hard to read, and there are too many of them. Ramsey has previously been involved with large animal emergency rescue operations, training firemen and others to help drag horses out of mud, ravines and other perilous situations. Bob Ramsey sounds like a great guy. You can read an interview he gave to The County Line here, and you can read his spring goals for the park here.
Time for some horse rescue news!
I've got a list of people I'd like to acknowledge for being awesome:
Tracy Kiefer. She saw an older, underweight Appaloosa cross with rain rot being advertised for sale. When she realized she had owned this horse some years ago, she immediately went and bought him. In a world where it's all too common for folks to abandon their old horses and just plain not give a damn, this display of loyalty was good to see.
Deb Woodworth. For many, many months, Deb has been working with an owner who just refused to give up a couple of half-starved horses. The heartache, hard work, and hours Deb put into trying to help in this situation is beyond belief. She worked with the owner long past the point where I would have given up. Finally, the two horses are home with Deb, on their way to recovery. Huge hugs to you, ma'am! Kudos also to Pat bishop, pictured here, who helped. (Click the pics to enlarge)
Through her excellent farrier work with tough cases, especially cases of neglect, Vickey Marie Hollingsworth has improved the lives of more horses than I can count. She rescued an abused cob pony last year, continues to help animals in need, and is always giving them the absolute best. I highly recommend her as a farrier, trainer, and all-around great person.
Are you looking to increase your own level of awesomeness? Adopt a new riding buddy this spring! Check out my page of Wisconsin Horse Rescues. There are many well-trained, healthy horses up for adoption! Speaking of which...
Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary put Rudy up for adoption this week! If you don't know about Rudy, you MUST go read his story at AGES's website.
Midwest Horse Welfare also has some great horses available right now! But if you can't adopt, how would you like to take home $1,000 instead? That's just one of several cash prizes you can win through MHWF's raffle. Click here to find out how to buy tickets, or how to help them sell some. Hurry, time is running out! And yes, I do plan on being at Midwest's fundraiser party on June 28th- hope to see you there!
News from another Wisconsin rescue:
The current owners of Saint Francis Horse Rescue will finally be retiring this fall, after many years of dedication to Wisconsin equines. Bill and Mary are moving, and while they will be taking a bunch of the current horses with them, they'd like to see some of their favorite equines find new homes where they can really shine. Maybe YOU could lucky enough to adopt one! As usual, there are no adoption fees at Saint Francis, but there is a contract. Click the banner below to see the adoptables:
Saint Francis will also be hosting their annual Camp Hope event this Sunday the 18th, where grieving children get to spend a day grooming, riding and picnicking.
p.s. Don't worry, St. Francis Horse Rescue will be reincarnated at a new Wisconsin location, with new directors.
Updates on Neglect Cases:
Otter Creek Ranch: Nothing much to tell. They're back open for business, but I haven't heard any first-hand reports about conditions there. Michael Feist's trial date, where he will attempt to explain away the four dead horses, is still set for Oct. 13-17th.
Barb Thiry: Her next court date isn't until 6/10/14, and her jury trial won't start until July 31st.
Sean Legault: He had a hearing on April 30th, but I don't know any details. There's a status conference for this case on the 21st, but Legault's trial won't begin until 6/10.
On a Personal Note
I had previously promised to tell you about my adventures in Pittsville, after attending an anti-horse-neglect meeting there. It seems too late, too long to tell, and not very funny anymore, so I will just gloss over things quickly:
8 deer ticks, one hit deer, one stuck car, 8 miles of walking, two loose cows, two fabulous rescuers, not necessarily in that order.
The results of the meeting were much more positive: We all agreed to put on THREE low-cost gelding programs this fall. One will be held at Midwest Horse Welfare in Pittsville, one in the Greenbay/Appleton area, and one in the Madison area. We will certainly need volunteers for that project. More details coming soon.
Well folks, the "o" key is sticking and I've run out of caffine, so it's time to go! Remember, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask me questions, suggest blog topics, nominate awesome horses and horse people to get featured, etc etc.