When a starved, abused, or neglected horse is enrolled in our program, we make a commitment to that horse for life. We believe it’s the responsibility of all humans who interact with horses to follow through on ensuring their quality of life but, when other humans fail their equine partners, we strive to reaffirm their faith in humanity by ensuring that we — and any new owners — do not. And so it goes that sometimes, even rescued horses in our program who’ve been re-homed may return to us.

In the last two years, two of our horses have experienced such assurance. Sometimes a rescued horse is found to have a behavior that’s not compatible with their owner, such as the case with Ella, whose new owner found she didn’t have the time for the daily interaction that Ella enjoys. Or with Yankee, whose owner found she has arthritis in her back, and can no longer ride him. For whatever the reason, our policy is a “permanent revolving door,” meaning that if, for any reason, a new owner of a re-homed rescue of ours finds that they can no longer provide a suitable home, they can return the horse to a member farm, no questions asked.

Ella enjoys fresh grass and companionship with pasture mate Carlos.

And so this past spring Ella returned to her rescue home. She wasn’t there long, however, before an equine therapist in Massachusetts found she’s just the horse she was looking for. Now Ella enjoys greener pastures as companion to older gelding Carlos, with daily interaction with Pam. Ella’s skills of following her human partner closely are rewarded by Pam’s love for horses, and together they’re forming a deep bond.

Yankee, whose placement at first seemed like a match made in heaven, has also now come back to his rescue home. We’ll again be careful to place him with an appropriate owner but, if life’s surprises show a different need, he’ll always be an NLHR rescue with a permanent home. Owners are not allowed to sell, or breed, horses that we place out, and we keep an eye on their progress for just this reason.

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