On Tuesday this week, Australians stopped for one horse race; the Melbourne Cup. Retailers have been selling beautiful dresses and pretty hats for the past month and many of us kicked up our heels and chose our favourite horses. However, in amongst all the fun and celebrations of fillies, here at Fish we thought it an appropriate time to consider some of the less fortunate of this majestic species.
Karen Hood founded Heavy Horse Heaven (HHH), located in Royalla, just south of Canberra, in 2011. A Clydesdale named Banner, who had been seen at an auction by one of Karen’s friends, was her first guest. Banner had already been purchased but they wanted to make sure she was safe. She wasn’t. Banner had been sold to someone wanting to on sell her to a slaughter house; you see, Clydesdales can be sold in that market for about $1000. Karen made a successful offer for her, bought her back to the farm for medical treatment and re-homing, and that was the beginning of HHH.
The organisation’s aim is to completely rehabilitate and thoroughly assess every horse that comes through the HHH gates and place them in their perfect forever home.
While there are other horse rescue charities throughout Australia, none specialise in the remarkable creatures that HHH refers to as ‘Clumpers’. Clumpers pertain to draft breeds and their crosses. HHH works with other horse rescue groups to help even more horses by collaboration and open lines of communication.
These beautiful creatures often need to be re-homed because their owners can no longer afford to feed them (which costs about $2000 each year) and medical supplies can soar into the thousands. There are also the very sad situations when the horses need rescuing from people who are mistreating them.
HHH have many amazing stories of horse rescues, restoring these beautiful horses back to health and then finding them a forever home. One such story was that of a miniature Clydesdale named Popcorn who desperately needed a diet plan but wasn’t very happy about it. Another story was of a Clumper named Chance who was offered for free via social media as her owners couldn’t afford her food and medical bills. She nearly died of laminitis but was saved with the support of HHH and a vet.
One of the horses was taken in by the family that lived next door to HHH, when their 11 year old daughter, Grace, fell in love with a seven foot tall, 800kg Clydesdale named Smokey.
“He is just so gentle and so kind, I can just sit down and play with his feathers (around his hoofs) and he doesn’t mind, he is one of the most beautiful horses I have ever met. I was about to cry when my mum said ‘I think we are going to have him‘,” Grace said.
“Mum called out to Smokey and he came. That’s when we knew he would be our forever horse.”
This Thursday, as Melbourne’s Spring Racing carnival comes to a close, we say thank you to Karen Hood and the Heavy Horse Heaven team for their services in rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing these gentle giants.
Miss Fish Bizz