Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cowboy Christmas to help rescued horses

Ziggy the Quarter Horse was a sorrowful sight when Tracy Kloc first saw him in June.

He was sunburned with severe skin lacerations and an eye that had suffered some sort of trauma and should have been surgically removed. A healthy Quarter Horse weighs 1,100 pounds. Ziggy was down to 600 -- "a walking bag of bones."

Kloc is an investigator for horse abuse cases and, as a member of the U.S. Equine Rescue League, keeps abused and neglected horses on her farm near Marshville until they are adopted.

She kept Ziggy and tried to nurse him back to health. "He was by far the worst case we've ever seen locally," Kloc said. "He was extremely thin and had so many medical problems. He was with us for two weeks, but we weren't able to save him despite our hardest efforts."

Ziggy's owner was charged with animal abuse, cruelty and neglect. His case is pending.

The league's local chapter has seen its share of abused and abandoned horses. They place the animals in foster homes in Union, Cabarrus and York, S.C., counties, get them rehabilitated and try to find them a permanent home.

On Nov. 15, the league is hosting "Cowboy Christmas" at Southern Breezes Ranch outside Monroe to raise badly needed operating funds -- and its exposure.

The ranch's owner, Richard Medlin, has built a mini Old West town with a bunk house (which he loans out to scout troops), a general store, a petting zoo and a gem-mining set-up and other western-like buildings.

He is donating the space for the event.

"Our donations are down (by 50 percent) like everyone else," said league volunteer Deb Carl, in charge of publicity for the event. "All the donations we make at Cowboy Christmas will go directly to the horses."

The league's local chapter covers 11 counties. The cases they see are often tragic -- some not so, rescuing horses from people who have no business owning them.

They rescued a mule and horse in Union County the past month. The mule was in decent shape, but kept breaking free and roaming a neighborhood.

The horse was owned by a Union County man who thought he could keep him in his back yard. The horse kept getting out, and after sheriff's deputies made four trips out to corral the horse, they started seizure proceedings.

Before the case went to court, the man surrendered the horse to the league.

"It makes you sick when you see these horses," Carl said. "It's unbelieveable that anyone could treat any creature like these horses are treated. People don't have to have horses."

Want to go? The Nov. 15 Cowboy Christmas event goes from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wild West Town at Southern Breezes Ranch near Monroe, 4126 Medlin Rd. There will be horse-drawn rides, opportunities to meet rescued horses, a petting zoo and shopping for cowboys and cowgirls. Donations are appreciated. If you're interested in participating call Deb Carl at 704-531-4877, or email at To make a donation go to the league's website at, or send a check to "US Equine Rescue League," P.O. Box 157, Wingate, NC 28174.


Amelia said...

This is a wonderful thing these people are doing for the horses. Horses are beautiful animals that have helped our country since before Columbus landed here. I commend Mr. Medlin for the exposure he is trying to get for these horses. I would love to be there for Cowboy Christmas but will probably not be able to attend. I hope Ziggy's abuser is convicted, serves jail time, and is fined accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I commend Mr. Medlin for trying to help these horses. No one who cannot care for a horse should have one or more. I am sorry Ziggy could not be saved. I do hope the court convicts the owner of a felony, he serves jail time, and is fined accordingly. There are no excuses.

Anonymous said...

I have had the opportunity to see first hand the work these volunteers do to help these horses and it is unbelievable the dedication they have to this cause. From simply providing a safe environment and healthy nutrition to complicated and costly medical treatments they do it all! Hope to see many, many faces at the Cowboy Christmas and thank you Mr. Medlin for your generous donation!

douglas said...

what a wonderful event. I attended and volunteered at an event at Mr. Medlin's Old West town last Spring and it was fantastic. This is truly an event for the whole family.