Tina Murray & Ringo (Photo by Cindy Shultz of the Times Union)
Five years ago, Tina Murray’s daily commute took her past a neighbor’s home with two horses. She noticed one of the horses, Ringo, was slowly deteriorating from a lack of hay and exposure to the cold winter weather.
By January she could tell his health was suffering and that at times the horses were eating their own feces. “I didn’t know who to call,” she said. For smaller animals, the Humane Society offers rescue programs, but finding a place to help with a horse rescue was a difficult task. “The State Police suggested I approach the owners as a friendly neighbor and offer to help buy hay or feed for the horses. It took about a week, but I convinced them to turn Ringo over to me,” she explained.
Only after getting a closer look could she tell how neglected he had been. “Every bone in his body was protruding, his breast bone stuck right out, you could feel every bone in his neck, his hair was matted and in places it just peeled off. At the time, he was so dehydrated I could not tell if he was a male or a female,” she added.
Over the past five years, Tina has rescued and adopted out nearly 35 horses. Horses find their way to Harmony Hill through word of mouth, owner surrender and neglect cases. The road to rehabilitation is a slow and steady one. Emaciated horses have to be reintroduced to grain slowly and require extra veterinarian and farrier attention.
Rescuing and rehabilitating a neglected horse is costly. Tina works full time in addition to running the rescue to pay for the costs out of pocket. “Most of the operating expenses come out of my personal finances. Donations do come as part of an adoption fee, but I pay for the majority of the expenses myself,” she explained.
Tiny has owned horses all her life. Her parents bought her a six month only pony when she was only 5 years old. “Gabby was 26 years old when he passed away. I learned the ropes with him and started sitting on his back when he was only a year old,” she reminisced. She also competed on the hunter/jumper circuit before changing her focus to helping neglected horses.
Harmony Hill is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization and does accept donations on its website. Volunteers are always needed. “It is easy to find fair weather volunteers. The rescue is a 365 days a year job and we need volunteers in the winter months the most,” she said.
For more information visit www.harmony-hill.net or call 518-588-1993.
For more info: http://www.harmony-hill.net