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Saving horses at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center

Amber the 11th horse

It’s a sight you never get used to and can be difficult to understand. The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center staff, a veterinarian, police and animal welfare officers were confronted with such a sight on a hot July day when they arrived at a home after receiving a complaint of neglected animals on the property. With warrant in hand, the staff began to absorb what they were seeing, trash and debris covered the yard and the limited food and water available on the property had been contaminated by gasoline. The conditions were unlivable, and it was clear that the 11 horses on the property were suffering.

Horses suffering from extreme neglect and abuse are given a second chance

Imagine being so frightened that you feared for your life, but starvation outweighed your fear and you took the risk of the unknown just for a few bites of food. This was the reality for the 11 horses discovered that day.

It was as if the horses sensed help was on the way and eagerly loaded into the safety of the Harmony Equine Center trailer. All, except one. One horse, the 11th horse, who had been handled so infrequently and lacked a positive human experience, stayed cowered in the corner of her pen. Amber, was so starved that despite her intense fear, she was bribed by food, and step, by slow step made her way into the trailer.

The journey wouldn’t be an easy one. All the horses arrived with a body condition score of 1, the lowest possible score. Many had never been handled or had positive human contact making it difficult to provide the basic treatments required to save their lives. With patience and time, the compassionate staff at Harmony slowly earned their trust and the horses learned what it was like to feel love for the first time.

Finding love, training, and new beginnings

Amber, the 11th and final horse to load into the trailer, was the first be evaluated once safely at the Harmony Equine Center. At just 3 years old, Amber was in terrible health. “I have seen all of 1,500 plus horses that have come into the Harmony program, and Amber, without exaggeration, was in the worst condition I have seen,” said Garret Leonard, director of the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center.  “I honestly couldn’t believe she was alive,” With an intake weight of 554 pounds and on the brink of starvation, Amber’s life was saved that July day. Amber has gained nearly 300 pounds and is thriving in the Harmony Equine Center training program. She is learning to trust people, to accept their love and is working towards finding her new home where she will never know starvation and will be surrounded by love.

Horses get a second chance thanks to your support

To learn more about Amber, or other horses at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center, visit Not ready to adopt? You can support their incredible work by becoming a monthly donor. Your donations will help provide nutritious food, gentle training and compassionate care for years to come.

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