Click for Success Stories:

Make It Happen

rescued by CANTER of Michigan, one of the many agencies we were able to help this year, is now a successful three day event horse for his new owner Mary Hejna.

Here is his story in the words of Jo Anne Normile CANTER Director/Founder

Caring People Make It Happen for Make It Happen

In December of 1999, our racehorse placement program, CANTER, was notified by an email from a caring individual that a Michigan children's camp had traded a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse for some construction work and ultimately that person traded the horse for a pony that was going to slaughter. Make It Happen took the pony's place on the trailer and started his horrific journey towards a slaughterhouse.

By the time CANTER received notice of this transaction, eleven days had passed. Was it too late? CANTER immediately contacted Shane Spiess, Michigan's leading Thoroughbred trainer in the year 1999, and he readily agreed to help and would put out the word about the "bounty" being offered by CANTER for Make It Happen. Shane began his search for Make It Happen by contacting the initial horse dealer/trader and reported back to CANTER that Make It Happen had sold for $390 at a Kentucky meat sale to the Bel Tex Slaughterhouse and was in a holding pen with many other unfortunate horses awaiting the arrival of the transport. Encouraged only by the reward being offered, the original horse trader went all the way to Kentucky and Make It Happen was rescued from the holding pen. He brought him to the Shipshewanna auction parking lot where a CANTER volunteer met him and paid him his "bounty" and "Make It Happen" was saved!

However, his recovery was far from over. His 13 day ordeal from the time he sold in the auction until his rescue had taken its toll. He was 200 pounds underweight, had abcesses and thrush in all four feet, was bitten and gouged across his whole body with a large festering infected wound in his forehead above his eye. Expressionless and lifeless, he stood wobbling with his legs in splayed position, ready to collapse. Despite his many problems, dehydration was the main concern. He was transported to the nearest CANTER approved foster home in Michigan to receive immediate veterinary care and after two weeks was strong enough to make the several hour trip to the farm of CANTER Founder and Director, Jo Anne Normile.

Six months later, Make It Happen was fully recovered, at least physically, and was adopted from CANTER by Mary Hejna of Chelsea, Michigan, after he successfully passed a prepurchase veterinary exam. The pair now successfuly compete in United States Eventing Association competitions in Florida, Kentucky, throughout the Midwest, and into Canada.

Caring people, both racing and nonracing, worked together to make it happen for a horse named Make It Happen!!! What better "barn name" for him now then "Happy"??

Although Make It Happen's story does have a happy ending, the other horses in that holding pen had no racing trainers that cared, no organization looking for them. How long had they stayed in the holding pen? Were they hungry and thirsty and injured too before getting on the trailer for the long drive to the slaughter house? Did they even make it there alive? Make It Happen surely would have collapsed in the truck on the way there to be trampled by the others. Timid and shy by nature, Make It Happen was unable to receive sufficient food or water once his ordeal began. This shameful and outrageous practice of ignoring the basic needs of animals destined for "meat" should be exposed so the public knows that the horrors of the slaughter house begin long before the unfortunate horses are struck with a bolt. Perhaps Make It Happen's story can help educate people.


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