Saturday, October 28, 2017

Horsie Halloween! (But First, 1 Day Open Shelter Event)

Welcome back! Before we get started with our Halloween fun, I want to applaud all the Wisconsin horse rescues and volunteers that participated in the 1 Day Open Door Shelter Event on October 22nd. This event allowed owners to surrender their horses for any reason, no questions asked. 49 horses were brought in, including the whole spectrum of rescue horses: healthy weanlings, severe neglect cases, wild but healthy adult horses, well-trained horses, and lovely seniors. All horses were distributed among participating horse rescues, where they will be cared for until they are ready for adoption. You can find a short video from the event on Facebook.

This kind of event is so incredibly wonderful and important. If not for this event, dozens of horses would be suffering in some people's back yards right now. Thanks to those who stepped up to do the hard work, they were either humanely euthanized with loving care, or given a chance at a great new life.


Organizers and veterinarians: Horse Plus Humane SocietyThe Right Horse Initiative, Dr. McKichan and Dr. Sholts of Dells Equine Vet Service LLC, and Dr. Lorenz of Capitol Performance Veterinary Services.

Midwest Horse Welfare in Pittsville, WI, which helped host this event in Neillsville, WI.
 You can see pictures and descriptions of the ten horses they took in here. They will be taking in one more, as soon as they can convince the mare to get in a trailer! (We've all been there.)

Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary, in Elkhart Lake, WI, which took in three horses from the event. See photos of those on their facebook page.

Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc, in Colfax, WI, which took in nine horses from the event. You can read descriptions and see pictures of those horses on their web page or in this Facebook post.

Beautiful Hearts Rescue, in Shell Lake, WI, which took in horses, but has not yet posted updates.

Please check out each one of the rescues listed here. If you can't donate, you can still "like," share, and spread the word about the good work they're doing.

Now on to...

Horse Halloween!

I love Halloween, don't you? Let's jump right in to the best and worst costumes, plus a gallery of the gruesome.

Best Halloween Costumes

WOW! These skull and gypsy ensembles were created by Horse Costumes by Pamela, based in MA. Don't have Facebook? She's also on Pinterest.

AMAZING. It looks like a painting, but this is totally real. Designed by Blythe Brown of Historic Runnymede Farm, and worn by Bria Shorten. This costume won a World Championship in Friesian Period Costume. You can see a gallery of Friesian photos on their Facebook page. Warning: You WILL be jealous. Side effects include drooling, heart palpitations, and mood swings.

Oh. My. God. This is the cutest thing on earth. It's a Push-Me-Pull-You dressed up for Easter!

Worst Halloween Costumes

Last minute, much? If the guy was wearing a jersey and padding, this could be OK.

Zebra body paint: do it right and you're good to go. 
Do it wrong, and all you've done is paint weird, ugly stripes on your sad horse.

Actress Nina Dobrev and a friend dressed up at Leonardo Di Caprio and the gutted horse from The Revenant. Ew.

Gruesome Gallery

This horse skull was found in western Nebraska. This poor young horse was abandoned, left to grow out on the range, until its too-small halter became deeply embedded, eventually killing it.

Archaeologists recently discovered a sit in Fengxian, Shaanxi province, China, where thousands of horses were sacrificed in honor of emperors. It's nicknamed "the Blood Pool."

This zombie/demon pony is actually edible. The life-sized cake was created by "Miss Cakehead," and drips rum from its nose! See a full gallery of pictures here.

Need more spooky stuff? Check out my Haunted House of the HorseHaunted House of the Horse II, and Horse Superstitions.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Guest post: Horrific Twin Creek Visions Rescue & Youth Ranch

A note from North Horse:

Twin Creek Visions Rescue & Youth Ranch is run by Renee and Darrell Nykanen in Clayton, WI. They said they were closing their rescue in 2014, but there are still about 40 animals on the property, living in horrible conditions. Renee claims to be a "trainer" and "gives lessons." Darrel claims to be a "farrier."

This blog post is written by a guest, whom I will call Rescue Warrior. I have done a bare minimum of editing for readability, but the words are R.W's.

Rescue Warrior was able to get some horses and donkeys out of the hell hole that is Twin Creek Visions on June 4th of this year. This is their story.


I received a phone call from a friend saying one of her friends needed help hauling a couple horses from a terrible situation. I was prewarned of horrible pastures, how bad off the horses are, and how this lady was a tad on the crazy side. The horror I witnessed vs. What I was told is not comparison. There was piles of manure everywhere. Horses were standing in small, pens in feces about a foot deep. I have never in my life seen so many skinny, neglected animals all on one property in my life. I hauled for a living for about a year and have come across some dumpy places. This place takes the cake. Piles of garbage and building materials everywhere that the horses have access to.

The 2 horses I was there to pick up were penned in a make shift round pen. The owner of the horses asked if I could help her catch them to make it faster to get out of there.

Upon entering the round pen, Renee came out. She wasn't to happy to see me out there helping and grumbled a few words to my boyfriend. We caught the horses and while loading them noticed they smelled as though they rolled in something dead. It was horrifying.

I left in tears and vowed to help those poor souls left there to die. From what I could tell none of the pens had access to water. None of them had hay and most had no shelter. Not even trees. I started calling immediately after I got home.

I called Barron county sheriff's, the humane society, and news stations. With not much of a response because it was a weekend, I turned to social media. I asked a few friends that I had in common with Renee. To my surprise one of them had actually helped her start her rescue a few years back. It is called twin creek visions rescue and youth ranch. She knew all about how terrible things had gotten at Renee's. After I posted to weau13 all sorts of disgusting stories started piling in. About how she buries all the horses that die and how, in about 5 years time she has buried more horses than she should have. Any time someone calls her in, she moves her horses so the worst ones aren't seen.

Once my post took off on Facebook the sheriff paid her a visit. I thought for sure this was it. I had 5 rescues lined up to go help pull the 50+ horses she had there. What a disappointment. I received a call from someone within the department that said there was nothing they could do. The horses "weren't neglected." I was told the donkey in my photo had just had her hooves trimmed and that they came that way. I was told my pictures were old. That there wasn't near the 50+ plus horses I seen with my own eyes. He said there was under 30. He also admitted to me that he didn't know much about equines. I cordially thanked him and hung up the phone. I was in disbelief.

That same day I had another friend call me. She had contacted Renee about taking some horses off her hands. Renee agreed. So I had another friend call too. Between the two friends a total of 8 were pulled from that hell hole. I ended up with 5. I have since been able to rehome one of them.

"Lady" the day of intake. Vet gave her a body score of 1.5- 2. She was covered in wounds and some weird fungus. Her hair was coming off in clumps due to the severe rain rot. She was lacking in minerals and her hooves chipped and cracking.

"Lady" 3 weeks after rescue. Gaining weight nicely off of grass hay only. No grain, no weight builder, no supplements. Just grassy hay. I found a tattoo on her lip. She had won 40k at Canterbury downs. Her owner/ breeder sold her to Renee for $300 in December. She was in perfect health.

White donkey Progress Pics:

Brown donkey progress pics:


A note from North Horse:

Rescue Warrior also got two mini horses out of Twin Creek. They too desperately needed baths and hoof trims.

As of this week, I am told that the
Nykanens have over 40 horses living in filth, hungry, dehydrated, and with no hoof care.

It's outrageous that local law enforcement won't take this seriously. No horses should have to live with no food, in kneep-mud, plastered in their own filth, their crippled hooves untrimmed for months. If you agree, contact Baron County Sheriff! They may tell you "we've checked on those horses, they're fine." Tell them NOPE, this is NOT "fine!"

Baron Co Sheriff Dept.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald
1420 WI-25
Barron, WI 54812


(715) 537-3106

Huge thank-you to Rescue Warrior for the excellent work!!

Miscellaneous pics from the
Nykanen property:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

All the Updates: Rachwal, Health Hazards & More

Rachwal Rides Again

In April 2017, Sterling Rachwal molested a horse in Eaton, near Green Bay. In May, he raped a gelding at a ranch in Maribel, also near Green Bay. He hasn't been convicted yet, but if it wasn't him, I'll eat my hat.

He is currently charged with three misdemeanors in Brown County:
  • Intentionally mistreating animals
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Resisting or obstructing an officer
...and two misdemeanors in Manitowoc County:
  • Intentionally mistreating animals
  • Disorderly conduct
I have added this information to my main post about this fiendish psycho, which includes a picture of his SUV. I HIGHLY recommend that any horse owner within 50 miles of Green Bay invest in a security system. For some goddamn reason, authorities keep releasing him so he can do this again! He's been raping and mutilating horses since the 80s!

Sterling Rachwal has plead "not guilty" to the all charges against him. He has not been able to pay bail (even though it's a ridiculously low $1,000 and $5,000 respectively) so he's sitting in jail for now.

In the Brown case, Rachwal's next hearing will be September 12th, 2017. He may or may not go to trial.
Contact Deputy District Attorney Dana Johnson and let her know that you want her to deal harshly with this repeat offender! Let her know not to let up on the prosecution, accept no deals, and ask for the most stringent sentence possible.
Brown County Deputy D.A Dana J. Johnson
300 E Walnut St
Green Bay, WI 53401
OR (920) 448-4190

In the Manitowoc case, Rachwal will have a jury trial on December 14th, 2017. Make sure you write to the prosecuting attorney and let her know that you expect her to go after Rachwal to the fullest extent that the law allows! You can contact her at:
Assistant District Attorney Jill L. Vendetti
Manitowoc County Courthouse
1010 S 8th Street
3rd Floor, Room 325
Manitowoc, WI 54220
OR 920-448-5433

I will be alerting you all closer to the dates, so that hopefully you can physically be there in the court room to make your voice heard. I wish Rachwal had been charged with something more serious than a few misdemeanors, but the laws here in Wisconsin just don't cover this kind of situation. That needs to change.

Belva Bowden Gets Off Easy

Speaking of the lackluster laws and lax punishments in Wisconsin, Belva Bowden had the charges against her reduced to an ordinance violation, and was fined only $582.50 for starving her horse Roy to death. He died a day or so after being found wandering on the highway, his last attempt to escape his miserable existence. He was wearing a custom halter with his name on it, yet his owner couldn't be bothered to sell him, euthanize him, or fix him up. Bowden still teaches at Auburn Elementary School here in Wisconsin.
Are you angry about Bowden's slap on the wrist? Contact Wood County District Attorney David Knaapen at 400 Market Street, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494 or (715) 421-8515 and tell him this isn't acceptable. Be polite, but firm. Let him know that someone capable of watching a helpless animal slowly starve to death in her backyard deserves more punishment than a lousy ticket.

Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab Is Grade-A Excellent

Pony Tales, a relatively new rescue in Colfax, Wisconsin, has been doing some great things! In October 2016, they hosted an Open Door Shelter, where people were able to surrender their animals. Pony Tales, as well as several other local rescues, took in dozens of horses.

Pony Tales has been certified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, a rigorous process. They're holding successful fundraisers, they recently attended a horse rescue training seminar in Pittsville WI, and best of all, they are adopting out horses to great homes on a regular basis. For these reasons, they've made my list of endorsed WI Horse rescues. You can check them out on their Facebook page, or meet them in person at two upcoming events:

Chippewa Falls Pure Water Days Parade, August 12th at 1pm

1st Annual Labor Day Trail Ride Fundraiser near Colfax, WI.

Saturday Sept. 2nd & Sunday Sept. 3rd
$50 for both days, $40 for Saturday only, $20 for Sunday only.
This cost includes primitive camping, lunch, dinner and a drink at each stop. Children 12 and under ride for 1/2 price. Children 5 and under and participating landowners ride at no charge.To register, sign up online here,  email, or call/text Brenda at 715-933-4671. Current negative coggins IS required and will be checked.

Wisconsin Horse Alliance: Working Hard

This great organization just held its second annual Rescue Roundtable. These seminars are meant to bring together horse rescue organizations from across Wisconsin, and offers them training, resources, encouragement, and networking opportunities. It's great that Wisconsin has so many horse rescues, but we could all benefit from more communication, agreed-upon standards, and more helping hands. I'm very impressed with what the Alliance is attempting to do to further those goals.
The last Rescue Roundtable was attended by Racer Placers, Beautiful Hearts Rescue, Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary, Firefly Acres, MHWF, Pony Tales Refuge and Rehab, and Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies.

The Alliance holds monthly meetings in Madison. You can check out their website here, or join them on Facebook here.

Recent Horse Health Hazards

West Nile
A non-vaccinated Standardbred cross yearling gelding from Clark County had to be euthanized this July, after contracting this mosquito-borne disease.

A horse that lives permanently at the Walworth County Fairgrounds has a confirmed case of strangles. Shows at this location have been cancelled, and equine visitors are asked to stay away. Strangles can be spread in fluids (like snot) spread on brushes, stall walls, and tack. There is a good vaccine against strangles, which, if left untreated, can be deadly.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Two horses died of a severe, mosquito-borne disease in the Tomah area this week. The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, housed at University of Wisconsin-Madison, discovered eastern equine encephalitis virus in the brain tissue of the horses, who were last vaccinated in the fall of 2016. The virus is deadly in horses about 90 percent of the time and, in rare cases, can be transmitted to humans. The virus infected 19 horses in 11 Wisconsin counties last year.

Potomac Horse Fever
On July 17th, Dells Equine confirmed a case in Reedsburg in close proximity to the Baraboo river. The horse was found dead before displaying any symptoms, and was later tested positive for the disease. Another horse on site (this one still alive) also tested positive. Vaccination is not guaranteed to prevent the disease but can still lessen the severity of the illness. Owners should watch their horses for signs of fever. The disease is passed along by insects into streams, pastures, and even local bird populations. Read more here.

North Horse Swaps Horses

I need to update my "author" page! My last two mares were recently adopted out. I was looking forward to taking a break from horses. And then I stumbled upon two mini horses tied to junked out truck beds. Of course I couldn't leave them. *sigh* Stay tuned for a hilarious yet heartbreaking rescue story.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Amanda "Jo Jo" Everhart AGAIN

Well, well, well.

It looks like Amanda "Jo Jo" Everhart has found a few supporters.

Just to re-cap: Everhart has been running a "horse rescue" out of Viroqua, WI. She has admitted to being a for-profit business, and asks two to five thousand dollar "rehoming fees" for unsound horses which, in at least two cases, were given to her for free by owners who were told the horses would be given retirement homes. Full story here.

It's a shame that supposedly intelligent folks like law enforcement officers and reporters are falling for her sob stories, but alas, a cute smile and bald-faced lies may convince even the cynical.

In the picture to the left, you can see Amanda standing next to a mare named Phoenix, a walking skeleton, suffering, waiting for death. Amanda Everhart claims in an interview that Phoenix was surrendered to her in this condition on November 27th, 2016.

No, folks. Not at all. Amanda has owned Phoenix for years. Phoenix was a horse she once described as the means by which she made her living (barrel racing). On a Go Fund Me page she created in October of 2016 (one month before the horse was supposedly surrendered to her "rescue") Amanda claimed the horse was stolen, and wanted the public to give her money.

 One month before THAT, in September 2016,  Amanda was talking about picking up Phoenix from a friend's place, saying the horse had been hurting "a few months."

Here's Amanda with Phoenix months before THAT, in 2015. This was what Phoenix used to look like, before Amanda allowed her to starve and become a walking skeleton. These pictures were posted on Amanda's own Facebook page, before she deleted them:

Just to remind you, this is what Phoenix looks like NOW:

And yes, this is the SAME horse. Same distinctive white stripe above the right nostril. Same four white socks. Same bit of white above the right eye.

Amanda is a "crybully," a person that harms others and then claims to be the victim in every situation.

The real victim here is Phoenix. This is ABSOLUTELY treatable neglect. And even if Phoenix has some medical condition that is causing her to suffer unavoidably (which I doubt), the humane thing to do is EUTHANIZE her, rather than allowing her to continue suffering like this.

I hear that some un-named veterinarian has "signed off" on Amanda's so-called "rescue."
Maybe that's true. However, it doesn't mean much. Long-time readers of this blog will remember the case of Lady, the senior old mare who suffered terrible neglect at the hands of Barb Thiry. Veterinarian Peter Drehmann of United Veterinary Service in Bear Creek, WI, also "signed off" on Thiry's horses, and said Lady was "just old." Of course, after Lady was rescued, she gained all the weight back that she had lost while Barb Thiry owned her.

My point is that, even if a qualified vet DID see Phoenix, veterinarians can be dead wrong.
There is a persistent myth that it's OK for old horses to look like walking skeletons, because, well, "they're just old." We would never accept that explanation for just about any other kind of animal, and certainly not for humans. Yet with horses, people just seem to shrug it off. They don't bother to do a little research and figure out that proper dental care, a better diet, and water-soaked, soft feed can make a world of difference. You can read my full rant about this subject here, and view a gallery of beautiful senior horses. And once again, I will state for emphasis: Even if Phoenix has some medical condition that is causing her to suffer, the humane thing to do is EUTHANIZE her, rather than allowing her to continue suffering like this.

While Phoenix suffers a slow death, Amanda continues to harm others.
"Reporters" (who apparently can't fact-check worth a crap)  have neglected to mention the open criminal case against Everhart, in which she is charged with Threats to Injure/Accuse of a Crime and Resisting or Obstructing and Officer. See the screenshot below. (I have blurred out Amanda's address, and once again, I warn you not to harass her. Doing so just gives her more of an opportunity to play the victim, and doesn't help the horses, or those affected by her scams. The important thing to do is warn others not to donate to, buy from, or deal with, Amanda "Jo Jo" Everhart.)

Amanda is also being sued in civil court for taking a saddle without paying for it.

She may also be heading to court for another case that popped up this month:

Here are some other Craiglist ads Amanda has posted, attempting to sell horses. The "adoption fee" prices will shock you, but remember, Everhart herself admits that she's running a for-profit operation. Click on any picture below to see it full size.

I hope that this is the last blog post I will have to do on Amanda Everhart. The whole thing sickens me. In cases of neglect, an argument can be made that the perpetrator is suffering from a mental illness, or was simply ignorant of proper horse care. Everhart seems to be fully aware of the harm she is inflicting, and is simply outright lying for her own profit while convincing others to pity her. It is so morally disgusting that I can't even find words to express my contempt.

Edit: Over 21,000 views in 3 days. Great job sharing, guys. Here's one more thing to share: a great petition that might help change the way WI law enforcement understands animal neglect. It was written by the young lady who originally broke the story of Phoenix being so thin. Please sign and share!