Mississippi Equine Rescue and Adoption begins operations

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Marilyn Thorpe of Carriere, and a few other horse-lovers decided to organize the Mississippi Equine Rescue and Adoption, MERA, non-profit organization about six months ago.

“There have been a couple of clubs with the same goals, but they have gone by the wayside,” Thorpe said Thursday morning. “We’ve grown since then, but we need more members. It takes a lot of money, and a lot of effort to save these horses.”

The group is having a fundraiser on Saturday, September 8, at the Picayune Chamber of Commerce Trade Days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be lots of baked goods for sale, some tack that has been donated, and other horse equipment for sale.

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“The main thing is to let everyone know we’re here, and we’re active,” Mary Adams, the club’s public relations officer said. “The horses rescued will be available for adoption. That process includes filling out an application, and home inspections.”

“Yes, we have an application form that people can fill out stating what they are looking for in a horse, and what their needs are,” Thorpe said. “We keep those on file so we match any horses we get in to their needs. We do a home inspection to make sure they have a safe and appropriate place to keep the horse. We evaluate to make sure they can financially meet the needs of a horse. Then we check on them for a year or two to make sure it’s all right. We stipulate they can’t sell or breed the horse, because there are too many horses already. Males are gelded, but females are not spayed so all their parts are there and working. These horses don’t have papers so the breeding point is actually moot.”

Kiwi and Echo are the first two horses up for adoption. Neither of these were abused or neglected.

Echo is a four year old mare who is saddle-broken and has been shown a couple of times. She still needs to be worked with, because her previous owner became ill and couldn’t handle all her needs. She is very friendly and has a sweet disposition. She would make an experienced rider a very nice mount.

Kiwi is a three year old filly who is not trained or saddle-broken at all. She’s likely a Quarter horse and Arabian cross. An elderly woman bought her for her grand children but their father just didn’t have the time to train her. She, too is very friendly and curious. She was the first horse to come take a look at who was walking up to the fence. She is gentle, but she needs someone experienced to train her. She is not for an inexperienced rider.

MERA’s next meeting is on September 16 at 1 p.m. The club is looking for more members to help with all that needs doing.

“Memberships are $15 for single, $25 for family, and $50 for corporate membership per year,” Adams said. “We need people to donate time for grooming horses, to work with them to help give them basic manners. They’ll be adopted much quicker that way.”

“We do need money,” Thorpe said. “Feeding them is just the tip of the iceberg. Their hoofs need trimming, they need shots, and they must have vet care, and Coggin’s testing. It’s expensive to keep horses. There’s no charge to house them here at Lakeside Ranch, but there are lots of other costs involved.”

One of the main fears is that horses can go at auction for $50 – $90, so people say, “Oh, this is great. I got a horse for $50,” Thorpe explained, but then they don’t have a clue that is not the total cost. They don’t realize how much it really costs to keep them. If there’s enough good grass, you could feed a horse properly for about $60 to $80 per month. It is the veterinarian costs and shots and testing that makes it expensive.”

“People will get a horse and then the newness wears off. They quit feeding them. The kids lose interest; they tie them up under a tree,” Adams said.

“Which is where they get all the abuse and neglect. But,” Thorpe said, “it’s not only physical help we need. We need people that have computer skills, that like to do fundraisers, that can do home evaluations, that might like to nurse any injured horses that might come in. We do have some volunteers for foster homes, and we have quarantine quarters set up where we’ll put incoming rescues for a couple of weeks to make sure they don’t have any infections.”

MERA is networking with the animal control units, as well as SPCA to coordinate a network for rescuing abused and neglected horses. “There just has to be a system in place to do this,” Thorpe said.

If you would like to become a member of MERA, and help rescue horses you can call Marilyn Thorpe at 601-799-4557, or Mary Adams at 601-590-2054. Come to the Trade Days and buy something to save a horse. The club officers are Marilyn Thorpe, president; Rachel Kessling, secretary; Connie Bourgault, treasurer; and Mary Adams, public relations.