Shining Hope Farms
Why we are nominating Hamilton to receive a Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Award
We are nominating Hamilton to receive a Platinum Performance Horse Welfare award because of his incredible story of survival and purpose. As you will read below, Hamilton is a very special horse that we are so glad overcame his past so that today he is able to bring so many individuals joy and serve such an important role in our programs.
We were contacted by a police woman in our county and asked if we would be interested in a yearling for our program. She explained that she had been called out to investigate five horses that had been left in a junk yard. When she arrived, the animals were tied up to vehicles. The owner of the animals had passed away and the equines were left to fend for themselves. There was only one that would make it out of that tragic situation. The other four were in such bad shape that euthanization was the most humane option for them. The officer took the one survivor pony that had not been gelded yet, to her home to try to save him. She called him Buddy. The poor animal had permanent scars on his hind legs from being tangled up in rope and trying to escape. His halter was embedded in his skin on his face above his nostrils so deep that it had to be removed with tools. By the time we were contacted, Buddy had been gelded and was not so gauntly skinny. Typically, we would not even consider going to look at a so called “yearling” for our EAAT programs, but the officer lived only two miles from us and we were curious about him. Jessi Culberston, our Equine Professional, and Executive Director, Milinda Kirkpatrick went to check out Buddy. They were quite surprised to find this cute little pony that had phenomenal movement! He had the movement of a fancy European warmblood only in a small package. After less than half an hour with him, we told the police officer that we would take him. After the officer delivered him to our farm, we thought a name change was in order. Jessi decided to name him “Hamilton”. Humorously, she thought it might help with his image instead of being known as a junk yard discard. A few days later, Milinda became concerned about him and called the vet to come out because Hamilton would lay down for hours during the day in his stall. He would lay flat out and appeared to be dead most of the time. After the examination, the veterinarian indicated that the animal was in very good health and was certainly not a yearling, but rather approximately 6 years old. His appearance of being a yearling was due to the malnourishment, possibly even stunting his growth. The vet also indicated that he thought Hamilton was laying down because he had not been able to for so long and it just felt good to be able to sprawl out. To this day, even though Hamilton is well into his teens, he lays down in his stall much of the day…feeling very content, safe, and happy.
Training Hamilton was much different from the other equines that we started and trained from scratch. Rather than having to teach him how to respect us, we had to teach him how to trust us. Getting a halter on or reins over his head was quite a challenge initially. He was not afraid of anything except people. Jessi took Hamilton to many USPC clinics to give him some good experience in a different setting. He absolutely loved cross country schooling and water complexes! He has also competed at local Hunter shows, dressage shows, and fun shows. He has taken good care of our athletes, participants, and patients. No one has ever fallen off of him. Hamilton is now one of our star therapy ponies and is used often as a favorite by both therapists and patients. We are so thankful to the Lord for sending us Hamilton!
Hamilton’s personality and temperament
Hamilton is very fun-loving and easy going. He is very playful in the herd with the other pasture mates, always demanding their attention in some sort of fashion. Hamilton is never afraid of his surroundings or objects. He never spooks at anything. He occasionally will fear a new adult human until he gets to know and trust them.
The type of services, disciplines or activities performed by Hamilton
Hamilton works in all of our Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies programs including hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, equine assisted psychotherapy, and our program for veterans. He loves his job!
Why Hamilton would benefit from Platinum Performance products
Hamilton would greatly benefit from the Platinum Performance products, particularly the Bio Sponge and the Platinum Gastric Support supplements. He was a rescue pony and has always had a leaky gut due to the poor nutrition and lack of nutrition he had during his early years. We are always washing his tail due to the leaky tail.
Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
I am a staff member of Shining Hope Farms and have gotten to know sweet Hamilton over the years working for the farm. -- Jessamyn Farrell