Here's Mac's story...
How McElf came to us:
In May, 2001, Jodie rescued McElf from the feedlot in California, with the help of Gail. McElf had many issues, having been a stallion for 10 years and having had no handling. Jodie made good progress with Mac, taking him to a clinic and working with him. However, Jodie had a second baby and just didn't have the time to work with Mac as often as he needed to be worked with.
Emily and I had followed Mac's progress from the "Horses In Need" page on TIER's website. While reading the message board, I noticed several posts where Jodie was beside herself wondering what to do with Mac. He couldn't get his hooves trimmed without having to go to the vet and get tranquilized. Jodie was determined not to get rid of Mac, but she didn't think he was in the best situation for him.
After reading Jodie's posts, I emailed her and suggested perhaps Emily and I could take Mac. After all, Emily was just 13, and had all the time in the world to spend working with Mac. After emailing back and forth and talking on the phone many times, Jodie decided that it would be best for Mac to go to Emily. The search for a trainer was on! Wow, what a challenge. But, long story short, Jodie found the PERFECT trainer in Indiana. I just want to give credit here and now to Lee Follett of Sundance Stables in Auburn, Indiana. He is so wonderful. Words can't describe his kindness, patience and skill.
Things take time when dealing with horses, and horses don't have watches or calendars! Emily got impatient waiting to get Mac, so she and I packed up and drove from Maryland to Indiana to visit Mac, meet Jodie, and work with Mac and the trainer. Meeting Jodie was like seeing an old friend. We had a wonderful time! It's so funny how a connection like horse rescue can make strangers into life-long friends. That was in October.
Emily had off a whole week for Thanksgiving, so we went back to Indiana for another visit with Mac, more work with the trainer and another visit with Jodie. In the 5 weeks since we had seen Mac last, the difference was amazing. He recognized Emily right away and really seemed to bond with her.
Finally, through the efforts of Lee (the trainer) Jodie and everyone in Indiana, Mac arrived here in Maryland on December 18. We were so excited we couldn't stand it. He was hesitant to get off the trailer, as it was dark and he was in an unfamiliar place, but he heard Emily's voice, pricked up his ears, and walked right off the trailer to her. He was home!
I know Jodie was saddened to have him leave, but I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for doing what was best for the horse, not what was best or easiest for her. That takes real courage, compassion and love.
Mac has excellent bloodlines. Jodie had offers from some trainers to take him, but she knew they would train him and resell him and that there's always a chance he'd find himself back in a bad situation, so, for her, selling him was out of the question. Emily and I have taken Mac with the understanding that if anything ever happens and we can't keep him, or if we die, or whatever (you can never guess what odd circumstances might arise) he will go back to Jodie.
I have to say this has been one of the best experiences of my life. It is so uplifting to meet such wonderful people. From Gail, to Jodie, to Lee, even to the people that hauled Mac for us, everyone has done it all "for the horses."
Peace to your heart,