It is my pleasure to introduce you to Enola Hambey of Dancer’s Horse Rescue. Enola and her husband Rick live their faith by extending compassion and care to people and animals in need. They are foster parents, adoptive parents, horse rescuers, and regularly host fund raisers for animals and animal advocates.
In this interview style article, Enola shares about their children, rescued horses, and mission to help other animal advocates and animals in need. The responses are compiled and edited from questions I asked Enola as well as from her writings.
What inspired you to foster and adopt children?
I guess rescuing came naturally to us in the sense that as Christians we already had hearts of compassion for the lost and needy, the broken and forgotten. As a medical missionary, Rick had traveled to Guatemala nine times and spent time Honduras, El Salvador and southern Mexico. I had been working as an evangelist on the female jail team in our previous church and ministered to the homeless on the streets of Houston.
When my husband Rick and I moved to Kentucky 8 years ago we knew in our hearts we wanted to be foster parents. My father grew up in Kentucky and was given away at the age of 5. He had a hard life and felt unwanted. My husband Rick grew up as a foster child; being moved from family to family. He spent time in boy’s homes until he was 18 years of age. Because of his own background and our love for Jesus, we felt called to reach out to foster children. We wanted to give them stability and love while their parents worked to get their lives together so they could get their children back. Our home is a care plus home. Children come to us when other families could no longer handle their behaviors.
The second set of siblings to come into our home was Rico, Michael and Dalton. Their parents failed to get them back and their parental rights were terminated. Rick asked if I would consider adopting them. It had never crossed my mind to adopt at that time. I told him I really needed to pray about it and talk to my birth son. He was out on his own and dating the lovely woman who is now his wife. My son thought it would be awesome to have 3 brothers. I prayed for God to show me if it was his will, and he did in a dream. Rick never had children on his own. We did try to have a child together, but it was not God’s will. We did not understand why at the time.
Rick and I agreed to go forward for the adoption. We have had our boys for 6.5 years and for the past 2.5 years they have been ours through adoption. We have been through hell from dealing with their past life and all the baggage they had attached to them from their birth parents. All the emotional scars and wounds which sometimes comes out in anti-social behaviors. They are in ongoing therapy trying to help them go a different path and make healthy life choices.
What inspired you to become horse rescuers?
Our love of horses was born out of their majestic presence and beauty. We saw the need of many horses here in the Lexington area (“The Horse Capital of the World”). We saw how horses who did not meet financial demands or were overworked and could not perform were discarded or put down.
It was not until moving to our beautiful property with its “Courier and Ives” type farm view of silos, train tracks, cows, and rolling hills in Wilmore, Kentucky in 2008, that my husband Rick and I decided we needed horses. We had a barn and a very nice horse fence already in place.
One day, we were out with our seven foster children to look at a horse. We went to this person’s farm and could not believe our eyes when we saw him punching Spirit in the nose. His story was that it was for the horse’s own good. Spirit did not want to go on trail rides or wear shoes, so he was worthless to these people.
We were so upset as we watched this man beat the horse that I just yelled out “We will take him from you – SOLD!” However, as we tried to get Spirit into the trailer to head home, he cried and kept looking back at his baby – Thunder. We just knew that we could not leave her there to be beaten and we could not bear to break up the bond they had. So again, I yelled – “We’ll take that one too.” The owner had no problem unloading two uncooperative horses.
So, with two horses in our trailer, we headed home. And thus, the inspiration for our rescue began.
What is the mission of Dancer’s Horse Rescue?
Our Mission is to help as many discarded horses as we can. We save them from abuse, kill shelters and neglect. We do not re-home them, but offer them a forever home of safety here on our property. Dancer’s Horse Rescue gives 100% to our beautiful rescues. Life here is safe, enjoyable and only kind words are spoken with gentle hands upon them. This is why we call it a “Sanctuary” as well.
We know we can only save a limited number of these wonderful Equine souls mostly due to spacial limitations and financial resources. But the ones we can help we offer a shelter to live out the rest of their lives in peace free from abuse or neglect. When one of our six horses does pass on, another will come and receive the same love and special care.
What we came to realize is that we are not only helping our horse,s but they are helping us as well. Horses can be very therapeutic with emotionally damaged children. They teach them how to trust and give love.
Who is Dancer?
Dancer is a Morgan Show horse that we saved due to her foundered condition. She was offered for adoption because she could no longer be shown in the ring and the cost of rehab, extensive vet care and farrier work needed to get her back into shape was too expensive.
She is the namesake of our rescue due to the fact that she is the lead horse and was able to take that role despite all that was stacked against her. We named her dancer because as a Morgan she was trained to perform extensive trot and stepping moves for the show ring. She obviously enjoyed performing because she will perform some of these routines on her own volition out in the pasture and it looks as if she is dancing.
Dancer has many health issues. She has a special diet because she has what we might call in human illness – diabetes. If she gets too much sugar in her diet and she can easily become overweight. So Dancer has to wear a mask to slow down her down as she eats grass. She also has problems with her feet and has to wear special shoes.
When Dancer came to us and joined the others, she was not welcomed by the other horses. However, as time went on, I believe that they knew she was sick and they all started to accept her and love her unconditionally as animals do. Dancer is now the lead horse of the herd. Even though she is more than likely the weakest in body, she is the strongest of mind and spirit. I also know that they look to me as part of the pack. Our love surrounds us and keeps us calm and allows us to handle whatever surprise may come up on a daily basis.
What are some challenges faced by rescued horses?
Rescue horses have their own brand of problems such as not trusting humans but seeing them as a source of abuse or discomfort. Much work has to be done at times teaching them to trust. Their respect must be earned,slowly at times.
When we got him, poor Spirit had been so abused that he walked out of the trailer very slowly, hanging his head. His spirit had been so broken that he has always been our greatest challenge. However, I am glad to say that he has come a long way and does trust me now. But when the farrier comes, he goes back into fear mode. Even horses can have PTSD and Spirit is a good example of that.
Other problems may exist including medical issues such as destroyed joints from over-jumping and foundering. Foundering, or laminitis, is a very painful inflammation affecting the folds of tissue connecting the pedal bone to the hoof.
Farriers have told us more than once, that the reason horses are called “Rescue Horses ” is because nothing can be done with them. They are no longer wanted because of so many problems. Sometimes they’re simply discarded because they don’t run fast enough, or aren’t financially viable for their owners who hoped to make some profit at their performance.They say it is much easier just to have two good riding horses instead of horses with issues.
What are your challenges as horse rescuers?
Finances, which includes up-keep of property and equipment, feed, vet bills, farrier costs and so on. Another challenge is care and maintenance time with other responsibilities to perform jobs etc.. Care of these wonderful beings takes a big bite out of our personal time.
How do you fund Dancer’s Horse Rescue?
The funding comes out of our own pockets or from funds raised by events such as the one going on now in the Caring Hearts Auction group (CHAG). at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/…
My husband Rick also has a web site that sells hand made jewelry, Native American style prayer pipes, and artwork. All proceeds made from Rick’s site go to one of CHAG’s ongoing auctions or Dancer’ Horse Rescue. The site is Wolf Moon Creations: Handmade Native American Style Personal Prayer Pipes and Hand Made Jewelry.
Other funds are raised from the online store at Dancer’s Horse Rescue Facebook Page. (Enola makes blankets, pillowcases and other items to sell to raise money for their horse rescue. Yes, that is a personalized photo of your pet which you can order at the auction if you wish)
What is CHAG and how can we join?
Caring Hearts Auction Group is an international auction group that I founded with the help of friends, some of which live in Canada and Australia. We are dedicated to helping all animals in need of rescue or help. CHAG holds monthly auctions for different animal rescue groups as well as special fund raisers for multiple animal needs such surgeries or emergency vet bills. Once a year, an auction is held for Dancer’s Horse Rescue/ Sanctuary such as the one ongoing now.
All funds raised are given to the specific cause for which it was obtained. Nothing is ever kept privately or used to pay salaries or affiliates. Since its inception, CHAG has raised over $100,000.00 for different animal rescue groups or special animal need situations.
If you enjoy buying goodies at on-line auctions or have items to donate, please consider joining CHAG and invite your friends to join, too. To become a part of the CHAG family send Enola a friend request on Facebook.