Rescued pony brings Easter joy to Carroll family

April 03, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

Rolly, one of three horses saved from starvation when they were taken from an East Baltimore stable in January, found a new home with a Carroll County family yesterday.

For an unknown number of years, the little roan-colored pony plodded Baltimore streets pulling carts loaded with vegetables in the summer and scrap iron in the winter. Now he will have no greater burden than carrying two little pig-tailed girls.

His arrival at his new home in Millers yesterday was appropriate for Easter weekend, said the girls' mother, Jean Hale.

"Easter symbolizes new life. Now the pony has a new life. And we do, too," she said.

The 25-year-old Rolly was only days away from death when an animal rescue group took him and two other horses from the stable used by street vendors. Two horses in the stable had been found dead of starvation and exposure.

Pam Rutherford, president of the Maryland Horse Rescue Center in Woodstock, said the animals probably suffered in the freezing stable for a month without food after their owner was jailed. They were tied in a tiny stall, unable to lie down or reach 100 bales of hay a few yards away.

Rolly, the oldest and smallest of the horses, also was the frailest. He had lost about 100 pounds -- one-fourth of his weight. He had abscesses in his mouth because of malnutrition, and was unable to eat properly. "Rolly would have been the next to go," Ms. Rutherford said.

The rescuers took him to their farm and nursed him back to health, feeding him a soft horse feed and trimming his feet so he could walk more easily.

Although in the worst shape, he recovered the quickest. The other two horses, a stallion and a gelding, need more rehabilitation to overcome physical and emotional abuse before they can be placed in new homes.

About the time the horses were rescued, Jerry and Jean Hale were looking for a pony for their daughters, Ashley, 5, and Alyssa, 4. Their pony had died in August and they were not yet old enough to ride Mrs. Hale's mare.

Alyssa especially longed for a new pony. "Every night in her prayers she mentioned it," Mr. Hale said.

A neighbor told Mrs. Hale about the rescued horses and she contacted the Horse Rescue Center.

Mrs. Hale was among 450 people who applied to adopt the

horses, said Elle Powers, a volunteer for the rescue center. Many of the applicants who wanted to help the horses had neither the experience nor the place to keep a horse.

Mrs. Hale had both. And the workers at the rescue center were impressed by her persistence. "Jean kept calling and following up on it," Ms. Powers said. "She really had the pony's interest in heart."

Yesterday, the entire Hale family eagerly anticipated Rolly's arrival. His stall was ready with fresh straw and feed buckets.

Mr. Hale's parents had come to see the event. Several neighbors were on hand to take pictures.

At last someone saw the blue horse trailer coming down the road. "They're here!" Mrs. Hale screamed.

The doors of the trailer were opened and out stepped Rolly, his mane and tail braided and adorned with blue ribbons.

Ashley and Alyssa rubbed their pony's nose and shoulders and helped lead him to the field he will share with Mrs. Hale's palomino mare, Sunny.

Keeping true to his name, when Rolly was let go, he rolled in the grass.

A few moments later, the girls were on his back walking through the field.

The little pony gamely endured the cameras and crowd and an agitated inspection from the mare. Ms. Rutherford stood watching Rolly from the fence. "It looks like he's smiling," she said.

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