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Ochlocknee, GA  31773
Phone:  229-378-5088



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This amazing story has been sent to us by Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch:
Our Hero is Coming Home
After nearly 14 years of equine rescue, I thought that I had seen it all, sadly . . . I WAS WRONG.  

On October 18th, Troy and I were contacted by those in charge of recovering a small horse that was found by hunters wandering in the high wilderness of the Cascade Mountain range. Evident by his halter and dragging lead rope, the bay Arab gelding was clearly not wild. Instead, while he was being transported to Bend Equine Medical Center for emergency treatment, he was kind and gentle, quietly submitting to those who were trying to care for him. Based on what little information that could be gathered, it was estimated that he had been wandering for several weeks. Even for a small horse, he looked to be about 200 lbs. underweight and was INCREDIBLY dehydrated. Once at the hospital, it was confirmed . . . his wounds were severe.

A leg wound on the back of his left front cannon was so festered with rampant infection that its rotten stench filled the room. A 'makeshift' bandage of green vet wrap had grown into the leg and effectively become a tourniquet, further adding to the suffering of this abandoned horse. Once the layers of caked blood, puss and bio-matter were removed, the tendons of his leg were clearly visible.

Even more troubling was the fact that his left eye was completely destroyed and hanging out of its socket. There was also a very suspicious looking depressed wound near his left eye. His head, neck, shoulder and front leg gave further evidence of the severity of his injuries, as they were heavily crusted with his own blood. As bad as his eye injury was, his head injury was much worse.

X-rays revealed the UNTHINKABLE. This gentle, little horse with the kind spirit . . . had been shot in the head. His x-rays clearly showed where someone had shot him three inches behind his left eye. The trajectory of the bullet traveled through the top of his lower jaw, shattering it, and continued to penetrate his skull as it exploded into nearly three dozen-inoperable-fragments of jagged shrapnel. Compounding his plight even further, his blood tests showed that he had lost fully HALF of his blood volume.

It was hard to believe, looking at him for the first time, that he had survived for an undetermined amount of time with a horrifically infected leg wound, a broken jaw, a destroyed eye and lethal blood loss, all with an exploded bullet scattered throughout his head. If this weren't bad enough, he was also left to wander in a high altitude forest while dragging a lead rope. Any one of these things should have destroyed him. Yet, here he was, standing before me, blinking inquisitively at my presence with his one remaining eye. I was overcome with the thought that . . . it was a complete miracle he was standing at all!

It appeared that someone felt his leg wound was just too much for them to deal with; or perhaps they believed that it was a fatal wound. Somehow, they felt that loading up their friend and driving him to a remote location to be destroyed . . . was their best option. A 'best guess' is that they shot him in the head and fell unconscious from the impact. Bleeding profusely from his wound, it was believed that during this time, he bled out half of his blood volume. Thinking he was dead, the perpetrators left the scene. Miraculously, he woke up. Somehow summoning the strength to stand, he lurched to his feet and staggered away.

Even though his wounds are grave, he is not. He is continuing to make meaningful progress in his efforts to heal. And in less than one week, this amazing horse will be coming to Crystal Peaks! Because of the severity of his injuries, his recovery will be long and intensive. But the staff, volunteers and kids who come to the ranch are not only up for the challenge of caring for a critically ill horse . . . they can't wait until he comes home. Instead of 'waiting', they are going to him! Since the moment it was determined that this special horse was going to become a part of our family, more days than not, I have driven my truck to the equine hospital filled with young 'well wishers' who are determined to help this wounded soul KNOW that he is greatly loved.

In these past days of spending time with our new boy, I have become very aware of something remarkable about him. He is courageous, he is a survivor, he has fought HARD to live, to keep going. Most horses would have perished when faced with just one of his symptoms. Yet, he survived what many would believe to be unthinkable odds. The more I ponder our gelding, the more I realize just how symbolic he is of a vast majority of people.

At some point in nearly each of our lives, we go through "horrible, unthinkable" times. We feel as if we have been lead out into the wilderness, perhaps by those we loved and trusted, badly beaten and left for dead. We stumble away, wandering within the desolation of loneliness, unable to help ourselves, unable to stop the 'hemorrhaging', unable to find our way home. The horizon begins to fade into gray. Death looms.

It is then, within our darkest night, our deepest wilderness, our greatest despair, when our hope is bleeding out . . . if we call on His name . . . He comes. Jesus comes into the wreckage of our heart, our blackest place, our wasteland of hopelessness . . . and He leads us home.

Like a soldier returning from battle, or a little horse from the wilderness, we too can fall into the welcome arms of the One who loves us. We, like the soldier or horse, might not look the same on the outside. When we come home from our 'battle in the wilderness', we might be scarred or disfigured, we might carry the marks of our wounding. Yet, as one of the little ones here at the ranch has so honestly and eloquently stated about his wounded four legged friend, "It's not the outside (of a horse) that makes him lovable . . . it's the inside that I love. It's not what the outside looks like that makes him a 'hero', it's the inside, it's the heart . . . that's what makes a REAL hero."

Learning from my own experiences, I now know that it's true, we can never be too wounded for the Lord to heal. We can never be too lost for Him to find. We can never be too broken for Him to love back to life. We can never fall so deep into despair, that His immeasurable love for us-each of us-is not deeper still. There is no such place of sorrow, no such wilderness of pain . . . that He cannot find us, help us stand up and lead us home. Because this little horse is so symbolic of this beautiful truth, we hope that you will be please to know that we have decided to name him in honor of those who have chosen to reach for the hand of the Lord and walk through their wilderness. His new name shall be . . . 'Hero.'

Written by Kim Meeder