Love of horses keeps ‘Hope’ alive in Crandall
Hope is alive and improving in Crandall.
Bob and Becky Shope were hoping and praying that Hope, a Mustang-Morgan mix, would make it until Christmas.
Yesterday, Hope was still improving and briefly walked outside her stall.
‘We’re taking it two to three weeks at a time,’ said Bob, 51, a former service technician.
When the Shopes rescued the mare, she was unable to walk. In fact, they weren’t sure Hope would survive the 2-1/2-hour trip to their farm. She was so near death, they had to stop in Bloomington at a veterinarian office for emergency care.
‘I wanted to bawl,’ Becky said.
Since coming into the Shopes care, Hope has shown them she has the will to go on, they said.
‘She has what it will take to get back to health,’ Becky said.
Bob said, ‘You can see it in (horses) eyes. They have this ‘Can you make me well?’ look.’
Hope isn’t the only equine the Shopes have nurtured. They estimate they have had a hand in saving about 100 horses. Twenty-five horses are in various stages of recovery on the 80-acre farm where they lease a large stable off S.R. 335 northeast of Crandall.
‘We’ve come to the point where we need the community’s help,’ said Becky, 46, who used to sell cars for a living.
Bob added, ‘We’ve had lots of support from friends, but moral support only goes so far.’
The Shopes, who have a love for all animals, formed the Indiana Horse Rescue South this past spring after adopting three Belgians that had been abused and neglected a couple of months earlier.
Parade watchers might recognize Bob, who made the circuit with his shiny black carriage headed by two Belgians.
‘I slowed up on the parades to help rescue horses,’ he said.
(As a side note, one of his Belgians, Rose, died this summer.)
The 501(c)3 organization is accepting monetary donations as well as any items anyone wants to give. If it can’t be used directly to help with the horses, such as blankets and feed, Bob said they will sell it and use the proceeds to keep the program going. Contributions are tax-deductible.
Memberships to the Indiana Horse Rescue South are available. Annual fees are $10 for an individual, $25 family, $50 business, $150 silver and $500 gold.
The Shopes receive most of their paperwork and a considerable amount of advice from the main Indiana Horse Rescue, which is located in Frankfort, northwest of Indianapolis.
Since the Shopes started their division of the rescue program, they average about three or four phone calls each day from people reporting possible abused and neglected equines. Each complaint is investigated.
Sometimes the horse owner just needs some guidance in how to properly care for their animal. In worse cases, the equines are removed, the Shopes said, and in extreme situations, the horse is euthanized.
‘We run a ‘no-kill shelter’ unless it’s necessary,’ Bob said.
Among the horses currently housed is Jed, a 16-year-old gelding quarterhorse, that is being treated for tumors on his ears, three wild Mustangs that were divvied up from a group of horses confiscated out West, and Sissy, an 11-year-old equine that is completely blind from an infection she had.
‘She loves to lick hands,’ said Ashley Vierling, whose horse, Gypsy, is boarded in the stall next to Sissy.
Ashley, 13, and her 11-year-old brother, Matthew, along with their parents, Hank, 44, and Janet, 42, volunteer for the Indiana Horse Rescue South.
‘They’re a godsend,’ Becky said.
The Vierlings help care for the horses the Shopes rescue, often tending to duties while Bob and Becky travel to pick up other abused or neglected equines. They also are becoming instrumental in helping with fund-raising and are part of an advisory board for the IHRS that is being formed.
‘We just had 16 bags of feed donated,’ Hank said. ‘Once that’s gone, I don’t know what we’re going to do.
The group is concerned about making it until spring.
‘If we can make it through winter, I know it will pick up,’ Hank said. ‘It would also be nice if we could find some vets who would do pro bono work.’
Bob said the write-off could be a tax deduction for the veterinarians.
Many of the horses the Shopes have taken in are available for adoption once they are well enough.
‘They need to go to a good home,’ Hank said.
Bob said before a horse can be adopted, an inspection is made to make sure the potential owner has everything needed to properly care for the animal. The new owner is required to provide the Shopes with yearly reports, including pictures, to document the equine’s health.
The Shopes will take back a horse that is not receiving adequate care.
Anyone with questions about caring for a horse is welcome to call the Shopes.
‘If they need help, they can call us,’ Becky said, ‘even if it’s temporary help.’
Bob said, ‘We want to educate people. We want to be the angels out there to say we can help.
‘We’re not vets, but we have knowledge,’ he said.
The Shopes’ farm is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. They welcome visitors, especially families who are considering getting a horse for a child.
‘Every one of these horses deserves a second chance,’ Becky said.
For more information about the Shopes and their animal rescue program, visit the Web at www.ihrsouth.com.
To contact the Shopes by phone, call 366-4838 or 1-812-697-1247.