Lennox Couple Saves Neglected Ponies
by Tom Hanson, Anchor
October 03, 2012 7:47 PM
Becky and Don Johnson started the Little Hooves Miniature Horse And Pony Rescue Center.
They care for abandoned, abused and neglected ponies and donkeys.
"Oh my god Don! That is amazing,” said Becky Johnson as she watches a 35 inch tall brown pony nuzzle up to her husband.
The Johnsons are stunned; months of hard work are paying off. A once wild and neglected Shetland pony named Bob (pictured above) kept to himself at the far end of the pasture until now
“Well he's getting braver. You can see it in him, He is thinking I want to run, but I'm going to see what happens if I stay here”, said Becky.
When Bob arrived at their small ranch on the outskirts of Lennox, he had in Becky's words, "checked out", there was no life in his eyes and he wanted nothing to do with humans, but on this day a breakthrough.
“I can't believe he's still standing there yet, there he goes, there he goes”, said Becky.
However Bob's trust in human's is growing by the day, and it's not long before he heads to the fence for a scratch on the head from Don. Ponies like Bob end up at the Little Hooves Rescue because their owners can't care for them anymore.
Another Shetland pony named Maynard loves to scratch his back. Maynard promptly makes his way to the ground, rolls on his back and squirms around, looking more like a big dog than a small horse. He also loves to work and Becky can hardly keep him still once the pony cart is hooked up. He pulls Becky around the field for a few laps.
"Oh he loves this, he absolutely loves this", said Becky.
Maynard then decides he's bored with pulling the cart and heads for a pile of hay.
Becky says she has always loved animals, but it was her husband Don's idea to start taking in unwanted ponies. They don't go out looking for them, but if they have room and people call, they will take them in. The Johnson's concentrate their rescue efforts on ponies, miniatures horses and small donkey's. They work with other rescues that handles the bigger horses. They will travel to give advice to desperate owners or pick up the animals when needed.
They depend on word of mouth and their Facebook page for Little Hooves Rescue. The Johnson's have posted some pictures of their successful adoptions; you will also find pictures and information on neglected ponies and donkeys in need of care, and new homes.
In one set of pictures visitors can find a donkey named Jackson. When he came to the Johnson’s his hooves were so long they could have crippled him for life. However, Jackson is doing much better and is now with other donkeys on a farm near Brookings. Don says finding new homes for these animals is the bottom line
“You miss them when they're gone because you get attached to them when they are here. It is kinda sad when they leave, but it's also a happy thing.” Said Don.
At present they don't have any more room, they're concentrating on finding homes for the ponies the do have, including Bob, and Becky knows just the type of home for him.
“He is a very nice little miniature pony, 35 inches tall. In my opinion he needs a little boy who is going to mess with him every day, because from here on out, he's just going to get better and better, aren't you Bob.” Said Becky.
Whether it is economic reasons, physical limitations or apathy, the Johnson’s don't ask questions of the people who need their help. They want people to call them. Right now they have enough hay to get through the winter, but they are always looking for more. They say they could not do what they do without the support of their vet, Dr. Ken Shaffer and Farrier Chris Richards.