Blind horse finds way back home

By DON SERGENT | The Daily News | Mar 1, 2020

BOWLING GREEN — It might have been the most satisfying whinny Catherine Limkeman had ever heard from Declan, the horse she transported from Ozark, Ill., to Warren County’s Rainhill Equine Facility.

After she led Declan — a 12-year-old thoroughbred/quarter horse mix — on a muddy walk from the horse trailer he had ridden in for three hours, Limkeman watched as he settled into the Starfire stall of the Rainhill facility’s barn.

When the high-pitched whinnying started, Limkeman knew she had made the right choice in bringing Declan from the Camp Ondessonk youth retreat that had been his home for seven years and relocating him to the 185-acre facility in the Anna community.

Emelyn Herndon, Ondessonk’s assistant equestrian director, also accompanied Declan on his trip and explained that the increased liability of having a blind horse at the camp led Limkeman on a mostly futile search for a new home.

“We reached out to people within our (equestrian) community across four states,” Herndon said. “But they just don’t have the ability to take horses that are vision-impaired.”

As a result, “probably 85 percent” of such horses end up going to slaughter, according to Auburn resident and longtime Rainhill supporter Lisa Salmon.

Rainhill, started in 1984 by Karen Thurman as a for-profit business providing riding lessons and boarding horses, has since 2005 been a nonprofit dedicated to providing shelter to abused and neglected horses.

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