You’ve heard about those wonderful people who are feeding the 450+ starving horses in Montana, but have you seen how?

By now, you’ve all probably heard about the very irresponsible and negligent owner (you can fill in your own adjective if you’d like – asshat comes to mind..) who lost his very large quarterhorse breeding operation and then just left all the horses to fend for themselves.

Yup.  He left all his domestic horses there to feed/water themselves during the frozen winter without notifying anyone or asking for any help.  Nice guy.

Anyway, here is what happened…


The ranch went into foreclosure and another party bought the 2000 acre parcel.

After a while, the new owners noticed that the horses, who were not theirs, were getting skinnier and skinnier.  So, they called the authorities.

When the officers arrived, they came upon dead horses and, ugh, a horse who had been hobbled – I’m not sure if they mean literally hobbled or if they are using that as a verb – with a broken leg for over a year.

Uh huh.  Nice.

Luckily, this scene really upset the officers and they stepped in to control the situation and bring the abuser to court.

Hungry horses on barren land


James Leachman of Home Place Ranch has been charged with five counts of animal cruelty.  I’m not even going to tell you his excuses because I don’t want you to spit up your coffee.

The abandoned horses roaming unforgiving land


Sure, we all know that “they” are “dropping” hay to the horses.  That’s probably enough for all of us to be thankful and give them a nod.

But, who are “they” and what goes into simply “dropping” the hay?

THE FULL STORY – “Can’t we just feed the horses?!”

This idea brings me to my own line of work.  Often clients will say to me, “Can’t we just make a simple change…”.  I’ve grown to snigger everytime I hear “Can’t we just…”.

Even though it is very wise to Keep It Simple, often there is no simplicity behind “Can’t we just…”.

OK, so first they had to organize.   Heading up the operation was Justin Mills of Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) NILE Foundation.  I had never heard of them but now I love them.  Go to their website and click around if you’d like.

Yes, he had to get the hay donated and find a way to deliver it… but it wasn’t as simple as that.  They had to set up the phone lines, answer the phones, set up donation lines, organize volunteers, figure out how to get hay, coordinate the hay delivery, organize the best way to deliver the hay to the horses, find a helicopter service capable of the hay drop maneuvers and willing to donate their time/gas/equipment, round up men who were safety conscious and knew how to do this and then coordinate the effort – as well as find all the ground equipment.

Nothing simple about it…

This is why I wanted to show you these photos.  I wanted to show you so you can appreciate how they  “Just fed those poor horses”.


Here is a phoblog of what I think happened in the order I assume it happened.  I haven’t spoken to anyone who was there; I am just surmising from the photos posted on FB.

Hungry horses at the fence

After organizing hay donations, they hay is trucked in

At NILE, the men contemplate the airlift strategies

In the meantime, water tubs are organized and calls are made...

Tractor arrives from somewhere, driven by someone wonderful in the very early morning hours

The rig arrives at dawn and the incredible volunteers and organizers go to work

The men lay out huge nets that they procured from somewhere...laying out tangled nets is always fun.

Shiny tractor heaves bale into the net

Meanwhile, the volunteer heli views the locations of the starving horses

Heli arrives

A.J. Blain of Billings Flying Service who donated his rig and his time

OK, what do we do?

Strapping the bale properly. Safety First.

Do we have it right?

"Gawd that chopper is loud." "My finger is caught!" "Hurry, we don't have all day!"...

Imagine the noise and tension at this time

"I got it, no worries"

Lift off! It worked!

View from helicopter as the horses rush to the hay drop



BRAVO ALL OF YOU INVOLVED!  250 tons of hay have been donated and $7500 dollars so far.  If you wish to learn more or read more or donate, please click these links.





HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate the ‘Saved from Slaughter Orphan Foals’, please click HERE.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

8 comments have been posted...

  1. Julie

    This is awesome! But my question is how long will it continue?? This is only a patch on a wound… that herd will only get bigger and what happens when the jerk who left them there gets them back? Or not? What happens then?? Will they be siezed?? Adopted out? It fantastic that these folks are helping them out for now, but these horses need to be moved in order to survive long term…. just my opinion.

  2. Anne

    Just wanted to let you know I sympathise deeply with your accident…been there…similar big brass clip (know as a bull snap in Texas) which flipped around and smacked me too. Couldn’t see out of one eye…kids took photos and said I looked like Cassius Clay had hit me! Awful and hurt like hell.

    We learn don’t we?

    Hope you feel better soon, and thank goodness you were able to get help with a cut artery….I didn’t bleed.

  3. Lisa Korell

    Wow it is so refreshing to know that there are people out there that really care and that have given their time ,effort, money and love to give these horses food. It is awesome to see a pilot of a helicopter actually giving to the horses rather than rounding up horses to pen them up for ever. You guys ROCK. it makes me think there is still some hope in this world for the animals we care for. The people who decide to mistreat the animals need to be put away for ever. That means both the seller and the buyer of this property. They are both flippen guilty. How can either of these 2 parties know that this is happening and turn their backs in denial. Again thank all of you for what you have done.

  4. Jen

    Amazing, Amazing people coming to the aid of beautiful creatures. Thanks and blessings to all that have helped.

    And I agree with MIMI…there is a wonderful place in hell for all those that hurt Gods beutiful creatures.

  5. Kim L

    God Bless those involved with the feedings. There is a special place in heaven for you. Makes me proud to be a human being.
    On the other hand…………….I agree wuth post #1.

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