Weekly Feature

2018-06-07 / Lifestyles

Riding for a cause

Roanchar Ranch in Varysburg looks to raise money to help draft horses
East Aurora Editor

Lida Mosovich, founder of Roanchar Ranch Draft Horse Rescue, gives Titan a pat on his face. Titan, according to Mosovich, is the unofficial ambassador for the rescue. Lida Mosovich, founder of Roanchar Ranch Draft Horse Rescue, gives Titan a pat on his face. Titan, according to Mosovich, is the unofficial ambassador for the rescue. I t all started with Charlie. Lida Mosovich got the Percheron/Tennessee walker draft horse when he was 5 months old.

“He is my 2,000-pound dog,” said Mosovich, who runs Roanchar Ranch Draft Horse Rescue in Varysburg, New York. “When I got him, I was doing research [on draft horses]. And the more research I did, the more I found out what was going on with draft horses.”

The organization began in 2013 when Mosovich rescued Abraham, a Haflinger horse from a livestock auction. Abraham, Mosovich said, was 100 pounds underweight when he arrived at the farm. Eventually, with some TLC, the horse regained the weight and ultimately went to live with a family in Erie, Pennsylvania. Mosovich said she gets to visit him once a year.

From there, she took in several more horses, including Titan, a former carriage horse who came to live on the farm last December from North Carolina. Titan, Mosovich said, was abandoned by his owners in a field and left to die. Thankfully, a Good Samaritan found him and contacted Mosovich. The woman paid to have him shipped to Mosovich, a trip she was surprised he survived.

“Titan was not that far from being gone because he was so, so emaciated,” she said, adding that he was about 450 pounds underweight. “He had no muscle mass on the back; you could see every rib.” Mosovich admits it took some work to bring him back to where his weight should have been. Despite the odds, today Titan is the unofficial ambassador horse for the rescue.

“He can go anywhere, loves kids; actually, he just loves everybody,” says Mosovich, laughing. “You look at him now and you can’t imagine he was that bad when he came here.”

Barney, a 20-year-old blind draft horse, arrived at the Varysburg, New York, farm in early April. Barney, a 20-year-old blind draft horse, arrived at the Varysburg, New York, farm in early April. There have been other horses through the years; some passed away, and others still live on the 47-acre farm. Her most recent rescue, Barney, arrived in early April. Barney came to the rescue facility after living most of his 20 years as a workhorse on a farm near the Finger Lakes. However, when Barney went blind, his life as a workhorse ended, and his future looked grim.

“The option was they needed to [re-home] him or he was going to auction. And that would have been a death sentence for him,” Mosovich explained.

“There wasn’t going to be a person in the world that was going to take him,” she said.

Living with Barney has been a learning curve for Mosovich. Initially, she was unsure how much he could see, but she recently learned he has limited sight on his left side. Mosovich said he can see shadows and a little bit of movement.

In an effort to help Barney, Mosovich turned to Titan. She placed the two in a pasture, where Titan is fitted with a bell that Barney can hear. Titan, she says, is his seeing-eye buddy.

“When they go out on little adventures, Barney will sometimes get lost on where he is and neighs or whatever, and Titan jingles and he’s like ‘Oh, I’ve got you, I know where you are,’ and he goes over by him.”

Keeping the horses isn’t a cheap endeavor. Titan alone eats 24 pounds of pellets every day.

“He doesn’t have many teeth left, so when he eats hay, it really doesn’t do anything for him,” said Mosovich. Between Titan and Barney, the two horses consume one $17 bag of food every day. Mosovich estimates it costs around $19.98 a day to take care of all the horses. That cost is why she has limited her number of horses — she currently has six — despite a stream of calls to help other draft horses in need.

“I could bring in more horses, but financially, I’m not going to put everybody else in jeopardy just to get another horse,” she said. “That’s defeating the purpose of why we’re here.”

One of the reasons Mosovich believes the number of unwanted horses is so high has to do with social media. She says those who buy horses for slaughter are looking to make a quick buck, and ultimately, turn to Facebook. The “kill-buyers” write that the horse will be sent to slaughter if not purchased in a certain time frame.

“These people see these horses, and their hearts are in the right place, but they know nothing about the horse,” she said, adding that there are added expenses when it comes to purchasing these horses, such as vetting and fees to trailer the horse and quarantine them.

“I don’t think people do all the math and realize what they’re getting into,” she said. One of the expenses she’s facing right now is funding for a fence to replace a high tensile one currently in use. Since the fence is electric, Mosovich said, it’s not safe for Barney. Right now, she has covered the current fence with an orange snow fence so the horse will feel it instead of getting shocked. However, a more permanent solution is needed.

“It’s going to cost $6,660 to do this entire front pasture,” she said about the new fencing system. “His safety, and his well-being, is top priority right now.”

To help offset the cost, Mosovich will hold a Freedom Trail Ride at Knox Farm State Park. The event, which is in its second year, allows people to ride their own horse in a group on the various trails at the park. There will also be a walk for those who choose not to ride, with Titan leading the group. In addition, Mama Rosa’s Kitchen will be on hand serving Cuban food.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the park, 437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora. Tickets are available at www.roancharranchrescue.org/events/freedom-trail -ride-walk.

email: KateP@beenews.com

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