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The Ladies Of Our Mims   Horse Rescue Issues

Started by Weldon54; 225716 views.
Weldon54

From: Weldon54

12/15/07

 

OurMimsMims9-09-01.jpg Our Mims, Mims 9-09-01 picture by fsweldon

Our Mims September 9, 2001

 

Remembering The Ladies of Our Mims

Photography by John Bellucci

 

When I received my copy of Barbara Livingston’s More Old Friends I noticed an interesting picture in the inside cover of the book.. The picture shows several horses standing in a pasture, wearing blankets. I soon learned that they are the Grand Old Dames of Our Mims Retirement Haven near Paris, Kentucky. I then read Barbara’s account of Sugar and Spice, who spent her last years at Our Mims, and my interest grew.

I did a Google search for Our Mims and found their website. I spent several hours reading and finally sent Jeanne Mirabito an email. Jeanne replied and gave me an invitation to call her. So, I did. Hours later, and a few tears shed, I came away knowing that I had to share my rich discovery. I told Jeanne that I wanted to share all the ladies’ stories. I asked her if she would write a little something about each one and include a picture. She never hesitated for a second. "I’ll be more than happy to," she replied enthusiastically. (I’ve come to realize over the last weeks that anything regarding the ladies is done enthusiastically.)

One of the things I’ve learned is that Our Mims is a model for horse rescue, particularly those who serve as a haven/sanctuary to elder horses. I’m sorry that I live so far away, as I would otherwise be there with bells on to gladly soak up the love each of the ladies has to give so freely. Over the years there have been not just the ladies but geldings, mini’s, pony’s and "hoodlums" as Jeanne calls them, who have taken refuge in Our Mims. Recently, the "hoodlums" tore out a wall in their barn while playing horsey tackle football….or something just as wild and crazy.

Jeanne has provided me with some beautiful pictures of each of the ladies. She and I have talked each others’ ears off, as my mother used to say, and we agree that the Broodmares of horse racing should never be forgotten. We also agree that it’s time for the racing industry to take care of its own. In a time when the stallion stars are sent to stud and treated like royalty, then pensioned with the best of care, most Broodmares are not. These mares gave everything they had to win their races. They then carried their foals and nurtured them with great love and commitment. When they were no longer productive they were all but forgotten.

Some of their stories are heartbreaking….as is the case of Our Mims. She was put out with the cattle and given nothing more than cattle hay. No grain, no Vet care, no hoof care, nothing. She was lost in the shuffle. One woman remembered her, though, and Our Mims won the lottery in her last few years. Jeanne told me that the first time she saw Our Mims race on TV, she told her brother, "One day I’m going to own her." After carrying a can of Calumet Soda around with her for years to give Our Mims good luck, Jeanne finally saw her dream come true. Only it wasn’t Jeanne who owned Our Mims. It was Our Mims who owned Jeanne’s heart. Please follow along with me as I share their stories over the next few weeks.

Jeanne is now a member of ABR and would love to answer any questions you may have about all the ladies that she loves so much.

 

In reply toRe: msg 1
Weldon54

From: Weldon54

12/15/07

 

OurMimsMimsTurfway.jpg Our Mims, Mims Turfway picture by fsweldon

Our Mims ~ Turfway

 

Our Mims Retirement Haven

Photography by John Bellucci

 

Our Mims Retirement Haven is located near Paris, Kentucky on Jeanne and Pete Mirabito’s farm. The Mirabito’s donate full use of a barn and 20 + acres plus time, care, water and electricity costs for the Haven’s use.

Our Mims Retirement Haven is a 501©(3) Non-Profit Charity dedicated to the care of older horses. Our Mims has three board members, Jeanne Mirabito, Cheryl Bellucci and Pam Boyce.

Cheryl is the director of fundraising and promotion. Without her great efforts, the mares would not eat. Jeanne is primary caretaker for the mares and farm manager. Pam lives just two doors away for the Haven and comes running when Jeanne yells for help. Pam’s family also pitches in doing general farm work, construction and horse care.

As of this date, none of the board members receive a salary but Jeanne cares for the ten residents full time and one of our short term goals is to compensate her for time spent with the ladies.

Currently, most of the ladies needs are met through donations. In the past only half of the needed funds were provided through donations, and additional funds came from the very pockets of the board members.

The Haven is open to visitors by appointment. Our ladies have been featured in Barbara Livingston’s book, More Old Friends, and receives about 200 visitors a year. And, oh, they love visitors!!!

The requirements for a mare entering the Haven are few. We just have to have room. We have ten stalls and a waiting list. Mares stay with us forever…in a stall and pasture until they pass away. They are then buried in our cemetery.

Each mare has her own stall where she is served two meals a day. In the summer months the mares may spend the hot afternoon hours in their stalls under their own fans. Cold winter nights will find the mares toasty warm, bundled up in blankets in their stalls. Jeanne says, "Our ladies are blanketed at 40 degrees. We can’t have them catching a chill!"

They do not scrimp on care when it comes to the mares. They eat the highest quality senior feed and tender orchard grass hay. The farrier is gentle and compassionate; sometimes getting on his knees to trim their hooves when arthritis hinders their flexibility. The dentist comes in a flash when needed and our vet lives two miles away.

The Haven is named for Our Mims, 1977 three year old filly champion.

To date they have housed 26 elder horses.

kckellsbells

From: kckellsbells

12/15/07

How sweet.  I also wish that the broodmares were given a better shot at retirement than to just be sold or turned out with cattle.
Guest

From: Guest

12/15/07

Thank you so much for sharing. These girls deserve their retirement in luxury.

 

In reply toRe: msg 2
Weldon54

From: Weldon54

12/15/07

OurMimsMimsJeanne.jpg Our Mims, Mims & Jeanne picture by fsweldon

Jeanne and Our Mims

 

Jeanne and Our Mims

By Jeanne Mirabito

Photography by John Bellucci

My relationship with Our Mims began long before I ever met her in person. I first saw her in a news clip way back in 1977. I stood mesmerized in front of the television as the sports caster announced that a filly named Our Mims had won a race I had never heard of her. "She is the most beautiful horse in the world," I mumbled. This was long before the days of the internet. I didn’t grow up in horse country and the only link I had to this horse was a farm name, CALUMET. From then on I carried a can of Calumet Baking Powder around on Saturdays fully believing I was wishing her luck. I didn’t hear another word about her until I somehow learned she fractured a bone in her leg. I thought she died.

Fast forward twenty-one years. I grew up, traveled all over the country and found myself smack dab in the middle of horse country, Paris, Kentucky. My family rented a house on a horse farm where somehow I managed to land a job working with mares and foals. I was thrilled to meet and groom My Juliet, 1976 Sprint Champion. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven.

I had been working at the farm for about six months before I met Our Mims. She wasn’t with the other mares because she wasn’t producing anymore. I had no idea my childhood hero was alive, let alone so close. Our first face to hoof meeting consisted of her aiming a full blown kick at my head. I ducked and asked a co-worker, "Who’s that?" Along with a few choice words from my mouth, I also heard my co-worker say, "Our Mims"

I dropped to my knees in front of the angry, snorting mare. I wonder to this day if she let me live because she heard the awe in my voice as I whispered, "The great Our Mims?" Our eyes met for a brief second and then she turned and bolted away. I couldn’t believe it…Our Mims! Alive! And right there on the same farm I lived on!!!! Through questions quickly asked and answered I learned she hadn’t had a foal in several years and as such, was put out with the cattle for retirement. More questions and more answers revealed that this sort of retirement was very common for mares.

I was appalled. No wonder Our Mims was so angry. She was a champion. She deserved better treatment. All mares deserved better. My beautiful hero was very underweight, shaggy, with an eye infection, a yeast infection, and untrimmed hooves. In short, she was a mess. I looked carefully at her situation. No shelter, no daily care. Just cattle hay, no grain. Imagine, having lived a life knowing daily grain, earning fame and fortune only to be forsaken as soon as her earning capabilities ran out.

So, I bought some feed and began caring for my old hero. Eventually, I talked the owner into donating her to a horse adoption group, ReRun, and later after buying my own farm, I adopted her! We spent nearly four years together. She was my first thought in the morning, my last thought each night. Every waking moment was spent trying to make her life better. When she came to live with me I promised her two things. First, she would never want for anything ever again. And second, I would make sure she was never forgotten. I kept that first promise. I intend to keep the latter.

Here’s the thing you really need to know. Our Mims was my best friend. It wasn’t a bond like that between a dog and human or even human to human. It was like no other I have ever experienced. It was complicated by the fact that she was a champion and if you have ever been in the presence of a champion you’ll know what I refer to. She was like magic. And even after the betrayal she must have felt, she allowed me into her life. She loved me, maybe even as much as I loved her. I would have died for her. But alas, that wasn’t required of me. Even though I thought I could not possibly live another day without her, I was forced to do so.

Now today, everything I do is in her honor. If I have to live without her, I will live for her by making sure that I help as many mares as I can.

Our Mims taught me many things. The most important lesson she brought was the clear and undeniable fact that many mares end up exactly like I found her…out in a back pasture, abandoned, unloved and neglected, just waiting to die. As crazy as it may sound to you and I, this fate, cruel and unjust is considered ACCEPTABLE in some people’s eyes. It is an industry standard.

If I do nothing else with my life, I intend to house the mares that I am able to house and change the standards. Just because a mare can no longer earn her way does not mean she no longer deserves to eat. She still needs care, shelter and love. Anyone who does not think so does not deserve to ever own a horse. Accountability. Let’s make that an industry standard.

Weldon54

From: Weldon54

12/15/07

Isn't she beautiful?!!! Stay tuned. There's more to come!

Msg 7 of 6977 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 4
Weldon54

From: Weldon54

12/15/07

Glad you liked it! I have lots more stories of the ladies!

 

Guest

From: Guest

12/15/07

Thanks Kelly. The ladies are so special. Each one is unique with takents all their own. Funny, how each horse teaches us something new.

I am excited about sharing the ladies with you all. Just wait till you meet them!

Guest

From: Guest

12/15/07

Thank you for posting this.  Our Mims is about an hour from me.  Jeanne wrote a letter to the editor of the local Harrison County Cynthiana Democrat appealing to the 'powers that be' in that county to make their animal control officers responsible for following up on horse neglect situations; basically to do their job.

I have been meaning to give her a call, as I would also love to meet these grand old gals at Our Mims.

Thanks again for posting these wonderful photos.

Deb

Guest

From: Guest

12/15/07

Oh, she was indeed, beautiful. To this day I look at her and say she was the most beautiful horse that ever lived, I guess it's ckear that we were meant to be together.
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