Carroll County farm gives draft horses a second chance

By Megan Pringle for WBALTV11

Such horses are called gentle giants for their mild disposition and size.

But just like race horses, there is concern about what happens when a draft horse’s working days are over.

There is a farm in Carroll County that shares a similar concern and is working to make sure these horses have a second chance. The Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue in Mount Airy bring in those horses that are at the end of their working career.

"Oftentimes the owner of the horse will dispose of that horse through an auction or sale, and the biggest market there are the horses who are being offered for meat," Gentle Giants founder and president Christine Hajek said.

Hajek said they buy the horses before that happens, and that's when the work begins. The farm relies of donations and volunteers.

"It is a lot of work," Hajek said. "We have about 108 horses on a 130 acres right now. We only have about 10 barn staff so that's a lot for us to handle on our own and volunteers free us up to do other things like special treatments, which most of the horses need."

From hoof problems to neglect, the medical needs of the horses can be challenging.

"When they come in here, they are in quarantine that's when they have to take it slow and gradually build them up again," Gentle Giants farm manager Erica Raum said.

Avalanche is among the horses at the farm. He's only been there two months, but is already considered a success story. In his time at Gentle Giants, he has gained 300 pounds and has about 300 more to go. He is considered a pretty incredible success story.

Gentle Giant’s staff said that stories like Avalanche’s are incredibly gratifying.