Clem and Ollie Get a Second Chance
James River, VA – Back in December, the TRF’s Second Chances Farm at James River Correctional Facility in Virginia took in two Thoroughbreds that had been seized in an Orange County Sheriff’s raid. These two horses – “To Clem” and “Oligopolist” – have made an incredible comeback and, in the process, sent us all a message.
Their plight brought an entire community together and showed that the combined efforts of many can turn a negative into a positive. The negative in this case was called “Peaceable Farms.”
It should have been called “Hell.”
Last fall, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia charged Peaceable Farm’s owner with 27 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, which included the abuse of chickens, cats, dogs and horses. The investigation is still ongoing, and more charges may be forthcoming.
“What I saw was one of the most horrendous sights I’ve ever seen in 28 years of law enforcement,” Orange County Sheriff Mark Amos told the local media. “We found six dead horses, one dead donkey, many dogs, cats, and chickens.”
When news of the raid spread, Orange County’s outraged residents took action. Wish lists for medication, equipment, food and supplements were quickly filled. Stations for monetary donations were established at different businesses. And new homes were found for the remaining animals.
After they were taken from Peaceable Farm, Clem and Ollie had to be quarantined. Their recovery process was underway and they were rounding back to shape when they arrived at James River in December. According to Nixon, their sweet disposition made them easily accepted into the 29-horse herd.
Their temperament, however, hid their toughness, for both are proven survivors.
As a racehorse, Clem made only four starts from December, 2007 until April, 2008. All were at Penn National and all big losses. Now 12, he later survived a life-threatening surgery on a wounded hind leg.
Thirteen-year-old Ollie made 43 starts as a racehorse between April, 2006 and May, 2009. He finished with a record of 6-6-6 and earned more than $100,000, racing in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He bounced back from laminitis caused by Potomac Fever, which also caused a mild rotation in one of his legs.
“When they came to us, they weren’t emaciated, but they certainly needed to put on weight,” said James River Herd Manager Melissa Jensen. “We got them at the start of winter, and they had a special diet. We kept the separated from the other horses for awhile because it took them more time to eat because they were getting so much.” Since getting these two to eat was no problem, their transition has been a smooth one.
“Ollie and Clem are just two wonderful guys,” Jensen said. “We get a lot of horses that have a lot of baggage. Some have behavior problems. These two have been perfect gentlemen since the day we got them. We have been using them as teaching horses, and they are loved by everyone. Dr. Claudia True is a vet who also does the dentistry for the horses, and she fell in love with Ollie because he was so sweet.”
On April 13, Ollie and Clem will be evaluated by Dr. Tom Newton to see if they can be ridden and re-trained. “I don’t see a problem,” Jensen said. “They put on weight quickly and when we turned them out, the blended right in with the herd. It’s like they said, `With all we’ve been through, what’s next?’ ”