Amy Bayes grew up in rural Peabody, loving horses since she was 10 or 11 years old. Now married and with three children, she lives south of Peabody on Remington Road, and with her family, provides a loving home for horses from less fortunate backgrounds.
“We plan to call this place Greenwood Stables and someday provide riding lessons for younger children,” she said. “The horses we have been able to rescue just love attention and are so sweet. We want to share that with others, and give these animals a sense of purpose to their lives.”
Bayes, her husband, Kelly, and children Saje, 16, Ryan, 14, and Isaac, 8, are all involved with meeting the needs of seven special horses they adopted this past year.
“Some people ask us how we can afford to feed them,” Bayes said. “As a family we just changed our priorities. We never eat out, don’t go to movies; haven’t taken a vacation in a long time. We just enjoy spending our time and money on our horses, and no one here has any complaints.”
Hoover, Daisy, Milo, Molly, Keoni, Moonshine, and Honeywine, all came to the rural Peabody farm from different rescue situations. But all are thriving under the love and care they receive from the Bayes family.
“We work with two equine rescue shelters,” Bayes said. “Rainbow Meadows and Hope in the Valley really got me interested in this. It is just amazing how cruel people can be to these animals. Sometimes it is as much out of negligence and stupidity, but we also have some that have been abused.”
Hoover, a 17-hand tall Thoroughbred gelding, was found wandering down Hoover Road near Wichita. He either escaped a bad situation or was turned loose to fend for himself, as he still had racing shoes on and part of a race tattoo visible on his upper lip. Permanent indentions caused by collapsed blood veins on his neck showed where he was repeatedly given illegal drugs, likely during his racing years.
“He was just skin and bones when they found him,” Bayes said. “They had already put some weight back on him when my daughter and I went to the shelter. Saje just fell in love with him. He is her ‘heart’ horse. He is so gentle and loving, well trained; we have never had any problems with him at all.”
At some point in his life, Hoover did develop a bad health habit of cribbing, eating wood off the sides of his barn or pen. This causes him to colic or have an upset stomach occasionally, so Bayes keeps a close eye on his eating habits.
“It is hard for us to keep weight on him, because of that bad habit,” she said. “But we found he does a lot better on brome hay than prairie hay and we make sure he gets plenty of that.”
Daisy, an Appaloosa mare, also had eating problems when the Bayes family took her in about a year ago.
“Daisy is actually the first horse that we took care of from the beginning of her rehabilitation,” Bayes said. “She had basically been starved slowly to death for years because her owners had no idea how to feed her. It was so sad. She is a beautiful, funny, and just adorable mare, so smart and quick. But when we got her, she was skin and bones.”
Bayes said Daisy’s teeth were so bad that food fell out of her mouth when she ate and her teeth squeaked as they ground together. Even after her teeth were floated, or filed down, she could not eat regular hay and had to be put on senior horse feed. Senior horse feed is a hay-based pellet that provides a complete diet in a moist-mash form. Daisy needs at least eight pounds of this special food daily in order to thrive.
“We just love this horse,” Bayes said. “My youngest son showed her recently in a costume contest. He was dressed as an Indian and she was his Indian pony. She just loves the extra attention and thrives on it.”
Each horse at the Bayes farm has its own special story and personality. Bayes encourages others to get involved with horse rescue because the reward of getting to know the animals is so great.
“Some people think the only horses in shelter situations are old, broken-down hay burners,” she said. “This is just not the case. Most of them are young horses, many of them registered; they just end up in these situations because people do not know how to care properly for animals. The cost of feed is very high right now, and it takes responsibility to care for them every day. I would highly recommend anyone willing to provide feed and care to get involved with horse rescue. There are a lot of needs.”