After some years of learning about horses from my wife, I decided to get a horse of my own. Being 6'7" tall, and rather inexperienced with equine, we decided it was best for me to adopt a larger draft horse with an easy going temperment rather than buy one from a breeder. That's when we learned about Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue via the internet. We visited Gentle Giants in June of 2011 to meet some of their adoptable horses. Upon arriving, we immediately noticed that their staff was knowledgable, very polite, and helpful. The president of Gentle Giants intorduced me to several great horses that could have easily met my needs, but pointed out one horse in particular, Whiskey, that she knew would be a great match for me. I spent ground time with Whiskey in our first visit, and actually rode him on a second visit. During both visits, Mrs. Hajek observed Whiskey and I to make sure we could have a good partnership. I was still a bit inexperienced with horses at the time, but I could easily see that Whiskey had a good bit of proper training and seemed to be very tolerant of my green mistakes. We seemed to fit together just as Mrs. Hajek predicted, so we filled out all applicable adoption paperwork and soon enough, Whiskey was home with us. We could tell from the adoption paperwork that Gentle Giants goes that extra mile to help ensure each horse gets that "forever" and loving home. Gentle Giants was very helpful in advising us on feeding rations, feed types, and even some information specific to the draft breeds, all in an effort to help us keep Whiskey as healthy as possible. Whiskey has been with us for over two years now and has become an intergal part of our family, as the bond between he and I grows every day. My only regret is not living closer to Gentle Giants, as I would love to volunteer some of my time and be associated with such a great and caring equine rescue.
I first found out about Gentle Giants through a local newspaper article. I realized they were only a few miles from my home so I started volunteering. Then I fell in love with one of the rescues and adopted her. Four years later I no longer live in Maryland (so I don't volunteer!) and I'm now the proud owner or two Gentle Giant Draft Horse rescues and love them so much. The organization has grown in space as well as the number of volunteers. It seems to be much better organized - but when they were small with fewer volunteers it didn't matter. We all had fun and really enjoyed working with the horses. Seeing other rescue operations in North Carolina where I now live, I realize how good GGDHR is!!! They care so much for the horses and do so many different things to raise funds, collect donations and just take money out of their own pockets. My two horses are awesome and I was told 100% of the truth about their vices or lack of training. I would adopt from them again in a minute!!! I just wish I had more money so I could donate $$$.
Gentle Giants is the first rescue I've ever met that will take on ANY case, be it neglect, abuse, or keeping these animals off of the slaughter-bound trucks. I've known them to go so far as to purchase a horse that was clearly not going to recover, just so they could bring it to their farm for food and affection before its ailment takes them away. They do home checks, keep in touch with their adopters, and clearly state that if for any reason you are no longer able to care for the animal, they will take it back in. I wish all rescues were as top notch, caring, and "in it for the animals" and not their pockets as these folks are. In particular, Christine H. who is the President and Angel behind GGDHR couldn't be more suited for her cause. She brings these animals in, some from the brink of death. They are taught to ride, drive, or if not suitable for either - are taught love, and respect. They are shown, compete regularly and given a purpose until rehomed. For a Gentle Giant - life couldn't get any better.
I adopted a horse from Gentle Giants back in November of 2012. Prior to the adoption, I was invited to take some riding lessons at the rescue on the mare to ensure she and I would be a good fit. The rescue volunteers and staff provided lots of information about the mare and what was known about her history so that I could make an informed decision to adopt. The mare has been with me for almost a year now and she is thriving, greatly due to the care and initial training she received at the rescue. Additionally, I have kept in touch with several of the staff and volunteers so that they can see all the great things my mare and I are doing, thanks to their hard work. I would absolutely recommend Gentle Giants to anyone looking not only to adopt, but for anyone considering adding a horse to their home.
I owe this rescue with finding me my best friend and making my dream come true. They take great care of their horses. I can not believe the amazing vet care those horses get. I looked at hundreds of rescues and theirs out shined them all. They are not in it to make a profit. They do not take on more horses then they can give the quality care to. They make sure the horses and adopters are the right match. I have also seen them take horses back if the adopters come on hard times. They have been there anytime I have questions and to share good times I have had with my horse AUtumn. I love this rescue and think they are the best around. I can never thank them enough for my Autumn.
Over this past summer, I visited Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue several times looking at horses to possibly adopt. I found this rescue to far exceed my expectations of care and integrity. While visiting, I got to know and see the wonderful volunteers and saints who run this place. When I found my "heart horse" at another rescue, they were supportive of me moving forward, and even have offered advice and support. They truly want to see all horses rescued and loved, and I appreciate that.
Gentle Giants is by far one of the best organizations I've seen, especially in terms of the level of care and concern they show for the horses. Everyone who works for and volunteers for this rescue genuinely cares about every horse that comes through their gates. They show this is many ways such as making sure the horses presently in the rescue receive the best care, that horses are matched with the right adopters, the fact that if an adopted horse cannot be kept it has to come back to the rescue, and making sure every horse gets the best chance possible. I know this because we came to the rescue in December of 2011 and fell in love with an adorable Belgian mare. The president met with us, made sure we interacted well with the mare on the ground, made sure our riding abilities matched her needs, and spent time talking with us about the rescue, the adoption process, and what to expect. This mare had an injury that in many cases could well have been fatal, but they worked incredibly hard to give her a shot. We took her home in June of 2012 and she is perfectly healthy. During these 6-7 months, we were able to visit the rescue numerous time to visit our mare, help out with chores, learn more about drafts, and get to know the wonderful people who run the organization. We intend to keep volunteering with the rescue for many reasons, but one of the main ones is their incredible energy and determination they have in saving these horses. Also - in terms of them getting a new property, it was to benefit the many, many horses they care for. Anyone who loves horses would be incredibly happy that they were able to attain a good home for the horses in their care.
I adopted my wonderful horse from Gentle Giants this past summer. They were amazing and really made the process a dream. They are very careful about who gets their horses and it really shows. Best of all (unlike SOME other horse rescues) they are HONEST about the animals you wish to adopt. There are no secrets and no hidden surprises after you adopt! They do excellent vet/farrier work and the horses are in excellent health once they are released to be adopted. They train and put hours of work into each one! The adoption fee doesn't cover a .5th of the amount of money they put into each horse. I am trilled to death with my Sugar draft pony cross...she is wonderful and I am proud to have gotten her from Gentle Giants!