Rescued horses, friends head to forever home

A twice-rescued horse who won hearts as he was lifted from a muddy ravine last week in Chester County has recovered sufficiently from his ordeal to travel to his new home in southeastern Virginia.

Penny Parker, who rescued both horses from slaughter, says Cyrus (right) and Ghost formed a bond that shouldn't be severed.

Rescued from slaughter, Cyrus (right) and Ghost form a bond that won't be severed. Photo courtesy of Penny Parker

And Cyrus, the 18-year-old Clydesdale, won’t be going alone, said Penny Parker, his temporary owner.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, Cyrus will relocate with Ghost, another horse that Parker saved from slaughter. Parker had intended to keep Ghost for herself, but she said she couldn’t bear to break the bond that the two horses had formed.

Parker divides her time between barn management duties at Thornbury Farm in Thornbury Township and Heartland Farm Stables in East Marlborough Township. She also volunteers with Horses of New Holland, an online rescue operation. Every Monday, she attends the auction and buys the horses people have expressed interest in saving – horses like Cyrus.

She quarantines them for 30 days at Heartland before moving them to their new owners. Cyrus had finished the quarantine period and was staying at Thornbury Farm in preparation for the trip to his permanent home in Virginia when the calamity occurred.

Cyrus is shown being lifted to safety after falling into a muddy ravine.

Cyrus is shown being lifted to safety after falling into a muddy ravine.

Cyrus ended up with 80 percent of his body submerged in mud, necessitating a four-hour rescue operation that involved five veterinarians, hundreds of volunteers and first-responders, as well as an 80-foot-crane.

After Cyrus was lifted to safety and vets reversed the anesthesia, he quickly became agitated, prompting Parker to summon Ghost. The two horses, who had become pasture buddies, immediately nuzzled each other, bringing tears to the eyes of some who witnessed the reunion.

Parker said she realized that separating the two horses would create trauma for both, and Keith and Pam Horswill, Cyrus’ new owners, agreed, setting up the trip to the equine friends’ forever home together.

"After much discussion and prayer, it was decided that these two have bonded so much during their time together at Penny's farm, that they should be able to live out their days together," said Pam Horswill in a Facebook post. "We are excited for the boys to head here tomorrow. We welcome Ghost with open arms and cannot wait to see what God does with him in our lives."

Horswill set up a Facebook page entitled Philippos Acres Farm for those who want to follow the progress of Cyrus, Ghost and the couple's other rescues . To access it, click here.


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