Rescued horses at home in Fish Springs

In the three weeks since Cis Kemp opened her heart to two starving horses found wandering in Fish Springs, she's learned many things about Hope, Courage and the community helping her support the abandoned animals.

Hope, the sorrel mare, and Courage, a red roan gelding, are much older than Kemp thought when she and her brother, Kit Pearson, found them wandering May 20 near her 6-acre Fish Springs ranch.

"We thought they were about 9, but they're both in their early 20s," she said Thursday. "We're running a geriatric ward here."

The horses have responded to a steady diet of grass hay and special grains. Kemp estimates Courage has gained 100 pounds in three weeks.

"He's gotten a lot better quicker than Hope," Kemp said. "It's almost like she had given up, and I don't think I blame her. I just have to keep reminding myself how much better she is than she was."

Kemp has been granted what amounts to legal guardianship of the horses which means they avoided a trip to Fallon for the estray sale.

She's heard from a couple who plan to move to the area in November and might be interested in adopting the horses.

"The best thing for these two would be if they could go together to a nice home. It's too early to tell whether they are rideable," Kemp said.

Kemp has no idea of their care before Hope and Courage found their way to Fish Springs. She believes they were taken by trailer to the area and abandoned.

"I wish they could talk," she said.

"Now that I know they are so much older, it's more infuriating that somebody might do that to them."

The horses have been checked by a veterinarian who determined they were still too weak to be wormed or have their teeth worked on.

They've been treated by Tina Hutton of Auburn, Calif., a horse touch specialist who spent three hours helping Hope with her balance, and other issues associated with starvation and neglect.

Hope also is suffering from "rain rot," losing handfuls of hair to the skin infection.

As soon as they're up to it, Kemp has a pink halter for Hope and a blue one for Courage.

Those are just a few of the items people have donated since the animals' plight became known.

Laxague Feed & Supply in Gardnerville and S&W Feeds in Carson City put out money jars for anyone who wished to help with the care and feeding of the horses.

People like horseshoer Sherry Avis have donated their services, a generosity that warms Kemp's heart.

She keeps a handwritten list of the donations she knows of " "unknown neighbor," "Marjorie from Carson City," "Dave and Ty, father and son who helped out the first night," but fears she'll overlook someone, so just says, "Thank everybody."

"The public response has been awesome," she said. "With the money that's been given, we've been able to purchase hay, medicine and grain.

"There are tons of people who helped, and I will never know who all of them are."

Kemp is advocating a change in the regulations that would allow large abandoned animals like Hope and Courage to be cared for at Douglas County Animal Services rather than face an uncertain future at the estray sale in Fallon.

In the weeks since they arrived at the ranch, Hope and Courage have become acclimated to Kemp, her daughter Courtney, and anyone else who stops by.

"They don't seem to be afraid of any people," she said.

Kemp is philosophical about the change her life has taken since May 20.

"It's so heart-warming to look at all the life they've gotten back since they've been here. Their eyes just light up when they see us," she said, adding, "Everything happens for a reason."


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