PER; An All Volunteer Organization

PER; An All Volunteer Organization

A post by a volunteer/member:

Good evening, my name is Nancy and I am a PER volunteer and board member. Diane has allowed me to post this as I feel like I have a very important topic to discuss. I want to talk to all of you about a very important aspect of this rescue organization and one that is close to my heart; our barn chore volunteers.

I cannot stress enough how dependent we are on the hard working men and women who volunteer week in and week out to come and do barn chores. We rely on these folks 7 days a week, 365 days a year to keep the PER facility clean and the horses tended to. We have a small group of dependable volunteers who have been coming each week consistently for a long time. These folks are our “constants” and we appreciate them so much. With that being said, we desperately need more people to step up and volunteer especially going into these hot summer months. We currently have 8 horses at the facility right now. We could have more come within a moments notice. We need YOUR help! If you have thought about or been interested in volunteering, now is the time! It is not that difficult especially when we have a full crew….remember, many hands make light work! School is out for the summer and high school students can earn hours towards their scholarship requirements. We have mom/daughter duos and even a dad/daughter team…..what a wonderful bonding experience you can have with your child! Please remember though how important it is to keep a commitment to help if you have volunteered your time. We depend on our volunteers and no-shows just put a tremendous strain on our already dedicated and hard working volunteers.

Our PER facility is a small, humble place….but what we lack in size we make up for in love and dedication to our rescues. We pride ourselves on keeping it clean and tidy and making our horses as comfortable as possible. PER is a place of love…a place of safety and security for horses who haven’t known these things. I get so much out of the hands on experience of doing barn chores…..seeing a horse who has not had shelter, go into their stall that is clean, has fresh bedding and a full hay bag. I also love when I’m watering the horses and I finish filling a bucket with cold fresh water and a horse take that first drink….seeing him lift his head and lick his lips as if to say “oh, that’s good! Thank you so much!” Knowing at one time water was non-existent for a lot of them. After chores are done, comes my favorite part…..grooming! It’s an incredible feeling to be able to show these horses that a humans touch is not something to fear. They enjoy the attention and it’s amazing to see a horse blossom from a skinny malnourished bag of bones to a beautiful, healthy and happy equine!

It’s especially touching to see updates on our horses, especially ones that I had a hand in helping. The horses who greeted me each day when I came for barn chores and are now either adopted or fostered….Capona (Topsannah), Sweet Mary, Comanche, JB, Jesse, Rolla, Smarty, Lucky and Ebony. When I see updates on FB, I feel proud because I know in some small way I made a difference in that horses life. Then there are the horses who live at the facility….Houdo, Glitter and Lightning Bug….and our newest girls Hope, Grace and Lisa who are all so emaciated and wary of us all….not knowing what we are all about but having hope that PER will be a safe place for them…finally. You can also have the experience of making a difference in a horses life, no matter the commitment you can give, every little bit helps.

Our barn chore volunteers are our “boots on the ground”….these are the folks who are invaluable to our day to day operations. Barn chores are a labor of love….it is not glamorous but it is rewarding in so many ways. If you are interested in learning more, please send a message or email. If you cannot volunteer, please SHARE this and our FB page. There may be people out there who would love to volunteer but don’t know we even exist. We need you…..the horses need you! Your life will be richer because of it. Thank you for your time, and hope to see you out at PER!

Nancy Way

Sky Returns To PER

The second horse that PER rescued was in April 2005. It has been 10 years now and Sky has come full circle. She is now back at our facility. She was donated to PER 10 years ago by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department after they picked her up after a hurricane. She was abandoned, thin and dragging a rope behind her. They kept her at the county impound facility for several weeks and when they heard about the newly formed Horse Rescue in their county, they requested that we take her. Of course, we would!

Shortly thereafter, our local newspaper did a full page write up on Sky and the newly formed local horse rescue. She was instrumental in bringing Panhandle Equine Rescue to the attention of the community for the first time.

Sky has a freeze brand on her neck, so someone from the local Arabian Horse Club was nice enough to trace down Sky’s history. It was discovered that she foaled on June 18, 1984. She produced a grey filly in 1995 and a chestnut filly in 1996. It was also noted that her last listed owner was in Terrell, TX. She was shown twice as a 2 yr. old in Arab shows. The listed owner purchased her in 1992 and they bred her twice. Sky’s registered name is “Dragonwyck Heirss”. Her pedigree is outstanding. She is considered “Straight Egyptian”. She was born in Rockford, IL and then went to Gillette, WY in November of 1984. On April 9, 1992, Sky went to Terrell, TX to her last listed owner. She spoke with her previous owners who still have most of their horses and they don’t go through a lot of them real fast. They had stallions and did some breeding. After that the trail runs cold. We don’t know how Sky ended up in Florida, abandoned and neglected. But she did and lucky for her, she landed at PER.

Sky was adopted in June 2005, where she remained for over a year, but due to her owner’s lack of time, she was returned to PER. Luckily, her adoption was transferred to a young lady who had just bought a 42 acre ranch. That ranch was named after Sky. Many of you remember it as “Forever Sky”. There was even a statue of Sky carved out of a rock at the ranch. She remained there until October 2011, when the ranch was forced to close down and Sky was once again returned to PER.

Sky was adopted right away for the third time and transferred to Nightmare Ranch to serve as a companion to an aged gelding. He died in May 2013, so Sky had no purpose to her adopter any longer, so she was once again returned to PER. The owner of Nightmare Ranch agreed to foster Sky, so she remained at her place of security.

It has been two years now and Nightmare Ranch has to downsize leaving limited space for the horses. So Sky has come home to the PER facility after 10 years of going in and out of adoption and foster homes. I’m sure she is wondering why she is back. But this little mare is very wise in her older years and seems to understand that she is going to be okay.

PER’s promise is a commitment for life for all of the horses that we have rescued. Our goal is make sure they are never mistreated, abandoned or go hungry again. And that has been our promise to Sky, who is now 31 years old and home once again.

Board Meeting

Panhandle Equine Rescue will be having a board meeting this Sunday, May 24th starting at 1:00 in Pace, FL. This meeting is open for anyone to attend. Please reply if you are interested and I will send directions.


Diane Lowery


Sheriff’s Livestock Sale


DAVID MORGAN, SHERIFF of Escambia County, Florida, will at 10:00 A.M. on the 21ST day of MAY, 2015, sell at public auction to the highest and best bidder for cash in hand the following described livestock:


Sale will be held at ESCAMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SUBSTATION, 5844 North Highway 29, Molino, Florida, 32577, CALL 850-436-9477.

This mare was found roaming and picked up by the sheriffs office. No one ever claimed her.

To see video, click on link. Must have cash. We don’t know anything about this mare except what you see. Don’t know age, size, temperament or any level of training. So sorry.

Diane Lowery


It’s easier to adopt a child!

child_kiss_horseEvery rescuer has heard that line. Lots of people balk at rescue applications, contracts and requirements. I recently had a conversation with a friend who was shocked at how many rescues (ours included) have a strict adoption contract that includes cash penalties for major breaches. I can understand the initial reaction of someone who hasn’t worked in rescue. Until you have, you tend to think that most homes are good, and that people who love animals will therefore take good care of those animals.
…and then you get involved in rescue, or you work for animal services, and you see the things that you see. Things like (and all of these are real life examples):

– A former professional athlete with a horse whose founder had gone untreated until his coffin bones protruded through his soles. The owner believed the horse lied down so much because he was “lazy.” He was euthanized.

– A wealthy Southern California couple whose 17 hand ex-racehorse was 300 pounds underweight and nearly dead. He lived at their home and they looked at him every day. He was rescued and recovered.

– A family who were to have been the retirement home for a high level dressage mare. She and a yearling warmblood were found in their yard, skin and bones. Plenty of hay on site that wasn’t put out for the horses because “they had grass.” It was wintertime and the grass was eaten completely down. They were eager to tell us how much they LOVED their horses. The mare was euthanized, the yearling survived.

– An elegant show barn that adopted a lesson horse, failed to feed the horse as instructed and denied noticing the horse had dropped 200 pounds. The horse was returned to the rescue and recovered.

– A wealthy man who was known as a “big name” at the racetrack who had been starving horses at his home farm. Six had to be euthanized. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

ALL of these homes “looked good on paper.” In reality, they were terrible situations in which horses died or almost died – not because of any intent to harm the horse, but because of a lack of knowledge or just plain carelessness. In the last case, the man blamed the situation on workers at his farm – but the court held him responsible despite his excuses.

In short, there are a thousand things that can go wrong and bottom line, after we drop off the horse with you, we are all a little bit scared.

We are scared you won’t watch your kids and we will see him on You Tube being jumped over a picnic table…after we adopted him fully disclosing that he was arthritic and limited to flat work.

We are scared you will be taken in by some charismatic trainer who is abusive to your horse behind your back.

We are scared you won’t maintain the same level of cleanliness and horse care that we see on drop-off day.

We are scared you won’t notice a big, fat tendon and will continue to ride the horse on it.

We are scared you won’t notice your western saddle is sitting on the horse’s withers.

We are scared that, while we saw you ride and love you, you will let someone else ride the horse who has no judgment and will override or abuse the horse. A friend had a rescue horse come back 200 pounds underweight and, for good measure, he had been taught to rear.

We are scared that you will simply move the horse, ignore our attempts to contact you, and we will not know if the horse is alive or dead.

We are scared that you will totally change the feeding program and then dump the horse when it has a corresponding change of behavior.

We are scared that you don’t know what mold looks like.

We are scared that you will let the kids feed to “teach them responsibility” and never check to see how much has been fed or if it has even been done.

We are scared that you will move to a property with barbed wire and figure it’s okay to turn the horses out because, hey, it’s a big field and what are the chances they’ll get hung up? (A rescue friend just took in 2 horses, badly injured from barbed wire…one was dragging a useless hoof behind her. A young mare whose life ended today because of fencing. The other may pull through.)

We are scared that one day, we will be one of the rescues that has learned one of its adopted horses went to slaughter. We are scared we will be that rescuer who has to spend the rest of their life beating themselves up for making the wrong decision.

Rescuers make adoption decisions all the time based upon an application and one or two meetings. You might be the best home in the universe, but we don’t know that – and please don’t hold it against us if we try to verify that by talking to your references and checking you out. We simply can’t take your word because the bad people lie just as convincingly as you tell the truth.

Rescuers understand that you don’t think it’s fair that you can’t have your old horse back after we pulled him out of a kill pen. But we want a home for him where there is no risk of that happening. We have an absolute duty to keep that horse safe to the best of our ability for the rest of his life. This isn’t a shoe store where the goal is to move inventory along to make way for more. The goal is to put horses into homes where they will never fail to receive proper care – ever – and will be euthanized by a vet or keel over from natural causes at a ripe old age.

So when you read our contract, or any rescue’s contract, bear in mind that if you are the good home you say you are, you will never be reminded you signed that contract. You will tag us in your Facebook pics and show us how the horse is doing. We might stop by once in a while, with notice. And if you’re awesome, we will sing your praises from the rooftops! You will get plenty of credit for being awesome. If your circumstances change and you need to return the horse, we will take the horse back cheerfully and do our best to ensure that he finds a new home equally as awesome as you were. But if you starve the horse, or you take him to an auction, we are going to sue you. And we are going to tell the world about it. You need to know that up front. We have a life-long open door policy for returns and a zero tolerance policy for people who won’t use that open door policy to return a horse they cannot afford to keep or simply do not want anymore.

If it seems like adopting a child – well, it is. We take the responsibility of making the right placement just as seriously. If you don’t want to sign a contract, buy a horse. If you like the idea of having lifetime “technical support” and knowing that the horse always has a safe haven to return to if your circumstances change, adopt from a reputable rescue. The choice is yours!

PER Receives a Grant

400 Paws Grant Award




We are excited to announce that PER has received a grant for $4200.00 to apply towards a barn for additional hay storage.  400 Paws is a wonderful organization whose mission is to use publicity and outreach to raise funds for qualified non-profit animal organizations; to educate the community regarding animal welfare; and to emphasize the need for financial assistance within our local animal shelters & rescue groups.  If you are an animal lover, please consider becoming a member of 400 Paws.  100% of your membership fee goes to non-profit animal organizations.  For more information visit their website at  They also have a Facebook page.  Thank you 400 Paws!!!


PER Meeting Reminder, Thursday, 2/19 IHOP

It is going to be a cold week.   Doesn’t a hot cup of coffee from IHOP sound good?


Remember, our first general meeting of the year will be this Thursday, February 19th at the IHOP located at 6707 N. Pensacola Blvd., which is by Sam’s Fun City, close to W St.   If you can be there by 6:00 PM to eat, this will be a good opportunity to have dinner with the group and get to know each other.  (Also, the room is free as long as the majority of attendees order food.)  The meeting will start at 6:45 PM.  If you can’t make it by 6:00, that is okay;  we do understand that work hours can be a hindrance.  It will be okay to order if you arrive late.


Hope to see you there,


Diane Lowery


Molino Mustang seized after abandonment

On, 2-11-15, Panhandle Equine Rescue assisted Escambia County Animal Control in seizing one mustang gelding, that we have named Smarty. He was abandoned at a vacant property with no food or water, so authorities had to step in and remove him. Dr. Sara Clark, DVM came out this morning to evaluate Smarty (and help us name him). He will have to be fed small amounts of grain for several days, but should fully recover.

Donations would be appreciated to aid in Smarty’s rehabilitation. Your tax deductible contribution can be sent to: P.E.R., P.O. Box 777, Cantonment, FL. 32533 or you can use Paypal on our website:
We rely on your support to rescue horses like Smarty. Please help if you can; no amount is too small.

To see photos of Smarty, visit our Facebook page at:

Smarty was also featured at

And at WEAR Channel 3:

Special THANKS to our local media outlets for helping get the word out to help equines in need and reduce animal cruelty in Escambia County!!!

Thank you,


Diane Lowery


Celebrating 10 years of Rescue

10 years

Today marks our 10 year anniversary since our organization began! PER has come a long way since we discovered that a horse rescue was needed in this area. It was because nothing was being done for the neglected and abused horses that we decided to start our organization. We investigated almost 200 cases in our county and are happy to say most horses received better care through educating their owners. We did have to bring some horses into our program, however and we put a lifetime safety net on each of our rescues, so we can ensure that they are never abused or neglected again.

Our county now has an animal cruelty team of investigators through our animal control department who are trained to recognize neglect or abuse of dogs, cats, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, rabbits, birds, exotics and of course horses! We work closely with them on the equine cases and are currently set up to take any critical horses into our facility for rehabilitation, unless they need to be hospitalized at a veterinarian clinic. Our future hope is that people will take better care of their animals in this county because they know they will be held accountable otherwise. Our intake numbers for equines have dropped considerably and we feel that it is because PER exists and our animal control department has put together their special team of knowledgeable investigators.

In the meantime, PER will continue to care for those we have already taken in. Currently, we have 16 horses in our foster program and we need your support to give them the care they need.

We would like to take this special opportunity to thank all our donors, sponsors, members, volunteers, fosters, adopters or anyone who has referred someone to us or spoken positive about PER. Without you, we could not have helped so many equines. With your continued support, we plan to go another 10 years!



Diane Lowery