Though Ashtabula (Ohio) County Humane Society agents have 24 hours to respond to complaints of animal abuse, when Dorothy Bluhm received the call in November 1998, something deep inside her said: "Go right now." What she found was gut-wrenching: the skeleton of a gelding who could barely stand. The chain he was tied with had cut his left hind pastern to the bone, and the wound  was maggot-infested, with chickens pecking at it. Hard Rock D was too weak to even respond.
     The attending veterinarian held little hope that the chestnut, blanketed Appaloosa could possibly recover and advised Dorothy that if he went down in the trailer on the way to his foster home, not to bother trying to revive him.
Hard Rock D one week after his rescue 11/98
    It was two days before he even moved his tail. After five weeks of intensive care including hourly feedings, vitamins and antibiotics, the gelding's blood work showed him to still be anemic and dehydrated. Yet this pathetic-looking rack of bones was a National champion.
     Just five years earlier, ridden by Summer De Hart of Chickasha, Oklahoma, Hard Rock D had taken top honors in steer daubing 18-and-under at 1993's National Show. The seasoned competitor also helped Summer win the high-point 13-15 title three years in a row, the all-around youth title in 1992 and the Shatka Bear Step award in 1993.
     When his identity was discovered and the recovery process completed, Hard Rock D returned to the loving care of Anne and Jim Koch at Koch Show Horses in Ashtabula. "We're keeping him forever," says Anne.
This story appeared in the September 1999 issue of the Appaloosa Journal.
Hard Rock D at the 52nd National Appaloosa Show in July 1999, just eight months after his rescue
I recently received an e-mail from Anne Koch saying that she had visited my website, and had enjoyed seeing this page. That was a thrill for me!
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