SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. — Marceline Ballard is no stranger to opening up her heart for animals. Half of the horses on her family's 1,800 acre farm have been rescued.
However, one of those horses has a different story than the rest.
His name is Chief Cane. He is a 35-year-old quarter horse, but has the energy of a six or seven-year-old horse.
Last November, while working with other horses on a farm, she spotted him. He was skin and bones, with very little muscle on him, but Ballard was able to look right through that.
"Each time I would close my eyes after I had met him and left him there at that farm, I told myself there's nothing I could do," Ballard said. "I don't have the time, I don't have the money, I don't have the space, I don't have the resources, I don't know how to refeed a horse and everything. I was like, "Oh, God, I don't think I can do it."
Five days later and her only cost hauling him, Chief Cane came home with Ballard. At first, Ballard did not think he would make it more than a month, but after constant care, one month became six, and six months became a year. Now, Chief Cane is a new horse. He runs the show on the farm and gets well deserved special attention.
After rescuing various horses over the years, including Chief Cane, Ballard said that she has found her calling.
"To come back from pretty much death, he was pretty much a bag of bones," Ballard said. "I can't believe he came back the way he did. "He's super smart. I think he had a will to survive, and I just kind of helped him out. He just needed somebody to say, here you go; here's what you need because he wasn't getting it."