Former New York City carriage horse Bobby II Freedom is doubly lucky, not only has he been rescued from death, but now his portrait by Peter Max is being auctioned to benefit Equine Advocates and the Henry Street Settlement. Discover how this horse has inspired love in everyone he meets. ― Global Animal
Daily News, Samuel Goldsmith
A former city carriage horse that narrowly escaped the slaughterhouse is giving back to the city – with the help of legendary pop artist Peter Max.
Fifteen-year-old gelding Bobby II Freedom was days from death in Lancaster County, Pa., last summer when an upstate horse lover caught wind of his ghastly fate.
“We had to get him out of there,” said Susan Wagner, head of Equine Advocates, a sanctuary for abused and condemned horses in upstate Chatham.
“We raised $1,200 and made the arrangements for the purchase and shipping and a couple of days later, we brought him to the sanctuary,” Wagner said.
“The first thing he did when we turned him loose was roll,” she said. “That’s very natural for a horse, but it’s something New York City carriage horses just don’t get to do.”
Bobby II Freedom’s story of salvation made its way to Peter Max, who volunteered to paint a portrait of the horse and donate it to the Henry Street Settlement, a nonprofit social services organization on the lower East Side.
“I have a history of saving animals,” Max said. “I started years ago with a cow.”
Max explained the first animal he saved was a cow that had escaped a slaughterhouse in Ohio. Officials caught her and wanted to return her to the slaughterhouse, but Max intervened and saved her.
“People have their cats and dogs and kids have rabbits, but I fell in love with a cow,” he said. “It was like saving a child. The cow went to Farm Sanctuary upstate.”
The portrait of Bobby II Freedom will be auctioned at a fund-raiser next week. David Garza, head of the Henry Street Settlement, said the painting could sell for more than $20,000.
“The funds go directly to support programs that are more vital now than ever,” Garza said. “The social services we provide are really targeted at people who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Garza said he will split the proceeds from the painting with Equine Advocates, an organization he hopes to work with again.
“We’ll be able to take young people who live in the city up to the farm to meet the horses for education and recreation opportunities,” he said. “We’re excited about that.”
As for Bobby II Freedom, he continues to spend his days “in a huge pasture with seven other geldings, enjoying being retired,” Wagner said.