Person(s) of Interest: Azenda (Suzie) Maichak & Billy Geck

Suzie Maichak with Cheyenne

Suzie Maichak with Cheyenne

Suzie Maichak and Billy Geck are pro-active horse enthusiasts whose lives center around the rescue of horses. Four of the six horses on the Geck family property are rescues! Billy has worked for John Lyons and Equis America and is a member of the Marion County, FL Sheriff Dept Mounted Unit. Susie is a long-time horse person whose goal is to rescue horses, one horse at a time.

One equine resident, a black and white Tennessee Walker named Cheyenne, was a recent Winter Wonderland mount in this year’s Christmas parade in Williston. Decked out in white and blue with bells and lights, she is obviously a quiet, well-bred mare; it is hard to understand how she ended up at the kill pens in Louisiana.

Lucky for her, Cheyenne was rescued by Billy four years ago. She is a natural therapy horse, and they shared the story of how a 16-year-old autistic girl bonded with this gentle four-legged therapist. When the teenager began to tear up and then sob, she was asked why; the young girl related that she felt unconditional love pouring from Cheyenne.

Another rescue and equine family member for 20 years is Billy’s 22 year old buckskinned gelding named Dusty. An all-round horse, he is Billy’s mount for the Marion County mounted unit, is starting a new career as a barrel horse under Suzie’s tutelage, and does tricks such as counting, bowing, and shaking hands – uh, hooves. He and Billy also greet parishioners attending their Cowboy Church; every Sunday Billy loads him up and together they welcome all.

Nimshee, one of Billy and Suzie’s rescue horses

Nimshee, one of Billy and Suzie’s rescue horses

One of their newer arrivals, a gray gelding named Nimshee (meaning “saved from danger”), has recently been bought from a Florida kill pen. Kill pens are located across the United States, with over 100,000 horses being shipped from the pens across our nation’s borders each year. A select few of these horses are videoed – if they’re lucky, people like Billy and Suzie are watching – and made available for sale online.

If they are sold, payment is made online and then arrangements are made for delivery. Picking your horse up is not an option; you are not allowed on the premises. If they are not sold, they are destined to cross the border to meet their fate as horsemeat.

Seeing this beautiful horse, it is hard to imagine why someone would dispose of him so callously. Suzie found Nimshee online and watched his video over and over; Billy made the decision at 3 AM to buy him.

Another horse is loose in the yard, munching on peanut hay. A thoroughbred, this gelding’s ribs are still pronounced – yet he has gained close to 200 pounds since he arrived at their farm. A knee injury will most likely prevent his being used, but he too is lucky. He has found a haven, and humans that actually practice humanity.

In addition to horse rescue, Suzie is also creating western-style bling, featuring fun, sparkly pieces like rhinestone studded chaps and embellished shirts, available for sale at Sunshine’s Horses And Things. Custom requests are welcome!

As contributors to HRL and avid trail riders, Billy and Suzie will be sharing their adventures on area trailheads in a new segment called “Riding With Sunshine” (you can read about her experience at the Shangri-La Trailhead now!). We warmly welcome them both, and are so grateful for all that they do, one horse at a time!

Barb currently resides in Central Florida with her three horses; when she’s not writing or riding for HRL, she loves to read and travel.