In November of 2015, Marylou Tortorello was making a contribution to her local horse rescue when she decided to ask if there was anything else that she could do to help. When the rescue responded by asking her to adopt from them, Marylou did just that. She couldn’t have known that her one simple question would lead to the formation of 13 Hands Equine Rescue.
The horses at 13 Hands range from Drafts to Minis, many having come from kill pens and auctions. “The slaughter of horses is a highly profitable business and most of the horses are ill-treated, underfed and scared in the hopes of making the most money for them,” says Marylou. For this reason, they know they must to do everything in their power to be advocates for these animals. Horses arriving through these channels are first placed in a 30 day quarantine in order to allow them to rest and regain their strength. Once they are evaluated by the veterinarian, they are moved to the 13 Hands facility where they continue their journey back to health.
“The physical aspects of being sick and undernourished are the easy issues to solve (usually),” says Jacki Zaslow. “It’s the mental issues of abuse and neglect that are the most challenging.” The staff at 13 Hands Ranch initially work on trust and socialization in order to ensure that each horse feels safe and can take their next steps without fear.
Once an evaluation is complete and the staff has an idea of what the horse knows and doesn’t know, they work with outside trainers to form a retraining program individually suited to the needs of each horse.
The horses at 13 Hands are available for adoption following a strict screening process for would-be adopters, however, this is not the only option for them. Horses that do not find homes outside of 13 Hands often stay and become part of their herd. “We keep them at one of our two locations forever. They will always have a home with us,” says Jacki. Some of the horses that stay as permanent members also have the opportunity to become participants in the Equine Assisted Therapy Program at 13 Hands Ranch. The program follows the EAGALA method and offers Psychotherapy for families, groups, and individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder and more.
13 Hands Ranch functions using a volunteer staff not just for work with the horses, but also for office needs, fundraising and events. Volunteers of all ages are welcome, so please use the information below to find out how you can help in any of these areas. You can also learn how to donate funds or necessary supplies, as well as foster or sponsor any of the wonderful horses currently residing at 13 Hands.
13 Hands Ranch
Bedford Corners, New York
If you are interested in loaning or donating your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: