AHRE founder, Dusty Calcagno, always knew that she wanted to use her experience with rescue organizations to follow her true passion, saving at-risk Arabian horses. Dusty allowed her fear of the unknown to sideline her dream for years, until she met a special, scrawny mare in 2014.
Finding Helena in a Washington feedlot, with only hours left before she was shipped out to slaughter, was the push that Dusty needed. In order to secure Helena’s safety, Dusty put her fears aside and took a leap of faith. Soon after, Dusty made her dream come true when she founded Arabian Horse Rescue & Education, Inc.
AHRE takes in Arabian and Arabian cross horses at risk of landing in the slaughter pipeline, regardless of age, condition or background. Once they arrive, AHRE works in close contact with their veterinarians to ensure that each horse receives the individualized care that it needs. This extends to undernourished horses which are cared for using the UC David Refeeding protocol.
Once the horses have been treated for any issues that it may have, they enter into the AHRE training program. This begins with several months of groundwork before the horses even begin any training under saddle. “We have two onsite trainers who spend 30-120 days working the horses under saddle to prepare them for adoption,” says Keri, AHRE staff member.
After completing the training, horses are available for adoption through a comprehensive potential adopter process. This includes cite checks, references, and a match between the horse and owner’s skill sets. Most importantly, AHRE looks for a connection between the horse and their adopter. “Our greatest successes are always when a horse and adopter are matched and the horse goes on to live a high quality life,” Keri states.
During their time at AHRE, each of the horses has the opportunity to work with and teach the volunteers that spend their time at the facility. Education is of paramount importance at AHRE and volunteers of all skill levels are welcome. AHRE also offers a youth mentoring program, designed as a long-term commitment, to promote confidence around horses and within one's self, as well as teach the basics of interacting with these animals.
The idea that both people and horses alike, can learn and benefit from one another, is something that has proven to be both effective and heartwarming for the community at AHRE. “At AHRE we don’t just save horses, the horses in turn, save us,” says Keri. “We do believe these amazing beings have the ability to restore us emotionally.”
This has been demonstrated in even the darkest of times. “We have one volunteer that suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts,” recounts Keri. “She insists that she is here today because of the amazing therapeutic benefits she receives from our horses when she volunteers.”
Please use the information below to learn more about AHRE, donate to their continued vision and find out about programs and opportunities available to those that share their passion.
Arabian Horse Rescue and Education
Oregon City, Oregon
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: