A Rescue That Helps Gaited Horses, Donkeys, and an Adorable Mini Horse Named Staryn
When Deborah Finco and her daughter started the Beech Brook Farm horse rescue in 2007, they hoped that they could make a difference in the lives of many horses. Nine years later, one of their favorite stories is that of a mini horse named Staryn.
“In 2014 we had a mini horse born that only weighed 12 pounds.” Staryn was so small that he was unable to break out of his placental sack and volunteers had to rip it open. Initially they thought he was in trouble because his tongue lagged out and his legs were pretty crooked. “However in time, his tongue lagging went away, his legs straightened out and it was clear he was very smart and learned things quickly.” This tiny guy, who thinks he’s a full-sized horse, is now two years old and weighs less than 100 lbs. He has been adopted into a home with another mini gelding and is doing great!
The Beech Brook Farm horse rescue in Mystic, Connecticut has many other heart-warming stories from their more than one hundred successful adoptions. They specialize in taking in gaited horses like Tennessee walkers, Missouri fox trotters, Saddlebreds, and Standardbreds. They also rescue a good number of donkeys, mules, and mini horses.
New arrivals are always quarantined for 3-4 weeks before entering the main farm. “Once they are out of QT they will get vaccinated. Prior to being out of QT they may get their teeth floated, feet done as needed. We try to keep our horses barefoot if possible.”
The horses are slowly brought back to health and then enter the training program. “We have a trainer that starts by evaluating our horses in hand/on the ground. Once we feel they are responding well to cues on the ground and our respecting and trusting the humans working with them, we start working them up to being worked under saddle. Not all of our horses that we rescue can be ridden and thus some may not move onto saddle work and will be placed as companions...although ground work still very important for these horses.”
Potential adopters are found through Facebook and a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising. “We check with their vet, farrier and references, we get photos of farm if we can not do a site visit; we check with local zoning regs to ensure they allow keeping number of horses on amount of land person has.” Google searches also help the staff decide if a person is a good adopter.
The biggest challenges for Deborah and her staff are usually financial. Unanticipated veterinary expenses like strangles, pregnancy, and foundering can be quite expensive, but the rescue has excellent financial accountability so they are able to manage this with strong planning and business practices.
Deborah is proud of the work that they’ve done so far. “We have placed over 85% of the horses we have rescued. Few horses returned to us...which speaks to our making sure we have a good match between adopter and horse they want to adopt. Also the fact that we specialize in taking in gaited horses and have experience with them is unique from many other horse rescue groups.” To learn more, visit their website at beechbrookfarm.homestead.com/index.html.