Drive a half-hour south of Rochester to Lima, NY. There, you will find a farm like no other. Started by a band of 3 friends, each already rescuing horses on their own, who decided to work together to strengthen their efforts. Begin Again Horse Ranch (BAHR) received their 501(c)3 status in 2009. Since then, they (with the help of a few others) have been able to ramp up their horse-rescuing efforts.
They have seen every type of equine in their stables: mules, donkeys, miniatures, draft horses, and everything in between. The needs of each horse vary from case to case. Some are sick, malnourished, or hurt. Others need additional training. Still others, are healthy and well-mannered, but have found themselves in a tough situation. Whatever the need, BAHR does everything in their power to fill it!
To prevent turning horses away, they partner with foster homes for horses that cannot stay at the farm. The team works tirelessly to offer a safe home to as many animals as possible. For new horses to the farm, they implement a 2 week quarantine period for horses who do not have a full history available. This helps them evaluate the health and well-being of the individual horse while protecting the other horses who are already established. It also offers an opportunity for the horse to adjust and/or regain health during that time.
All horses are evaluated by a vet, farrier, dentist, and trainer. Health concerns are the top priority. Many of the horses that arrive at BAHR are in desperate need for help. Once those needs are addressed, there are volunteer trainers available to help prepare horses for their forever home. Until then, or if they are not in need of a trainer, they are still handled daily and begin to form bonds with caregivers.
BAHR relies heavily on volunteer support. They are a 100% volunteer organization, including their board of directors. Without the help of these volunteers the farm would not exist. Everything from keeping the place running, training, foster homes, and trailering are accomplished through a donation of time a resources. They even have a few horse volunteers, like their miniature horse ambassador, Phantom. Phantom is a therapy horse who often greets the public at the many events BAHR volunteers attend to raise awareness and funds. She is known to attract a crowd!
Another special resident is a mule named Jolene, or Big Jo (pictured above). She was rescued from a kill-pen auction in 2016. At the time, she was thin and lame on all four feet. Once they examined her, they found white line disease, canker, and laminitis. It took four trips to Cornell U, thousands of dollars, and a team of vets, farriers, and volunteers to rehabilitate her. All that hard work has paid off! She is finally able to be considered for adoption. Through it all, she has remained a kind and gentle soul, always grateful for the care and love she receives from the many volunteers who have invested in her care.
Anyone interested in adopting Big Jo, or other available horses, will also be adopting the BAHR farm. Rather than giving over ownership of the horse to the new home, the ownership remains with BAHR. Instead, there is a permanent lease agreement. It’s a unique agreement that ensures the horse will return to BAHR if anything prevents the adopter from continuing care. It also allows BAHR volunteers to provide regular checks on the horses to make sure they are adjusting well and in good health. This is important for the long-term well-being of the horse.
There is one word that keeps coming up in this profile: Volunteer. Because BAHR is unique in being 100% volunteer run, it is the most essential part of the operation. BAHR is always in need of people to volunteer time, funds, expertise, equipment, or space to house a horse.
Begin Again Horse Rescue
If you are interested in loaning or donation 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: