Blue Star Equiculture was founded on five basic beliefs: that horses and humans fundamentally belong together, that all horses deserve loving homes where their physical and social needs will be met, that “work” should not have a pejorative connotation, that in these troubled economic and environmental times, working horses offer a sustainable means of equine husbandry, and that all horses everywhere have immeasurable gifts to share with humanity. Since 2009, these beliefs have led Blue Star Equiculture to help over 500 horses, through retirement, sanctuary and adoption. “Over the years, we have retired over 300 NYC and urban carriage horses, farm horses, logging horses and police horses,” says Pamela Rickenbach.
Blue Star recognizes that horses, like humans, are individuals and each and every one is different. All horses are initially evaluated by the vet and begun on a proper feeding schedule with medical care if necessary. “We get to know the horses by allowing them to relax. We begin to figure out to help each one by allowing them to show us who they are,” says Pamela. The environment at Blue Star is calm and quiet, giving the horses plenty of space to go find equine companionship or solitude in the pastures and tree groves.
Training rarely happens at Blue Star, as these horses have spent the majority of their lives in harnesses doing their job. Many of the horses continue to work in the community as ambassadors for their breeds by teaching people about the jobs that they perform. They participate in parades, history tours, wagon rides, reenactments and farm work. “These horses are essentially ambassadors for themselves and their kind; the retired, disabled and homeless horses who do not have a family or fund set up for them,” says Pamela.
Blue Star works in a variety of ways to educate and bring awareness to the lives of these animals. This includes their Pasture Management Project coordinated with UMass and MEPA, The Draft Compost Project, and college internships through the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture. “We support and help share the diverse and amazing global working horse culture of the past with those carrying it into the future,” says Pamela.
Blue Star strives to open a conversation among those that visit them. They hope others will take a look at the equine practices that do not work and cause suffering. They hope they will become a part of the solution, to help design and create better ways of making sure we take better care of these horses.
“We seek to have the draft horses - which built our roads, harvested our crops, supplied our railroads, fought our wars, and carried us to our graves - be recognized as a national treasure, an indispensable part of our heritage and our common history,” said Pamela. Use the information below to see how you can donate, sponsor or adopt from Blue Star. Also learn about their various projects and learn about all these horses have done to create the world around you.
Blue Star Equiculture
West Brookfield, Massachussets
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: