As a young girl, Sue Whitman loved animals and knew that she wanted to be a veterinarian. So when her parents allowed her to adopt her first rescue horse at the age of 10, her fate was sealed. She went on to graduate from the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine and chose to focus her practice on horses.
However, Sue quickly became disheartened by the amount of owners that came to her asking for their hurt or sick horses to be put down, simply because they didn’t want to invest the time or money to save them. This drove Sue to start Horse-Angels in 2003, knowing firsthand how many horses out there simply needed someone to give them a safe place to receive care and live their lives.
She also knew that she wanted Horse-Angels to be a rescue that was not just a pass-through point for these horses. She wanted to take in any horse, regardless of whether or not it was considered “easily adoptable”. She wanted each horse to know she was there for whatever they needed for however long that would take.
Horse-Angels receives their horses from law enforcement, including the local sheriff, state police, DNR officers, animal control and various shelters. These horses are generally emaciated, wounded and have often been in physically abusive circumstances. All arrivals are initially placed under quarantine in a special isolation area that includes housing and a large paddock separate from the barn. All wounds, injuries and infections are attended to immediately, lice and ticks are eliminated and, if the horse allows, they receive dental care.
Retraining at Horse-Angels begins and ends with trust. “This often means sitting on the ground singing or talking aimlessly while a horse eats. Many horses are adults that have never been handled and they are allowed to take as long as the need (days, weeks, years) to build confidence and trust,” says Sue. “Some horses arrive friendly and are so happy for attention.” Each horse at Horse-Angels is handled based on what best suits their personality. Some of the horses that arrive are never able to recover from the trauma of their past and become permanent members of the herd at the Horse-Angels’s pasture.
All horses that are deemed ready for adoption through Horse-Angels are fully trained and trail ready, having had all vaccinations and health care necessary, as well as completing a full training program. Many horses from Horse-Angels have been adopted and gone on to live incredible lives. Sue receives many letter from adopters telling her about their adventures with their new partners. “Some of our horses travel all over the US on long trail rides all summer, some compete in eventing and 4-H, while others are loving companions for older horsemen/horsewomen whose riding days are past but the love of horses still fills their hearts,” says Sue.
Please use the information below to visit the Horse-Angels website and learn about how to donate, volunteer, adopt or apply for an internship.
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: