Horse Rescues in North America Need Your Support
Thousands of horses are abandoned, abused, and neglected each year in the United States. Many of these forgotten animals meet sad endings in either slaughter houses or alone in empty pastures. A lucky few are picked up by hard working equine rescue groups that help to rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome. These organizations are staffed by people with big hearts and limited budgets. They often rely heavily on donations from the public to fund and staff their efforts to rescue equine victims of abuse and neglect.
It is our hope that the Horse Rescue Corner will serve as both an educational and search tool so that you can learn about local rescues in your state and contribute to the effort to protect horses and other equines across our nation. We've also set up the Horse Rescue Trailer Donation and Sharing Program in an effort to connect local citizens and rescues in need of horse trailers.
Find a Horse Rescue Near Me
Are you ready to make a difference in your local horse community? Search below to find a horse rescue in your home state or county. Many of these rescues are looking for energetic volunteers to help with farm chores, horse care, and training. If you're looking for a less sweaty way to help, they are also in need of monetary donations or used equipment like saddles, grooming brushes, water buckets, rakes, and wheelbarrows. Maybe you're thinking about a horse adoption? Contact a rescue on this list to hear more about their application process and available horses.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of horses who have suffered from abuse and neglect. Check out our listings below!
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Willow Farms Community Horse Rescue – Loxley, AL
You Will See the Happiness That Seems to Surround the Place
“The thing about Willow Farms rescue, is that it not only rescues animals, but it seems to rescue people as well. If you visit us, you will see the happiness that seems to surround the place.” ~ Laura Florey, Willow Farms Volunteer
Willow Farms Community Horse Rescue is located in the small town of Loxley, AL located just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to a small rescue filled with big hearts. The volunteers at this farm have been led by director Janet Hein since 2008 to rescue horses, dogs, and mules.
For Janet, rescuing animals has been a lifelong passion. Today, the farm is able to accept horses that are in danger and those that are no longer wanted. They have brought in anything from miniature horses, draft horses, mules and even a few mustangs.
Sick horses are given individual attention by two separate veterinary offices associated with the rescue. Volunteers are on hand to feed, water, and work with the horses at least twice a day.
Volunteer Lauren Florey explained, “Each horse that comes into a rescue is different and as such, the training program for each horse is different. Generally, we will have one or two volunteers focus on each horse and access any obvious behavioral problems as well as what level of training they have had. We strive to make sure potential adopters do not choose a horse that is not a good fit.”
Most of the adopters come from word of mouth advertising and through social media connections. Many of these adopters are even former or future volunteers with the rescue.
As with many other rescues, Willow Farms struggles at times to meet their monthly expenses. They are in need of money to help horses receive the right type of veterinary care. Plus, they are always in need of “horse savvy” volunteers that can work with the animals.
Anyone who comes to volunteer is sure to reap the benefits of working in such a positive atmosphere. Smiling faces and loving hearts adorn the many people who come to help. They help horses like Rusty who came to the rescue as a sickly 7 year old. After several months of loving care, he was able to regain healthy and also find his new forever home when he was adopted by one of the volunteers.
Each and every adoption that goes through is a huge success for Willow Farms. They are thrilled to see the animals they take in find homes where they can be truly loved and appreciated for the rest of their lives.
If you would like to learn more about Willow Farms Community Horse Rescue, please see the information below:
Willow Farms Community Horse Rescue
Location: Loxley, Alabama
Alaska Equine Rescue - Wasilla, Alaska
Rescuing Horses in the 'Greatland' Up North
In the beautiful state of Alaska, horses from bad situations will hopefully be saved by the Alaska Equine Rescue located in the town of Wasilla. There, President Heather Robb and a team of volunteers work to rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome horses of all ages, sizes, and breeds.
Heather shared the story of the organization's beginning. "In 1990, a small group of concerned horse owners in Fairbanks, Alaska created Alaska Equine Rescue (AER) after trying to help a group of emaciated and neglected horses. Frustrated by their long and unsuccessful efforts to get assistance for the more than twenty badly malnourished animals, they created the AER."
Horse lovers from the lower 48 states may not appreciate the special challenges of living in the "Greatland" up North. Heather explained, "Rescuing horses in Alaska is expensive and the unique features that Alaska has to offer with its severe weather and size making running the organization a challenge." She continued, "Our biggest need, or course, is money, but second to that is the challenge of having reliable volunteers across our vast state."
AER has a well structured retraining plan that uses the expertise of horse professionals to evaluate, and train the horses once they are in good health. A few of the horses have even participated in shows for the International Performance Horse Development Association, an online horse show program that allows owners to participate through video 'classes.'
Any horseman hoping to adopt from AER must complete an application, site approval, and provide references. Heather said, "Once approved, the new owner signs a Humane Care Contract, agreeing to the AER Standard of Care for the life of the horse. We pride ourselves in remaining a supportive figure even after the adoption is final, resulting in a very small return rate on horses being adopted."
Heather shared one unique feature of her rescue. "Two of our volunteer board members are certified equine cruelty investigators through Colorado State University and Code 3 Associates. AER also has a scholarship program allowing law enforcement and equine professionals to get their own certifications."
AER is proof that horses in all corners of our great nation deserve our help and nurturing. We salute the efforts of AER and wish them all the best with their worthy work!
Alaska Equine Rescue
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
Donations: PO Box 875276, Wasilla, AK 99687
Apache Junction Horse Rescue - Apache Junction, Arizona
Using Trail Rides to Create a Partnership
Apache Junction Horse Rescue is located in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona. We spoke with co-founder James Moyle to learn about their organization. “In 2006 we had seen a large increase of abused and neglected horses,” he shared.
“Over a course of the year we were offed a throw away horse. Sonja not only became our first rescue but our logo and poster horse. My wife, Glenda, adopted her and they have become inseparable.”
AJHR received a great number of horses including those who had been abused, neglected, abandoned, or donated. They deal with horses who are underweight, need hoof care, those with bellies full of sand, or even some with flesh eating bacteria.
James talked to us about how they rehabilitate the horses. “We start with a veterinarian check first. Than a diet designed specifically for that horse. Than we move on chiropractic adjustment, to very light exercise,” he shared. Although chiropractic work is not common, he explained, “The way a horse responds to chiropractic care amazing!”
Next comes the retraining process. James explained, “That is we start at the very beginning with earning the horse's trust and respect. During the training we make sure they do not spook at bags, shadows, or saddles. Walks, trot without any issues. Than we take them out on the trail a couple times a week.”
The AJHR feels it is very important for potential adopters to develop a partnership with their horse before taking ownership. That is why they are asked to go on at least three trail rides with the last one being two hours long.
James feels that each horse that goes to its ‘forever’ home is a success. He continued, “When you deliver a horse and you see the excitement, smiles on the faces, and how the children all light up; it seems like each horse that goes to a forever home is a great success.”
What makes this rescue tick is its team of devoted volunteers. James proudly shared stories of one girl that went on to be a veterinarian, one in competitive show jumping, and a third who came straight from Germany. “We’re lucky to be friends with them over ten years, and watch as they grow up. Each volunteer has a unique and undeniable love for horses.”
Apache Junction Horse Rescue
Location: Apache Junction, AZ
Donate: 4896 N Vista Rd Apache Junction AZ 85119
Equine Encore Foundation - Tuscon, Arizona
“He warned me not to come home with a horse!"
Patti Shirley’s extensive and tireless work with racehorses began innocently enough, a trip with a friend to a racehorse sale, just to scout it out. Dale, her husband, had zero interest in horses, but that wouldn’t prove to be the case for long. “He warned me not to come home with a horse,” Patti chuckles. However, when Doc Sweet Surprise came up for auction, she just knew she had to have him. After a quick call to Dale, Patti purchased her first racehorse, and that innocent trip sparked a lifelong fire in Patti and Dale. In short order, they purchased a farm, brought in a few more horses and at Dale’s suggestion, Patti obtained her trainer’s license.
Patti raced horses from 1998 to 2011, seeing both the good and the bad of the sport. However, she chose to focus on the good they saw, as well as the good they could do. Patti and Dale realized their personal pleasure and profit from the sport was secondary to taking care of their animals. Though diligence and perseverance they managed to hold onto nearly every horse that raced for them. As Claudia Folch recounts, “The way the Shirleys figured it, the horses that worked so hard for them deserved to come home with them after their careers ended.”
In 2005, Patti founded Equine Encore Foundation on her 120-acre ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. Although Dale passed before seeing this happen, his devotion to horses lives on in the work that Patti continues.
Equine Encore Foundation is a racehorse retirement facility for equine athletes and as such, the animals here are not available for adoption. The 79 former race horses that reside at the ranch are all retired and will remain at the facility for the rest of their lives. All of the horses, Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, come straight from racetracks in New Mexico and Arizona. Therefore, the first order of business is to tend to any injuries that caused the end of their careers. “We keep them separate from the others at first and give them lots of TLC and any medication treatment they need,” explains Claudia.
There are many champion horses residing at Equine Encore, all of which arrived here for the same reason; they could no longer accomplish the task that was asked of them. “When everyone has given up on them, even the vets, we give them another chance and lots of love,” says Claudia. Equine Encore believes that even though they can no longer race, these horses still deserve to live out the rest of their full lives in comfort. Seeing these horses lead happy, healthy lives for many years after coming to Equine Encore is what the staff considers their greatest success.
Use the information below to see how you can contribute to Equine Encore Foundation and learn about the horses, all of which are available for sponsorship. As there will always be racehorses in need of a place to retire, Equine Encore appreciates all of the help and support they receive to make this possible.
Equine Encore Foundation
The Good Shepherd Ranch - Tuscon, Arizona
“You can often see the soul of a man by the way he treats animals and other people.”
In 1999, David and Francesca Alliman decided to share their love of horses with those in their community. Born and raised in Arizona, their dedication to the place that they love, and the humans and horses that share it with them, acted as the driving force behind the founding of The Good Shepherd Ranch. “We have always been led to help those with horses, horses in need & our local community,” says Francesca. David and Francesca believe that animals are a precious gift for us to enjoy and care for.
The Good Shepherd Ranch takes in any horse, regardless of age, breed or level of training. “We take in neglected or unwanted horses that simply need a new home or a new purpose,” explains Francesca. The care shown to every animal and human that finds themselves at the ranch is the cornerstone of The Good Shepherd Ranch mission. “You can often see the soul of a man by the way he treats animals and other people,” say the founders.
All horses that enter their program enter into an environment of love and compassion. Each horse is evaluated by a veterinarian and a feeding program is developed that caters to its specific needs. The horse is allowed to take as much time as needed to acclimate to its new home and begin to heal.
Once a horse is ready and willing, they begin training. “We take our time and make sure each horse gets the attention and training needed, on or off the trails,” says Francesca. Some of the horses at The Good Shepherd Ranch find their new purpose as part of the team pulling carriages and wagons for community events. These horses call the ranch their home and live here the rest of their days. The horses show off their training, teamwork and beauty in parades and as additions to weddings and events. The Good Shepherd also opens their ranch as an event space, allowing people to enjoy their special day while learning and spending time with the horses.
Many of the horses that find their way to Good Shepherd make a full rehabilitation and are ready to become loved members of their forever family. This was the case for a horse named Huesos, the Spanish word for bones, due to the extent of his neglect and his extremely emaciated frame. “We got to him just in time…we hoped,” remembers Francesca. They began putting him back together that first day. Huesos made an exceptional recovery and is now living with a foster family. “He’s still getting his makeover, but he’s looking good!” says Francesca.
Use the information below to check on Huesos's progress and view the other horses at The Good Shepherd Ranch that are ready for adoption. You can also find out how to contribute through donations and schedule an appointment to visit the ranch and become part of the family.
The Good Shepherd Ranch
Wildhorse Ranch Rescue - Gilbert, Arizona
Wildhorse Ranch takes in all breeds of horses and rehabilitates them using the Parelli System
Once Kim Meahger and her two children, Nick and McKay, found out about the plight of homeless horses in America in 1995, they knew they could help. In 2000, after five years of rescuing horses privately, Kim received non-profit status for Wildhorse Ranch Rescue in order to save more horses from death, abuse and neglect.
Wildhorse Ranch takes in all breeds of horses and rehabilitates them using the Parelli System for both training and feeding, tailoring it to the temperament and needs of each individual horse. All trainers at WHRR are Parelli Professionals and volunteers and handlers attend clinics for continued education. As Sheyenne Dodd explains, “using this method has given WHRR expertise in bringing body score 1 horses to an optimal body score 5, as well as a 100% success rate with undernourished or emaciated horses.”
WHRR starts the training program by first learning about the horse. WHRR does to require that a horse by rideable to be at the rescue. As they put it, “sometimes a horse just needs to be a horse.” They start by identifying any sensitivities the horse may have, indicators of past abuse and what the horse is good at and enjoys. Then they customize each horse’s individual training to work on its weaknesses in a way that will build the horse’s confidence while they have fun. “Often we see a completely new horsenality emerge from where the horse started,” says Sheyenne.
Education and training isn’t only for the horses at WHRR. They offer Parelli clinics, as well as health and wellness clinics for both owners and adopters. These all help to further human horse relationships in an effort to keep more horses in their homes.
In a continued effort to provide as much help for the largest amount of horses possible, Wildhorse Ranch Rescue developed the first equine program with the United States Forest Service. This program was enacted to create a safe place for retired USFS horses and US Cavalry Horses. WHRR feels that a 501c3 charity sanctuary is a much better place to spend retirement than an auction block. As Sheyenne affectionately states, “WHRR provides an opportunity for these hardworking animals to live in peace and comfort in their golden years.”
However, Kim’s vision didn’t stop growing and now WHRR is also home to the HavasuPup and Friends program. This program rescues horses, as well as dogs, cats, mules and ducks from Havasupai, Grand Canyon. WHRR functions as a sanctuary for all animals in needs, both large and small. “We count rescuing nine emaciated equines from Havasupai, bringing them back to health and adopting several of them to good homes as one of our great successes,” recounts Sheyenne.
Please use the information below to donate, volunteer or attend a clinic and help Wildhorse Rescue continue to grow and save every animal they can.
Wildhorse Rance Rescue
Hope for Horses Rescue - Yellville, Arkansas
“We have succeeded in changing things for the better.”
They say that “necessity” is the mother of invention and that seems to perfectly suit the founding of Hope for Horses Rescue.
In early September 2014, a group of women came together to rescue a horse in their neighborhood that had been starving for nearly two years. Right on the highway, in a tiny lot with no food or water, this horse’s plight was on display for everyone to see. Although the horse had been reported numerous times, nothing had been done and the women decided enough was enough. After finally convincing the owner to surrender the horse, General, as he came to be known, became Hope for Horses first rescue.
Hope for Horses grew quickly from that point on, mainly due to the need in their community. Located in a very rural area, they were surrounded by many low income families that couldn’t afford to feed their horses and were simply letting them starve. “We had no resources, no humane society or animal control of any kind. No help from the Sheriff in those heartbreaking cases. We stepped up to do what no one would,” recounts JoAnn Joseph, Hope for Horses Vice President.
Each horse is initially brought to “headquarters”, aka JoAnn’s property, where they are evaluated and started on an appropriate feeding program. The horses remain at JoAnn’s while they receive veterinary and farrier care. This process usually takes 4-5 months, at which point they move to a foster home for care and training. “We have three trainers that we use depending on what the horse needs, from just a refresher to training to ride,” explains JoAnn.
With the support of the community and the election of a new Sheriff, Hope for Horses is now able to work with law enforcement to help on a scale they hadn’t imagined possible. “We work closely with our local law enforcement in this joint effort. With our facilities now available, officials can investigate cases of animal abuse knowing they have the resources needed to confiscate and relocate endangered animals,” says JoAnn.
Clyde was a shining example of the good that comes from local organizations working with law enforcement. When the Sheriff’s office called Hope for Horses in December of 2014, they were happy to respond. What they found was a young horse in a 9x9 dog kennel with no water or hay, so weak he could barely walk. “He stood knock kneed because he had no muscles to keep him standing,” remembers JoAnn. “A deputy was with us so the owner was glad to sign him over.” After an inspiring recovery, Clyde is now happy and healthy and was adopted by JoAnn. “He’s so special, I can’t imagine not having him,” she says.
Each horse that comes through Hope for Horses is a reminder of what can be accomplished when a community works together. “We have succeeded in changing things for the better. Horses have starved around here for years. But not anymore,” JoAnn states. Use the information below to find out how you can help this special organization.
Hope for Horses Rescue
All About Equine - El Dorado Hills, CA
A Little Bit of Magic Comes to All About Equine Animal Rescue, Inc.
Written by Tammy Perry and Wendy DiGiorno
While it could be said that every time we save a horse we work a little magic, in today’s economy, every rescue can use a little extra magic. Our Magic came to us on January 24, 2014 in the form of a horse who needed more than a little magic of his own.
After receiving a plea from a woman who claimed that her sister had abandoned two horses on someone’s property, were starving to death, and one had a “hernia with part of his intestines hanging out”, the Executive Director of All About Equine Animal Rescue, Inc. went out to do a welfare check on the horses. What she found was a sight that would shock even the most hard hearted of humans. There were indeed two horses on the property; both in bad condition. One horse, Love, was so emaciated she could barely lift her head and the other horse, Magic, was not only underweight but was covered in sores and had two visible tumors oozing and hanging from his body. When she asked about the tumors on Magic she was told “oh they said he has had those for at least the last three years, we think they are a hernia”.
Feeling hopeless for the horses, she was not about to leave either horse there to suffer any longer. The decision to bring the horses off of the property was an easy one but not knowing whether they would make it was another story. The horses loaded on the trailer with ease despite their obvious pain and the Director knew that even if she couldn’t save them, they could at least have full bellies and compassionate care at the end of their lives.
The vet was summoned and determined that while Love looked far worse due to her severe malnourishment, Magic’s condition was actually more critical unless treated radically and quickly. But he needed to stabilize first.
Magic had both sarcoid and squamous cell carcinomas that had been left untreated for at least three years, and quite possibly longer. He was going to need surgery to remove the tumors and chemo beads placed in various areas of his body to give him the best hope of making a full recovery.
The first forty eight hours were touch and go. Each volunteer shift began with the uncertainty of whether either of the horses would be waiting to greet us when the gates were opened. The Director checked on them throughout the day and night; each time she approached the quarantine area she did so knowing that one or both of them might not have made it. As each day passed, both horses responded with more energy and a spark of life in their eyes.
At first it seemed that the cost of Magic’s care was going to be more than we felt we could raise. While we wanted desperately to undo the wrongs that had been done to these horses, we also had to take into account that with the raising price of hay due to the drought in California, we could not put our others animals at risk by being financially irresponsible. This decision was going to be a tough one.
Keeping in mind this horse is named Magic, after all; the cards began to fall in his favor. The vet offered a discount for the needed surgery. By now, Magic had won over the volunteers who were caring for him and treating his wounds. He was in obvious pain, but never lashed out at those who were trying to help him. The decision was made to hold a fundraising event to see if the cost his care could be offset.
Clearly it was meant to be. The funds were raised and as soon as Magic was strong enough to endure surgery, a date was set for St. Patrick’s Day. What better day for a horse named Magic to receive a little magic of his own?
Magic sailed through surgery with no complications. He had part of his ear amputated due to a large and invasive sarcoid. Multiple sarcoids were removed from his neck, belly and hip. Three squamous cell carcinoma’s removed from his sheath and surrounding area. In all, fifteen growths were removed, and chemo beads were inserted in the various areas. However, the day after surgery, he bit at and pulled out sutures in his inguinal area, leaving a large gaping wound. We had little choice but to manage the wound and let it heal. Following the surgery, chemo cream was applied daily.
Magic endured a long post-surgical confinement to keep him quiet and “calm” so he wouldn’t reopen the wound. Today, Magic is a happy healthy boy who is almost completely healed from surgery. Even though humans have failed him in the past, his forgiving heart makes him a joy to care for. Not a day goes by that the volunteers that care for him aren’t glad that we were able to save him. We all recognize and are glad for the a little bit of magic he brought into all of our hearts.
To learn more about the All About Equine Rescue and to see more breath-taking photos, check out their website at www.allaboutequine.org.
Animal Guardians Horse Rescue – Ventura County, California
Joining Hearts & Hands to Hooves
In the last 9 years, the Animal Guardians Horse Rescue has successfully rescued and retired over 50 horses with special needs into permanent loving homes. Through their detailed adoption process, they create excellent matches between horses and adopters, staying true to their motto – “Joining Hearts & Hands to Hooves.”
Most of the horses at Animal Guardians Horse Rescue have special needs and are over twenty years old. Many of them are blind and all are treated with the best care possible in their various foster care locations.
Animal Guardians Horse Rescue is one of 30 rescues selected to participate in the national pilot training program with the HSUS Forever Foundation Training Program with Carter Ranch Horse. This program involves natural horsemanship training techniques, but each horse is unique, so each horse is trained based on its special needs.
Deborah Greene, the President of Animal Guardians Horse Rescue, says that one of her favorite success stories is about a rescue horse named Gitana. She shared Gitana's story during a recent interview:
“Gitana was only 3 years old and had been locked in a stall full of manure and muck for months until the L.A. City Animal Services confiscated her for cruelty and neglect. Gitana weighed a mere 425 lb. when she should have weighed at least 800 to 900 lb. at her height and age.
When we picked her up out of the West Valley Animal Shelter, she could hardly stand up. We found her shivering in the cold rain, lying in a ball with her head twisted the wrong way, unable to find the strength to even eat. When we loaded her onto the trailer, she nearly collapsed, but held on until we made it to the boarding stable where we kept her for almost a year.
She was so happy to have found her way out of Hell, and thoroughly enjoyed the care and attention given by our volunteers and boarding stable owner. Gitana made a full come back and miraculously ended up perfectly sound and healthy. She was adopted by a wonderful young woman in Thousand Oaks who trained her to sort cattle and do western riding & eventing. Gitana loves it.”
This individualized care is one of the aspects that makes Animal Guardians Horse Rescue so unique. Because this organization is so small, they are able to make sure each individual horse is loved and receives the best possible treatment.
Being small has challenges as well. Greene says they are “run completely by volunteerism and donations” and so they would benefit greatly from increased donations and corporate sponsorship. Their goal is to be able to purchase their own ranch to bring all their fostered horses into one sanctuary. You can help make this dream a reality by donating to Animal Guardians Horse Rescue today.
In addition to financial contributions, you can help this rescue organization by donating your time. Their biggest challenge is not having enough manpower – they especially need help from volunteers to run the behind-the-scenes operations. Volunteering at Animal Guardians Horse Rescue is an experience to be remembered, because they really are “an exemplary equine retirement sanctuary rescue and truly a rescue family!”
Animal Guardians Horse Rescue, Inc.
Location: Ventura County, California
Donations: P.O. Box 941494, Simi Valley, CA 93094
Coachella Valley Horse Rescue - Indio, California
Too Much Work, Too Few Hands: Perseverance in the Desert Heat
The story behind the formation of the Coachella Valley Horse Rescue is long and fascinating. After CVHR Rescue Director Annette Garcia and her companions noticed a growing need for help in their Indio, California community, it was a generous donation from Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres that finally got them onto their feet. This allowed them to improve horse facilities on otherwise useless land so they could continue their rescue work.
Horses in this community need to deal with temperatures that can reach 124 degrees with little natural shade and limited cool drinking water. CVHR workers have noticed that many citizens of their community are ill equipped to help their animals survive these conditions. Many horses were being left to suffer, abandoned, or sold to slaughter buyers for shipment to Mexico and Canada.
After CVHR was started in 2008, they began to take in horses suffering from infections, protruding ribs, scars, overgrown hooves, and a severe distrust of humans. Luckily, a team of eager volunteers were ready to step forward and help these animals learn how to be happy horses once again. CVHR, formly known as the Coachella Valley Mounted Rangers, has been located in Indio, California for more than 50 years.
When they first started the rescue, they did not have hay barns, arenas, lights, buildings, trees, bathrooms, or even running water. Thanks to the generous donation from Portia and Ellen, along with other public donations they were able to install structures, created artificial shade areas, plant trees, post light poles, and start their rescue work.
Volunteers at the rescue help the horses heal in both body and mind before they are adopted out to new and loving homes. In addition, the organization hosts education events for local youth groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Desert Recreation District. Their sweet and loving miniature horses are available for community events to help build confidence in those are are intimidated by larger horses. They enjoy participating in local events for Special Needs children and adults.
Annette Garcia stressed, “We don’t want to be a rescue that needs to be rescued.” The amount of work at CVHR can be overwhelming at times and despite their team of volunteers and board members, there is often too much work and too few hands. The costs of running the rescue are great and the organization is constantly in need of more donations to cover the costs of feed, hay, hoof care, supplements, and veterinary care for the horses. They would like to acquire a 4 horse stock trailer for use in transporting new animals to the ranch. If you would like to get involved, please contact CVHR using the information provided below.
Coachella Valley Horse Rescue | 760-808-6279
Fahnestock Ranch - Acton, California
“It can be an impressive and quick transition for some horses that suddenly feel they finally have a voice and someone who cares enough to listen.”
Founded in Acton, California, Fahnestock Ranch is situated in the ideal location for the horses that it strives to help. “Acton is dedicated to preserving the old western lifestyle,” says Michael, lead trainer at Fahnestock. “To this day we can still ride our horses to the local stores, post office, library, etc as all businesses and governmental public offices cater to horseback riding as a primary means of transportation,” he explains.
Initially formed as a horse boarding facility, the needs of the community changed drastically in 2007 with the change in the economy. Many horse owners were losing their property and the horses were being turned out into the desert, in an attempt to keep them out of the kill buyer’s trailers. “Good Samaritans trying to do the right thing would take loads of hay and dump them for them to eat, only to come back a few days later to find dead horses from colic, mostly eating too fast with no water,” remembers Michael. Knowing that they couldn’t stand by and let this continue, Fahnestock Ranch transformed into the horse rescue that remains today.
Equines of all breeds and backgrounds are accepted at Fahnestock Ranch. “We have become known as the place to take horses that no one else will take due to training or behavioral issues,” says Michael. This includes ex-rodeo bucking horses, horses that have never been saddled, wild mustangs and horses that suffered trauma at the hands of humans.
New arrivals find safety and comfort as soon as they step onto the property. “We work with every single veterinary group within a 60 mile radius to give any sick horse the most appropriate care available for its ailment,” Michael states. This level of dedication is carried on throughout the rehabilitation process for each and every horse at Fahnestock.
Training at the ranch is focused solely on the needs of the horse, following natural horsemanship techniques. They specialize in horses that have had little to no training, or have been abused or poorly handled in the past. “We let the horse speak to us individually,” Michael explains. “We listen to the exact needs that each particular horse is requesting, in order to push through the past hurdles the horse has had communicating with humans, due to the lack of humans listening.”
This simple act of listening works wonders for the horses at Fahnestock. “It can be an impressive and quick transition for some horses that suddenly feel they finally have a voice and someone who cares enough to listen,” states Michael.
Compassion and respect for the horses is what drives the work at Fahnestock Ranch each day. As Michael says, “humans would not be where they are today without this magnificent creature, there is no other animal you can say that about. We have long forgotten the history and past that has brought us into this new age where we discard them so easily.”
Use the information below to learn more, donate, and help the family at Fahnestock Ranch continue to build their community.
Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue - Valley Center, California
Rescue Uses Social Media to Showcase Rehabilitation Efforts
Nicki Branch formed the Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue of Valley Center, CA in 2002 after viewing an Animal Planet documentary on the slaughter of horses. “In shock, I searched the web and found out approximately 150,000 American horses are slaughtered each year and their meat exported to countries like Japan, France, and Belgium,” she said. Today, the rescue helps horses of all breeds including deaf or maimed animals. Sadly, half of the incoming horses are severely emaciated. They are put on a carefully planned rehabilitation program that gradually increasing their feed and exercise. Horses are often returned to a healthy weight in about three months.
Once the horses are at a healthy weight, Falcon Ridge uses four offsite trainers to start the horses back under saddle. Many adopters find the organization through their website, Facebook, or even Craig’s List. It is obvious that Nicki and her staff care greatly for their animals. Nicki explained, “Horses do not have to be rideable to enjoy them…Horses improve your health and well being just by being around them, grooming them or taking them for walks…They deserve our commitment and devotion as family members.”
At the Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue, workers use a well-maintained Facebook account to show off their efforts. Nicki explains, “The general public gets to watch horses get rescued, then watch as they gain weight and feel better, then get trained, then get to see them adopted.” She is proud of the approximately 50 horses that they rehabilitate and adopt out each year. “We take horses who have been at risk or in horrible situations and put them in nice homes with people who love and pamper them.”
Healing Hands Horsemanship Inc. - Elk Grove, California
“Follow your dreams” and “Do what you love!”
Gina Hery grew up surrounded by friends and family who always said to “follow your dreams” and “do what you love”. As the daughter of George Hery, the first professional World Champion trampolinist, she was inspired by his accomplishments and knew that following your dreams meant you could accomplish big things in life. Horses were always a childhood fantasy for Gina and at a very young age, when her uncle placed her on top of one of his prized stallions, that fantasy became a lifelong passion.
Gina started Healing Hands Horsemanship Inc. to follow her dream to enrich the lives of others with her rescue horses and ponies. Her vision, which started in 2015 as a backyard program with a pregnant mare and a few key students, has become a federally recognized horse rescue with locations in Gardernville, Nevada and Elk Grove, California.
HHHI is a small program that rescues domestic horses and ponies, which are eventually evaluated for either the lessons program and/or adoption. Once accepted, all horses and ponies are evaluated and treated by a veterinarian to determine each animal’s individual needs and limitations, if there are any. Training at HHHI is a process that teaches not only the horses, but the students that spend their time here as well. Everyone, horse and human alike, works and learns together at HHHI.
Students of all ages and abilities are welcome at HHHI, where they learn horse care and handing skills. While riding is a portion of the lessons, they are also learning about horse ownership and the responsibilities that go along with it, such as pre-veterinary care and horse training. “HHHI’s professional coaches and volunteer staff will prepare students to potentially be knowledgeable horse owners or professionals, while caring for and training the rescue horses,” says Gina.
HHHI counts the growth that they see in their students as some of their greatest successes. As Gina says, “their determination to learn, conquer their fears, become physically stronger and make lifelong friends with the horses and the people who come together for the purpose of horse rescue is inspiring. Through each of their individual challenges, our students continue to participate and grow.”
Adoption from HHHI functions somewhat differently than other rescues, based on matching horses or ponies with their students throughout the training process. Any student eligible for adopting must have completed ten levels of horsemanship and horse care knowledge, provided by the professionals at HHHI. This not only helps to ensure the care of the horse, but allows the bond between the horse and its potential owner to grow and strengthen mutually over time.
Please use the information below to find out how you can donate to HHHI or to sign up for lessons. Your contributions are much appreciated and every little bit helps to allow HHHI’s students to follow their dreams just like Gina continues to do today.
Healing Hands Horsemanship Inc.
Gardnerville, Nevada & Elk Grove, California
Horses Honor - Lincoln, California
“Horses Honor was created from gumption and hutzpah."
Nestled on 83 acres in the Sierra Foothills, Horses Honor provides a life of rest and relaxation for elderly horses who have no advocates. The sanctuary’s founder, Nina Thompson says, “Horses Honor was created from gumption and hutzpah”, which comes in handy for these horses that may have lost theirs along the way. “We specialize in elder horses that have given their lives to mankind only to find themselves homeless and at risk for going to slaughter or suffering neglect,” says Nina. “We give them an enviable retirement where their every need is met in idyllic paradise.”
The horses at the sanctuary come from a variety of circumstances, some from neglect or abuse and others are beloved family members whose owners simply can’t care for them anymore. As Nina says, “every horse here has a story.”
Nina learned early on that a horse’s life is not always on easy one. Addy arrived at Horses Honor early on, however she had already been through enough for many lifetimes. “A sweet, loving older thoroughbred mare, Addy began her career as a racehorse. When she was no longer considered fast enough, she was used as a broodmare. When she could no longer produce babies, she was sold for slaughter,” remembers Nina. A local rescue saved Addy from auction and placed her with a new home, thinking she had found her happy ending.
Not long after, Addy showed up at auction a second time, having been discarded by her new family. The same rescue recognized Addy and saved her again, this time bringing her to Horses Honor. Enough was enough and Addy deserved better. “Addy had been discarded by every industry—racing, breeding, riding & showing. Addy, the miracle horse, rescued from slaughter twice,” says Nina. Addy spent the rest of her days with her new best buddy, Fulton, in a tree studded pasture at her true forever home.
Regardless of the path that brings them to Horses Honor, each horse receives a safe home and care for the duration of its life. The staff at the sanctuary work closely with the veterinarian to address each horse’s individual needs. “We feed a lot of senior feed,” laughs Nina.
These horses are allowed to enjoy the rest of their lives as they see fit. The grounds include irrigated and seasonal pastures, huge trees, a barn, an arena, and ponds for them to enjoy along with their other companions. “No horse is stall-bound unless a medical emergency calls for confinement,” Nina explains. Horses Honor believes that these horses have earned the right to spend their time doing what they enjoy, without anything being expected of them.
Horses Honor has rescued over 500 horses since its founding in 1999. They hold 25 horses at a time, only taking in new horses when space becomes available. This ensures that each horse remains comfortable and receives the care and attention it needs throughout its stay.
Horses Honor is able to give a safe life to these horses through the dedication of their supporters. Use the information below to contribute funds or donate new and used supplies to their Tack Store, every little bit helps these horses enjoy one more day in a peaceful home.
Humanity for Horses - Mount Shasta, CA
"The more money we can raise, the more animals we can save."
Humanity for Horses sanctuary occupies 151 acres in northern California. Every day our animals wake up to beautiful vistas of Mount Shasta and wide open spaces.
Six years ago, our organization was literally formed overnight. When we learned about horse slaughter and other atrocities that occur to unwanted horses, we gathered a group of like-minded people together, invited local animal authorities, and in one meeting, Humanity for Horses was born. The sanctuary was opened a few months later with the mission that our rescues would live out the rest of their lives in security and peace.
We currently have 351 rescued horses, each with their own unique story. We have all breeds, including a large number of thoroughbreds. We have a hospital and an infirmary which has expanded in size every year. Our vet spends one day a week at our hospital and is always on call. Horses with illness or pain issues live near the hospital so it is efficient for select staff members to monitor their progress and administer required medications.
When a horse comes in who has been badly mistreated, we pull out all the stops to insure he gets well. Not only do we regulate his diet, we determine what makes him feel safe. We’ll pair him up if that makes him happy, or give him his own space if that’s what he needs. No matter what, he is tended to by caring staff, which includes a hugging program.
Our biggest challenge is being able to rescue more animals. The more money we can raise, the more animals we can save.
We consider our greatest success the fact that so many of the horses who have come to us from severe abuse or neglect, have demonstrated such love and gratitude. We all feel they give us so much more than we could ever do for them. Many have told us they feel peace and hope from the horses the moment they enter the sanctuary.
Our sanctuary is a permanent home for our rescues. We feel this commitment is essential; particularly for horses that have been through vulnerable situations.
We currently transport horses around the sanctuary with an older 4-horse stock trailer. Ideally, we would get good use out of an aluminum 6-horse trailer.
Our official greeter is a Thoroughbred horse we call Ezekiel. Ezekiel was once a famous racehorse who developed cancer, and ultimately had his ears removed. When he came to us a few years ago, he was addicted to animal crackers and lots of attention. Because he is vulnerable to sun, he lives in a shaded area of the infirmary with his best friend, Timothy, a little mule who thinks he’s a thoroughbred. The two are inseparable and often go to the turnout early mornings to run and play. Whenever kids come to visit, Ezekiel is always the highlight of the day. They ask lots of questions, and stroke the side of his nose which he adores. As for Timothy, he has learned to stand on his tippy toes so he can get his share of attention too.
PO Box 1510
Mount Shasta, CA 96067
Phone: (530) 926-9990
Laughing Pony Rescue - Rancho Santa Fe, California
Small On Land, Huge In Passion for Horses
The name of this rescue can’t help but bring a smile to your face. The Laughing Pony Rescue features a happy horse on its logo and cheerful volunteers on its webpage. The rescue is located in Rancho Santa Fe, California in San Diego County. They describe on their webpage that they are ‘dusty and ramshackle, but we love our horses and they have the best possible care.’
The rescue was formed by a woman named Celia in 2009. She had been rescuing horses for over thirty years and decide to form a non-profit corporation in order to fund those efforts. Rescue representative Carol Ford explained, “We rescue horses of all breeds that have been abused, abandoned, or bound for a slaughterhouse.” This includes Premarin farm mares who are confined during pregnancy to harvest the hormones from their urine.
When new horses first arrive, a vet is brought in to evaluate their health. Supplements are provided and each horse is put on a regular feed and exercise routine so they can regain physical and mental health. Carol shared, “They get lots of special attention from our volunteers, like brushing, stroking, walking them, and just being with them.”
Each horse has his ground manners assessed to see if they need additional halter training. They are also exposed to various toys to help desensitize. “We spend lots of time brushing and touching our new horses to get them used to trusting humans.”
New adopters need to fill out an application before visiting the ranch to meet the horses. “If there’s a connection, we visit the facility where they will home the horse. We follow these transactions for 2 years to make sure all is working out for both horse and human.”
As with many rescues, the Laughing Pony Rescue’s biggest needs are financial. Despite the hardship, they rejoice in every horse that is taken from a negative situation to find love and trust in humans once again.
Carol concluded, “We are small because of land, not passion. We are run with 100% volunteers, no paid staff. We have had people with PTSD, mental challenges, physical challenges, some undergoing chemotherapy, healthy people, people who have never been around horses, horse people, people going through family deaths or divorce, all of whom have found some type of healing in being at the ranch. Working with horses not only helps you physically, it can heal you emotionally. Horses speak to our inner nature and we can receive it without threat or defensiveness. And, we are held responsible and accountable for their well-being. Quite a privilege.”
Laughing Pony Rescue
Location: Rancho Santa Fe, California
Donate: P.O. Box 32, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Otra Mas - San Juan Capistrano, California
At Otra Mas, horses receive a new career, becoming therapy horses in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning Programs
“Otra Mas is Spanish for “another one” or “one more” and we strive to restore one horse, one person, one family or one group at a time back to wholeness,” says Katherine Holman. This is the goal at Otra Mas, a rescue that functions as a place of healing for both horses and humans alike.
Otra Mas takes in performance and work horses that can no longer perform their jobs due to aging or injury, saving them from euthanasia or being put out to pasture, an idea that is not as nice for the horses as it may sound. “Even though the picture of the horse grazing on the green grass in the large open meadow is pretty, to the horses, out to pasture equals abandonment. They feel rejected, shamed and lonely. They need people. They need to work,” says Katherine.
At Otra Mas, these horses receive a new career, becoming therapy horses in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning Programs. With over 55 years of experience caring for horses, Katherine and her team are able to provide shelter, rehabilitation and training for serviceably-sound horses. “My goal is to pave a smooth road for these horses and provide a safe haven so that they do not suffer in their later years,” states Katherine.
Otra Mas works with the military, various recovery homes and individuals of all ages in need of equine assisted psychotherapy. Their hard work and dedication have been featured in various newspapers and on CNN.
One story, written by Joshua Thaisen and featured in The Guardian, tells of a young woman named Sarah. Sarah was homeless by the age of 19, after a childhood filled with violence, abuse, trauma, drug addiction and mental illness. After entering Pathways to Independence, a program that offered her a place to live, access to education and a positive outlook for her future, Sarah enrolled in equine therapy program with Otra Mas.
Sarah had little experience with horses and had never participated in treatment options outside of medication and traditional talk therapy. “I was a little skeptical at first and I found the horses to be very intimidating. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had no expectations,” said Sarah. However, after several sessions with her partner, a horse named Chips, Sarah felt a marked improvement. She explains that “walking through her childhood” with the horses allowed her to put her pain in the past, and helped her identify the person she hopes to become. Sarah also noted considerable growth in her communication skills and confidence all thanks to her sessions.
Sarah is one of more than 200 people that have taken part in equine assisted psychotherapy at Otra Mas since it’s opening, individuals suffering from depression, anger management issues and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Use the information below to learn more about Otra Mas and donate to help their team continue the work they do for so many horses and humans in need of a little assistance.
San Juan Capistrano, California
Polo Pony Rescue - Santa Clarita, California
A Safety Net for Ex Polo Ponies
In Santa Clarita, California, there is a special place for ex polo ponies to find sanctuary. We spoke with Cathleen Trope of the Polo Pony Rescue to learn about their program. Cathy shared, "I grew up in polo, at a barn in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While there are many rescues for ex racehorses, it has always bothered me that there didn't seem to be any for ex polo ponies."
The Polo Pony Rescue rescues a wide range of horses including those given up due to financial reasons or injury and those who are not mentally able to do polo. They also find ex polo ponies at livestock auctions, animal shelters, or kill lots. "We aim to provide a safety net for as many ex polo horses as possible."
When rehabilitating the horses, Cathy recommends, "lots of soaked hay pellets and avoid grain." The results pictures she shared show how this plan helps her horses regain weight. A professional trainer, farrier, massage therapist, and chiropractor help place the horses in a new training plan that suits their skill set. "We are lucky to have such a versatile trainer who can find every horse's gift and isn't tempted to stuff a square peg into a round hole."
In Santa Clarita, the Polo Pony Rescues needs to deal with some one of the most expensive prices in our nation. A single hay bale costs $17. Still, Cathy is happy to see some of her horses who were previously scared and aggressive turn into happy and talented riding companions. "Many of our adopted horses are showing successfully. We have one that came in lame on 3 of 4 legs and was so painful and angry that she was biting people. She just got a 1st and two 2nds in jumpers at a rated show with her 15-year-old owner!"
The Polo Pony Rescue has a talented group of workers. "The team we have put together here is like none that I've ever worked with before," Cathy explained. "My trainer is excellent - she can stay calm to work with the most challenging problem horses and get them back on track. We have an amazing farrier, an amazing chiropractor, and an amazing massage therapist."
One particular story sticks in Cathy's heart. Rose was a rescued 2-year-old who was almost put to sleep due to her extreme aggression. "We offered to take her and , a year later, she is in a happy home learning polo. She loves people now. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing you have completely changed the course of a horse's life."
Polo Pony Rescue
Location: Santa Clarita, California
Donate: 32500 Agua Dulce Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91390
Pregnant Mare Rescue Foundation - Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County, CA
“Our results for both horse and human are phenomenal."
The Pregnant Mare Rescue Foundation of California focuses their efforts on one particular population of needy horses – mares and foals. These stories can be particularly heartbreaking, but this sadness can be balanced out by the truly wonderful work being doing by this organization. Through their efforts, mares and foals are given a second chance to live the life they deserve.
The rescue was started by Lynn Hummer who founded the organization in 2006. Her efforts are focused on helping pregnant mares, mares with foals, and orphaned foals from all over the countryside.
They take in Premarin mares, which are mares who are kept constantly pregnant and cruelly confined so their urine can be used for menopause drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. They also take in Nursemare foals who are left orphaned after their mothers are sent to nurse more ‘expensive’ foals like those in the Thoroughbred racing industry. They also take in discarded broodmares or mares bound for slaughter.
Once special story is that of Angel. This mare had recently delivered a foal when three of her fellow mares were suddenly ripped away from their new foals and shipped off to slaughter. Angel looked on as three terrified newly orphaned foals looked to her for comfort. She adopted these foals as her own and showed up at PMR with four little ones tagging behind. This big-hearted mare was eventually placed in a happy and loving home. Lynn shared, “Her kindness was extraordinary and the fact she ended up almost sent to slaughter is unimaginable.”
In a recent interview, Lynn described how the PMR staff cares for “sick mares and emotionally terrified animals.” They are given veterinary attention and allowed time to decompress and physically heal. Alternative healing methods are used like Flower Essences, Reiki Energy healing, Cranial Sacral therapy, and Animal Communication to heal their minds and bodies.
“Our results for both horse and human are phenomenal,” Lynn explained. She also urged us to check out her book on the topic called “For the Love of Horses” coming out in late 2017.
Once horses are physically fit, they are taken to a PMR satellite facility for rehabilitation and retraining. Mares are sent there for evaluation and training once the foals have been weaned and placed in homes.
Potential adopters are found through social media and several horse websites. “Believe it or not, this is the hardest part of the process,” Lynn explained. “To find a person who acknowledges what horses are capable of, and who has a trainer that honors that is very difficult to find.”
That challenges at PMR include strict adherence to a budget. “The need is so great, and it is so hard to see pregnant mares or foals on the kill lots or in distress. We have offers for foster pastures or neighboring barns, but that requires additional funding and sometimes resources. Our second biggest challenge is locating a donation of land for permanent sanctuary. I have people willing to relocate and go be stewards and watch over the horses and property. We need a place for mares to go and be horses.”
Part of this challenge is finding adopters who share the same philosophy as Lynn and the PMR staff. “We acknowledge that horses are sentient beings,” she shared. “Their usefulness does not end when they can't be ridden (for whatever reason). They are best friends, therapists, companions, pasture ornaments, and most importantly true healers when given the opportunity.”
If you are interested in helping this organization, check out their information below:
Pregnant Mare Rescue Foundation
Location: Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties, CA
Return to Freedom - Lompoc, California
A Conservation Program for Rare Strains of the Dwindling Spanish Mustang Breed
The Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary & Preservation is located in Lompoc, California where it helps rehome and preserve wild horses and burros. We spoke with Founder and President Neda DeMayo who helped us understand how this fascinating organization operates.
“In 1998, Return to Freedom was created as a model to explore alternatives to the way wild horses and burros are typically managed both in sanctuaries and on the range.” RTF does their best to maintain natural family and social groups in all of the horses brought to the reservation. These horses are typically caught on US Fish and Wildlife Ranges by the Bureau of Land Management.
RTF is more than just a ‘rescue’ organization for these wild equines. They also act as advocates for the animals and help to educate the public. Neda shared, “Since Return to Freedom opened our Sanctuary gates in 1998, we have pioneered innovative wild horse management and education programs. As an organization, we opted to focus on a solutions-based approach to the issue of wild horse management. The general public, youth organizations and lawmakers learn directly from sensitive observation of natural herds and also participate in a variety of experiential workshops.”
“Aside from a few quarter horses, the horses at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary are wild horses and burros who have been captured from Federal lands by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or Fish and Wildlife. Some are wild horses and Burros who have fallen through the cracks through failed adoptions and/or were heading to slaughter.” One of the unique aspects of this organization is their desire to help conserve the rare strains of the dwindling Spanish Mustang breed in the western United States.
Neda continued, “RTF has horses of different ages and metabolic needs. Whether we are providing care for an individual special needs horse or working closely with local government agencies on large scale animal starvation cases- we use variety of quality hay, special feeds, homeopathy, pro-biotics and a range of natural and allopathic remedies. We strive to stay as close to natural feed as possible, preferring less sugar and carbs.
“We advertise on social media and word of mouth. Adoption is not a focus for RTF, although we do have well-adjusted horses who like human interaction available for adoption, our focus is more on Sanctuary, Education and Advocacy. We have a strict application process starting with a Terms and Conditions document. We have mandatory site visits and horses cannot be re-homed, sold or slaughtered.”
Funding remains RTF’s biggest ongoing challenge and need. Despite this all-to-familiar struggle for equine rescue groups in our country, RTF can boast of some great successes over the years. For example, in 1998, they were able to preserve intact family and bachelor stallion bands for 25 wild horses that were caught on horseback in the Hart Mountain Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. In 2003, Dreamworks selected their facilities for the permanent home of Spirit (The Kiger Mustang stallion used as the muse for the 2002 animated feature film, “Spirt, Stallion of Cimarron”).
Neda shared, “In 2004- after an independent investigation, RTF launched a national Campaign and a coalition of 50 organizations nationwide to create a more unified effort and messaging on wild horse and burro issues. In 2016 the Campaign became a separate 501C3 organization.” Finally, in 2014, RTF welcomed actor and activist Robert Redford as a Director in the organization.
We salute the Return to Freedom organization for their work in preserving our nation’s wild horses and burros. Their work is vitally important to preserve an important part of our national heritage. Neda concluded, “There are so many amazing stories about the horses and burros themselves as well as the people who visit us here at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse sanctuary. After 18 years we have marveled at children who have visited through the Make A Wish Foundation to fulfill their dream to meet “the real Spirit” and wild horses, visitors who in spite of various handicaps or age, journey out to spend time immersed in the herd surrounded by wild horse families, youth who choose to give up their birthday presents and instead ask that their families and friends donate to the animals.”
To learn how you can help, see below:
Wild Horse Sanctuary, Education, Advocacy and Conservation
Location: Lompoc, California
Donate: P.O. Box 926 Lompoc, CA 93438
Sadie's Haven Horse Rescue & Sanctuary - Santa Rosa, CA
Every Horse Deserves Respect and Compassion
Sadie’s Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary feels that every horse deserves respectful and compassionate treatment. We spoke with founder Vicki Sims who explained that Sadie’s Haven is affiliated with an organization called BrightHaven, which is a holistic animal sanctuary, hospice, rescue and education center. She has her hands full working with both operations. “We have 65 animals here between both rescues- and just myself with some volunteers and 2 part-time helpers,” she lamented.
Sadie’s Haven specializes in helping horses that are neglected, abused or abandoned. Many of these animals have untreated conditions that caused their former owners to caste them aside.
It is the rescue’s goal to help these animals regain happy and healthy lives free from the threat of slaughter in Mexico or Canada. Many of the horses currently being cared for at the rescue are too old to ride, suffering from chronic lameness, or dealing with breathing problems. The workers care for these horses in an effort to keep them comfortable and happy for the rest of their natural lives.
In addition, Sadie’s Haven works to inform and educate the public about this important equine issue. Community tours and day camps help local community members and youth learn about the plight of these horses.
Sadie’s Haven is in need of monetary donations and volunteers who can contribute to the care and re-homing of rescued horse. To learn more, visit their site below.
Sadie's Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary
Location: Santa Rosa, Ca
Donate: PO Box 1743, Sebastopol, CA 95473
Saffyre Sanctuary - Los Angeles, California
A Rescue That Uses Holistic Care to Heal Arabians
Saffyre Sanctuary is located in Sylmar, California outside of Los Angeles. Founder Esta Bernstein saw horse abuse first hand as a child, so Saffyre Sanctuary is the fulfillment of her lifetime dream. She explained, “We primarily rescue and rehabilitate Arabians, taking in ones who have suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse.” In fact, one of Esta’s personal horses, Caleyndar, is a world famous face for the Arabian breed.
Horses are given individualized diets and holistic care that includes chiropractic, acupuncture, and exercise. These are horses that would otherwise have had no other chance of being saved. They are often horses with behavior issues, or those in need of lengthy recovery and complex rehab procedures. “Whatever they need – they receive,” shared Esta.
She next talked about their retraining program. “We use positive reinforcement methods and re-socializing into a herd environment, while spending quality one-on-one time as required so they are trusting and wanting to be with humans.”
Potential adopters find Saffyre Sanctuary from all of the country using their website, social medial and horse related advertising sites. Adopters and horses are paired in a very unique way. According to Esta, “We actually let the horses choose their person. They always know if it will be the perfect home for them.”
Saffyre Sanctuary is in continual need of funding and a new facility. They are operating out of a boarding facility which restricts the number of horses they are able to take in. Esta shared that their greatest successes are assisting in large re-homing projects. Recently they helped re-home 20 horses that were suffering from neglect.
The staff members of Saffyre Sanctuary continue onward with a positive attitude. “We do everything from the horse's perspective, and incorporate spiritual and well-being practices into our own educational and certification programs.”
Location: Los Angeles, California
Donate: P.O. Box 921708 Sylmar, California 91392-1708
Saving Horses, Inc. - Encinitas, California
Audrey’s efforts may have started small, but her desire to help quickly grew.
Audrey Reynolds formed Saving Horses, Inc. in 2007 after recognizing the need to rescue healthy adoptable horses from kill buyers at auctions in her area. Audrey’s efforts may have started small, but her desire to help quickly grew. She started saving horses from feedlots in other states, as well as rescuing horses from neglect, abandonment and surrender. While she currently has 10 horses at the facility in Encinitas, Saving Horses has rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed more than 100 horses to date.
Saving Horses has had horses of all breeds and ages during their time; BLM mustangs, Thoroughbreds off the track, pregnant mares, young, old and everything in between. Feeding and retraining at SHI reflect their constant diligence to ensure that each horse’s every need is met. “All get daily exercise, turnout and socialization with other horses, joint injections when necessary for older horses and expert farrier work.” SHI also partners with local chiropractors and massage & body workers to ensure the horse’s comfort.
SHI considers progress and healing for any horse in their program a great success. Their most recent rescue, Dewdrop’s Heart, was found at a Texas feedlot after being thrown away by the racing industry. The four year old Thoroughbred arrived at SHI emaciated and full of worms and sand. She is now undergoing rehabilitative training, but “she is making a wonderful recovery and we are optimistic that she will make a lovely riding horse,” says Audrey.
SHI’s biggest challenge is finding suitable forever homes for their horses, as many of them do have special needs and have had a difficult life to get to where they are. “We find that too many people just want the perfect forever healthy horse, they don’t want to have to spend much money to maintain sore joints or do special shoeing,” Audrey says. For this reason, SHI has an extensive screening process for potential adopters that involves multiple supervised visits at the facility, as well as site visits to the potential adopters’ location.
SHI’s desire to help extends to the human members of their community as well, welcoming volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. The rescue serves as a work site for Community Interface Services and welcomes young adults with special needs twice a week through this program. The therapeutic riding program at SHI caters to children with autism.
All of the horses at SHI are active participants in an Equine Assisted Therapy Program. They work with EponaQuest certified therapist, Susan Crimmins, PHD to help individuals suffering from social and emotional issues, including PTSD. Through the use of grants SHI has also been able to work with Generate Hope, an organization that houses and assists young women that have survived the atrocities of human trafficking.
Please use the information below to learn more about the wide range of incredible support that Saving Horse, Inc. provides every day for both humans and horses in their community. Also learn how to donate funds or time and help their inspiring story continue.
Saving Horses, Inc.
Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue - Sebastopol, California
GIMME SHELTER: Models for Horse Rescue
Here at Double D Trailers, we have the privilege of hearing many truly touching horse stories. One of those stories came from Kate Sullivan of the Sonoma Action for Equine Rescues (SAFER). We featured her story in a full article about the 2015 Wildfires in Lake County, California.
Here, in Kate's own words, she shares more about how SAFER operates...
"There are many models of what is termed “horse rescue.” Sometimes it’s an effort to support a herd of equines that is being given sanctuary after misfortune and displacement. There are also programs that focus on horses already sitting on feedlots waiting for slaughter trucks to come and get them. This can create a sense of emergency that many folks respond to by making an effort to keep them off that truck. Many of these are working with the kill buyers however and the money goes to acquiring more horses for slaughter. There are groups that focus on working with the Animal Control Officers of their local county to help house and feed horses impounded for neglect and support prosecution of cruelty. And so very many self-funded efforts to rescue and rehome a few at a time. Some groups have the 501(c)3 non-profit status that allows contributions to be tax deductible. Others go it alone without this support.
"All these efforts have one value in common: that it matters to the heart and soul of our culture that these wonderful creatures we have bred to be in partnership with us be given responsible and respectful treatment. Sometimes that is vet care, or a new home. Sometimes it is a bullet from a knowledgeable marksman. Most would agree that the latter is the very least they should expect from the human caretaker; that it is part of the sacred contract we humans have with Equus; without whom civilization as we know it would never have happened.
"SAFER (Sonoma Action For Equine Rescue) was formed - with no material resources at the start– to serve folks that were losing theirs. It was launched with no money, no land, no truck or trailer: only some ideas of what people needed to solve immediate problems. As founder, I had no intention of moving beyond the borders of our local county but Jim Mayfield – owner of Rainbow Ag Feed stores – changed all that. He heard about our programs and thought that Lake County and Mendocino should have those programs too. When I protested he suggested that what was needed was “a steering committee” to handle things in other counties. And that is what has happened.
"Here are the SAFER public service programs:
1. A SAFER Donate A Bale program in Feed stores takes donations at the point of purchase from those who can spare some cash and want to help their neighbors. SAFER then makes a retail purchase with those donations that supports the Public Hay Assistance Program. Instead of just collecting change in a jar that gets passed along to the rescue: this helps the feed store as well – who often respond by giving SAFER a discount. This program also feeds SAFER horses who end up in our foster care programs. The Public Hay Assistance Program is for short term (under 3 months) help in feeding horses so that they can remain in their homes until the owners find other means to support them. Applications can be found on the main page of the website: www.saferhorse.com. It’s far easier to keep horses in the homes where they are wanted than to try and find other homes. Ethical Horse Rescues that offer this on their website should ALWAYS have the funds to fulfill these obligations if they are so advertised.
2. A Free Media Listing for those who need to rehome their horses quickly. Our website, FaceBook pages and Groups, and Constant Contact ENewsletter has been going for 8 years now and gets a lot of attention. Owners email their pictures and an extensive description of their animal and each one gets its own page for potential owners to peruse. We also encourage people who want to rescue on their own to use this as their own resource. See the website for more information under “Adoptions.” It is absolutely free, but is only for horses that the owner will part with for under $800.
3. SAFER Foster Program – Since SAFER has no facilities, we are dependent on folks that volunteer to house and care for horses who are waiting for new homes. SAFER pays for feed, farrier and vet. For more information on what it takes to be a foster see “Partner Facilities” on the SAFER website.
4. Auction Rescues - If SAFER has openings in its foster care program, we go to the Petaluma Auction to save horses in danger of going to slaughter. As many of you know there is a very active network of illegal slaughter transport that prey on desperate private owners; horses who will be “given a good home” are often taken to auction or direct to slaughter in Mexico."
Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue (SAFER)
Location: Sebastopol, CA
Donate: 9825 Mill Station Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472
The DarkHorse Ranch - Morongo Valley, CA
A Poet Uses Her Lifetime of Rescuing Horses to Spread Awareness and Raise Funds
Barbara Anne Dunn is a poet with a deep passion for horses. She wrote, “DarkHorse Ranch was formed in 1991. Although originally established as a boarding facility, the resources of a few empty stalls, knowledge of equine management practices, and a whole horse and holistic approach to rehabilitation and training, it quickly became a haven for horses in-need. A lifelong love of horses was its driving force.”
Over the years, her barn saw horses ranging from Mustangs to A Circuit jumper; off-the-track Thoroughbreds to horses pulled from the kill pens; Paso Finos and Peruvian Pasos; Tennessee Walkers, Arabians, and Foxtrotters, and horses of unknown heritage. She explained, “What I learned is that no horse is exempt from falling onto hard times. None.”
Barbara rehabilitated these horses using a holistic approach that addressed the whole horse including its spirit, mind, and body. She then offered them a kind hand and a good heart in retraining them so they were suitable for adoption. She shared, “Each horse was different, each horse had a story to tell, and each horse had its own quirks and idiosyncrasies--often stemming from abuse. It was vital to correctly assess the horse and the horses mindset, and work with the horse in front of you--not some idea of "how to train a horse."
She explained that her greatest challenge was really one of personal strength, courage and persistence. “Rescuing horses and facing the suffering and abuse, and trying to maintain a decent regard for your fellow human being capable of remorseless cruelty is a nearly impossible balance to achieve--or maintain. It is a given you will get heart broken time and time again.”
Barbara felt her greatest successes were in seeing a horse blossom and become themselves. “On a broader scale, it is knowing that you are helping to change attitudes, are raising awareness of responsible stewardship of the horse, and are helping to create a better future for horses and the horse-human relationship.”
The DarkHorse Ranch no longer takes in rescue horses, but instead works to network with and support those who help the horses. Barbara uses her gifts of poetry and story-telling to inspire those around her. She shared, “There are so many stories to share--a lifetime's worth. The inspiration for much of the poetry in my book, Our Captured Hearts, came from the horses and experiences at DarkHorse Ranch.”
These books of poetry along with her poetry art prints are often donated to rescues as a way for them to raise funds to support their work. We salute Barbara Anne Dunn in her ongoing efforts to help rescue horses in her area. If you would like to contact her or learn more about her poetry, please see below.
The DarkHorse Ranch
www.darkhorseranch.com and www.barbaraannedunn.com
Location: Morongo Valley, CA
Donate: PO Box 626 Morongo Valley, CA 92256
Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws - Tehachapi, California
“We live for our animal related adventures!"
Just as the name suggests, this special rescue offers a safe place for a wide variety of animals in need. Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws was formed in 2011 when Julie Sugg saw the need for horse and livestock rescue and rehabilitation in her area. She began taking in animals of all breeds and types, most of them needing rehabilitation from some level of animal abuse and cruelty.
Since 2011 they have rescued 120 animals: horses, donkeys, cats, cows, chickens, goats, turkey, rabbits, pigs and sheep. Located on a five acre ranch, it goes without saying that there is never a quiet day at Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws.
Julie and her volunteers work not only with the animals currently residing at the ranch, but also with other organizations in their community. In this way, they can ensure they are doing the greatest amount of good, while also reaching the largest number of animals. In 2016, while moving to their current location, they also assisted with emergency response, adoption funding needs and donated 40 bales of alfalfa to the Erksine Creek Fire livestock victims.
A self-described group of “crazy, outspoken, energetic individuals”, the staff at WPHC focuses on horse rescue, animal fostering and the humane treatment of animals. “We live for our animal related adventures! We look at every rescue, foster and chance to advocate for the voiceless as another new adventure and accept the challenges therein.”
Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws work primarily through social media to attract potential adopters for their animals. Would-be adopters must go through a rigorous application process including home inspections and interviews. “However, most often, the animal decides if it’s a match,” says Julie.
WPHC also offers a therapy riding program to help individuals who have struggled with abuse, medical issues and other personal hardships. “Whether it be a teenager struggling with bullying, a veteran trying to find peace of mind, or a woman seeking strength to move forward, there is nothing like a horse to understand your tears and give unconditional love,” says Julie
WPHC is run completely by volunteers and donations, so every minute and dollar is much appreciated. As Julie says, “we are only as successful as our volunteers, we are a grass roots program receiving no pay for our hours of devotion and perseverance.” Use the information below to learn out more and find your next adventure waiting for you at WPHC.
Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws
Wild Horse Sanctuary - Shingletown, CA
A Sanctuary Dedicated to Protecting and Preserving Wild Horses and Burros
In 1978, 80 wild horses who had been living on public land were captured and in danger of being destroyed. The founders of the Wild Horse Sanctuary stepped in and made the radical decision to rescue these horses and create a safe haven for them.
At the same time, they launched a media campaign to bring attention to the plight of these and hundreds of other wild horses. There are approximately 30,000 wild horses roaming free in the western part of our nation. The Wild Horse Sanctuary of Shingletown, Ca helped create a national moratorium on killing any un-adoptable wild horses that are seized from public lands.
The WHS currently has about 300 wild horses and burros living free on the 5,000 acre sanctuary. They live in family bands - mostly smaller bands of geldings and the handful of stallions on the property have their mares and foals. The WHS Executive Director, Jill Tobia, explained, “We feed the wild horses and burros in our care approximately 10 months per year. We feed over a ton of quality grass hay and alfalfa daily and offer free choice mineral supplement tubs and dewormer throughout the year.”
Any foals that are born at the Sanctuary are placed in loving homes away from the Sanctuary. Potential adopters must complete an application and undergo an interview with Sanctuary staff to ensure they have the knowledge, facility, and financial means to care for a young, unhandled horse.
The WHS welcomes more than 2,000 visitors and volunteers each year who like to view these magnificent animals in their natural habitat to better understand how they can live in balance with other wildlife and plant life. Jill shared, “Many tell us their experience at the Wild Horse Sanctuary has led them to appreciate and advocate for wild horses everywhere.”
The WHS is always in need of financial donations to support their program. They rely solely on donations from individuals and receive no government subsidies.
The WHS has a lot to be proud of. Jill explained, “We are the first Wild Horse Sanctuary established in the United States. We have hosted a number of scientific studies with regard to reproduction/contraception and behavior. We continue to serve as a model for responsible wild horse and rangeland management.”
She continued, “We offer foot tours at no charge and 2 and 3 day trail ride adventures on the Sanctuary, which allows all people an opportunity to learn more about wild horses/the American Mustang.”
They are also working with another non-profit to develop an equine assisted therapy program to help people living with PTSD and trauma. “Many are women veterans and law enforcement officers. Together we will host therapeutic retreats using the natural setting and observation of wild horse behavior here at the Sanctuary to bring healing to those in need. It’s pretty exciting!” This new program will be launched this year.
To learn more about the WHS and how to help, see below.
Wild Horse Sanctuary
Location: Shingletown, CA
Donate: 5796 Wilson Hill Road, Shingletown, CA 96088
Bear Valley Rescue - Sundre, Alberta, Canada
“Just two people doing what we can to help animals in need...”
Bear Valley Rescue is run by Mike and Kathy Bartley, a couple that describes themselves as “just two people doing what we can to help animals in need.” The Bartley’s journey to opening a horse rescue didn’t start the way you might expect. It started in 2002, when Kathy picked up a book by her favorite murder mystery author, Martha Grimes. The Grave Maurice contained a plot line based around PMU farms, something that Kathy knew nothing about at the time. However, it struck a chord with her, so she began doing research. Kathy soon learned that the only future for foals born from PMU mares was slaughter, a fact that she couldn’t sit with and not act upon.
Mike and Kathy’s first visit to an auction resulted in the purchase of 12 horses. “Being faced with hundreds of horses in pens, knowing they were all shipping to slaughter was no easy thing. Selecting just a few to save was heartbreaking,” Kathy recalls. Since its founding in 2004, the rescue has grown beyond their wildest dreams. “We now have 150 horses in our care, along with other resident animals such as rabbits, chickens, pigs, goats, llamas and cows,” says Kathy
Kathy also explained, "While originally many of our rescues were the result of the pmu industry, that is no longer the case. Most of our horses are now either owner surrenders (to keep them out of auctions) or from neglect and seizure situations."
In September of 2015, Bear Valley Rescue achieved verification status as the first Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Verified Equine Sanctuary in Canada. GFAS is the only globally recognized organization providing standards for and identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries.
As many of the horses that Bear Valley rescues are PMU mares, all of which are pregnant, the main focus is on ensuring the health and safety of both the mother and the foal. All of the horses at Bear Valley are dewormed and vetted regularly. Although many of the horses come to the sanctuary without having been worked with much, they are still surprisingly friendly and happy to be there. As Kathy says, “It is really sad the number of good horses that end up being slaughtered because no one wants them.” While adoptions aren’t the primary goal and Bear Valley functions as a lifelong home for many horses, more animals going to good homes opens up room for more to be saved.
“We have dedicated ourselves to taking in and, when possible, re-homing horses and other animals. In the process we have made a lot of sacrifices - spare time and vacations just don’t exist anymore!” Kathy jokes. “But we do what we do because we are passionate about the animals and feel that they all deserve a humane and peaceful existence, no matter what their past or future potential.”
While Bear Valley is incredibly grateful for understanding neighbors that donate the use of land and pastures for the horses, they do rely heavily on generosity from their supporters. Whether through monetary donations, volunteering, donating necessary items, or fostering and sponsoring the horses, any help is always much appreciated. Please use the information below to contribute in any way that you can and help Kathy and Mike continue their hard work.
Bear Valley Rescue
Sundre, Alberta, Canada
Dare 2 Dream Horse Rescue - Dalemead, Alberta, Canada
"We have the land and the experience necessary, so we dared to dream."
After adopting three horses from a rescue in her area, a friend suggested that Brenda Fehr start her own organization. “We have the land and the experience necessary, so we dared to dream,” says Brenda. It was just a matter of getting advice on all of the things they needed and ensuring they got started properly. The name Dare 2 Dream stuck and on December 15, 2007 they rescued their first trailer load of horses.
Dare 2 Dream takes in primarily female horses. “Our facilities don’t allow for keeping stud colts separately and we won’t take a chance on an accidental pregnancy, Brenda says. However, under certain circumstances they take in geldings.
Upon arrival, horses are checked immediately and an overall picture of the horse’s health is built. “We also use chiropractors, massage therapists, barefoot farriers and osteopaths,” explains Brenda. These specialists allow for the greatest chance of rehabilitation and healing for each horse, regardless of any issues they may have.
The retraining program at Dare 2 Dream is based on patience and ensuring the horses feel at ease. It begins with groundwork and de-spooking to build trust between the horses and the staff. “Everything is done on the horse’s time, not ours,” explains Brenda. “This could take many months as we won’t push a horse faster than what it can comfortably learn. Often they have fear issues and it takes time for them to learn we’re not going to hurt them when they make a mistake.”
Dare 2 Dream doesn’t just rescue these horses, they allow for the time and training to ensure the horses have the necessary skills to find a permanent home. The staff at the facility extends this education to adopters as well. “We offer boarding to adopters to give them time to bond with their horse and learn about individualized care and training,” says Brenda.
Aside from the pride felt seeing neglected horses return to health, Dare to Dream counts the healing of some of their volunteers in their greatest successes. “We have volunteers from all walks of life,” explains Brenda. “It’s extremely rewarding to watch a young person that has been mentally, physically or sexually abused start to heal because of the connection they build with the horses. To see their self-esteem grow is truly heartwarming.”
This connection between volunteer and horse can grow to become a lifetime bond. When Charlotte, a sick and abused six-month old horse with a halter so small it was almost cutting into her face, showed up at auction, Brenda knew she had to step in. “Her eyes pleaded with us to help her,” Brenda recalls. During her years of rehabilitation and training, Charlotte took a liking to one particular volunteer. “Charlotte would do anything for her, including tricks,” says Brenda. It was the perfect case of the perfect person for the right horse. Her volunteer felt the same way and decided to adopt Charlotte, now they spend all of their time together.
Please use the information below to donate time or funds and help Dare 2 Dream create more happy endings for horses like Charlotte.
Dare 2 Dream Horse Rescue
Dalemead, Alberta, Canada
Southwinds Horse Rescue Inc. - Oakville, MB, Canada
The Transformation to a Healthy, Happy Horse is Priceless
Irene Patterson, founder and director of Southwinds Horse Rescue Inc. saved horses single-handed for more than 20 years.
In 2014 she signed up with the Canada Revenue Agency as the only registered charitable organization in Manitoba committed to rescuing horses and providing them a safe haven. Southwinds Horse Rescue Inc. is located in Oakville, Manitoba, about 40 minutes west of Winnipeg.
Southwinds accepts all horse and pony breeds. Each horse receives a vet assessment from Equi-Tech Veterinary.
One time the organization had an intake of 8 horses at once, which ranged from a miniature horse to a draft cross. These 8 horses were running loose for 6 months together as a herd.
Some horses arrive in perfect condition while others arrive with limited human handling, injuries, and underweight issues. After the assessment Southwinds provides continuing care until the animal is adopted.
Currently the organization does not have a designated trainer. They rely on experienced volunteers to socialize and retrain the horses. Some horses have trust issues, so volunteers spend quality time talking to the animals, brushing them, and helping them feel safe.
One of the biggest challenges is treating injures and socializing horses unaccustomed to human interaction.
Rachelle (volunteer) says, “Being able to see a horse that arrives in a horrible condition … and watching the transformation to a healthy, happy horse [is priceless.]”
Southwinds Horse Rescue needs a dedicated horse trainer, a bigger barn, and monetary donations. They also need a trailer that can transport up to six horses at a time. An older 4-horse bumper pull straight loader is currently used.
People interested in adopting can find more information on Southwind’s Facebook page. The adoption process is as follows:
Irene does an initial assessment by phone, followed by an adopter visit to meet the horse(s). Adopter home checks are mandatory, and in some cases a veterinary reference is required. The prospective adopter then signs a detailed adoption agreement, and yearly home visits are scheduled to check on the animals’ welfare.
“There have been quite a few volunteers who have adopted horses after spending so much time at the rescue and forming a bond with the horse(s)” Rachelle says.
If you wish to help this organization, check out their information below.
Southwinds Horse Rescue Inc.
P.O Box 123, Oakville, MB, Canada R0H 0Y0
Phone: 1 (204) 267-2464
The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition - Canada
Raising public awareness, providing education and working to enact legislation...
“Since the dawn of recorded history, the horse has been an inspiration to humankind. Artists have worked to capture his elegant beauty on canvas and sculpted in bronze…great writers have told stories of his nobility, intelligence, and personality. Throughout the ages, we have seen evidence of the human spirit yearning to connect with the spirit of the horse.
When we tamed him, it seemed as if he permitted us to be his companion, to experience all sides of his remarkable nature. When we bridled him, we felt the awesome power beneath us and strove to control his strength and his speed. He was truly ‘king of the wind’…and we celebrated the sharing of flight without wings.”
These are the beliefs that drive The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, a group whose mission is to bring together like-minded individuals in an effort to protect Canadian equines from domestic slaughter, as well as transport for slaughter abroad. They strive to accomplish this goal through raising public awareness, providing education and working to enact legislation that will ban these practices.
“We welcome the support of organizations and individuals throughout the world who believe that horses, having shared our walk from “barbarism to civilization”, deserve a special place in modern culture,” says Executive Director, Sinikka Crosland. “There is no such thing as the “humane” slaughter of an intelligent, sentient mammal such as the horse. This is simply a fallacy perpetuated by an industry that exists for one reason: profit,” Sinikka explains.
Poor handling and management of horses during loading and transport, at auction, and in feedlots is a serious animal welfare issue, yet it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is significant evidence describing the trauma experienced by horses throughout the process. From the psychological distress while approaching the killing box, to the inhumane suffering associated with stunning and shooting practices. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition works tirelessly to bring to task those perpetuating this vicious enterprise.
The coalition provides a wide variety of educational tools, including an article database and statistical and legislative information. They also provide a list of reputable equine rescues for those looking to adopt a horse that has been saved from slaughter or neglect.
The CHDC also acts as an ally to these animals by enacting investigations into questionable practices and locations, as well as working with authorities against these entities. Reports and documentation can be found in the Investigations portion of the website.
Please use the information below and view their extensive materials to learn about the horse slaughter industry and those that are desperately trying to make a change. You can also contribute by making donations, purchasing items from their store or getting involved on a local level through letters and petitions. “Dying in terror, not with dignity, is the fate of tens of thousands of Canadian horses every year,” says Sinikka. “Help us lead Canada’s horses away from barbarism and into the protected pastures of a civilized nation.”
The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
Colorado Horse Education and Equine Rescue (C.H.E.E.R.) - Brighton, Colorado
Our greatest successes come when we find the perfect human to match with our horses.
"The stories we hold in our hearts, don't always have a happy ending...but we always do what is best for the magnificent horses we care for." (Amber Davis)
Amber Davis and friends founded the Colorado Horse Education and Equine Rescue (C.H.E.E.R) in Brighton, Colorado in 2015 to help Colorado horses. The organization spans the state with dedicated board members and foster homes.
It is committed to rehabilitating and finding new homes for abused, abandoned, neglected, surrendered and seized horses. C.H.E.E.R. also educates potential and current owners on the proper care of horses.
Sadly, some owners are forced to surrender their horse(s) because they can’t afford to feed and care for them. Upon arrival, a licensed veterinarian evaluates the horses. Many are underweight and in poor health. Some are in need of a farrier, teeth floats, and additional veterinarian care.
A partnership between C.H.E.E.R, Harmony Equine Center, and the Equine Division of Denver Dumb Friends League assesses each horse. Those that are healthy and old enough are placed in special training programs.
And the organization has seen its share of blessings. Amber relates a heartwarming story about Frannie:
"Two years ago, a donkey came to [C.H.E.E.R.] president Billie Douglas, pregnant with an 8-week foal and in bad shape. [That foal] Ollie grew up healthy and was adopted, but we [suspected] Frannie was carrying another foal.
In June 2016, Cheerio was born, but we almost lost her at 4 weeks. [Thanks to] lots of prayers, support, and amazing vets at Littleton Large Animal Hospital, Cheerio grew up healthy. Then in December 2016, Frannie was adopted by a loving family."
Like many horse rescue organizations, C.H.E.E.R is financially burdened. They're in dire need of blankets, feed, tack, a bumper pull, and straight load dock with dividers to haul horses specifically for rescue.
Amber says, "Our greatest successes come when we find the perfect human to match with our horses. Once they have the care and love they deserve, watching the transformation and seeing [them] thrive is incredible."
Adoption candidates are screened through an application process, a home check and visits with the horse. Only then are adopter and horse carefully matched.
C.H.E.E.R also sets itself apart by providing extensive education for current and potential horse owners. Their goal is a well-informed society that will reduce the number of abused and neglected horses.
If you wish to help this organization, check out their information below:
Colorado Horse Education and Equine Rescue
Location: Brighton, ColoradoS
Far View Horse Rescue - Fairplay, Colorado
A Vibrant Volunteer and Education Program Fuel this Horse Rescue
The Far View Horse Rescue works to save abused and neglected horses while maintaining a vibrant volunteer and educational program. The main farm is located on forty beautiful acres in Fairplay, Colorado. We spoke with board members Kimberly Kissmann and Gena Osborn. They explained that, "The non-profit organization started with a handful of horses and has blossomed since then."
FVHR takes in abandoned, unwanted, and abused equines of all types, including horses, ponies, donkeys, mustangs, and burros. Their first focus is always on establishing health and then on building relationships with the horses.
Kimberly shared some details of their training program, "We evaluate each horse monthly and volunteers follow an individualized chart for each equine, starting with foundation skills and gaining trust skills. If/when the equine is up to it, we find what job they would be good at. Jobs include becoming a cart pulling equine, trail, pleasure, English, Western or speed events horse." Some horses receive foundation skills and then find a home as simply a companion horse.
We've heard from many rescues that this work is a way for 'people to help horses and for horses to help people.' This is especially evident with this organization. To start, the FVHR has an summer day horse camp for children that serves the dual purpose of educating and raising funds for the animals. They also have partnerships with a local conservation center, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, LAPS, Boys and Girls Clubs, Keystone Science School, and 4-H clubs. "The youth programs allow kids to learn more about caring for horses, responsiblity, and creating bonding relationships with various equines."
"Our rescue's success is built around teamwork and using confidence, commitment and clear communication while working with our rescues and each other. In turn, 95% of our adoptable equines have been matched up with good forever homes."
The organization is run entirely by a team of volunteers who gain a great deal from their work. Kimberly shared, "While volunteers of all abilities and background are vital to the success of our horse rescue, those who come to help care for the horses directly testify of the therapeutic value gained working with our horses. These important life skills include communication, commitment, confidence, and vital leadership skills to become a positive contributing community member."
To learn more about FVHR, be sure to check out their website!
Far View Horse Rescue
Location: Fairplay, CO
Donate: PO Box 1529, Fairplay, CO 80440
Front Range Equine Rescue - Fort Collins, CO
How One Horse's Life Can Inspire a Lifetime of Rescue Work
All of Front Range Equine Rescue’s horses owe their lives to a horse named Dancer. In 1991, Hilary Wood purchased a horse from a dirty, rundown rental facility in Virginia. Like other horses there, Dancer was one-step away from being sold at auction. Bringing Dancer back to health, Hilary and he had many adventures together including a move to Colorado. “Because of Dancer I realized other horses were in bad to even worse shape and needed help,” Hilary states. “I’ve loved horses my entire life and decided to do something about equine abuse. I started Front Range in 1997. Dancer welcomed and befriended many rescue horses. When he died suddenly in 2001, I was heartbroken. Front Range Equine Rescue continues as a tribute to my beloved Dancer.”
Today, the Front Range Equine Rescue has operations in Colorado and Virginia, with its headquarters located in Florida. Horses that enter the barn come from low-end auctions, kill lots, animal control impound, or owner surrender. They exhibit a variety of conditions from starvation to current/past injuires to training issues to overall neglect. Horses in debilitated conditions, whether from disease, injury, or other causes, where there is no quality of life are humanely euthanized.
Successful rehabilitation includes proper vet and farrier care and appropriate feed program. Front Range Equine Rescue’s horses receive an initial veterinary exam and ongoing routine and emergency vet care. Each horse has its own nutritional program for optimal health – good quality feed, clean/fresh water, access to pasture, and as needed, grain and/or supplements.
Front Range works with trainers who utilize “natural horsemanship” techniques, those methods which form trust between horse and human as well as using ways to communicate that the horse understands. Our retraining is used to establish trust, build confidence, and offer clear communication and fairness to the horse.
Potential adopters can find Front Range’s horses on our website, social media, online equine advertising, and word-of-mouth. Any potential adopter must fill out an adoption application, review and sign the rules of adoption. Screening can include email, phone, and in person interview, site visit, and reference checks.
Ongoing funding to maintain current operations is always a challenge. Horse are expensive and providing proper care for them is our priority. Other needs include funding for expansion purposes and managing special programs. Education on horse abuse issues is a critical part of our work; reaching people with our message is challenging.
Front Range's greatest successes have been in helping thousands of horses through direct and indirect rescue program efforts; providing nationwide education on critical equine abuse issues; rescue and legal efforts on behalf of wild horses; stopping the expansion of horse slaughter through legal efforts; and promoting alternatives to horse slaughter.
Front Range Equine Rescue takes a comprehensive and consistent approach to stopping equine abuse. While direct rescue of horses is critical, preventing horses from needing rescue in the first place is very important. Education plays a key role as do options for re-homing, re-training and placement before rescue is needed.
Location: Satellite Locations: Bristow, VA, Fort Collins, CO
Headquarters: Ocala, FL
Donate: PO Box 458, Ocala, FL 34478
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue - Eagle, Colorado
Equine Therapy and Equine Rescue Going Hand-in-Hand
Located in a small rural mountain community in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is a special place with special people. We spoke with Shana Devins, the executive director, to learn about the operation.
"Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is one of the only rescues that serves the Central Mountain areas of Colorado. We also support horse needs as far away as the Western Slope and Front Range as our resources allow," she shared. MVHR was formed in 2004 when a group of local horse enthusiasts worked together to save a couple of horses who had been abandoned in a nearby wilderness area. By 2011, they had expanded to a leased facility where they are able to care for an average of 30 horses each year.
Shana shared, "Horses come to MVHR from all types of situations. When horses first arrive, they are fully evaluated by volunteers, trainers, farrier, and veterinarians to identify their most immediate needs." Next, they progress to the retraining and rehoming stages of the operation. MVHR recognizes that not all horses are attractive to potential adopters so a limited number of horses are offered permanent sanctuary at the farm. Many of these horses are sponsored and participate in the Equine Therapy program.
Besides their rescue work, MVHR also has some wonderful programs to education the local community and youth. They sponsor equine-assisted therapy including energy work, experiential learning, and hippotherapy with local practitioners. In 2015 alone, they helped to educate 1,000 youth through local school districts and youth development organizations like the Girl Scouts, SOS Outreach, and the Ute Springs Experimental Learning Center.
Shana explained that their greatest successes often come in small moments every day - "When a previously crippled horse runs and plays, when a horse never before touched by human hands finds comformt in the touch of a person; when a child finds comfort in the company of a horse that they cannot find in challenging childhood social situations."
MVHR's biggest goal is to raise enough money to purchase their own 40-acre farm in Eagle County by the Fall of 2017. They are currently running a "40-Acre Fund" where public donors are able to contribute funds towards this worthy cause. So far, they are half way to their $2 million goal!
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue
Location: Eagle, Colorado
Donate: PO Box 1681, Eagle, CO 81631
Spring Creek Horse Rescue - Durango, Colorado
A Rescue Celebrating 40 Years of Operation in Colorado!
The Spring Creek Horse Rescue in Durango, Colorado is celebrating its 40th anniversary of rescue work! With so much experience, it is clear that they doing something very right in maintaining a successful operation. Founder Diane explained how they got started. "They just started bringing me horses- before it was the 'thing to do.'"
They began to take in horses from feed lots, court abuse cases, and owner surrenders. Each rehabilitation case is different. Diane prescribes, "Teeth, worm, and lots of TLC!" She continued, "Some of our incoming horses are in such bad shape when we get them that the change we see, with a little love, care, feed, and water, is AMAZING!"
Once they are ready for training, they start slow. "When they are ready and we know them better personally after caring for them, we start with ground work to see what they know and go from there," she shared. "We do a lot of babies, so much of this is done by the time they are old enough."
One of these babies was a four-week-old filly named Bonus. She was found laying in a pen with a stallion who was trying to protect her from a bull who was also in the pen. Bonus couldn't raise her head and all of her natural sucking mechanism was gone. Diane insisted that she come home to at least die in a loving home.
After 10 days of feeding her goats milk and putting salve on her blistered nose, it was clear she wanted to live. Today, Diane explained, "Bottle babies form an attachment with what they think is their mother and she did just that. She is up for adoption if the right person with enough attitude to match hers comes along. Until then, she can be sweet, she can be rotten, and she can be both at the same time."
Like many rescues, the Spring Creek Horse Rescue is always in need of funds. Diane said, "We have just moved to a new property and need EVERYTHING - fencing/ gravel/ shelters/ waterers...everything!" To help this longtime rescue operation, check out their contact information below.
Spring Creek Horse Rescue - Durango, Colorado
Location: Durango, Colorado
Donate: 2888 CR 234, Durango, CO 81301
Beech Brook Farm – Mystic, Connecticut
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 www.beechbrookfarm.homestead.com
H.O.R.S.E. of CT - Washington, CT
‘Sponsorship’ Provides a Great Way to Help this Rescue if You Are Unable to Adopt or Volunteer
The HORSE Rescue of Connecticut (Humane Organization Representing Suffering Equines) was founded over 34 years ago by Patty Wahlers. They took in two starving racehorses to start and have helped over 700 horses since then! The rescue is located in Washington, CT and takes in a variety of equines even including donkeys and goats when necessary.
The staff always quarantines the animals at first, makes sure they receive plenty of water, and schedules a vet check within 24 hours. To regain their weight, horses are fed 4-5 times per day and given appropriate worming medications. Eventually, the horses begin with ground training, farrier work, and under-saddle work if they are capable. The rescue advertises through their website, social media, newspapers, and a large variety of special events at their stable. This includes ‘H.O.R.S.E. parades’ where the horses are displayed in hand, open house events, shows, volunteer days, tack sales, and other community events. Horses at the HORSE of CT rescue range from a 30” mini-horse all the way up to 19h draft horses that are brought onto the farm.
One of the neatest things about the H.O.R.S.E. of CT program is their option to ‘sponsor’ a horse. If you are not able to volunteer or you actually adopt an animal, you can still help by donating $50 a month for the care of a horse of your choice. Along with this payment, sponsors are welcome to visit the farm four times a month to groom, hand walk, and even let a child ride the horse. Regular updates are provided for ‘your horse’ while you are a sponsor. This is just one more example of the great time, love, and dedication shown by this and all horse rescues in order to help these needy animals. We salute the HORSE Rescue of CT for the work that they are doing. If you would like to learn more about their program, visit their website at www.horseofct.org or their Facebook page.
Serenity Farm Horse Rescue – Woodbury, Connecticut
Dedicated to Rehabilitating and Rehoming Horses in Crisis
Marie from Woodbury, Conneticut, founded Serenity Farm Horse Rescue in 2019. Serenity Farm Horse Rescue, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming horses in crisis. Their goal at Serenity Farm is to find forever homes for the horses and to educate on the neglect and abuse that happens daily in the equine community.
Marie grew up with horses and is very passionate about animals. As she became aware of the horse slaughter industry in the United States, she knew she had to become a part of the mission to help rescue horses. No matter how big or small, Marie is dedicated to using her life and her orginization to make an impact in the slaughter industry emergency we are facing here in the United States.
One of the permanent residents at Serenity Farm Rescue is a horse named Shay. Shay came to their rescue underweight and terrified. After his arrival to the farm, Shay had a full vet examination that showed he had a condition causing him to gradually lose his eyesight. Marie and her organization spend thousands of dollars in vet treatment to control Shay's pain and hoped to restore his vision. Unfortunately, Shay lost over 80% of his eyesight.
Although Shay can't see very well, it's evident that Shay can feel the love and care he is given at Serenity Farm Horse Rescue. He has developed a trust in humans, and loves the student volunteers at the farm. As Marie put it, "Shay is one of the lucky ones". Many horses who are deemed "useless" or have an impairment don't have the same fate as Shay. Regardless of if society would see them as useless, the team at Serenity Farm Horse Rescue is passionate about giving every horse a chance to have a safe and loved life.
If you are interested in helping more horses just like Shay, get in contact with Serenity Farm Horse Rescue:
92 Minortown Road, Woodbury, CT 06798
Second Chance Ranch - Felton, Delaware
A Safe Place for Both Horses and Humans
Second Chance Ranch is just that, a place for horses that need a second chance. The rescue began eight years ago when its founder, a long time horse enthusiast, returned to Delaware with the idea of creating a safe place for both horses and humans alike. Second Chance has not wavered in their dedication to providing shelter, care, rehabilitation, and adoption services for abused, neglected and unwanted horses.
It started with two pasture mates whose owner could no longer afford to keep them and the mare still resides at Second Chance today. While now too old for adoption and blind due to glaucoma, she was able to begin a new life of comfort and care when taken in at Second Chance. Second Chance’s founders couldn’t have known how many other horses would follow in that mare’s footsteps, often having suffered along the same heartrending path.
All of the horses at Second Chance have been given up by individuals that could no longer afford to keep them. Due to this tragic change in circumstance, these horses are often seriously undernourished and emaciated. To help nourish them back to health, each horse follows a refeeding program catered to its specific needs. Every horse also receives vet and farrier care, as well as lots of TLC.
Retraining at Second Chance is done on a horse-by-horse basis, each following a carefully detailed, individualized plan. Many of the horses cannot be ridden when they first arrive so this often proves to be a long process, but the staff is willing to do whatever is best for the horse and its growth.
While some horses never make it back to being rideable that does not stop them from being a vital part of the Second Chance family. One permanent member of their herd is an old mare that arrived angry, abused and hungry. However, she made a complete recovery and is now as sweet as can be. While she cannot be ridden, she learned to trust and allows children to hang all over her, pet her and brush her whenever they visit the facility.
The benefits this access to horses provides is something that Second Chance has been able to witness within their immediate community. Two of the first volunteers to arrive at the ranch were a pair of preteens from a neighboring property. Although they knew nothing about horses, they quickly fell in love and began learning everything they could to help. Now, nearly five years later, the two still visit the barn to contribute almost daily.
As a small operation that focuses on being people-oriented as well as equine, volunteers and monetary donations are equally appreciated. Please follow the information below to find out how you can help contribute to the ongoing success of Second Chance Ranch.
Second Chance Rescue
DreamCatchers Horse Ranch and Rescue – Clermont, FL
Thankful for a Great Team of Volunteers
Many people who venture to central Florida are in search of Mickey Mouse and adventure parks. But the Dream Catchers Horse Ranch and Rescue, located just 30 minutes from Disney World, is more focused on rescuing horses and transforming their lives.
The organization started almost by accident when founder Alison Wheatley got her first horse at the age of 43. Within two short years, she was hard at work saving horses from euthanasia at the local animal shelter.
When asked what types of horses come into her barn, Alison replied, “We have all sorts!” Animals range from those found wandering in the streets to those picked up by animal control. Some of the horses have terrible injuries and were left abandoned. Others were reluctantly donated when their original owners succumbed to medical issues or age.
Alison is thankful for her great team of volunteers that help keep the ranch and rescue running with regular care and feeding. Many of the horses need special attention to regain their health. “It’s a slow and long process to ensure they don’t get more sick from being starved. We have a local vet who works with us for injuries and health issues.
Besides physical rehabilitation, horses at the DreamCatchers Horse Ranch and Rescue also receive training from a professional who comes in twice a week. A group of experienced riders use some of the horses for lessons. “We like to try and train them as quiet hunters or trail riding pleasure horses,” Alison explained.
One particular horse that sticks out in Alison’s mind is a gelding named St. Nicholas (Nicky for short.) He is a one-eyed horse who was found wandering the streets on Christmas of 2013.
Alison continued, “He was underweight and had serious skin allergies – he looked terrible. He ended up becoming the best beginner lesson horse and taught many children to ride here at Dreamcatcher. He is now retired and will live his years out with us and his sponsors’ love and attention!”
In order to find new homes for the rescued horses, the DreamCatchers Horse Ranch relies on social media and referrals from past clients. Alison shared, “We have the potential adopters come out and spend time with the horse and ensure it’s a good fit. Many adopters end up boarding eh horse with us so it’s a win/win situation.”
Financial stability is the biggest challenge for this operation. They exist on a month to month basis and always appreciate donations or help with fundraisers. These funds help them take “hopeless” horses and transform them into healthy and happy family horses.
Besides rescue operations, DreamCatchers also offers community programs and activities during the week. Some of the rescue horses who have earned a permanent home at the ranch are used as public trail-riding horses. All proceeds go towards the operation of the rescue.
If you would like to get involved with this organization, check out the information below:
DreamCatcher Horse Ranch and Rescue
Location: Clermont, FLDonations: 10639 Toad Rd Clermont, FL 34715
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. - Southwest Ranches, Florida
Save the lives of horses that carry Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) by providing an alternative to euthanasia.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Florida Research Institute for Equine Nuturing, Development and Safety, began as the brainchild of Susan Young more than forty years ago. Susan’s goal was to save the lives of horses that carry Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) by providing an alternative to euthanasia. It is now the oldest and largest horse rescue in Florida.
As Debbie, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Director/Treasurer explains, “our priority is to prevent the needless destruction of horses.” To do this they follow a multi-fold mission statement:
- Provide a permanent safe haven for all horses.
- Acquire sustainable funding to provide these noble animals with the dignity of allowing them to live with their needs met, while providing the proper care and loving interaction they deserve.
- Advocate for and participate in ongoing research to find a cure, as well as to factually educate the public regarding EIA, thus allowing us to dispel the myths and misconceptions that lead owners to think the only legal alternative is to euthanize their horse.
- Continue to give back to the surrounding communities, in a worthwhile and enriching way, by maintaining and enhancing our many programs that benefit local families and organizations; thereby positively impacting the entire community.
By following these ideals, the facility is able to provide hope for horses and owners in both the present and the future.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. takes in all asymptomatic carriers of EIA in Florida, as well as any equine in need within Broward County and all surrounding areas. There are currently 47 equines residing at the facility, including Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Mustangs, and 10 Minis. Every horse that finds their way to the facility can rest easy knowing that they have found a lifetime sanctuary where they will always be cared for.
Upon arrival, each horse is examined by a veterinarian and an individualized feeding plan is established. Each horse also receives farrier and dental care to ensure that any issues are addressed. All horses are allowed the time they need to acclimate to their new home. Once they are comfortable, they spend their days working with volunteers and participating in the various programs at the facility.
Horses at F.R.I.E.N.D.S. are not available for adoption, however, they are available for sponsorship and remain at the facility. “This gives people a chance to figure out for themselves if horse ownership is something they are dedicated to and ready for, both financially and time-wise,” explains Debbie. This keeps horses from ending up in bad situations due to owners that aren’t truly prepared.
Please use the information below to learn more about the work and research being carried out by the dedicated individuals at F.R.I.E.N.D.S.. You can also donate to their incredible cause, or get involved as a volunteer or sponsor.
Southwest Ranches, Florida
Horse Protection Association of Florida - Micanopy, Florida
Rescuing Horses in the Land of Hurricanes
The Horse Protection Association of Florida was founded by Miami-native, Morgan Silver. Morgan has a long history of riding and training many breeds including Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Andulusians, Tennessee Walkers and even Draft Horses. In addition to numerous training credentials, she also presented equine cruelty investigation training to law enforcement and animal service officers. With this wide range of experience, it only made sense for her to found the Horse Protection Association of Florida in 1990.
The HPAF was created when Morgan began seeing cases of horse abuse in Miami Dade County. She witness a case of abuse at a nearby horse rental agency and was frustrated to hear back from the authorities that 'things were fine.' She persevered with the case until 15 abused rental horses were seized and rescued. The HPAF operation started small with rescued horses being fostered in people's backyards.
Things changed rapidly when Hurricane Andrew hit in August of 1992. After the storm, the local area was a disaster zone with homes and barns leveled. Horses roamed freely over the land. A local feed and supply store generously offered their farm and 180 recaptured horses were brought to the farm so they could be reunited with their owners. Injured horses were taken to the triage hospital at the Tropical Park Equestrian Center.
In October of 1992, the HPAF moved the remaining homeless horses to numerous facilities across the region caring for them and find their new homes. Despite this busy time, by 1996, the HPAF was in severe financial straits and in danger of folding. Luckily, one of their rescues, a palomino mare named Sandy, was featured on the local news. Hundreds of animal lovers donated funds and the rescue was saved. Finally, in 1997, the HPAF was able to lease their first real farm. The current facilities are located in 150 acres of high quality grazing land in beautiful Northwest Marion County.
Today, the HPAF works hard to rehabilitate and retrain all of the horses that arrive at their facility. They use the principles of Parelli Natural Horsemanship in their training program to create a trusting bond between human and horse. If you would like to help this rescue in Florida, check out their contact information below.
Horse Protection Association of Florida
Location: Micanopy, Florida
Donate: 20690 NW 130th Avenue, Micanopy, Florida 32667
Howey Horse Haven Rescue - Howey in the Hills, Florida
“You can’t look at suffering like that and do nothing.”
Howey Horse Haven Rescue started with two little heads poking through a fence trying desperately to find food. Teresa Meixner just couldn’t resist those big sad eyes when driving past that fence any longer. “You can’t look at suffering like that and do nothing,” she says. Those two abandoned miniature horses became the catalyst for opening HHHR on May 13, 2013. Having rescued 57 horses to date, Teresa never has to look far to find her first pair. Bocephus and Walktosha remain a part of the herd at HHHR and spend their days welcoming their new friends to their home.
This story is not out of the ordinary, most of the equines at HHHR arrive extremely undernourished and emaciated. Therefore the refeeding process must be done with extreme patience. They must be fed very slowly and be allowed time to acclimate, or their body can go into shock.
Many of HHHR’s rescues were taken care of at some point and this prior learning helps make training them at HHHR much easier. This also helps with finding forever homes, as rideable horses to tend to be adopted much more quickly.
The most challenging work for the staff at HHHR often lies with the miniature horses. “Some have come to us untouched, without vet or farrier visits, for years,” says Katie Pierce, VP of Public Relations and Marketing at HHHR. Due to this type of neglect, earning their trust is at the forefront of their rehabilitation, everything else can only build on that solid foundation.
Howey Horse Haven Rescue is not only a haven for the animals, it is also a haven for its volunteers, as Katie’s personal experience illustrates. Although Katie and her father lost their house just months before her high school graduation, she was determined to stay and see her education through. She began volunteering at HHHR to accrue hours toward qualification for the Floridas’s Bright Future Scholarship. “Teresa became my momma very quickly and I leaned heavily on her. She gave me a home and a family, I don’t know where I would have ended up without them,” Katie remembers. Teresa and Scout, Katie’s favorite horse at the rescue, helped Katie feel that she could face any of the ups and downs that life threw at her. “At HHHR I have a home that I can trust, they are my family.”
Katie knows that she is not the only one that feels this way. Seeing the relief in the eyes of those at HHHR, both horses and humans, is something they consider one of their greatest successes. “The people and horses provide each other with much needed therapy in a way that allows us to be open and comfortable,” says Katie.
Please use the information below to find out how you can contribute or become a part of the family at HHHR. Also follow them on social media to find out when a horse from their family is ready to become a member of yours.
Howey Horse Haven Rescue
Howey in the Hills, Florida
RVR Horse Rescue - Riverview, Florida
“RVR’s volunteers function as a well-oiled machine."
Growing up on a ranch in Texas, Shawn Jayroe is no stranger to horses. She began participating in shows and rodeos at a very young age. As an adult, the reality of horse abuse and neglect became her motivation to do something about it. She started out by finding emaciated and injured horses, boarding them, rehabilitating them and them adopting them out on her own. In 2011, she received her 501c3 status and became an official equine rescue where she could finally house the horses on her own land, which she named Riverview Ranch.
Her years of experience allow Shawn to take in the worst cases of abuse, neglect and injury. She doesn’t shy away from any horse in need, no matter the circumstances. RVR receives many horses that have been seized by law enforcement agencies due to neglect and abuse. “The majority of horses arrive at RVR suffering from extreme emaciation and injuries from abuse, or were abandoned to die,” says Kelly Ford, RVR Executive Board member.
RVR’s refeeding protocol and volunteer training program have resulted in an extremely high success rate. This level of success wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of their team. “Our level of expertise and large number of volunteers allow us to function around the clock when critical care is needed,” says Kelly. “RVR’s volunteers function as a well-oiled machine. Our family is diverse but is able to come together for the benefit of the horses, no matter what situation confronts us.”
RVR also provides a safe haven for Off-Track Thoroughbreds. “We utilize our skills to rehabilitate racing thoroughbreds that have retired due to injuries. They are brought back to health so they can be re-trained for post-racing life,” explains Kelly. RVR is working to become a place for all horses, regardless of background or degree of need.
Equine education is paramount at RVR and offers a wide variety of options at different levels. RVR’s C.L.E.A.R. program, which stands for Care, Learn, Act, Educate, Rescue, has visited with hundreds of area schools to teach students about equine care. This program also invites Boy and Girl Scout troops to the rescue for education and hosts Humane Society Summer Camps in an effort to reach more children within the community.
High school students can earn service hours by working with RVR’s Medical and Operations Directors to treat the horse’s hooves and skin conditions. “RVR also provides a learning lab for pre-veterinary students from the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. Students are able to attend presentations and follow Dr. Richard Gold on rounds,” explains Kelly.
Above all, RVR is a place of healing for both the horses and the humans that spend time here. Healing that is possible because of the dedication of their supporters. Please use the information below to find out how you can contribute to the wonderful work that takes place here.
RVR Horse Rescue
Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary - Ona, Florida
“We work hard to not just make this a stopping point before the horses move on, but to make everything in their world wrap around what is best for their emotional and physical state of well-being for the rest of their lives.”
The “nature of the horse” serves as the foundation for everything done at Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary. Founded in 2007 by Robin Cain, a professional animal handler who applies the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Method to handling and training the horses. Since its founding, Sixteen Hands has rescued more than 60 horses and provided them with a lifetime home.
The mission at Sixteen Hands is three fold:
- Provide rescue, rehabilitation and lifetime sanctuary to abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted horses.
- Promote awareness of the principles of natural horsemanship through educational programs at the sanctuary.
- Provide outreach assistance to horse owners in the community.
Sixteen Hands accepts all breeds and ages of horses, regardless of their past or present conditions. “Most horses were “throwaway” horses so they need some kind of special care,” explains Robin. Some of the horses have never had a calm interaction with a human and others have never lived with other horses. “Each case is different and we adjust what we need to do based on that,” she explains.
What doesn’t ever change is that each horse is treated in a humane and natural way by every member of the sanctuary’s team. “Force, fear and gadgets are not used to train or handle our horses,” says Robin. The veterinarian, dentist and farrier are consulted on each incoming horse so that any issues can be addressed immediately and the horse can begin its new life.
Each horse works with volunteers and trainers as they learn to interact with humans. Sixteen Hands also holds weekend training sessions, so both horses and volunteers can continue to learn together and build their horsemanship methods and skills.
The volunteer program at Sixteen Hands is truly something to be proud of. Starting out with just four volunteers, their program now includes nearly 20 regular year-round volunteers that dedicate their time to these horses. Two of their volunteers have even purchased property just so that they could foster some of the horses that have arrived in the program. “In both cases, they fostered horses that were considered feral when they arrived and needed lots of ongoing training to help them trust human,” she says. Every horse is worth the time and energy to the individuals here.
This level of dedication is a trademark of the sanctuary. “We are providing a home for life for our horses so it sets the tone in everything we do. We work hard to not just make this a stopping point before the horses move on, but to make everything in their world wrap around what is best for their emotional and physical state of well-being for the rest of their lives,” states Robin.
The staff at Sixteen Hands believes that this idea has a positive impact on everyone involved. As Robin puts it, “we try to be mindful in all of our interactions with the horses and that naturally carries over to respectful and compassionate interactions with the humans also.”
Use the information below to learn more about Sixteen Hands and find out how you can contribute through donations or become a part of their volunteer program.
Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary
South West Florida Horse Rescue - Punta Gorda, Florida
"We believe all animals should live happy, healthy lives and we were going to make sure we could make that happen."
Tina Garrett and Matt Venaleck had always been animal lovers, taking in large and small animals and donating to charities in order to “do their part”. Then they realized that there were a lot of horses in the area that needed help. A simple craigslist search turned up an abundance of horses with selling lines stating, “don’t want it no more” or “just come and get ‘em”.
Thus, in 2010, two self-proclaimed “ordinary people” founded South West Florida Horse Rescue and became anything but ordinary. “Bottom line, we made it happen. Our thoughts were simple, these horses did not ask to be put in these situations, they did not have a ‘choice’… we believe all animals should live happy, healthy lives and we were going to make sure we could make that happen,” says Tina.
They started with five acres and three pens, however, they were quickly taking in more and more horses and growth had to happen fast. They saved 20 horses in 2011 alone, all accomplished out of pocket with the help of friends. “We never wavered from our mission to save as many as we could and we never turned our back on or refused to take in or assist any horse who needed us. When the paddocks and barns were full, we simply built on and extended things. If we were “full” we would call in some of our horse friends to foster the rescues,” they said. In 2014, they were awarded a grant from a private foundation allowing them to purchase the 40 acre facility they continue to grow today.
SWFHR accepts any and all equines in need, extending their core values of compassion, commitment and advocacy to each horse that enters the facility. Each horse undergoes an initial exam and is brought up to date on coggins, vaccines, dental work and put on an individualized diet to get them off to a healthy start. Once they are ready, the horses enter a training program with a local professional that lasts between 30 and 60 days. Their progress is recorded and posted on social media so that potential adopters can follow along as the horses prepare for their forever homes.
The volunteer program at SWFHR offers the opportunity for people of all ages to come together and lend a helping hand to these wonderful animals, while in an environment that breeds a feeling of family amongst those involved. “Many folks have met here while volunteering here and have gone on to become lifelong friends, celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and holidays together. With a common interest, it is easy to see why we view one another as family,” says Emily of SWFHR.
Use the information below to find out how you can help SWFHR continue to grow and provide care to all of the horses in their area. As Tina says, “We chose to be a voice for their well-being, you can choose to help. We may not be able to save the world, but for the ones we save, it means the world to them.”
South West Florida Horse Rescue
Punta Gorda, Florida
Triple L Horse Rescue – Hilliard, Florida
"We Will Not Go Down Without a Fight"
The Triple L Horse Rescue is located in Hilliard, Florida where they work daily to help save the lives of horses who are desperately in need of love and care. We spoke with Sherry Perry and Bernel Miller who are two of the folks in charge of keeping daily operations going at the farm. Below you will find a description of the rescue in their own words...
“Triple L Horse Rescue started as a dream. The vision was always there to save them from abuse, starvation, neglect and slaughter. In 2005 that dream became a reality, in 2006 we became a 501c3. We are on our 10th year, it is still an everyday struggle to find the funds for feed, hay, farrier and vet but we belDeve in what we do so we continue to fight. We are their voice and we will not go down without a fight – We Do It For Them.
“We take in the abused, neglected and starved horses. We have one that was an AC seizure, one that had a spinal cord injury as a foal after being kicked by a cow, he is a sanctuary horse, two mares that were abused severely in their prior homes, a two year old that was born here as the result of an accidental breeding, and our newest arrival is an Arabian mare that was starved and neglected, after we picked her up we were advised that she ‘might’ be pregnant. WELL she is pregnant so we are on constant foal watch with her due to an abundance of melanomas in and around her vaginal area. She is a sweet mare and after the foal is born, we will pursue some sort of treatment for the melanomas and pray it works.
“Our rehabilitation program is slow, but successful. Alfalfa hay for the first few days, depending on the severity of the starvation and slow introduction to feed; abused horses are taken slowly due to the trust issues many of them have; we retrain at their pace and ability. Sick horses are immediately seen by our veterinarian and the protocol he advises is followed to the letter.
“Our retraining program is pretty simple, assess where the horse is at in his abilities, in other words, what has been taught in the past. Some things have to be retaught of course, but horses do have retention of what they have learned good and bad, so we have to assess each individually and go from there. Usually start with ground work, if they don’t have ground manners, they probably don’t have anything else and then we start from scratch with Natural Horsemanship techniques.
“Potential adopters have to fill out our adoption application; we do a sight check of where the horse will be living; if that horse is going out of state, we will contact a fellow rescue in that area and have them check the facility. We require them to provide references, such as their vet(s), friends, we run a search of court records in the surrounding counties to see if there are any abuse charges. We will also do drop in visits whenever possible. It’s always hard to see them go, but we try our hardest to make sure they are going to the right forever home and that they will never be back in the same situation that got them to us. We love them all and only want the best for them.
“Our biggest challenges and needs are day to day! Funds to keep going are always an issue. We are currently leasing the property and would like to move to a facility that is larger, closer to town, but we just don’t have the funds to provide that type of facility as yet. We struggle every day to keep them healthy, happy and free from harm.
“Every horse that is saved is a success, every one of them are special in their own way. We have had some that we brought in from neglected homes just so we could love on them and then let them go. Some are so bad they can’t be saved, but when they come to TLHR they at least know love and kindness and have full bellies before they cross the Rainbow Bridge. Sometimes success isn’t measured totally by the ones that are saved, sometimes success is measured in knowing you were there for that soul that had no one until you were there for it and helped it cross on from this world to greener pastures. That too, is success.
“We believe in order to do this work you have to love it and you have to love the animals. If you don’t, you wouldn’t be doing it. It’s hard work, back breaking at times, heart breaking at times, and sometimes you just don’t eat yourself so that they will have food. If that sets us apart, then so be it, but I know there are many rescues out there that do the same for their animals. It’s a passion and I think if you are in rescue you have to have it. We take them all, regardless of the situation; we are here to help those that we can. We just wish we could help them all, we can’t, but for the ones we can…it matters.
“We go forward every day, through thick and thin, sometimes lots of both. We do it for them, because they have no voice, we are their voice. We love what we do and we hope to be able to continue on with our work until we just can’t do it anymore.”
We salute the Triple L Horse rescue and wish them all the best as they continue their valuable work. If you would like to learn more about this organization, visit their website or Facebook page.
Triple R Horse Rescue – Tallahassee, Florida
Every Adoption is a Success
Triple R Horse Rescue, formally known as Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Ranch, was formed in 2009 by a group of horse-lovers in Tallahassee, Florida. Though it started out as a small operation, today, Triple R covers eight counties – six in northern Florida and two in Georgia as well.
Since 2009, Triple R has helped more than 250 horses. Most of these horses come to Triple R through law enforcement or animal services. Many of them come malnourished, with medical and dental needs. Linda Bruns, President of Triple R, said that most of the horses they see are Quarter Horses, though occasionally they will get Paso Finos, Mustangs, and Thoroughbreds.
In a recent interview with Linda, she said that many of the horses “came to us as walking skeletons and are now living to ripe old ages. Some came as babies so filled with worms the vet was sure they wouldn’t live — yet today they are on the eventing circuit.” The joy and hope that comes from nursing a horse back to life keeps Linda and volunteers at Triple R going.
One success story that really stood out was about a baby horse named Scooter. In early 2013, Triple R rescued a herd of horses in Gretna, Florida. The horses were starving, so they started eating poisonous weeds nearby. Scooter, just a baby at the time they rescued him, was suffering from the poisonous plants he ate and had severe organ damage. His chances were slim, and many thought he wasn’t going to make it.
After months of care, great nutrition, and medicinal herbs, Scooter is happy and well. Today, he is thriving with his foster mom, Sue, and enjoys his new home and new life.
Fosters like Sue make a huge contribution to Triple R’s success. Linda says that their “biggest challenge is finding fosters who have the advanced riding and horse-sense skills — as well as the time — to work with our horses.” People who volunteer their time to help these horses learn to trust loving humans again make all the difference.
Linda says that Triple R’s willingness to help in any situation is what makes them unique. At Triple R “we will respond to a call from any law enforcement agency or animal control.” Linda has found that some rescues will only take in healthy horses; and some will take in financial support, but never do as much as they could to actually help horses. Unlike some rescue organizations that actually euthanize older horses that can’t be adopted, Triple R is definitely a No-Kill rescue.
For Linda, the greatest success at Triple R is when a rescued horse finally finds a new happy home. She says that “every adoption is a success.” Recently, Triple R started letting potential adopters foster the horse for up to two months to see if it’s a good fit, for both the horse and the owner. If you are interested in adopting a horse and giving a horse a second chance at a happy life, check out the information below.
Triple R Horse Rescue
Donations: P.O. Box 494 Tallahassee, Fl. 32302
Wild Horse Rescue Center – Webster, FL
“Dedicated to the Preservation of America's Wild Horses”
Located on a 42-acre property in Webster, Florida, the Wild Horse Rescue Center (WHRC) is a non-profit that focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, and facilitating horse adoptions. The team at WHRC work directly with different agencies all across the United States to acquire mustangs and burros. The relationships and partnerships that WHRC has developed help them to further identify animals that need rescuing while abiding by all state/federal regulations.
After rescuing the wild horses, the staff at Wild Horse Rescue Center work around the clock to provide love and care to these horses. The main goal in their rehabilitation process is to rebuild trust with humans. The final step in their rescue process is facilitating adoptions. After the horses have been rescued and rehabilitated at their facilities, the horses are eligible to be adopted. The team at WHRC believes that adoption of wild horses is the most important step in their long road to recovery, so they can fully heal with the love they will receive with their forever family.
You can help the efforts at Wild Horse Rescue Center by donating here. Their facility relies on donations. The basic medical care and food for a horse without special needs is typically $1,700/year, however wild horses often require extensive medical care during their recovery. The horses at WHRC usually incur an average cost of $3,000/year, and the facility usually houses around 50 rescue horses.
Another option to support WHRC is to sponsor one of their horses. Sponsoring a horse will ensure that horse gets the care it deserves throughout their stay at WHRC. Lastly, if you are interested in adopting any of the horses that have been rehabilitated at WHRC, you can view their available list of adoptees here.
Wild Horse Rescue Center
12103 SE 47th Dr, Webster, FL 33597
Riley’s Rescue Ranch - Guyton, Georgia
Jessica Meyer and Mary Close met while working in a local therapeutic riding program and came to realize that they shared a dream of rescuing horses. The two women decided to open a program that combined their desire to rescue horses in need with the work they were already doing through equine therapy. They wanted a rescue that would serve as a place for horses that needed to retire from their previous lives and owners who no longer wanted to or couldn’t care for them.
The rescue came to be named after Riley, a horse that Jessica met after he was removed from an animal hoarding situation along with six other horses. He had been taken to a facility that was overfull and underfunded to support the animals they had. When Jessica took him in, Riley was severely underweight, very lethargic and in need of a lot of TLC. Following the vet’s feeding schedule, Riley gained weight and was able to begin his training where his true, playful personality quickly began to shine through. “Now he is one of our best riding horses and a favorite among our clients,” says Jessica
Horses at Riley’s Rescue Ranch arrive through a wide variety of circumstances, including owner surrender and removal from abusive and neglectful situations. Riley’s staff works closely with their vet and farrier to ensure that each horse is placed on the best feed and care schedules for their individual needs. The horses then enter a training program that is specifically geared toward readying each horse for participation in the Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies Program. Riley’s Rescue uses natural horsemanship techniques in handling and training all of their horses. “We assess each horse for individual preferences and strengths and train them based on what aspect of our program best suits them,” says Jessica.
Riley’s Rescue works with children who have been abused, individuals with Autism, anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar disorder. They also have teen groups for those struggling with bullying and suicidal thoughts, though these are just examples of some of the struggles that individuals that come to Riley’s face. As Jessica says, “being able to form a relationship with our horses and learn how to respectfully handle and care for them provides an amazing opportunity for our clients to grow and heal.”
Seeing both the horses and humans that come to Riley’s grow together is truly a dream come true for these two women who wanted nothing more than to help those around them. Please use the information below to find out how you can donate and get involved to help Jessica, Mary and Riley continue their work
Riley’s Rescue Ranch
Save the Horses - Cumming, Georgia
25,000 Volunteer Hours Per Year Power This Horse Rescue
Cheryl Flanagan was a 4H and US Pony Club leader in the 1980’s when she first started taking horses from the Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack. “I had access to many young riders looking for horses.” Over time, she attracted notice and more people started calling to donate horses that they were unable to care for. “I worked with local law enforcement, with abandoned and neglected horses, and it just kept on growing. It has continued to grow into an amazing organization thanks to all of our supporters and volunteers who are dedicated to the efforts of saving horses and other animals in need.
Almost 30 years later, Cheryl and her team of volunteers take a variety of horses into their rescue, which is now named the Horse Rescue Relief And Retirement Fund, Inc or 'Save the Horses' for short. Rescued animals include off-track thoroughbreds, blind horses, horses from animal control, those that the owners can no longer care for, and horses at death’s door. “We are lucky to have great veterinarians in our area who really care about horses and work with us, advise us, and even recommend us to take horses from clients for various reasons.”
The retraining program at Save the Horses is totally based on trust with no time limit. “Some may learn in a month or two, some it may take longer. Each animal is an individual.” Cheryl admitted that their biggest need is a sanctuary to keep the non-adoptable horses so space can be freed up at the main rescue farm.
She describes their greatest successes as “Bringing a community of volunteers and supporters together.” Horses who leave Save the Horses Rescue are always welcome back if the adopters situation changes. “We want an adopter and the horse to live happily ever after, but we take back horses for any reason. The horses are in our care forever.”
At Save the Horses, Cheryl is extremely proud of the workers who come in to help with the care of the horses. “We have over 25,000 volunteer hours a year and many people have been volunteering for a decade or more! People see what we do and care deeply. Doing good comes back to you. We are proof!”
Second Chances Equine Rescue – Hinesville, Georgia
The Healing Power of Horses Can Have a Positive Effect on Military Members
Second Chances Equine Rescue Inc is located in Hinesville, Georgia, less than 10 miles away from Ft. Steward Army Installation. Andrea L. Doolittle, founder of Second Chances, is an Air Force Veteran herself. She has seen how the healing power of horses can have a positive effect on the many members of the military who visit her rescue. Helping these rescue horses overcome their physical and mental injuries allows the military volunteers to find peace and friendship.
In a recent interview with Andrea, she said “we pair our volunteers with our horses (letting them choose) and let the horse heal the human and the human heal the horse.” Andrea says this special type of healing makes their organization unique. Their goal is to “save as many equine lives as possible, and hopefully save a few human lives along the way.”
Second Chances started in 2013, while Andrea was an active duty member of the Air Force, stationed in England. While looking through listings for the Camelot horse auction, she saw a picture of a horse named Spirit, and knew she had to save him from slaughter. Right before the auction was closing, Andrea bought Spirit, as well as Cinnamon, the last horse left, and saved them from a harsh, painful death.
Less than two months after that, Second Chances Equine Rescue was incorporated. Spirit, the horse that started it all, will live out the remainder of his days enjoying life at Second Chances. Second Chances accepts horses like Spirit and horses that are malnourished, abandoned, and abused. They work closely with the local animal services in Georgia to save and rehome horses that are in danger.
Once the horses arrive at Second Chances, they are quarantined and treated individually with veterinary care and nourished back to health. They use a variation of the UC Davis Refeeding Program to help the horse slowly and steadily gain weight. Once the horse is healthy, volunteers at Second Chances work to improve the horse’s mental health and manners, then they work on small training steps. Everything is at the horse’s pace so it can properly return to health and wellness.
As you can imagine, treating each horse with the special care that Second Chances provides is financially exhausting. Andrea says that their biggest need is financial support. Rescuing a horse is only the first step in a long process, and money is needed along the way. Donations directly help horses – Andrea says that “every penny of every donation goes directly to our herd.”
Your donations help horses like Cheyenne, who Andrea and Second Chances consider their greatest success. Cheyenne weighed only 250 pounds when Second Chances finally got her, after 6 months of negotiation. She had a tumor a foot long, but she had a fighting spirit and would not give up. After many treatments and alternative medications, the tumor started shrinking, and a year later, it was gone. Cheyenne is a happy horse that loves life and is now one of Second Chances’s ambassadors.
Second Chances Equine Rescue, Inc.
Location: Hinesville, GA
Donations: 7663 Hwy 196 W. Hinesville, GA 31313
Stamp Out Starvation of Horses – Clarksville, Georgia
Stamp Out Starvation of Horses is on a mission to end starvation of horses.
Stamp Out Starvation of Horses, or SOS, is located in a very rural part of North Georgia. Much of the area is poverty-stricken, and as a result, many owners are unable to provide for their horses. Many people leave their horses in their yards, in poor conditions and without enough food. To combat this problem, Doris Buckley organized SOS, and it made an immediate impact on the horse community in Georgia.
Before starting SOS, the rescue founders saw firsthand the need to help horse owners pay for hay and vetting. When the horses were neglected and starving, they were most likely to end up in the slaughter pipeline. They also recognized that law enforcement rarely got involved in animal cruelty cases, so they often went on for years without any solution. Something needed to be done, so Doris started SOS.
SOS is on a mission to end starvation of horses. One way they do this is by providing funds for feeding and veterinary care to owners who are unable to support their horses. In a recent interview with Sue Crane, the organization's CIO, she said “we have fed and vetted many horses whose owners were down on their luck. They were able to keep their horse until they were back on their feet. Both horse and owner benefited from our assistance.”
Educating horse owners about proper care of their horses is also essential for ending horse starvation. SOS works closely with Georgia’s animal control to evaluate horses and help teach owners about proper horse care.
Unfortunately, some owners are blind to the pain and suffering they cause their horses. When that happens, SOS steps in and takes the horse to their barn for proper care and treatment. Most of the horses they take in are starved and abused animals, either impounded by law enforcement or owner surrenders.
Once they arrive at SOS, they examined and they begin the refeeding process. Volunteers and staff at SOS spend much of their time trying to socialize the horses with trust issues. After the horses are healthy and retrained, they wait for their new home, with an owner who is able to provide the proper care and love.
Sue told us about one of their more recent rescues, a little silver mini mare. They found her in a small, dirt lot, where she was starving and eating off the trees. She was terrified of humans because of the children that chased her with sticks. However, after spending time at SOS with the caring and loving workers and volunteers, she started to heal and learned to trust again. Sue happily told us that she was “recently adopted by a lovely couple who are training her to be a wonderful little pony for their family.”
SOS is unique because they often provide financial support to other non-profit horse rescues in Georgia. They help with rehoming and transportation, and even provide funds for vetting, hay and feed for horses taken to other rescues. They are constantly looking for ways to reduce the number of abused and starved horses, and are willing to help wherever they can.
If you’re interested in helping SOS in their mission to end horse starvation, check out the information below:
Stamp Out Starvation of Horses
We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
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Idaho Horse Rescue - Eagle, Idaho
A Rescue Organization Located in the Treasure Valley of Idaho
Deep in the Treasure Valley of Idaho, a horse rescue is hard at work rehabilitating horses that were abused, starved, and neglected. Sometimes this rehabilitation involves veterinary care and a structured training plan. Sometimes it just involves a caring touch and the slow rebuilding of a long lost trust in human.
The Idaho Horse Rescue was founded by Robert Bruno who rescued his first horse from the Les Bois racetrack about 30 years ago. We spoke with rescue worker Rebecca Catlett to learn how the operation works.
The herd size varies at IHR, but they currently have fifteen animals that need homes. Rebecca explained that all sorts of horses enter their facilities. “Some can be rehabilitated for adoption and some cannot. We have several life-long residents at the ranch.”
The rescue workers consult veterinarians to develop the best course of treatment for each horse. Rebecca continued, “We spend time with the horses on the ground and learn the extent of their experience with humans – i.e. were they beaten, starved etc. If a horse is extremely fearful of humans we start very slow. We do not do a lot of “training” per se, but rather rehabilitate with trust.”
Potential adopters contact IHR each week. They are carefully checked before the adoption is allowed. “We vet our adopters by requiring a home visit and the adopter must agree to a one-year “probationary” period. During this one-year period, the Adopter may not sell, give away, lend, lease, sell for slaughter, or remove from Adopters personal supervision and control.”
The biggest challenges for IHR are size limitations that cause them to turn away new horses. “We are working on expanding, but it takes time, money and staff to make it happen,” Rebecca shared.
Still, the rescuers are proud of their successes. “Anytime we can find a horse a new, loving home is a success. Several of our horses have found wonderful homes and some have gone on to be competitive in certain disciplines. Anytime we rescue a horse – whether it is adoptable or not, it is a success.”
Idaho Horse Rescue is the only rescue organization in the Treasure Valley of Idaho. They work hard to help as many horses as possible while also counseling local residents on how to recognize and report signs of horse abuse. To learn more, see the information below.
Idaho Horse Rescue
Location: Eagle, Idaho
Donate: 947 E. Winding Creek Drive, Eagle, Idaho 83616
Miracle Horse Rescue and Sanctuary - Midvale, Idaho
They Transported 35 Horses in Six Trips Across State Lines to Provide a Better Environment
Stephanie Pierce has had horses her whole life and always considered them part of her family. Over time, she recognized that others did not share this same feeling. “I wanted to provide a second change of life to the horses and give them the opportunity to be just horses.”
Her journey started in Southern Nevada, where the
Miracle Horse Rescue and Sanctuary operated for 14 years. In December of 2015, they began a huge undertaking to move the operation to Midvale, Idaho. “We transported 35 horses in six trips, equipment, and human stuff as well.” They’ve seen a huge change in the horses since this move. “The senior horses have been rejuvenated in this environment.”
All of the horses that have come through the gates at the Miracle Horse Rescue and Sanctuary have been abused, neglected, unwanted, or are PMU mares in foal. “We have given them a soft place to land.” Many of the horses are elderly. “The vast majority of the horses within our organization are 25+ years old, with the oldest being a 41 year old small mule.”
After a vet check, feed, and medication bring a horse to optimal condition, the staff starts looking for adopters. “We utilize social media and word of mouth. Our first question is ALWAYS ‘Have you owned horses?’ and ‘What is it you are looking for in a horse?’ Within minutes you are able to determine whether there is a potential fit.” The rescue also has a ‘no breeding or selling’ clause to protect the animals. “The welfare of the horses in our care is of the utmost importance!”
Stephanie explained that their biggest challenge was when they received three PMU mares from Canada. “They were wilder than a March hare!” Unfortunately one of the mares in foal colicked and $15,000 worth of medical care was unable to save her. This was an emotional loss for the staff but they were overjoyed to save the other two mares named Apple and Jerri. The foals were adopted out to an amazing woman in Colorado who sends regular updates.
“I cannot say that we have anything above and unique above any other rescue, as I believe each rescue loves and cares for the horses within their care. I will say we are dedicated to them 24/7 and, with us, we have gained trust with some of the hardest of cases. But overall, we are proud of the mutual respect we have for them and vice versa.”
Orphan Acres - Viola, Idaho
2,890 Successful Adoptions in Over 40 Years of Work
A herd of exotic animals lived next door when he was a child. With these surroundings, it’s not surprising that Brent Glover acquired knowledge of how to care for numerous domestic and wild animals. He continued this practice into adulthood by caring for needy animals placed at his doorstep. One day in 1975, a stranger knocked on Brent’s door asking for “Orphan Acres.” It seemed he had gained quite the reputation with his local community. The name stuck and the rescue operation became official.
In over 40 years of operation, Brent and his band of volunteers have seen nearly every size, shape, and breed of horse out there. He’s also collected a slew of fascinating stories along the way…
For instance, in 1999, a court-order led to the placement of 89 horses to the Orphan Acres herd. Brent explained, “They were malnourished and neglected for a number of years. This took our herd to 139 horses to care for, which is the most we have ever had at one time.” The rescuers were able to revive many of the horses with special diets, and a few were sent to Washington State University for evaluation. A few were beyond rehabilitation and had to be put humanely down.”
“In 2009, we received another large rescue of 36 horses,” he continued. “Several of the older horses were unresponsive to rehabilitation. Three were taken to Washington State University for needed surgeries. The balance of the horses have been adopted into permanent homes.”
Their most famous rescue was a horse named Lil Blue McGoo, who played one of the main horses in the movie ‘Dances With Wolves.’ “Blue arrived at Orphan Acres severely underweight, with open sores all over his body, and an abscess on his jaw. He was put on a controlled diet, his sores were treated, and he was given much needed love and attention. He stood patiently for all sorts of treatments. We gradually restored both his weight and muscle mass to proper levels. Blue recovered fully, with the exception of a sensitive digestive system, and spent many happy years with us at Orphan Acres until his passing at 29 years old.”
The farm is also home to other minor celebrities including “Slew”, a Seattle Slew grandson and, “Miss Dee”, who was nominated for the Triple Crown in her hay day but was pulled at Churchill Downs due to blood in her lungs. “We have had numerous champion Arabian mares and stallions that ended up at Orphan Acres due to their senior age or owner health.”
“Also, unique to Orphan Acres is a herd of blind horses. Five are totally blind and there are several that are blind in one eye. They are guided by Zanzabar, who dotes over them as their bell horse.
Since 1975, Orphan Acres has received horses from as far away as Maine. Their adoption statistics are staggering. “Over 4,100 horses have been placed here, and about 2,890 have been adopted into new caring homes, giving them a second chance. We have also had over 360 wildlife placed in our care, all of which were returned to their natural habitat after rehabilitation, including deer, elk, bear, raccoons, raptures, and waterfowl.”
All of this work has been completed without the benefit of a dedicated paid staff. “Orphan Acres is a 100% volunteer organization that averages close to 10,000 volunteer hours per year by over 800 volunteers. Those with horse experience spend time helping rehabilitate, and teach the horses to trust humans again. The horses learn to trust through frequent exposure from the positive interactions with the volunteers. Learning occurs on both ends of the leadrope.”
To learn more about Orphan Acres, check out their website or Facebook page. They are always in need of monetary donations and feed to care for their animals.
Location: Viola, ID
Donate: 1182 Rothfork Road Viola, ID
Trinity Animal Rescue Center, Inc. - Buhl, Idaho
A Rescue That Believes No Animal is Beyond Rehabilitation
Located in Buhl, Idaho, Maria has always had a strong passion for animals. Maria has dedicated her whole life to rescuing animals of all kinds. She personally has two dogs, two cats, and a horse, who are all rescues. Because of her passion for animals, Maria became a certified professional animal trainer and opened Trinity Animal Rescue Center, Inc. She believes that training can help prevent a majority of animal surrenders, and that proper training gives the animal and their family the confidence to thrive. Maria says, "My passion always was, and will be animals. I have witnessed so much animal abuse which has clearly changed my perspective on our society. I do believe that these innocent souls need to be protected from cruelty, killing on mass in shelters, and from slaughter houses.”
Trinity Animal Rescue Center, Inc. (TARC) is a 501(c)(3) organization. Their rescue strives to rescue as many dogs and cats as possible from overflow shelters, as well as abandoned/stray animals from harsh environments. The mission at Trinity Animal Rescue Center is clear: Thou Shall Not Kill. At Trinity, they believe that no animal is beyond rehabilitation or training, and work hard to get each and every animal ready to thrive in their new home. Maria and the team at Trinity are not only passionate about dogs and cats, but all animals - including horses and other livestock. Currently, Maria and the team are able to rescue horses from kill pens. They are working diligently to further expand their resources to be able to help rescue more livestock and horses. Trinity Animal Rescue Center also has a goal to open the region’s first and only no-kill animal rescue facility in Twin Falls County, Idaho.
The current need for animal rescues is huge. 100% of donations go to fund Trinity Animal Rescue Center’s mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals.
Crosswinds Equine Rescue – Sidell, Illinois
A Rescue That Helped a Blind Horse See with Echo-Location
Crosswinds Equine Rescue, located in East Central Illinois, specializes in retraining neglected and starving horses. As a horse rescue that accepts only owner surrenders, they work closely with owners, adopters, and volunteers to make not only the horse’s life better, but also to make a difference in people’s lives.
The horses at Crosswinds receive extensive veterinary care and a special diet based on their needs. After they heal and regain their strength, they begin the retraining process. The horse’s skills are evaluated, with the goal of finding their natural talent and interest. This allows the staff at Crosswinds to search for a career and home that’s the perfect fit for the horse.
Horses at Crosswinds benefit from the herd lifestyle and 40-acre main pasture, and especially the individualized care they receive. Because Crosswinds is a small facility, they only accept horses they believe they can help significantly – through training, support, and rehoming.
In a recent interview, Crosswinds told us of one such horse, named Solstice, who has been blind for several years. (See photo above.) However, through working with Jordy Candid Inc, they helped develop a Blindsight-E unit that allows Solstice to “see,” by visualizing his world through echolocation. Now, Solstice can walk confidently and step over or go around objects that are in his way, instead of bumping into them. Solstice was the first horse in the world to use this amazing technology, and now, this product is available for other horses as well.
Crosswinds is using technology and special care to change the lives of horses like Solstice, but they don’t just stop there. We were told Crosswinds “has been built as much on making a difference in people’s lives as in the horses.” They do this by helping owners in need of surrendering, adopters looking for a new horse companion, and volunteers and visitors that help on their rescue.
Their greatest successes are the stories of people their rescue has touched. For instance:
“We had a 6-year-old girl referred to us because she was nonverbal after seeing her family murdered in her apartment 6 months earlier. Medical care was making no progress in returning her speech. We introduced her to a horse named Miata, and said “he was in a trailer accident where his owner died. He went from bad home to worse until he came here. He’s recovering now.” On her second visit, she poured Miata’s grain, looked into his face, and said, “It’ll be ok. They’ll find you a good home like I have now.” She proceeded to tell her story – the first words her foster family ever heard her say.”
The little girl’s foster family will forever be grateful for Miata and Crosswinds for helping heal their little girl. Stories like these are made possible through the hard work and dedication of workers and volunteers at Crosswinds, who care deeply about both the rescue horses, and the people as well.
To donate to help support horses at Crosswinds Equine Rescue, check out their information below:
Crosswinds Equine Rescue
Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption (FOD) – St. Charles, IL
From Winning Racehorse to Starving Rescue: Field of Dreams Horse Rescue Changes Lives
Gleaming Key was a successful racehorse who carried his rider to victory eleven times with several second and third place showings in his 44 starts. He had impressive bloodlines with legendary names like Bold Ruler and Man O’ War appearing on his family tree. After his racing career, he went onto a leisurely life as a pleasure horse privately boarded on a small farm and earned the name Checkmate.
This is where things took a turn for the Thoroughbred gelding. His owner fell on hard times and had to surrender his ownership to the farm in order to cover costs. Checkmate was kept in his stall most of the time and grew skinny and listless. He was a shadow of his former self.
It was around this time that Checkmate came to the attention of the Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption (FOD) in St. Charles, IL. Two young rescue workers began working with him to reintroduce human handling and care. Gradually, his health improved and he was moved full-time to the FOD facility at Silver Spur Ranch in Maple Park. Before long, he was adopted by a new owner and able to finally live the happy horse life he deserved.
This is just one success story from Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption, but it gives you an idea of the hope and healing that they can provide to animals in Illinois. FOD was founded in 2005 to help with the rescue and rehabilitation of the neglected and unwanted horses in Northern Illinois.
Board member Gindi Orloff shared, “Since our inception, we have grown into a highly professional and well-respected organization run by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. We were recently awarded Verification status by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and accepted into the Equine Welfare Network.”
She went on to explain that no single breed or discipline of horse is helped at FOD. All of the animals are simply the innocent victims of unfortunate circumstances. The farm serves as a safe haven for the horses until a permanent new home can be found.
Sick or undernourished horses are always evaluated by a veterinarian when they arrive on the farm. Gindi explained, “Following the veterinarian’s guidance, we address any medical issues and provide a carefully monitored diet of hay, high quality grain, and appropriate supplements. Additionally, our horses enjoy daily turnout which helps with overall health and rehabilitation.”
The retraining program involves daily handling, grooming, and weekly exercise rides if appropriate. “Each horse continues to be evaluated by FOD for a minimum of 60 days before becoming available for adoption,” Gindi explained. “This allows time for a comprehensive evaluation so we can find the very best match for each rescue.”
After 60 days of evaluation, horses are eligible for adoption. Just like Checkmate, this is a horse’s chance at finding a forever home with an owner that will treat them as they deserve. The FOD website and social media sites are used to market the available horses and find potential adopters to fill out applications.
Funding is certainly always a challenge for FOD. They make it a priority to provide responsible care and only take on new rescues as their funding allows. Each rescue that is taken in requires unique care for physical and emotional healing. Gindi feels that “Helping them transition into being healthy, happy, trusting and ready for a second chance again is our greatest success.”
FOD currently rents a 2 horse bumper pull trailer but they would love to have a trailer of their own to use for their rescue work. “It would serve the purpose of transporting our rescues to and from our facility and for training to alleviate fears of trailering,” Gindi shared. If you were interested in participating in the Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program for this organization, please comment below.
Field of Dreams Horse Rescue and Adoption
St. Charles, IL
Donations: P.O. Box 61, St. Charles, IL 60174
Legendary Mustang Sanctuary - Alhambra, Illinois
“Every horse we find a forever home for is one more life that we have saved.”
Legendary Mustang Sanctuary started with just two horses and has now burgeoned into an organization for wild mustangs and burros with dire prospects outside of this facility. Once their first two Mustangs were taken in, the Sanctuary immediately realized the scope of the issue they were facing. It didn’t take long before their organization grew to take in as many mustangs and burros as they can.
Legendary Mustang Sanctuary acquires their horses through The Bureau of Land Management adoption events. After being removed from federal lands these horses are offered up at auction a maximum of three times, giving these animals a very short window of opportunity. If not adopted within that time, they are labeled “three strikers” and sent to long-term holding facilities, then sent off to their final destination.
This is where Legendary Mustang Sanctuary steps in to help these “three strikers”, giving them a chance at a true forever home, without the possibility of auction or worse. Legendary Mustang Sanctuary is well aware of the gravity of the situation as Shawn and Kathy Lewis says, “every horse we find a forever home for is one more life that we have saved.”
Since the horses at their facility are recognized as wild horses they must follow a rehabilitation program catered to those needs; one which is very different from programs used by many other equine rescue organizations. Through a very slow process including 45 days of quarantine and a drawn out feeding regimen these wild mustangs learn to trust while regaining their natural confidence and spirit.
Due to the bleak prospects set before these horses, every adoption is truly a success and the fruits of the Sanctuary’s labors are inspiring. “We work hard and are incredibly proud of the Sanctuary’s 100% success rate in our adoption program. Every horse and adopter are unique in their own way. They have a special bond, each and every one becomes a part of the family.
However, that is not the extent of what the staff offers their community. Legendary Mustang Sanctuary does not just provide rehabilitation and a prospect of a forever home for their horses. They offer educational seminars for interested parties, as well as college internships for students studying Equine Science and Veterinary Medicine. In this way they are able to ensure that people come away from their experience with an understanding and respect for these animals and their celebrated historical significance.
Legendary Mustang Sanctuary operations are staffed completely by volunteer hours, and they are always looking for new members for their team. They rely wholly on donations to maintain their facility and support is always appreciated. Use the information below to donate funds or time to help Legendary Mustang Rescue continue their success story.
Legendary Mustang Sanctuary
Achaius Ranch - Ladoga, Indiana
“Touching the lives of hundreds of children and families through this program, with the help of our equine partners, is our greatest success."
After a trip to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon, Elisha McCulloh and her daughter, Nicole Wilson were inspired. They knew they wanted to combine their love of horses and dedication to Jesus Christ in an environment of healing for both humans and horses alike. They immediately began planning and building Achaius Ranch along with their husbands, Rodney and Sam. It is a faith-based ministry where children and their families can come to learn and grow alongside the animals rescued by the ranch.
The journey for the horses that arrive at Achaius Ranch often begins with a phone call from an owner in need of assistance. Many of these owners are forced to surrender their horses due to financial hardship, an inability to properly care for them, or in some cases, reports of abuse and neglect. Each horse is initially evaluated by a veterinarian to determine their health and nutritional needs so that a refeeding plan can be determined as quickly as possible.
Retraining at Achaius Ranch is done under the leadership of Nicole, who is a Level 3 graduate of the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Program. This method focuses on the importance of relationships, leadership, communication, body language, building a partnership with the horse, building their confidence, and encouraging the horse to think through situations instead of reacting fearfully. Most of the horses that arrive here become participants in the youth program and remain at the ranch as a part of the herd for the rest of their lives.
The youth program at Achaius Ranch provides opportunities for children to interact with horses in a positive, loving environment. Elisha, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, serves as Program Director and facilitates the screening, training, and activities of all of the volunteers. Each session is organized so that one child works with one volunteer, ensuring they receive the individualized attention that they need. The first part of each session is dedicated to service, to helping maintain the horses, their environment and equipment. The remainder of the session is spent on education, focusing on grooming, care, horsemanship, and riding.
“Touching the lives of hundreds of children and families through this program, with the help of our equine partners, is our greatest success,” says Nicole. This joy and sense of community is shared by the volunteers and children that participate in the program as well. Cadence, who attends the youth sessions says, “This is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so thankful. Going to Achaius has helped me with my confidence and my patience a lot. It helps me to feel free and I love all of the great fellowship.”
Donations and volunteers are vital to Achaius Ranch, please use the information below to help in any way possible. You can also view their wish list of needed supplies and purchase Achaius Ranch merchandise to help horses and families continue to love, heal and grow.
Horse-Angels, Inc. - Spencer, Indiana
She was there for whatever they needed for however long that would take.
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.
Blue Ridge Rescue - Blue Grass, Iowa
To truly understand the spirit, heart and strength at Blue Ridge, one need look no further than the rescue’s mascot, Bunny.
Community is the backbone of Blue Ridge Rescue, an organization that through the help of foster homes throughout Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois has rescued, rehabilitated, trained and adopted out over 325 horses and equines. While they have helped a wide variety of farm animals they specialize in miniature horses and small ponies.
To truly understand the spirit, heart and strength at Blue Ridge, one need look no further than the rescue’s mascot. Born on a large breeding farm with a genetic defect that caused her legs to be deformed, this tiny miniature horse would have been put down if Blue Ridge hadn’t stepped in. Her front leg deformities made it nearly impossible for her to walk, but Blue Ridge staff knew they had to help. A local prosthetic company designed and donated a special brace for her front leg in order to help her walk and she was loving her new life.
However, after six months she began to deteriorate and x-rays revealed bone deformities that would require some out-of-the-box thinking. Thankfully the surgeons at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine were up to the task. Due to her size, she was a candidate for a radical surgery usually performed on dogs. Surgeons were able to remove the two problem bones and reset the remaining bone with a plate and screws, leaving Bunny with a peg leg. Her peg leg meant that she began spending her days hopping around the rescue, hence she was given the name Bunny.
The changes to Bunny’s front legs required special shoes to be made so that she could learn to walk on her new legs. The shoes were tiny high-heels, affectionately known around the rescue as Bunny’s princess slippers. Her journey and recovery are nothing short of miraculous, she serves as a constant reminder of the spirit that embodies the work done at Blue Ridge as she bounds about every day.
Several of the animals that have found their way to Blue Ridge remain as lifelong residents of the sanctuary, often suffering from disabilities, blindness or long-term illness. They believe that these animals deserve to live the rest of their lives in a loving environment no matter their state. Animals that are able are rehabilitated and trained. The goal is “that after rehabilitation they can in time be adopted out to a loving and lifelong home; where they will be able to live out their life in a loving, caring and healthy environment,” says Blue Ridge staff.
Bunny’s path and that of the many other animals that Blue Ridge helps are funded and made possible by the generous dedication of their supporters. As they say, “we take pride in the volunteer work we do with these rescues in rehabilitating and training them to be safe and sound for a new life with a new family. Your payment or donation to help fund our rescue for these animals will continue to "help us help them”.
Blue Ridge Rescue
Blue Grass, Iowa
Hearts for Hooves - Toddville, Iowa
By Amber Naill
Our rescue was formed from our passion for animals. We have be raising quarter horses since 2000. Beth has been training, raising and helping animals since a young girl. As I got older and was able to help more with training and raising the animals, we found a need for people to care and help others love those animals that others had forgotten about! We became official in 2011 and have helped save over 300 horses/donkeys/mules/cows and goats. We have been involved in sheriff seizures, taken owner surrenders and on occasion have even paid to save an animal from the kill pen. We do it because we love it! There is no profit other than a huge reward when one of our sickly animals has reached full health and recovery and finally meets the person they have been waiting for and gets adopted!! This is our profit LOVE!
We take in all horses/donkeys/mules or anything with a hoof. Several come in with a body condition of 1 and when they have left our home are in perfect health. We try desperately to never turn an animal in need away.
Every horse has different needs from learning to be halter broke to being ridden. We work with each horse individually and meet each horse’s needs. Our goal is that every animal is friendly, halter broke and will stand nicely for the farrier to be adopted out. If they continue to be here after listed we proceed to train them to ride on trails, down roads and they become a trail partner with possibilities of advancing with right owner. Pasture pets only have to be manageable and safe for others to be around and same goes for our babies that come into the rescue. They are started halter breaking and if able (before adopted) learn basic lunging..
Our biggest challenges are monetary. Financially the rescue does not get in enough donations to cover all costs of rehabilitating the animals, but we pay for it out of our pockets and go on!
What are your greatest successes? We have two that come to mind. A quarter mare named Jinx that didn’t even score a .5 and is now living with us permanently! She is our mascot. The vet did not think she would make it home on the trailer and now she goes to several of our animal awareness events, trail rides, used as a lesson horse and companion.
Second is Hope. Quarter pony mare scored a .5. This poor girl went down on the trailer coming home. Got her up and strength built back up only to have her get bastard strangles and had to have iv meds. She lived in a sling for 3 days before able to hold herself up. We spent night and day with her and several friends came to help take shifts to be with her. Our vet came out several times to change ivs and give more medications to her. She finally pulled thru against all odds and now lives with a family of 5, where she is absolutely adored and rode by two young kids.
Here at Heart for Hooves Rescue Inc. we like to keep things simple and real. We will tell you the good, the bad, and give our opinion on potential. We want to make every adoption very positive for the adopter and the animal being adopted. We work hard at knowing the abilities and attitudes of each animal. We fall in love with each animal that comes here to be healed and find a new home/family. Don't be afraid to ask us questions, we will give you the most honest answer we have. It doesn't do you, us, or the animal any good to try to white wash reality. Our adoption agreements are simple but have grown to spell out what adequate care is. We are continuously growing, changing, tweaking our operations to be the best at what we do. Rescue animals are just like all other animals, they need love and care, but most of all they need family! Our motto #savingliveswithnovoiceoftheirown
It is the mission of Heart For Hooves Rescue Inc. to provide a place of healing and rehabilitation for abandoned, neglected, and abused hooved animals. We are dedicated to bringing people who love animals together with the hooved animals.
3561 Alive Rd. Toddville, Iowa 52341
Horse Heaven Rescue - Runnells, Iowa
Rescued Horses Who Are Helping Children Heal
The Horse Heaven Rescue in Runnells, Iowa was formed when Deb Hoyt started seeing healthy horses and ponies being needlessly put down at the veterinary office where she worked. The rescue grew from there and today they help 30 horses at a time find new and loving homes through their program. Deb explained, “We take in a lot of owner relinquished horses and horses whose owners have gotten too old or ill to care for them.” The staff at the Horse Heaven Rescue help malnourished or injured animals regain their health through veterinary care. Then, they work with the animals using training techniques like Monty Robert’s “Join Up” and programs from Clinton Anderson, Richard Shrake, and Pat Parelli.
One of the most exciting things about this horse rescue operation is its association with Healing Hearts with Horses equine therapy program for troubled youth and disabled children. Deb shared, “I see the miracles that happen when we bring the at risk children and youth that we work with and put them with the rescue horses. It is amazing to watch the bonds that form.” Using techniques like Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, the volunteer staff has been able to help a wide range of children ranging from kids with autism, cerebral palsy, to youth who are looking for a fresh start after being abused or coming from a bad situation.
For Deb and her staff, the biggest challenge is to find the funding to help both the horses and kids in her program. “I say we get paid in smiles as we do not charge our at-risk children or youth. We ask for donations but turn no one away for inability to pay. We are not fancy but we do good work!” To learn more about the Horse Heaven Rescue, visit their website.
B & C Equine Rescue Inc. - Carbondale, Kansas
“Seeing photos of the adopted horses being loved and cared for is one of our greatest successes.”
The story of B & C Equine Rescue began long before the organization itself. On Brenda’s 16th birthday her parents gave her a horse rescued from a kill buyer lot. Brenda named him Tony, he became her best friend living to be 38 years old. When Brenda lost Tony, she knew she wanted to turn that loss into something positive. That was the beginning of the dream for B & C Equine Rescue. A dream which Brenda and her husband, Cecil, built into a reality for so many horses that need a home, just like Tony.
At B & C Equine Rescue, Brenda and Cecil take in any horse, regardless of breed or size. “From mini’s to Belgians and everything in between, B & C will not turn down any animal needing rescue, rehabilitation, re-homing and sanctuary,” says Cassandra Fraga. “Building the additional barn last year to help even more horses was a great success.”
When horses arrive at B & C the first step is the vet, dentist and farrier determining what happened to leave the horse in the shape they are now “Finding out if the feet or teeth are a cause of malnourishment is key,” explains Cassandra. This focus on the cause of the problem allows them to form an individualized plan based on the complete picture from these experts, ensuring that each horse is able to heal both physically and emotionally while at B & C.
Brenda believes that love and patience are of the utmost importance in helping that healing take place. Using the trust that they build with each horse, they are able to place the animal in various situations, over time, to ensure that the horse is ready for their new home.
Using a strong online presence, B & C works to attract potential adopters to the various events and open houses that they host throughout the year. This allows them to begin the application process by matching adopter to horse depending on human need and horse ability. “Seeing photos of the adopted horses being loved and cared for is one of our greatest successes,” says Cassandra.
Cassandra’s time at B&C began as a patron of the rescue, when her daughter wanted nothing more than to ride a horse. After much location searching Cassandra decided to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday by bringing her Girl Scout troop to B & C. After the success of the party, Cassandra and her daughter continued to attend events and four years ago, Cassandra was asked to join the B&C team on the board. “My daughter is now 11 and we both volunteer doing whatever Brenda directs us to do,” she recounts. “The things that sets them apart is that Brenda and Cecil welcome everyone into their hearts. Be it horses, dogs, cats, birds or humans; you will be provided a safe, loving environment the minute you step foot around these two loving people.”
Please use the information below to help Brenda and Cecil to continue their dream of helping horses like Tony find their homes.
B & C Equine Rescue Inc.
Freeman Arabian Ranch & Rescue – Meriden, Kansas
Freeman Arabian Ranch is a forever rescue sanctuary.
Freeman Arabian Ranch & Rescue sits on thirty-nine lush acres of land in Meriden, Kansas. It is home to a herd of Arabian horses that will spend the remainder of their days happy, healthy, and well-cared for.
Tricia Freeman, Founder and CEO of Freeman Arabian Ranch, and her husband Jeff are both life-long animal lovers who have devoted their lives to animal rescue and advocacy. Volunteering at other rescue organizations deepened their passion and showed them they needed to do more. As a result, they started Freeman Arabian Ranch, which was officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) public charity in July 2015.
Freeman Arabian Ranch is a forever rescue sanctuary. They don’t breed, sell, or adopt out. Because they rescue horses for life, the number of horses they are able to rescue is limited. Most of these horses are Arabian horses, with advancing age, medical conditions, physical limitations, and other imperfections.
At this Kansas sanctuary, these horses are given the utmost care and love. In a recent interview with Tricia Freeman, she explained that at Freeman Arabian Ranch, “we do not ride, show, or compete – we simply enjoy the love, loyalty, friendship and companionship horses offer. We are content feeding, grooming and spending quality time with them. Our horses don’t work for us, we work for them.”
And there’s a lot of work to do at Freeman Arabian Ranch. From giving each horse personal attention and care and providing aid to animals in the local community, to collaborating with other rescues and public speaking about responsible pet ownership, Tricia has plenty to do. Their biggest challenge and need, however, is funding. These additional funds would go towards caring for the lifetime cost of each horse at the sanctuary, as well as future expansion at Freeman Arabian Ranch.
Tricia and her husband are proud to be a forever rescue sanctuary. Though there are difficulties, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Tricia says the horses “who come into our care become permanent members of our rescue family and live out their lives with us never knowing hunger, neglect, cruelty, fear or abandonment ever again.”
At Freeman Arabian Ranch, they really do go above and beyond, taking in challenged horses who would not be easily homed. In 2016, a senior stallion was in dire need of a new home. Despite their best efforts, they could not find another home for this unique horse. Rather than giving up, the Freemans borrowed money and built stallion/quarantine facilities so they could welcome Sha-Ron into their rescue family. Sha-Ron recently celebrated his 29th birthday and is happy and healthy at Freeman Arabian Ranch.
When asked about their greatest successes, Tricia responded that their greatest success is the health and happiness of each of their rescue family members. You can help contribute to their success by donating to Freeman Arabian Ranch. All donations are appreciated and go toward helping care for the rescued animals for the rest of their lives.
Freeman Arabian Ranch & Rescue
Location: Meriden, Kansas
Donations: P.O. Box 75 Meriden, Kansas 66512
Rainbow Meadows Ranch - Sedan, Kansas
Rescue Horses Live in a Huge Herd on This Kansas Ranch
The Rainbow Meadows Ranch in Sedan, Kansas must be a site to behold when driving down the lane. Where many farms have a large barn full of stalled horses, this facility has 240 acres of land where horses roam at will.
Karen Everhart, the executive director, explained, "Our horses are never stalled or confined to small pens or paddocks. They are allowed to live as their Mustang cousins do on large tracts of land, in dynamic heards of all ages and genders (sans stallions.)" The land is split into large grazing sections and horses are allowed plenty of room to run, socialize, and graze.
The ranch has a well-known reputation among the local horse community. Karen shared, "Rainbow Meadows was formed from our love of horses. We found horses being treated in the most egregious fashion and it was unacceptable. It was our desire to provide a safe haven for horses in need."
She stressed that they always strive to identify horses in need before they enter extreme sitatuations. "It is our hope that we can prevent horses from being exposed to the atrocities afforded them when hauled to the sale barn or transported by the brokers/killers from sale to sale, and then the horror of slaughter."
All breeds and classes are accepted at the ranch with 45-50 horses on the ranch at any given time. New horses are quarantined and returned to an acceptable weight before being blended into the herd. Then, they begin their retraining program. Karen said, "Our daily handling is dependent upon the needs of the horse."
Potential adopters find the RMR through their website, Facebook page, or through word-of-mouth advertising. "We have a comprehensive adoption process which includes an application, a mandatory facility visit, a facility inspection, a detailed contract and a requirement for reporting for the life of the horse."
The ranch is working to expand their operation by hiring a new salaried staff to supplement the faithful volunteers. Karen stated, "To increase funding, we need to hire marketing services and grant writing services. It would be our hope and expectation that marketing and grant staff would be effective in driving an increase in donations to fund their positions as well as additional equine care/ facility care staff."
We wish the Rainbow Meadows Ranch the best as they work towards their goals!
Rainbow Meadows Ranch
Location: Sedan, Kansas
Donate: 1949 Dalton Road, Sedan, KS 67361
Arabian Rescue Mission - Colesville, New Jersey & Leitchfield, Kentucky
When Terry Figueroa set her mind to helping a herd of horses in 2002, she made a decision to do whatever it took to save them.
She had to purchase the horses from a neglectful owner, which was no small task, but Terry knew she couldn’t let them down. “I refinanced my house, took extra jobs, did catering, anything I could to earn the money needed to purchase and move them east,” remembers Terry.
Through her selfless efforts, Terry was able to rescue the horses and transfer them back to New Jersey, becoming acutely aware of how many other Arabians were in dire circumstances in the process. With the help of her friend, CJ, Terry purchased a farm to expand their efforts and applied for 501(c)3 status in 2007. Arabian Rescue Mission now accepts all horses, both Arabians and other breeds, at their two locations. Some of these are permanent residents that will remain at the facility for the rest of their days, due to age, disability, or emotional or physical trauma.
Each horse that arrives at ARM is individually evaluated, after which strict feeding and medical protocols are adhered to. After initial intake, each horse receives a checkup every two weeks to ensure they are making healthy progress. With over 45 years of experience with horses, Terry is able to serve as nutritional specialist, as well as evaluate each horse’s temperament and experience before training begins.
Once the horses have been rehabilitated and their skills evaluated they begin in dressage to teach them aids and get them started with riders. “I am a firm believer in all horses and riders beginning with dressage basics to be more effective in communication,” says Terry.
At ARM they know it is important to remember that oftentimes, horses fall on hard times because their owners have fallen on hard time. “Horses in decline are usually due to economic loss, medical issues or age related problems,” states Terry. For this reason, ARM implemented their owner-assistance program, known as EDRF. As Terry states, “because others look for public outcry and prosecution, many owners fear the consequences of their challenges, or are afraid and embarrassed to ask for help until it is almost too late.” Terry’s goal was to create a place where owners could go when times were tough. “We choose to help the owners, without judgement and retribution, instead focusing on what is in the best interest of the horses,” she explains.
Over the years, ARM has been able to help an incredible amount of horses, including the Ohio and West Virginia herds, which saw them take in and rehome a total of 80 horses. Their ability to handle this type of situation has made them a go-to for herd rescues across the country.
Please use the information below to find out how you can help Terry and everyone at ARM continue moving forward with their dream.
Arabian Rescue Mission
Colesville, New Jersey & Leitchfield, Kentucky
Kentucky Equine Humane Center - Nicholasville, KY
Rescue Takes on the Most Severe Cases of Neglect and Succeeds!
The Kentucky Equine Humane Center is located in Nicholasville, KY and they pride themselves in being an “all-breed equine rescue.” They take horses of all different ages, conditions, and backgrounds. This includes some truly severe rehabilitation cases, but Executive Director Karen Gustin says their experienced staff is able to handle this pressure. “Because our staff has decades of equine experience, we are able to take very challenging rehab cases. When we take in horses that are severe medical cases and that require extensive rehab, we are usually able to turn them around.” The entire staff is able to take pride in the successes when these horses are adopted out.
The greatest challenge for the KyEHC is funding the needs of the organization when they have approximately fifty horses to care for at any given time. At an expense of $500 per horse per month, this amount really starts to add up so they rely heavily on volunteers and donations.
The horses that go through the KyEHC are always thoroughly checked by a veterinarian before placed in an individual training plan. “The horses who are surrendered to us come from many different backgrounds, so we pride ourselves on working with each horse as an individual and not having a standard (one size fits all) training program,” Karen explained.
“The rescue was first formed by a passionate group of equine advocates whose mission was to found an all-breed rescue who worked to save and find new forever homes for the unwanted horses of Kentucky from abuse, abandonment and neglect.” Any potential adopters can learn more about the KyEHC by visiting their website or YouTube channel. You will be asked to fill out a very in-depth application with several references required. Ultimately, this application could be your very first step to providing a home to a needy horse in Kentucky!
We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
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We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
If you would like to suggest a hardworking group of rescuers to be added to our list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom Hill Horse Rescue - Owings, Maryland
"These gentle souls often find themselves at auction or on a trailer to a slaughterhouse. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Freedom Hill Horse Rescue was formed in 2006 as an organization committed to saving neglected, abused or unwanted horses that are typically difficult to adopt. These are often older or injured horses, some with chronic diseases. According to FHHR staff, “Because most cannot be ridden or medical treatment is beyond the reach of many people, these gentle souls often find themselves at auction or on a trailer to a slaughterhouse. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Since its inception, FHHR has proudly helped over 300 horses. “Older, injured and well-managed horses still have a lot of love of give and deserve to live a life with dignity and compassion,” says FHHR. Many of the sanctuary horses go on to participate in their equine assisted learning programs. They are able to help individuals, youth and families with a variety of learning and human development goals. “These gentle giants help facilitate skills such as teamwork, leadership skills, goal setting, conflict resolution and self-confidence,” says FHHR staff.
FHHR knows that their mission encompasses more than just caring for horses, which is why community involvement is equally important. With that goal in mind, FHHR has been awarded the designation of Horse Discovery Center through the Maryland Horse Industry Board. The goal of the program is to create a network of certified facilities and organizations to educate the public about the horse industry in Maryland. FHHR hosts a variety of programs geared toward individuals wanting to learn more about the horse world at various levels.
While these programs work to reach a wide variety of individuals, sometimes the greatest moments of understanding and connection at FHHR arrive unexpectedly in the smallest packages. Such was the experience for Ella, a 9-year old volunteer that arrived at FHHR with her mother Renee. The pair had worked around Blue, a gentle, personable boy before, but for some reason that morning was different. “He backed away, snorting and throwing his head with fearful eyes,” say Renee. She told Ella to give him his space and continued their work with Ella chattering away. Suddenly Ella went silent and Blue snorted.
“I spun around, ready to rush to the rescue, but stopped short. Ella had stretched her polka-dotted gloved hands straight out in front of her and was standing perfectly still, talking to Blue in a quiet voice that barely reached my ears. He stood with his big head outstretched, ears back, sniffing at her gloves. That was it – he wasn’t sure about her gloves,” remembers Renee. Ella waited patiently until Blue walked up and let Ella stroke his nose. She kept whispering, ever so slowly getting closer, until her tiny forehead rested against his nose. As Renee recounts, “Finally, she looked up with a smile even bigger than mine and said, “See, mom, you don’t have to be nervous. He’s the one who was nervous! He’s so big, but he was afraid of my gloves!”
Use the information below to see how you can help the horses at FHHR, whether through donation, sponsorship or volunteering. Every dollar and minute given is appreciated.
Freedom Hill Horse Rescue
Gaited Advocate Intervention Team – Boyds, Maryland
GAIT is on a mission to rescue gaited horses and other at-risk equines from slaughter, abuse, and neglect.
It all started with just a few friends who were advocates for the sound Tennessee Walking Horse. When the horrible abuse of the Gaited Horse breed became public knowledge, and as the value of the breed steadily declined, more and more good Walking Horses ended up in auctions and kill pens. Denise Parsons, President of GAIT, and a few of her friends started privately rescuing many of these horses, but it wasn’t until August 2016 that they formalized GAIT, the Gaited Advocate Intervention Team.
GAIT is on a mission to rescue gaited horses and other at-risk equines from slaughter, abuse, and neglect. GAIT is unique because of their national presence and because they are one of the only horse rescues specializing in gaited horses.
Most of the horses that come to their barn are Tennessee Walking Horses, but they also take other traditional gaited breeds and occasionally a trotting horse. The horses that come to GAIT are rehabilitated and fed with safe weight building products like alfalfa and molasses free beet pulp so they can return to their normal weights. After they are nourished back to health, they are then evaluated for riding needs. Many go to professional trainers for additional riding training.
From there, the horses are ready to find their new homes. However, finding quality adopters is one of GAIT’s biggest challenges. The adoptions process is lengthy and detailed in order to make sure the horse and the owner are a perfect fit. After completing the application, there’s a phone interview, then the prospective owner can come ride the horse. Though this process can be difficult, it is also very rewarding. Denise says that “making that perfect match, especially for the more difficult to adopt horses,” is the greatest success of all.
Another success for GAIT was the rescue of a horse named Billy Jack. Billy was a young and healthy trail horse who was loved and trusted by his owner. He was traded to a horse dealer because he was too big for his owner. His owner thought that because he was so well-trained and young, he would easily find a new home.
But Billy didn’t. Instead, Billy was purchased by a kill buyer for $700. Luckily, the story doesn’t end there. Before Billy could make it out of the auction and to the slaughterhouse, Kelly Smith from Omega Horse Rescue recognized the situation and called Denise. GAIT took action and bought the horse from the kill buyer.
Sadly, this type of situation happens all too often. Gaited horses have been so undervalued in the market that many young, healthy gaited horses ship to slaughter each week. Denise says: “horses like Billy are why we rescue. Horses like Billy are shipped to slaughter every single day because humans have failed them.”
But you can help. You can help horses like Billy by donating to GAIT today. Or, Denise asks you to consider adopting a rescue horse, because “when you adopt, you not only get a great new riding companion, you help to save TWO lives, the horse you adopt AND the one you make room for in the rescue program.”
Gaited Advocate Intervention Team, Inc.
Location: Boyds, Maryland
Donations: 14515 Chrisman Hill Dr Boyds, MD 20841
Lilly Pond Foal Rescue - Calvert County, Maryland
Rescued Foals Earn a New Chance at Life
The Lilly Pond Foal Rescue is located in Calvert County Maryland and takes in a variety of types of horses mostly bound for slaughter from the New Holland Auction. The founder, Sharon Hancock, formed this rescue operation after extensive experience with other rescues and the Nurse Mare Foal program. The Lilly Pond Foal rescue has been extremely successful and placed 75 horses in the year 2014 alone. This is an unusually high number for rescues in this region of the country.
Kelly Kostelnik, the Lilly Pond Vice President, explained, “The vast majority of the horses we bring in are ill, very thin to emaciated, and overall just neglected by their previous owner.” Once at Lilly Pond, the horses are given plenty of hay and grass and the necessary grain to regain their proper weight. Kelly spoke of the owner, “Numerous times Sharon herself has had to pay for feed out of her own pocket. She guarantees that all horses with have grain and hay before she eats even if the rescue cannot afford it.”
The horses at Lilly Pond Foal Rescue are trained in the round pen and eventually on the trail before being adopted out to new homes. Crandell's Horse Works assists with some of the more challenging cases to help horses gain a solid foundation in their training. Most adopters contact Lilly Pond through their Facebook page or find them through word-of-mouth.
As the name suggests, Lilly Pond Foal Rescue is one of the few rescues that take in orphaned foals from the Nurse Mare Foal program. Kelly said, “Taking care of, feeding, training, and handling of 26 foals is not an easy task. We have wonderful volunteers that help with the care of these foals, along with the horses. We honestly would not be about to function without the help of our local community and dedicated volunteers.”
Lost and Found Horse Rescue - Germantown, Maryland
Rescuing Horses in the Nation’s Capital
Travel just a few miles out of our bustling nation’s capital and you will quickly stumble into the peaceful countryside surrounding Germantown, MD. This is where you will find the Lost and Found Horse Rescue started by Robert and Mary Truland in 1999. The 120 acre farm is a registered Maryland charitable organization dedicated to helping horses, mules, and donkeys in central Maryland.
We spoke with the resident vet, Ashley Young, to learn more about how things work for the LFHR. Ashley explained, “Most of our horses are rescued from kill pens in the surrounding area. Some of our horses are from owner surrenders or ‘strays’ and abused cases that the Montgomery County animal shelter has found.”
New horses are immediately given veterinary care by Ashley and her staff. “Most importantly, time is spent calmly teaching the horse, mule or donkey that they are safe and are no longer going to be mistreated.” Horses are trained “from the ground up” with ground training, under saddle work, and eventually participation in regional shows.
As for how they spread the word about their rescue, “Word of mouth is huge in this area currently over saturated with equines.” Their website, Facebook page, and sites like PetFinder also help funnel potential volunteers and adopters onto the farm.
LFHR was originally located in York, Pa but was relocated to Maryland due to financial hardship. This remains a challenge for the organization. They are without a full-time barn manager and staffing. “Funding is always needed, as well as volunteers that are horse savvy.”
Despite these obstacles, the people at LFHR are not ready to give up. Ashley cited the following as their greatest successes: “Watching an abused animal go to a new home with patient owners. An animal terrified of being touched has pictures taken of them at their new home with children and the entire family petting them.” Hopefully, Lost and Found Horse Rescue will continue to help animals escape hardship and find loving homes far into the future.
Maryland Horse Rescue - Westminster, MD
Facilitating the Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Rehoming of Abused and Abandoned Horses
The Maryland Horse Rescue is located in Westminster, MD. Maryland Horse Rescue is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit, 100% volunteer run, and operated solely on donations. The founder of Maryland Horse Rescue got her first horse from an extremely abusive situation. With time and love, she taught her previously abused horse to be rideable. As the years went on, she saw horses being bought and sold like 'used appliances', and it just didn't sit right with her. She noticed that as people searched for their dream horse, it often resulted in horses being thrown away or abused if they weren't "perfect". She felt the need to do something about it, and that horses needed someone to act as a safety net for them. It was then that "HorseNet" was born. In 2016, HorseNet Horse Rescue was rebranded as Maryland Horse Rescue.
At Maryland Horse Rescue, their mission is clear - to facilitate the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused and abandoned horses. Horses that most people would look over, Maryland Horse Rescue can find the gold in them. They believe that every horse has a purpose and deserves a second chance, despite any limitations they may have. Maryland Horse Rescue is one of the few rescues to specialize in the care of senior and blind horses. Their organization will accept any equine(s) in need, from Animal Control, Humane Society and other organizations that need to save horses that are in danger.
Maryland Hores Rescue strives to give horses a safe place to recieve care and love despite their "usability". Maryland Horse Rescue does not sell horses, but rather adopts them out to suitable and approved homes. Their organization is able to make a difference by generous donations, sponsors, and volunteers.
If you are interested in donating to Maryland Horse Rescue, click here.
If you are interested in sponsoring a horse until they can find their forever home, click here.
If you are local and interested in volunteering at their facility, click here.
If you are interested in fostering or adopting a horse from Maryland Horse Rescue, click here.
2301 Cross Section Road
Westminister, MD. 21158
Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue - Chesapeake City, MD
After the Finish Line: Rescuing Young Thoroughbreds in Maryland
Horse racing is one of our country's greatest past times. It is a sport filled with plenty of heart, riches, and tradition. Sadly, many young thoroughbreds who don't cut it at the track end up going to auctions where kill buyers purchase them for slaughter. To combat this problem, Beverly Strauss and Ginny Suarez, both former race horse trainers, started the Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue in Chesapeake City, MD. Their goal is to help these young and healthy horses find a second chance in a career outside of racing.
Beverly shared some of their story, "Ginny already had a dog rescue, Paws for Life, so we started MAHR as a division of PFL in Sept 2002, with a couple thousand dollars and a donated shed and field. We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps after, and in 2012 separated the two rescues. We now have 30+ horses at a time on 160 acres."
This young thoroughbreds are used to one thing, running fast, so a good bit of retraining is needed. Beverly and Ginny work to get all of the horses going at the walk, trot, and canter under saddle before progressing to small fences.
New adopters are found through word-of-mouth and referrals from previous adopters. "We make sure it is a safe and suitable match- a horse the adopter really likes and one that can do the job for that adopter," Beverly explained.
The program has been very successful over the years and they are proud of the work they have done in Maryland. "We have placed well over 1000 tbs since we started, as well as rescued many more for other programs. We were one of the first TB rescues. We are fully accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. We received our first grant in 2002 from TB Charities of America. We made an appointment with the founders and told our story and our goals, and they have supported us every year since then. We were one of six rescues nationwide invited by the ASPCA to participate in their Rescuing Racers Initiative."
The Mid Atlantic Horse rescue makes an extra effort to pair each horse up with the right type of owner. "We really strive to make that perfect match, and stand behind our horses always." To learn more about the Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue, see the information below.
Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue
Location: Chesapeake City, MD
Donate: PO Box 407, Chesapeake City, MD 21915
Rocky’s Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation - Thurmont, Maryland
“Our greatest success is watching the horses who had lost all hope begin to live again."
Rocky’s Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation started much the same way as so many things in life, a perfect combination of love and circumstance; in this case a love of horses and a happy accident. A combination that has led them to offer aid and assistance to a wide variety of breeds and disciplines, “donkeys to 19 hand drafts” as Sharon Burrier affectionately states.
This aid and assistance “is done very carefully” following a strict refeeding program developed by their veterinarian. Honing this system over the years has allowed Rocky’s to develop a variety of techniques, each formulated for different circumstances. This, in combination with early dental care, provides each individual animal with the best possible nutritional outcome.
Rocky’s adheres to the idea that calm, gentle, positive reinforcement is the best for all involved when retraining their horses. However, they don’t hesitate to bring in outside trainers as they recognize that each horse’s situation is different and the staff at Rocky’s will do whatever is best for each horse. The effort is well worth it for the staff at Rocky’s, who say their “greatest success is watching the horses who had lost all hope begin to live again”.
Rocky’s Horse Rescue credits much of their success with adoptions to their incredibly in-depth vetting process for would-be adopters. This includes reference checks and home visits, all in an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of any horse that leaves them. “We don’t rush a horse out to the first person interested in them. We are in this for however long the horse needs.”
Sometimes “however long the horse needs” doesn’t culminate in an adoption, but for the “lifers” at Rocky’s that doesn’t mean missing out on a wonderful forever home. “Our Lifers are equines who are not adoptable. Some have health issues. Some have special needs. Some have been so abused that adoption isn't possible. But all have a safe home here with us. These Lifers can be sponsored if you would like to help in their care,” Sharon explains.
Rocky’s staff works very hard to obtain funding through monthly sponsors and donations for items including hay, grain and medical supplies. Please see the information below to contribute to Rocky’s efforts. This contribution can also be in the form of time as Rocky’s is always looking for volunteers to help at the rescue. Any assistance is always greatly appreciated.
Rocky’s Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation
Bay State Equine Rescue - Oakham, Massachusetts
“Everyday we learn from the horses that find shelter here. Their strength and courage in the face of tremendous adversity has taught us lessons of acceptance, forgiveness and perseverance.”
When Bay State Equine Rescue was founded in 2002, its members began by asking themselves a single very important question: what exactly are our goals here? While they knew that they wanted to rescue and rehabilitate as many horses as possible from abuse, neglect and slaughter, they also realized that there was more to it than that. They understood that while they needed to fight to be the solution for these horses, they also needed to address and face the problems that necessitated the conversation.
The mission at Bay State Equine Rescue is, first and foremost, to preserve equine integrity through care that provides physical, mental and emotional health. In efforts to address the larger picture, Bay State also fights to raise public awareness for these horses through regional youth education, legislation, horsemanship education, animal care awareness and community service opportunities.
Bay State Equine accept horses of all breeds and sizes. As they say, “we accept all equines that are void of a human advocate, abused, neglected or abandoned.” Once horses arrive at Bay State they are evaluated and staff works in direct contact with their veterinarian to create a plan tailored to the specific needs of each individual horse. Once the horses are ready, they work with a trainer to learn groundwork, ring work and riding when applicable.
Horses typically spend more than a year at Bay State, healing and finding their way. This allows staff to make a clear determination of what the horse needs and wants, and what sort of environment will best suit them in the future. “We spend a lot of time with each and every horse. We strive to bring out their personalities and help them find enjoyment in their days,” says Bay State staff. “Everyday we learn from the horses that find shelter here. Their strength and courage in the face of tremendous adversity has taught us lessons of acceptance, forgiveness and perseverance.”
Bay State recognizes that education is one of the most important tools for ending the abuse and neglect of these animals. They host clinics and work with various resources to help owners research, create plans and make realistic decisions regarding their position in a horse’s life. They also extend invitations to youth groups to visit their facility and learn responsible horsemanship and animal care. In further efforts, Bay State works with local legislators to tackle the issue of slaughter of US horses. Although slaughter on US soil was banned in 2007, over 100,000 US horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico from auctions for this same purpose every year. Visit their website to learn more about current legislation and find out how you can become involved in your area to address this issue.
All of the work here is done by volunteers and funded by donations from caring individuals. Use the information below to find out how to donate funds and time and become part of the Bay State Equine Rescue family.
Bay State Equine Rescue
Blue Star Equiculture - West Brookfield, Massachusetts
"All horses everywhere have immeasurable gifts to share with humanity..."
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
Central New England Equine Rescue - West Brookfield, MA
A Mother & Daughter Team Up to Rescue Horses
Vicky Berry and her daughter started the Central New England Equine Rescue (CNEER) in order to give back to the horse world. “We started out to rescue, care for and find homes for two horses,” she explained. “We have rescued 165 to date.”
This organization takes in abandoned horses from the community and slaughter bound animals. They also help care for horses whose owners have terminal illnesses and no other resources. Once the horses are checked by a vet and returned to health, they begin working with one of the two licensed riding instructors that work with the rescue. Vicky beamed, “Our retraining program is awesome!” Kind and gentle volunteers also assist with the horses’ retraining.
Potential adopters find the farm through word of mouth, their website, and articles in horse publications. Still, the rescue struggles at times with funding. “Having a steady flow of donations is a challenge,” shared Vicky. “We have sponsorship and foster programs which help but we need more help from the horse folks.”
Vicky explained that their biggest successes occur every time a once sick and defensive horse is turned around to be healthy and trusting once again. She thanks their dedicated group of volunteers who help with this effort. “We are professional, friendly and hands on! Our volunteers are the best anywhere…loving, caring and full of humor.”
New England Equine Rescue - North, Inc. - West Newbury, MA
“NEER remains dedicated to rescuing horses who are abused, neglected, or at-risk of slaughter...”
Mary Martin, NEER’s founder, is no stranger to horses. With over 40 years of experience, Mary is a licensed riding instructor, horse advocate and served as a board member with a Rhode Island based rescue. Mary’s idea for New England Equine Rescue began in 2010 with a simple plan: to help horses and owners in crisis, primarily in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Her dream became a reality when NEER received non-profit status in January 2012.
“NEER remains dedicated to rescuing horses who are abused, neglected, or at-risk of slaughter,” says Mary. “In addition to rescues, NEER educates the public on responsible horse ownership and networks to help where assistance is needed.”
While many of the horses that find their way to NEER come from abuse or neglect, some arrive because of life’s ups and downs. This may be due to owner surrender, divorce or financial situations. Mary and her team understand that sometimes an owner may just not be able to take care of their horse, no matter how much they may want to, and are happy to step in find the best solution.
These solutions don’t always mean the surrendering of a horse, as Mary showed one heartbroken horse owner. After losing her job and taking a hard look at her finances, one owner was forced to come to a devastating realization. “I knew I had to get rid of my horse who I had had longer than I’d had my husband! I contacted NEER and asked if they were able to take him, which they were not. But they still offered me help instead of the response other rescues gave of simply saying sorry we are full,” she writes.
Mary helped setup a feed store credit for her in order to help alleviate some the cost and the family was able to catch up and provide proper care for their horse. “I have had to get assistance a few times and have never been turned away or made to feel like I should be ashamed for asking for help, if anything the woman was so understanding and supportive I actually felt a sense of hope that things would get better,” she remembers. “I am so grateful to still have my horse. It would never have been possible if it were not for Mary.”
Stories of owner success rank right at the top along with equine success stories at NEER because you really can’t have one without the other. NEER understands that sometimes a little help is all a person needs for a bright outcome, the same as the horses they take in.
NEER houses as many horses as they can safely and properly care for, ensuring that each horse receives the individualized attention it needs. They strive to educate and remind people of the benefits of horse adoption. As Mary says, “adopting a horse saves two; the one you take home and the one you make room for.”
Please use the information below to learn more about NEER and how you can help create futures for both horses and their owners.
New England Equine Rescue - North, Inc.
West Newbury, Massachusetts
Horse North Rescue - Lake Ann, Michigan
"We have now had more than 250 horses come through our facility."
The idea for Horse North Rescue began in 2005, when a group of friends decided there wasn’t enough being done for neglected, abused and abandoned horses in their community. It was initially a local effort to provide horses in need with a safe spot to land, however, it quickly became apparent there was a need to achieve non-profit status in order to raise funds to help more needy horses. “Since 2005, we have had more than 250 horses come through our facility,” states Anita Ennis.
One of the many horses to receive Horse North’s care is Rusty, who arrived on December 5th, 2014. Rusty’s journey to Horse North started in November when a local horse owner saw an emaciated horse while driving home and called Animal Control. “She became Rusty’s advocate and wouldn’t let the matter rest,” recounts Anita. “Rusty was lucky to have survived his former “home”, he was so emaciated he barely had the strength to step up into the trailer.” Rusty’s road wasn’t an easy one, he was placed at a body score 1 and his teeth were in such poor condition he could only eat soaked hay pellets.
However, Horse North’s volunteers wouldn’t give up on him. “Our volunteers had sleepless nights when he showed signs of colic and hours spent in frigid cold checking on Rusty to ensure he received everything he needed,” says Anita. Their efforts did not go unrewarded, Rusty recovered and is now a spunky, happy, healthy boy. “Rusty worked his way into the hearts of all our volunteers, especially Deb, who ended up adopting him,” says Anita.
Horse North Rescue accepts all breeds and ages from seizure cases, however, the rescue limits how many rescues are taken in through owner surrender because of space concerns and replacement ability. The goal is to educate owners on responsible horse ownership, help them get the resources they need to be a successful owner and offer advertising assistance if re-homing is necessary. Horse North also receives horses through Animal Control, like Rusty, which are severely emaciated and untrained. They have assisted with seven of these seizures, four in the summer of 2017. “These horses were all on the brink of death,” remembers Anita.
Every horse is evaluated by the veterinarian, vaccinated, given teeth floats as needed, and started on a feeding regimen. The horses are also seen by Trent Smith, the facility’s farrier, who donates his time helping the rescue.
Each horse’s abilities are assessed with a variety of activities, including haltering, leading, neck flexion, yielding hindquarters, saddling, etc. If the staff is confident that a horse has been ridden in the past and is ready, it is sent to a two-week riding refresher. “We have found a trained horse has a much higher success rate of adoptability, as well as long-term success in a new home,” say Anita. “Horses are then available for adoption with a description of their temperament and needs. We do our best to match a horse with a responsible and dedicated adopter.”
Horse North Rescue (Horse North Inc.) serves all of northern Michigan and is 100% operated by more than thirty volunteers. Use the information below to see how you can donate your time or funds for much needed supplies.
Horse North Rescue
Lake Ann, Michigan
Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation - Zimmerman, Minnesota
An Annual Trainer’s Challenge Allows Trainers To Work With Green Horses in Need
Each year, the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation holds the Trainer’s Challenge of the Unwanted Horse. In this event, local horse trainers are paired with rescue horses who have never been started under saddle. They are given several months to work with the horses before they participate in a show with several halter and under saddle classes. The winning trainers receive cash prizes, but the winning horses receive something much greater... a new home.
Director Drew Fitzpatrick explained, “That is one reason we started our annual Trainers' Challenge of the Unwanted Horse. We have an adoption rate of 95% for horses that have been through the Challenge.”
The Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation was formed in 1994 in Zimmerman, Minnesota. It is the oldest equine rescue in the state and stems from a need to have a safe place for horses and other hooved animals to go after they have been seized by local law enforcement during humane cases.
Drew shared a bit more about their program. “All types of horses come into our barn. Because we work with law enforcement in humane cases, we see everything from registered show horses to backyard donkeys.”
All new horses are assessed by a veterinarian before receiving treatment for any conditions they may have. They also receive farrier care. “Malnourished horses are given a slow and steady feeding regimen suited to their personal needs.”
Once the animals are healthy, they are placed in the training program to make them more suitable for adoption. New homes are found through the foundation’s Facebook page and newly redesigned website.
Drew explained that their biggest challenges are usually funding and space. “There are always more horses out there in need of rescue than there is space to take them all. If we could increase the number of horses we place on a monthly basis, we could increase the number of horses we take in.”
To learn more about the MHARF or the Trainer’s Challenge of the Unwanted Horse, see the information below:
Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation
Location: Zimmerman, Minnesota
Donate: PO Box 47 Zimmerman, MN 55398
Resthaven Horse Rescue - Cannon Falls, Minnesota
To turn what some would call “worthless” horses into loved and valued equine partners..
In December of 2015, three women gathered to discuss the needless pain and suffering they were witnessing among the horses in their community. What started as a conversation between these women ended in a mission, a mission that still serves as the basis for their work today. To turn what some would call “worthless” horses into loved and valued equine partners, to be compassionate champions of neglected and abused horses and to do everything in their power to save these majestic, gentle creatures.
Resthaven tackles their goal through a variety of avenues in addition to rehabilitating neglected and abused horses. But they feel their most important task is placing the horses into safe, loving permanent homes where they can live their years in peace, while bringing love and companionship to those who care for them.
Many of the horses come from situations where they were severely neglected and often starved. The staff at Resthaven is trained in Equine Nutrition and uses their knowledge to provide these horses with the best possible outcome. “Refeeding is an art and must be navigated carefully,” says Judy Grumdahl. “Properly identifying the underlying problems goes a long way to introducing good nutrition in the best manner for each individual horse.”
Refeeding and retraining are done slowly and carefully at Resthaven, taking the time to evaluate any areas where the horses many have trouble and moving at the horses pace to gain and build trust. “Our desire is to make the rehoming process smoother,” say Judy. This requires ensuring that each horse receives the necessary time and attention from their arrival at Resthaven to their moving day. With this in mind, Resthaven limits the amount of horses that they take in based on the resources available. “We do not ever want to do harm by overloading how many we care for,” states Judy.
Resthaven takes in a variety of horses and in February of 2017, they received a whole family in need of care. Kitchi and her daughter, Mansi, BLM mustangs, were rescued from North Dakota where they had been starving, without access to food or water during the brutal winter. In addition, both were pregnant and so exhausted they could barely walk. Resthaven staff focused on weight gain while also deworming, delousing and trimming the hooves of the moms-to-be. Mansi gave birth in April of 2017, with Kitchi following in June. Both foals were born happy, healthy and playful. These three generations are currently living at Resthaven surrounded by love.
Use the information below to see how you can donate to Resthaven, find out how to foster or adopt one of their beautiful horses and help them continue to uphold their mission. Every horse that finds their forever home is an opportunity for another horse to begin its journey to a new life.
Resthaven Horse Rescue
Cannon Falls, Minnesota
This Old Horse - Hastings, Minnesota
“To provide sanctuary to retired, rescued, and recovering horses while they continue to serve as ambassadors to the positive effect of “horse power” in the lives of people.”
Since being founded in 2012, there isn’t much the crew at This Old Horse hasn’t seen. It began when Nancy Turner saw the need for a place where retired program horses could live out their lives after serving people in a wide variety of careers. It has since become so much more. The mission at This Old Horse is “to provide sanctuary to retired, rescued, and recovering horses while they continue to serve as ambassadors to the positive effect of “horse power” in the lives of people,” says Monica Carlson, Development Director at the rescue.
These retired horses come from a variety of disciplines, including racing thoroughbreds, hunter jumper horses, dressage and lesson horses. Others arrive from owners that can no longer care for them. “We have supported over 30 different breeds since our inception, ranging from newborn foals to 38 year olds,” says Monica. This includes four miniature horses, acquired through hardships surrender that launched the therapy program called “This Little Horse”. “We use their skills as little therapists and ambassadors in long-term like facilities, schools and libraries,” according to Monica.
One of their greatest successes came through partnering with the Fleet of Angels in the largest equine rescue in U.S. history, which successfully placed 907 wild Mustangs from a failed South Dakota sanctuary. In their first experience supporting wild horses, This Old Horse welcomed 48 of the rescued Mustangs, 16 of them blind. These mustangs allowed everyone to witness the love shared, bonds forged and intense loyalty and dedication between them.
One little mustang, Owen, was supposed to go to his new home in Nevada. However, he had very different plans and wouldn’t be leaving his friends behind. “When Owen was separated from two of the blind mares that had been his companions, he jumped the fence three times to return to them. The mares were desperate, confused and panicked without him,” remembers Monica. All three of these dedicated friends were welcomed with open arms so they could always be together.
Before the mustang rescue, Kit, a blind mare, arrived at This Old Horse just needing a soft place to land, but she was unsure of herself and struggled to settle in to her new home. No one, not even Kit, realized that her best friend just hadn’t arrived yet. Aunt Bea arrived with the other mustangs and a warning that she was aggressive and dangerous. “We just saw a cautious soul that wasn’t sure she could trust anyone or anything,” says Monica. Aunt Bea immediately took Kit under her wing, helping her navigate the world around her. “The two are inseparable and bring out the best in each other. Kit is confident in her environment and Bea has a loyal friend to help her trust those around her.”
These horses thrive through the support and hours of the many people that contribute to their care. Use the information below to find out how you can help support This Old Horse through monetary donations, become a sponsor, volunteer your time or learn about the many other ways you can help.
This Old Horse
Homeward Horse and Hound - Hattiesburg, Mississippi
It all began with a hound named Sadie.
She was a sweet, emaciated, scared, stray puppy that surprised everyone by giving birth to six little ones of her own. The birth was through emergency c-section, not long after showing up. Caring for Sadie and her babies opened her newfound family’s eyes to the lack of options, specifically for hounds, in the area. As a result, they began teaming up with local rescues to build a larger network of people within the community willing to help animals in need.
Word of their compassion spread and not long after they received a call about two horses being seized by law enforcement. Both horses, Penny and Legend (photo below), were malnourished and emaciated. However, after entering this newly formed network, they were able to make a full recovery. These three animals became the namesake for what, in 2016, officially became Homeward Horse and Hound.
In January of 2017, Homeward Horse and Hound was called to help with a situation that involved a large variety of farm animals, a situation which forced everyone to adapt on the spot. With no large animal rescue in South Mississippi, their mission immediately expanded to include the animals that no one knows what to do with when they are found wandering or neglected. These “oddities”, as they have been lovingly dubbed, include ducks, chickens, goats and pigs.
Homeward Horse and Hound functions through foster homes and dedicated individuals willing to step up for these animals. All animals are evaluated by the veterinarian as soon as possible. “Depending on their condition, they either stay at her clinic, or go directly to an experienced foster,” says Cassandra Bates. All foster homes follow predetermined feeding guidelines based on their bloodworm and the condition of their teeth. Homeward Horse and Hound works with a larger horse rescue in the state to train the horses once they have been rehabilitated. “Our hope is to get our own facility in order to retrain within our own rescue,” says Cassandra.
The animals that find their way to Homeward Horse and Hound come primarily from law enforcement seizures. While this means they often receive animals that come from the worst situations, they use their experience and position to try and make the largest possible impact. “We work solely with law enforcement to better educate the public, ensure a higher number of cases reach court, and look forward to offering a unique opportunity for the public to get to know more about proper care of animals,” Cassandra explains.
Homeward Hound and Horse has found that most of the people that they work with just want to help, yet many of them don’t know state laws regarding animals or are not well enough informed to determine the severity of a situation. This is why education within the community is of the utmost importance, allowing more people to properly serve the animals that need their help in a way that is safe for both parties.
Use the information below to find out how you can contribute or become part of their life-saving network. Every bit counts for the horses, hounds and oddities at Homeward Horse and Hound.
Homeward Horse and Hound
Dreamchaser Horse Rescue - Falcon, Missouri
“90% of the horses have come to Dreamchaser untouched by humans.”
In 2002, Susan Thompson made a shocking discovery that changed her life and the lives of many horses being used by the pharmaceutical industry. After discovering that Premarin, a medication she had been taking for 28 years, was made from conjugated equine estrogens, she decided that she needed to do something. The mares and foals she acquired had to be purchased, or “ransomed” as she says, before they could be moved to her rescue, then in Arizona.
Susan moved Dreamchaser Rescue to Missouri in 2014 to “give the horses more grass” and her rescue efforts have only expanded. While the majority of her mares come from the Premarin industry, she also provides sanctuary to horses from feedlots, failing rescues, wild horse rescues, city and county seizures and Bureau of Land Management auctions.
“90% of the horses have come to Dreamchaser untouched by humans,” Susan says which explains why the training and feeding programs are long processes, customized to these horses particular needs. Feeding starts with hay, followed by the gradual addition of alfalfa, beet pulp, rice bran and senior feed as necessary. Training for these horses demands an incredibly patient approach, which often requires the horse being gentled before it can be touched by humans. From there the horse moves to being haltered and led. Then staff is able to pony them off another riding horse in order to expose them gently. “Generally these horses are with us at least one year,” says Susan of the process.
Dreamchaser includes humans in their process as well, educating women and health care professionals about Premarin and teaching horse husbandry to groups of all ages. “We can remove the fear that so many have, both human and horse, due to bad experience and create a love affair that lasts a lifetime,” says Susan.
One such love affair came in the form of Mary, who began volunteering at the age of 75. Standing not even five feet tall, she quickly became affectionately known as “Little Mary”. For four years, Mary arrived on Wednesday at 8:30am and cleaned stalls, filled waters and walked horses, often until 5:30 in the evening. “Mary said it was the high point of her week. She loved every one of them,” remembers Susan.
The story of Daisy and her brother, Jimmy, only serves to further illustrate the love to be found at Dreamchaser. “I got a call late one night of two burros being packed up the Pacific Crest Trail in California. I drove 16 hours, packed them up and drove them back,” Susan recounts. Daisy was lame on all four feet, suffered from laminitis and was severely malnourished. “My vet couldn’t believe the will to live that Daisy exhibited, nor the bond between Daisy and Jimmy.” Five years later, Daisy is happy, healthy and her brother Jimmy is always right by her side.
Please use the information below to learn more about Dreamchaser, or donate in the form of money or time. All of your help is greatly appreciated.
Dreamchaser Horse Rescue
Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary - Linn Creek, Missouri
Missouri Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary was formed in 2011 to help provide shelter and care for horses in need.
With a history of working with horses in the area, it was no surprise when Connie Hendrix’s phone rang with a call from the Camden County Sheriff’s office asking for her help. All four of the starving horses they found that day were brought back to Connie’s farm, yet two of them proved too weak to even stand and passed away not long after. This event illuminated the need for an organization to deal with the ever-increasing number of horses that were being abused, neglected and abandoned in their rural area. Thus, Missouri Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary was formed in 2011 to help provide shelter and care for horses in need.
Since its inception, MFMN has taken in 427 horses, finding adoptive homes for 233. The horses arrive for a variety of reasons and MFMN accepts them all. “We don’t discriminate based on breed or age,” says Connie. In fact, many arrive at MFMN due to their advanced age. After a lifetime spent plowing fields, pulling carriages or working cattle, they are disposed of since they are no longer considered productive. “We get 3-4 calls a week from people looking for someone to take their horse,” says Connie.
All of the horses are immediately treated by a veterinarian, started on an individualized feeding program and allowed to simply do as they please. Horses that are young enough undergo an evaluation before undergoing training and are then ridden on a regular basis to reinforce their training over time.
Each horse has its own personality, but one in particular became a special member of the family at MFMN. A young colt born with “windswept” syndrome, a condition that caused his back legs to hit when he walked, he was passed off by his breeder who chose to forego the surgery that could have fixed him. Named Danny Boy upon his arrival at MFMN, the veterinarian was able to remove a tumor from his leg and gave him special shoes to help him walk.
“Danny was so happy. He became the official greeter of the sanctuary, he stole hats from volunteers and supervised their work every day,” remembers Connie. However, after undergoing several surgeries which proved unsuccessful in relieving his constant pain, it was decided to release him from his suffering. “He had remained his happy, spunky self through so much, however the light had gone out of his eyes, it was time,” Connie says of Danny’s decline. “The volunteers came to say good-bye, pet him and hold his head while telling him how much he was loved.” Danny passed on May 13, 2017, but he is not forgotten. “We were so blessed to have him for as long as we did. He taught us so much about unconditional love, patience and perseverance,” says Connie
MFMN couldn’t do the incredible work that they do without the support of sponsors, donations and their dedicated volunteers. Use the information below to find out how you can contribute and become a part of the inspirational work done here every day.
Missouri Forget-Me-Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary
Linn Creek, Missouri
Whiskey Ridge Rescue - Green Ridge, Missouri
“Why do I rescue? Because I'm supposed to. And I will continue to help souls in need until I'm told otherwise.”
Whiskey Ridge Rescue began with a situation familiar to so many, a little girl that wanted a pony. As Whiskey Ridge’s owner puts it, “we did find a pony, but we found so much more. Living in a tiny back yard with downed fencing everywhere and not a blade of grass, was a skinny paint gelding and a mare with horrendous hooves. Oh…and a fat little pony. Well, needless to say, I brought them all home. Much to the dismay of my husband. Watching them gain weight and flourish sparked something inside of me.” Whiskey Ridge only grew from then on and her dedication has never faltered. “Why do I rescue? Because I'm supposed to. And I will continue to help souls in need until I'm told otherwise.”
Most of the horses at Whiskey Ridge have arrived because they are old, sick, unwanted or slaughter bound. While some others just needed a soft place to live out their golden years in retirement. All horses receive vet, farrier and chiropractic care once they arrive and begin a feeding regimen that is tailored to suit each individual’s needs.
Retraining at Whiskey Ridge is simple, slow and effective. “Every horse is allowed as much time as they need to heal mentally and physically from whatever situations they have endured. We start from the ground and work out way up to slowly get them under saddle again,” says Sara Steele. Being unrideable is perfectly acceptable at Whiskey Ridge and staff works to find these horses special retirement homes or long term fosters in the absence of adoption prospects.
Everything at Whiskey Ridge is done while keeping their original goal clear in their minds: to heal the mind, body and spirit of their equine friends before finding them forever homes or placing them in the retirement sanctuary. They also work to improve public awareness and provide knowledge of the standards of care necessary to keep all equines happy, healthy and safe. This is done through community outreach programs, clinics and education for all horse enthusiasts, equine owners and care-givers offered via hands-on and virtual learning.
Please use the information below to find out how you can become involved and help Whiskey Ridge continue to grow and flourish. Ask yourself the same question their founder asked herself when her journey began, “If not now…then when? If not me…then who?”
Whiskey Ridge Rescue
Green Ridge, Missouri
Hiatt Equestrian Rescue and Rehabilitation – Bigfork, Montana
Using Equine Therapy to Help People with Disabilities
Working with horses can be very therapeutic – increasing mental health, positive emotions, and self-confidence. Equine therapy can help people with many different disabilities – including PTSD, physical injuries, and autism. The healing power of horses is what inspired Johnna Hiatt to start Hiatt Equestrian Rescue and Rehabilitation (H.E.R.R.). When she began rescuing horses with her daughter, Rose, who has autism, she discovered that being with the horses helped Rose find her balance.
Today, Rose is 16, and she and her mom Johnna are still rescuing and caring for horses. Johnna's daughter Giuliana is also an important part of the operation. H.E.R.R. now has 3 locations, two in Montana and one in California, home to 35 horses. The horses range in age from one to 34 years old, and are a variety of breeds, including Arabians, Percherons, Paints, Quarter, Thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, Palominos, Pony, and Draft horses.
When the horses arrive at H.E.R.R., they are rehabilitated through the traditional methods like medical surgeries and special diets, but also in some unique ways, such as aromatherapy. Everything is done with the horse’s best interest in mind, in ways that will heal them quickly and effectively.
During our interview, Giuliana told the story of a horse named Dolly. She is an adopted horse currently at H.E.R.R.’s Southern California rescue. Dolly had Cushing’s Disease, and because of a bone infection, she had to have surgery. She also came to H.E.R.R. with a mangled hoof that was almost completely gone. Because of her conditions, her doctors thought she might never be able to walk again. Today, thanks to the care and love she received, and her strong spirit, Dolly’s hoof has healed and at the end of last year, Dolly was able to run again. Giuliana said that Dolly is one of their greatest successes, and though she “took over a year to rehabilitate and a lot of hard work …it is so worth it.”
At H.E.R.R., the horses are taken care of forever, none are adopted out or sold. The horses are given the “most holistic quality of life” and they have a forever home. Many are used to help people, like the horses that helped Rose. The physical and social activity that comes from human and horse interaction is good for both the horse and the human.
Currently, staff and volunteers are working hard preparing for the foals they rescued earlier this summer. They’ve been busy removing rocks from the pastures – making it safe for the foals to play and roll around – and laying new sod so they can be comfortable and healthy. These babies will grow up happy, healthy, and safe at H.E.R.R..
Giuliana says that their biggest challenge at H.E.R.R. is “getting everyone that promises to donate to actually do it.” Taking care of 35 horses costs a lot of money, especially with expensive veterinary care. The staff and volunteers at H.E.R.R. spend so much time and effort to help these horses have wonderful, happy lives. But they can’t do it alone. Donate to H.E.R.R. today to help support the horses at this wonderful organization.
Horse Haven Montana – Frenchtown, Montana
Taking in Retired Ranch and Border Patrol Horses in Montana
The Horse Haven Montana Rescue is located near Frenchtown in the rolling foothills of Western Montana. Former Emmy award-winning TV journalist Janet Rose started the rescue after a neighbor asked for help re-homing a horse. Today, the rescue has helped hundreds of horses find new and loving homes. While many horses come from the typical seizure and abuse situations, this rescue is unique in that they also take retired ranch horses, US Forest Service, and US Border Patrol animals. The rescue relies entirely on donated resources for funds, equipment, and labor. Janet shared, “Our goal is to identify if or when a horse is in need and match that horse or other equine with an adoptive family or individual who is the right match and the right fit for that animal.”
Horse Haven Montana does have a volunteer trainer who helps individuals and families with advice, guidance, saddle fitting, and limited training. However, there is no formal retraining program in place. Rehabilitation is performed on a case-by-case basis and the rescue usually covers the entire cost of medical care. Information for adoption procedures can be found on their website. Horse Haven Montana has an exciting outreach program in the form of the EQUUS International Film Festival and Conference to next be held in September 2015. This event is for filmmakers and horse enthusiasts who want to learn about a variety of horse topics. To learn more about Horse Haven Montana or the film festival, visit their site or contact Janet Rose at email@example.com. You can also learn more about this organization in the Double D Trailers blog.
Jeweled Heart Ranch N Rescue - Kalispell, Montana
This spirit of compassion has fueled Jeweled Heart Ranch N Rescue since 2013.
For the team at Jeweled Heart Ranch N Rescue it all began with one mare, one mule and a lot of word of mouth. After bringing the two equines home to save them from slaughter, people in the community began to talk and the inquiries started rolling in. “When people heard what we had done, they began asking us if we wanted their retired or injured equines. Who could turn them down when we knew what the outcome would be if we didn’t,” says Ramona. This spirit of compassion has fueled Jeweled Heart Ranch N Rescue since 2013.
When the rescue first began, most of the equines that came into their care were malnourished or injured from abuse or neglect. However, it soon became apparent that there were many members of the local community that were simply having a hard time keeping their beloved horses. At that point, Jeweled Heart began taking in all types of equines, even healthy horses that just needed a more stable home.
Each horse at Jeweled Heart is immediately given a thorough check up to determine what it needs to be happy and healthy. Once they are deemed ready, horses start training at their own pace. “Retraining begins with winning the trust of these beautiful animals. Some come in abused, sometimes it takes a lot of patience, but in the end you are given one of the greatest rewards, their friendship,” says Ramona.
The staff at Jeweled Heart has found great results by following the approach of Joe Camp. “He teaches that you must look into the heart and soul of a horse, let the horse accept you of its own free choice before you charge in and try to train them,” explains Ramona. This approach teaches respect, understanding and patience to both the humans and the horses alike at the facility. These qualities have helped Ramona and the staff at Jeweled Heart when they’ve faced heartbreaking realities, which through perseverance, become some their greatest successes.
When the 30-year old Thoroughbred arrived at Jeweled Ranch, it was not necessarily for a chance at a new life. “The owner said that the vet told her to put her down, but I said that if we could give her more time, let’s try it,” remembers Ramona. The horse was so weak and emaciated that she could barely stand when she came out of the trailer, but that didn’t prepare anyone for what came when they removed the blanket to evaluate her. “We were all standing there stunned as we were watching her hair move. She was so full of lice that her body could not heal itself,” she says. However, with Jeweled Heart’s trademark patience and perseverance, she loved life for another 4 years. “There’s no more joy than to see a horse at the age of 30 gallop out in the pasture,” remarks Ramona.
Use the information below to find out how you can contribute to Jeweled Heart Ranch N Rescue.
Jeweled Heart Ranch N Rescue
Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation - Corvallis, Montana
A Western Montana Equine Rescue Operates Without Permanent Facilities
The Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation (WMERR) is like many horse rescues across the nation in that they have limited supplies, limited funds, and overflowing hearts. Although they do not have their own permanent property, they manage to do some excellent retraining and re-homing using foster homes and the founder’s private barn located in Corvallis, Montana.
WMERR was founded by Shannon Alexander back in 2008 when a local woman emailed her desperate to find a safe home for her horse. A WMERR representative, Barb Harriott explained, “Shannon realized her personal efforts at rescuing and re-homing horses needed to be organized in order to save horses in Western Montana on a larger scale.”
The organization helps a variety of horses and donkeys whose owners have become ill, died, or are financially stressed. Once with the workers, each horse undergoes an evaluation. “Some have been abused and require medical attention and significant care to return to health. Some have been neglected and require health care and nurturing to learn to trust again.” Luckily, several local veterinarians, farriers, and massage therapists in the area are willing to provide services at discounted rates or allow for long-term payment plans. They rely on volunteers to transport their horses, but would ideally like to have a stock bumper pull horse trailer with a center divider.
Volunteers at WMERR work with horses that need socialization, basic manners, and trust exercises. “Once we understand the horse better and understand its physical condition, we can evaluate how much they have learned under saddle,” Barb shared. “Based on a horse’s potential and their personality, we identify a professional trainer best suited for them.” Potential adopters can learn about WMERR through their vibrant Facebook page and website. Or, if you live in the area, check out some of the free horse care and massage therapy classes held regularly by the workers.
“We truly celebrate every good placement,” said Barb. “We recently placed a horse that was bound for slaughter with a teenager who is now winning ribbons with her.” Although Barb described WMERR as a “small organization with a small board and a small budget,” they stay creative in the way they can help the horses. The organization is 100% volunteer run and every dollar they raise is used as efficiently as possible. Despite the absence of a permanent facility, WMERR is making a difference in Western Montana.
Wings Programs - Corvallis, Montana
What Happens When a Loving Owner Passes Away and Their Horses Are Left Behind?
The Wings Program horse rescue in Corvallis, Montana started when two horse owners passed away leaving their horses behind. Many people forget that all horses that are "rescued" are not from abusive homes. Some come from owners who simply cannot care for their animals anymore. This may be due to death, financial hardship, or illness. Whatever the circumstances, these horses are in need of new homes where they can be cared for and loved.
We spoke with Debora Lay of the Wings Program and she shared more about the Wings Program. The horses that come into the program are, "Mostly elderly or with behavior problems making them hard to handle or not ridable according to those they came from," Monique explained.
Horses are rehabilitated under the direction of the executive director who also happens to be an Equine Nutritionist. Other treatments like homeopathy, chiropractic, and acupuncture are also utilized.
Debora shared, "Horses are allowed to settle in and put with others they are comfortable with before behaviors are assessed for lack of training, pain or other stimulus. We primarily use horsemanship methods similar to Parelli, Goodnight, Anderson and other well known methods."
Adopters are found through local postings. Applications and home visits are completed before the transfer of ownership is complete. Afterwards, the rescue maintains contact with the horses on an ongoing basis.
Caring for all of the horses (adoptable or not) is their biggest priorty. "Horses not deemed suitable for adoption are given sanctuary and participate in Equine Assisted Therapy activities," Debora shared. To learn more about the Wings Programs, see below.
Location: Corvallis, Montana
Donate: 208 Rusty Spur Way, Corvallis, Montana, 59828
Curly Horse Rescue - Nationwide
Helping Curly Horses in the US, Canada, and Europe
The Curly Horse Rescue is focused on the rescue of a very unique and widely unfamiliar breed of horses – the Curly horse. This breed has a long and curly coat that is often mistaken for Cushing’s disease. In fact, Curly horses can make perfectly wonderful companions.
That is why the CHR uses their network of foster homes in the US, Canada, and Europe to rescue and rehabilitate Curly horses in need of help. Elizabeth Brownlee, a board member and vice president, talked to us about her organization. “Our organization was formed by a group of Curly Horse owners and fans who saw the need for a group to focus on the rescue and rehabilitation of Curly horses.”
“Our rehabilitation program is individualized to each horse, based on its condition when it arrives at the foster home and is seen by a vet. Our main goal is to learn what the horses already know and to pass that on to potential adopters, in the hopes that they will continue that training.”
Anyone who wishes to adopt a horse from CHR should fill out an application including photos of their new home and references from a local vet. Elizabeth explained that the biggest challenges for CHR are the need for funds and foster homes. “It is hard to find good people who are willing to foster. We love our fosters and greatly appreciate them!
To learn more, check out the information below:
Curly Horse Rescue
Location: United States, Canada, and Europe (registered in Vermont)
Donate: 703 East Osterhout, Portage, MI 49002
Forever Morgans - Nationwide
A Virtual Rescue Helps Morgan Horses Through a Network of Foster Homes Nationwide
Most of the horse rescues that we profile are started by groups of devoted horsemen who want to help animals in a specific region of the country. With Forever Morgans, they have foster homes, homes, volunteers, and Board members spread from coast to coast and are represented in almost every state. We spoke with Vice President Chris Pennington to learn more about how it all operates.
Chris shared, "Over ten years ago an online list was started to help Morgans that were in bad situations. When it became apparent that there were more Morgans needing help then a list could handle some members joined together and formed Forever Morgans Rescue.
"We help Morgans in all kinds of unhealthy situations. We rescue from auctions and private owners. Our horses span the ages from in-utero to very aged, from young and lively, to old and calm- and everything in between.
"Our focus is always what is best for the horse. Our extensive foster program allows our horses to find homes with exactly the type of environment they need. When a horse is sick or undernourished we seek a vet's advice as to rehab needs. Most often it involves a slow schedule of worming and vaccinations, as well as adjusting feed appropriate to their individual needs."
The heart of this organization is most definitely in the foster caretakers. Chris explained, "Our fosters are amazing people! They are willing to take the abused, lonely, unsure horses we send them and love on them until they are ready to retrain. The more difficult cases sometimes require the help of professional trainers or those who are experienced with horses who have given up on people. We try to provide what each horse needs."
Since Forever Morgans has no home base, it is important for the network to stay in touch and spread the word. Chris shared, "Our members are always spreading the word, we often have a presence at larger regional shows, our members post flyers for us, and social media gets the word out quickly and over a wide range. Fosters fill out a detailed application, all references are checked thoroughly, and then the Board makes a final decision to include them in our network. We are always in need of more fosters!
"Two of our biggest challenges are having enough money and volunteer foster homes to help every horse who needs us! Donations are the backbone of our all volunteer organization and when the economy started to weaken our donations did as well. Currently most of our foster homes are full and we are always looking for more.
"Another BIG challenge we have is getting the word out about what wonderful partners our rescued Morgans can make! Every horse we have in a foster home is waiting to find their special home and person! We promise each of them that we will find them the perfect place but some have waited too long for theirs.
"Each horse we rescue is a great success. Perhaps the greatest are those who are undernourished both emotionally and physically when we rescue them and then later become the most beautiful animals inside and out. It's proof that each horse is worthy of another chance. Another success is the outreach we've done with the Amish community and private owners where we offer another way to rehome besides auction."
Chris concluded, "We were the first Morgan specific rescue which made us unique from the very beginning. However our most unique quality is that we are a rescue without a home- we have hundreds of homes. Our ability to rescue from locations all over the United States is because of the amazing network of foster homes that we have!"
Donate: P.O. Box 156, West Monroe, NY 13167
Lipizzan Rescue Foundation – Nationwide
These horses are a unique and royal breed, but they are in danger.
Lipizzan Horses are a unique and beautiful breed of horses. Famous for their performances in equine ballet and dressage, their charming movements have captivated horse lovers for years. Their high-flying battle moves are featured in many performances and are sure to win over any audience. Mystical and unique, they have been called “Pegasus” horses without wings.
Though Lipizzaner foals are born dark grey or black, as they age, they turn a beautiful royal white. At full size, they have a muscular body, making them very robust and strong. A typical Lipizzan horse has a long back and an arched neck. Lipizzans are beautiful, and their looks match their personality. Intelligent and kind, they are easy to train and very willing.
These horses are a unique and royal breed, but they are in danger. With less than 12,000 Lipizzans left worldwide, and less than 1,200 in the United States, the breed is threatened with extinction. A group of long-time Lipizzan breeders saw the need to protect and save these wonderful creatures. The Lipizzan Rescue Foundation was started to help save this wonderful breed from going extinct.
LRF is nationally based, without a permanent facility, with representatives throughout the country, and they are the only Lipizzan rescue in the United States. Through word of mouth in the Lipizzan community and online at their website, they find foster homes and forever homes for these special horses. LRF has foster homes around the country and currently has 8 Lipizzans in foster care in AZ, WI and SD.
In a recent interview with Lyn Schaeffer, one of the founders of Lipizzan Rescue Foundation, she said that their greatest success at LRF is that they have been able to find permanent homes for all the Lipizzan horses who have come to them for help. This is quite an accomplishment, and certainly life-saving for many horses who were in danger before being rescued.
One horse LRF rescued was Rhett, a 7-year-old Lipizzan and Andalusian cross. He came to LRF in August 2013.The first years of Rhett’s life were dark and sad, lacking any positive human interaction. When he arrived at LRF, he was doing poorly, both mentally, physically, and emotionally. He distrusted people, and was hurt and afraid. However, through baby steps and a lot of love, Karen Jones, a trainer and LRF Adoptor, started retraining and teaching Rhett to trust humans.
Rhett has made incredible progress with extensive ground work and finally the ridden trot, and has learned to trust and love his friend Karen. Her love and dedication has made Rhett’s journey a successful one, and through her continued work with him, Rhett has a bright future ahead – all thanks to Karen and LRF.
Right now, LRF works closely with other horse rescues around the country to place and protect Lipizzan horses. Their biggest challenge is finding quality permanent homes for these magnificent horses. Lyn said that “our goal is to have our own location to provide centralized rehabilitation and retraining as well as permanent retirement.” This would allow them to help even more horses and make sure they are happy in their forever home.
To learn more about this wonderful organization, check out their information below.
Lipizzan Rescue Foundation
Las Vegas, NV
Northern Lights Horse Rescue - New England
NLHR is formed of a network of member farms throughout New England, all helping to care for these animals.
Northern Lights Horse Rescue has truly turned helping the horses of their community into a community effort. NLHR was formed to help take in the overflow of unwanted and surrendered horses in New England. Since area shelters can only accommodate seized animals, there was a real need to address the many horses that did not follow that same path, yet needed care and shelter all the same. To help tackle this problem, NLHR is formed of a network of member farms throughout New England, all helping to care for these animals. Each of the member farms is already built for equine housing, which allows them to focus their efforts on the horses rather than the upkeep of a single large facility.
NLHR takes in horses from a variety of situations, including those found by state agents, animal control officers and charities that rescue former racehorses from the kill pen. “They come in all shapes and sizes,” says Joy Cutrone, NLHR Founder. “All are under stress on arrival, so they get unlimited hay, fresh water, fresh air, plenty of space and the ability to “just be a horse” for a while.” They are also evaluated by a veterinarian and put on a dietary program targeted to their individual needs.
Retraining at Northern Lights begins with time, allowing the horse to just relax and recover from the trauma they have endured. “Then we begin them on a training program for their next career to help ensure their longevity through skills development,” says Joy.
The greatest successes at NLHR are the horses that recover from starvation or other dire circumstances, to return to health and allow their personalities to flourish again. The joy at seeing these horses make connections with those around them as they learn to trust again is indescribable. As Joy says, “it’s a joy and an honor to be a part of the process.”
On one special occasion, the members of NLHR were able to see the incredible connection between two horses, a bond forged not in their rehabilitation, but through their shared suffering. Shadow and Ella arrived to NLHR together, Shadow being in much worse shape than his companion. “Shadow arrived with a body score of 1. Our vet, Janelle, had to make a decision as to whether he was strong enough for the one-hour trailer ride here: he was that weak. We’re so glad we gave him the benefit of the doubt,” remembers Joy. Upon arrival, staff quickly understood how the difference in their body condition came to be. It became apparent that the pair was used to having very little access to food and Shadow was allowing Ella to have what little was available to them, effectively starving himself to try and ensure her well-being. Shadow’s heart and compassion can be a lesson to everyone. He is now a permanent resident at a Northern Lights member farm and is living out his days without fear.
Use the information below to find out more about Northern Lights member farms and how you can contribute to this growing community.
Northern Lights Horse Rescue
Double R Horse Rescue – Riverdale, Nebraska
Finding the Perfect Fit for Both the Horse and New Owner
Jami Salter grew up with a rescue horse named “Cutie” who showed her that any horse can be an excellent companion. “She taught all of us kids to ride and showed us unconditional love. As soon as I had the means to help on a larger scale I started our rescue.” The Double R Horse Rescue is located in Riverdale, Nebraska and is home to horses of all sizes, shapes, ages, breeds, and temperaments. “If it needs help we will do our best to take care of it, even if that means the horse lives the rest of its life at our rescue.”
The process to care for these abused or neglected animals starts the same as with many other rescues – a vet check and rehabilitation. “All horses that come to our rescue are first evaluated by a veterinarian, no matter what the condition is. If they are sick or undernourished then they are set up on vaccination plans along with feeding plans according to what our veterinarian suggest.”
Next, all of the horses go through a ten-day evaluation period where a volunteer trainer tests the horse on ground work and riding so they can get an idea of what level of rider would be a good fit. “If they are not broke to ride and we have no one interested in a project horse then we put them in a 30 day program, they get work every day for 30 days starting with safe ground manners and then riding.”
Potential adopters are found through their website and Facebook. “Word of mouth has been great so we have a lot of people who follow our Facebook waiting for the right horse to be posted. Everyone who adopts with us has to have 3 references and a house check. If they are far away from us, then we use other resources to check houses, such as other rescues or volunteers we have established in other counties and states.”
“Our biggest challenge is raising the funds to help all the horses in need. Our biggest expense is hay and that is something that is needed year round, on average we go through 120 large round bales a year.”
Double R Horse Rescue has had some wonderful horses pass through its gates. Jami shared one such story. “Stormy Joe is a great story, he was a 3 year old paint gelding who had his jaw shattered when his owner took a fence post to his face. Owner was arrested but law enforcement did not know what to do with him, they had been turned down by other rescues saying he was too far gone and could not be saved. After 3 surgeries and over a year later he made a 100% recovery and turned out to be one of the best kids horses that has come through the rescue (he had a heart of gold) He was adopted out to a lovely family and will be loved and spoiled for the rest of his life.”
She is proud of the work that they do at the Double R Horse Rescue. “I feel like we have worked hard to set high standards for our horses and the families they go to. In the 5 years we have had our doors open we have helped re-home over 400 horses and so far only 1 had to be taken from its owner because it was not a good fit. We strive to find the perfect fit not only for the new owner but also for the horse; we want everyone to be safe and happy. We also have a sanctuary side for the crippled or older horses that just need to retire in style.”
Healing Hands Horsemanship Inc. - Gardnerville, Nevada
“Follow your dreams” and “Do what you love!”
Gina Hery grew up surrounded by friends and family who always said to “follow your dreams” and “do what you love”. As the daughter of George Hery, the first professional World Champion trampolinist, she was inspired by his accomplishments and knew that following your dreams meant you could accomplish big things in life. Horses were always a childhood fantasy for Gina and at a very young age, when her uncle placed her on top of one of his prized stallions, that fantasy became a lifelong passion.
Gina started Healing Hands Horsemanship Inc. to follow her dream to enrich the lives of others with her rescue horses and ponies. Her vision, which started in 2015 as a backyard program with a pregnant mare and a few key students, has become a federally recognized horse rescue with locations in Gardernville, Nevada and Elk Grove, California.
HHHI is a small program that rescues domestic horses and ponies, which are eventually evaluated for either the lessons program and/or adoption. Once accepted, all horses and ponies are evaluated and treated by a veterinarian to determine each animal’s individual needs and limitations, if there are any. Training at HHHI is a process that teaches not only the horses, but the students that spend their time here as well. Everyone, horse and human alike, works and learns together at HHHI.
Students of all ages and abilities are welcome at HHHI, where they learn horse care and handing skills. While riding is a portion of the lessons, they are also learning about horse ownership and the responsibilities that go along with it, such as pre-veterinary care and horse training. “HHHI’s professional coaches and volunteer staff will prepare students to potentially be knowledgeable horse owners or professionals, while caring for and training the rescue horses,” says Gina.
HHHI counts the growth that they see in their students as some of their greatest successes. As Gina says, “their determination to learn, conquer their fears, become physically stronger and make lifelong friends with the horses and the people who come together for the purpose of horse rescue is inspiring. Through each of their individual challenges, our students continue to participate and grow.”
Adoption from HHHI functions somewhat differently than other rescues, based on matching horses or ponies with their students throughout the training process. Any student eligible for adopting must have completed ten levels of horsemanship and horse care knowledge, provided by the professionals at HHHI. This not only helps to ensure the care of the horse, but allows the bond between the horse and its potential owner to grow and strengthen mutually over time.
Please use the information below to find out how you can donate to HHHI or to sign up for lessons. Your contributions are much appreciated and every little bit helps to allow HHHI’s students to follow their dreams just like Gina continues to do today.
Healing Hands Horsemanship Inc.
Gardnerville, Nevada & Elk Grove, California
LBL Equine Rescue – Silver Springs, Nevada
Meet One Woman is Determined to Help Horses Escape Kill Buyers
Brittany was just searching for a project horse. When she went to a local auction, she fell in love with a beautiful young colt. Unfortunately, the little colt was snatched by a kill buyer. Though Brittany begged and begged, offering to pay him double the price, the kill buyer wouldn’t budge. That day, Brittany came home without a horse, but with a passion and a drive to help save horses from abuse, neglect, and horrible deaths. She decided to start LBL Equine Rescue.
LBL Equine Rescue is a small rescue in Silver Springs, Nevada. Their mission is to rescue horses from feedlots and kill buyers, then rehabilitate them and successfully place them in forever homes. Most of the horses they rescue are horses that have been malnourished, abused, and neglected.
These horses are lovingly nursed back to both mental and physical health through gradual weight gain and lots of special care and attention. They are fed individually based on their feed needs. The horses are then retrained by a professional trainer using the Clinton Anderson method.
In a recent interview with Brittany, the Founder and President of LBL, she shared one rescue story that was especially memorable for all the staff at LBL. They received a call about two mares who were pregnant at an auction. When they arrived, just in time to save them, they were dumbfounded by how bad the situation was. Brittany said that “when we went back to take pictures, we were in tears.”
One of the horses was so malnourished they thought she would lose her foal. She had half her mane missing, and sores all over her body. Brittany and Linda, the Vice President of LBL, didn’t give up. They named her Hope, and Brittany says they “spent hours giving this mare some major TLC.” Within 5 days of arriving at LBL, Hope foaled a beautiful and healthy filly. After being at LBL for almost two months, Hope went from a body score of 1 out of 10, to 9 out of 10.
They named the baby horse Serenity, and she is still at LBL today. Brittany says that she is still in training, and she is “loved daily” and “looking for her forever home.”
There are currently 16 horses at LBL’s ranch in Nevada that are waiting for their forever homes. LBL has a thorough adoption process to ensure that the horse and owner are a perfect fit for each other.
When asked about her greatest success, Brittany said: “every horse we have ended up with has been a great success because we have either saved them from a bad situation or ending up in the slaughter pipeline.”
Their biggest challenge at LBL is funding and getting horses adopted out. You can sponsor a horse for as little as $25 a month. Currently, 4 of the 16 horses at LBL are sponsored. Visit their website below to choose a horse and learn more about sponsorship.
LBL Equine Rescue
Silver Springs, Nevada
Local Equine Assistance Network - Clark County, Nevada
L.E.A.N. has saved over sixty horses and donkeys in just five years
In 2007, a small group of horse-loving individuals began witnessing the effects of the economic collapse on their local equine community. They saw the horses that were being abandoned and neglected due to the foreclosures of the properties on which they lived, resulting in Animal Control stepping in. Unfortunately, because these particular horses were then unowned, they had no advocates to help find them a better life. In early 2012, Local Equine Assistance Network received non-profit status to fill that space.
Under these circumstances, horses are first seized or surrendered from the property, therefore L.E.A.N. works closely with Animal Control and all of their equines come from these agencies. Due to the wide range of equines in the area and the undiscerning nature of bank foreclosures, L.E.A.N. has taken in every type, breed, size and color of equine under the sun..
Many of the animals arrive in poor condition resulting from injuries and/or malnutrition, but the staff at L.E.A.N. is uniquely qualified to handle these difficult cases. Two of the board members at the facility are licensed veterinary technicians, including the President, who serves as Medical Director and is the top technician at the local horse hospital.
L.E.A.N. has saved over sixty horses and donkeys in just five years. With this kind of success there are many amazing stories, but there is one recovery that sticks out to everyone involved. Truly is a thoroughbred that was raced in California until 2007 and last jockeyed by 2015 Triple Crown winner Victor Espinoza.
However, Truly’s world changed and she arrived at L.E.A.N. after being found on the side of the road on May 17, 2015, having suffered terrible wounds. She had a gaping wound on her shoulder so large a human hand could get lost inside, another on one side of her jaw that revealed multiple breaks in her cheekbone, and lacerations to her fetlock joints. After telling Truly’s story, packages began arriving with donations for her care.
She received medicine, a custom made fly mask, and mesh hoods and shoulder wraps to keep her bandages in place and clean while she healed. She also received acupuncture and weekly massage therapy to help soothe her muscles and break up scar tissue. Although it was not an easy journey, after 21 weeks of treatment she was able to stand square and began light groundwork. L.E.A.N. trainer Katelynn Eddy found Truly to be great under the saddle and in late 2016, Truly found her forever home.
L.E.A.N. functions as an all-foster based rescue and has had hundreds of wonderful volunteers through the years but their work never ends. Visit the website listed below to see how you can help through donations, volunteering, fostering or adoption.
Local Equine Assistance Network
Clark County, Nevada
White Horse Youth Ranch – Las Vegas, NV
A Youth Ranch to Inspire Confidence Through Compassion in Socially-Challenged Youth
Amy fell in love with horses as a little girl, and always dreamed of owning one. However, she didn’t get to live this dream until later. After the death of her grandparents, Amy was at a turning point in her life. In a recent interview, Amy said she “prayed for several months and God revealed a beautiful vision of a youth ranch to inspire confidence through compassion in socially-challenged youth.” And so, White Horse Youth Ranch was born.
Most of the horses that have found their forever home at WHY Ranch were rescued from neglect and abuse. Once new horses arrive at the ranch, they are paired with one of the easy-going horses that introduces them to the rest of the herd. After being nursed back to health, they then help the youth that come to WHY Ranch.
The youth that come to WHY Ranch have many different backgrounds – they’ve experienced social challenges like bullying, family problems, abuse, and difficulties in school. While they interact with the horses, they gain confidence that extends beyond the ranch. They feel and benefit from the unconditional love that horses provide.
Since its beginning in 2007, WHY Ranch has helped over 300 challenged children each year gain confidence and rise to the challenges in their lives. Amy says that their greatest success is the youth they help.
She said: “We see success in children who finally gain the confidence and leadership skills they need to follow their dreams… in children who decide to become mentors to other children in our Diamonds in the Rough Program…and in autistic children who begin to look people in the eye or even begin to socialize with other people they normally would shy away from.”
One such success was a child named Sara. At eight years old, Sara was physically restrained and kicked out of school for aggressive behavior. She slipped away from her parents emotionally and faced challenges in all aspects of her life. When she first attended WHY Ranch, she was quiet and shy. Though frightened at first, she enjoyed interacting with the horses as she brushed, washed, and then led the horses.
From her first day at WHY Ranch, Sara’s speech improved, she began to heal, and she was able to feel successful. After two years at the ranch, Sara has been able to care for many animals and improve her interactions with animals and people. At school, Sara no longer has behavioral issues and she has improved her grades and her social skills.
Stories like Sara’s are made possible not just through the dedication and sacrifice of staff and volunteers at WHY Ranch, but also the donors. Funding is one of the largest problems at WHY Ranch. Their annual donor program, $1Korral, is a $1,000 annual contribution that will sponsor 10 children through one session each year, and will help with horse care and expenses. To learn more or become a $1Korral Member, check out the information below.
White Horse Youth Ranch
Las Vegas, NV
Draft Gratitude - Winchester, New Hampshire
“You can’t save them all, that’s the hardest part, but it’s about doing the best job you can with the ones you can save."
“They’ve earned the right to have a safe ending.” These are the words Rebecca Roy uses when discussing Draft Gratitude’s founding in 2014. Her rescue works exclusively with draft horses, whose bodies often show the scars and effects of a lifetime of hard work. “These are horses that have worked tirelessly in harnesses their entire lives. They are quiet, well-trained, talented horses with plenty of life left to live. They deserve a second chance and a place to call home,” she says.
Draft Gratitude travels to auctions, arriving early to walk through, view the horses and determine those that need the second chance that their facility can provide. “You can’t save them all, that’s the hardest part, but it’s about doing the best job you can with the ones you can save," she says.
Many of the horses that arrive at the facility are malnourished, often having some lameness or other medical issues due to their history. The volunteer staff works to rehabilitate them and gets to know each horse’s individual abilities, often starting with just handling or brushing to allow the horses to feel and know that they are safe. This goes hand-in-hand with the initial vet assessment and farrier work. As Rebecca recounts, “We have had some amazing successes with body condition transformations. Dangerously thin horses have made full recoveries and gone on to be adopted.”
Just one of the success stories that touched the hearts of those at Draft Gratitude is Captain’s. He was 8 years old when Rebecca found him at the New Holland Sale in Pennsylvania on May 4, 2015. Rebecca noticed that his eye looked very irritated and painful, but his sweet demeanor shone through. “He seemed to know immediately that he was safe when I found him after the sale, he put his head on my chest and let out a huge sigh of relief,” remembers Rebecca.
Captain’s eye issue turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma, which was removed to keep the cancer from spreading into his skull. It was suspected that Captain had lost use of the eye long before the surgery, so adapting to the change didn’t pose a problem to this gentle giant. Captain recovered from his surgery quickly. Soon after, he was adopted and spends his days surrounded by love with his forever family.
Draft Gratitude is an all-volunteer organization, carrying out their mission with the support of dedicated volunteers and contributors. “Caring for these deserving draft horses is an honor and we are thrilled to be able to provide a soft landing for as many as we can,” Rebecca says. Visit their website to learn about their horses and see how you can get involved and share their passion.
Winchester, New Hampshire
Hidden Pond Farm Equine Rescue - Brentwood, New Hampshire
“We take the horses that no one wanted, that we know nothing about, with no past owner to speak of.”
Phyllis Elliot grew up on a farm, her family always willing to help horses that needed a home. However, it was the story of one particular horse that fueled her passion to rescue horses. As a little girl, Phyllis had a fascination with the story of Snowman, the plow horse rescued from slaughter for $80 that became a show jumping champion. These two things stayed with Phyllis as she grew and her desire to always do more grew with her.
“After thinking about it for years, not knowing how to proceed I stumbled upon gofundme. So I wrote a story,” says Phyllis. Phyllis and her daughter, Jessica Grace Elliott, used the money she raised to purchase four minis and four ponies at their first sale. “We had homes for all but two before we even got them back home,” recalls Phyllis. In the fall of 2015, following their continued success, the women obtained their non-profit status and Hidden Pond Farm Equine Rescue was official.
All of the horses at Hidden Pond Farm come from auctions or kill pens, where they face imminent slaughter. “We take the horses that no one wanted, that we know nothing about, with no past owner to speak of,” says Phyllis. This blank slate means that each horse really does get to start over. As many of them are severely malnourished, nutrition is of primary importance. “We work closely with our vet and food reps for the best possible plan to safely rehabilitate them to proper weight,” says Phyllis. Jessica is a professional trainer and works tirelessly to acclimate and educate the horses as they train at Hidden Pond Farm.
Most of the volunteers at Hidden Pond Farm are children and they bring a unique joy to the work being done here. One of these special volunteers was an eight year old girl who arrived at Hidden Pond Farm with her mother, who’d heard that both horses and children thrived here. The young girl had a severe learning disability, was very shy, withdrawn and had no friends. She started taking one riding lesson a week and eventually moved up to two. “Hidden Pond Farm seemed to fill her emotional tank. She would come before school to help feed the horses, setting her up for a positive day, as school was very difficult for her,” says Phyllis. That little girl is now 13 and according to Phyllis, “she can run this farm like a pro! She knows all the horses, their feed and their medical treatments. She has confidence, communicates with her peers and now has many friends.”
Watching both the horses and the children at Hidden Pond Farm blossom, no matter their circumstances, is the greatest success that Phyllis and Jessica could ask for. Use the information below to learn more about Hidden Pond Farm and donate to help fuel their rescue missions to auctions around New England.
Hidden Pond Farm Equine Rescue
Brentwood, New Hampshire
Live and Let Live Farm - Chichester, NH
Rescuing Horses in the Northern Northeast
It can be quite inspiring to learn how rescue programs grow from loving dreams into thriving programs impacting their local communities. The Live and Let Live Farm started in 1996 as the dream of one woman named Teresa. She started with only 4 animals and a desire to rescue horses. Two decades later, the operation now has over 60 horses, advanced facilities, and the ability to help find new homes for horses, cats, dogs, and even ducks!
Live and Let Live Farm, Inc. is an animal shelter serving communities in New Hampshire. It is currently the largest volunteer based rescue focusing on horses, at-risk pregnant dogs, and motherless puppies around the country.
Teresa explained, “Any and all breeds of horses and other animals come to Live and Let Live Farm's Rescue.” Animals come from a wide variety of situations including abuse situations or from owners too ill to care for their animals. They also come from a wide geographical area ranging from New Mexico’s Navajo nation to Manitoba, Canada.
New horse rescues benefit from the farm’s indoor rehabilitation facility and enclosed medical building. Horses are allowed to socialize with other animals and learn to regain trust in humans while they heal in both body and mind.
Potential adopters are found through social media, word of mouth, Internet advertisements, and through their website. Teresa shared, “Being the only certified and licensed rehabilitation rescue in NH for animals of agriculture is not easy. Our biggest needs is financial help with hay and medical needs.”
Teresa and the farm volunteers rejoice in every one of their successes. Recently, the farm won a case for five horses who were un-socialized with humans and living in a “dungeon-like environment.” These poor animals never felt the sun on their bodies for years at a time. Luckily, Live and Let Live Farm was able to extract the animals from this existence so they could re-learn what it means to be a horse.
This home grown rescue and sanctuary grew from the heart and sweat of the founder and families of volunteers into the largest animal rehabilitation rescue in the Northern Northeast. Quite an accomplishment!
To learn how you can get involved, see below.
Live and Let Live Farm, Inc.
Location: Chichester, NH
Donate: 20 Paradise lane, Chichester NH 03258
Bergen County Horse Rescue – Mahwah, NJ
“I think that we have helped as many people as we have horses."
When you arrive at the Bergen County Horse Rescue in Mahwah, NJ, you’ll quickly notice two Shetland ponies following on the tail of a gentle 42-year-old Palomino named Goldie. They freely roam the property checking in on the work progress of volunteers and munching on any dropped remnants of feed. This relaxed and peaceful scene is typical of the beautiful property located on 17 acres of prime land along the Ramapo River.
BCHR is located on a farm that originally started as a boarding facility. The farm managers realized very early on that their farm was destined for a greater purpose. After fending off several aggressive offers from real estate developers, they were able to get the land officially preserved. In 2016, they reformed as a horse rescue and began taking on new horses in need.
Many of their first rescue horses were boarded horses that had been abandoned by their owners. Today, President Erin Giannios and her team care for a slew of animals including mares with foals, mules, aging horses, goats, chickens, and many other grateful horses looking for a new life.
Since this is a young organization, they are still working to establish a set protocol for rehabbing, retraining and rehoming. They’re off to a great start by offering three types of grain to the horses based on individual needs. Horses also get hay and fresh water twice a day. Apples, carrots, and horse cookies are also distributed by the loving volunteers.
Any horses in need are given veterinary attention and holistic healing by experts associated with the rescue. A “quarantine” barn has been established to help deal with new horses who need extra time to become socialized or treatment for special conditions.
We spoke with a rescue representative named Donna who shared, “We recently built a lunging pen, have volunteers who regularly groom and exercise horses. We also have several volunteers whose only responsibility is to pet and socialize with new horses. This can include just sitting in their turnout for an hour or so not doing anything but sitting there.”
The largest challenges for BCHR are funding, organizing volunteers, and keeping up with repairs on an aging facility. Despite these issues, BCHR has established a very friendly and positive environment.
Donna explained, “I think that we have helped as many people as we have horses. We have created a community that supports each other and getting horses away from a bad situation tends to bring people together. We are truly grateful for the people we have on board and a wonderful 17 acre property.”
If you would like to get involved with the Bergen County Horse Rescue, see the information below:
Bergen County Horse Rescue
Location: Mahwah, NJ
Manes and Tails Organization - Hoboken, NJ
On a private farm in New Jersey, there is a small rescue run by a woman named Ellen-Cathryn Nash. Ellen first learned about horse slaughter in 1995 and immediately started rescuing horses to save them from that fate. The Manes and Tails Organization was incorporated in 2004.
Ellen is clearly passionate about her work. She explained, "I typically take the worst of the worst!" She takes many off-the-track Thoroughbreds, but has no preference on breeds. "Unlike others, I will take any type of horse provided I can support it financially."
She currently has four horses, one of which includes a Secretariat great granddaughter. All of the horses are sick and need to put on weight. Ellen works hard to gain their trust and help them reach health. "I sit in the Stall with every new Rescue Horse so they get used to me being around," she shared. "When they show interest in eating they are fed Purina Equine Senior no matter the age, free hay is always in the stall but not on the floor."
Ellen does all of the retraining herself. She credits her strong seat, great sense of balance and fearless attitude for her success. "I show them no fear and they know me well when we start to retrain."
When it comes time to find the horses a new home, Ellen takes a unique approach. "I do not Adopt the Horses. An Adoption is a Sale. I free lease the Horses and stipulate that I will always take a Horse back and I reserve the right to recall a Horse for any reason."
She works hard but feels that the challenge is well worth it. "I go broke caring for them for someone else to enjoy. Whatever is best for the Horses prevails."
Manes and Tails Organization
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Donate: 456 Ninth Street #26, Hoboken, NJ 07030
We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
If you would like to suggest a hardworking group of rescuers to be added to our list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
13 Hands Equine Rescue - Clinton Corners, New York
“It’s the mental issues of abuse and neglect that are the most challenging.”
In November of 2015, Marylou Tortorello was making a contribution to her local horse rescue when she decided to ask if there was anything else that she could do to help. When the rescue responded by asking her to adopt from them, Marylou did just that. She couldn’t have known that her one simple question would lead to the formation of 13 Hands Equine Rescue.
The horses at 13 Hands range from Drafts to Minis, many having come from kill pens and auctions. “The slaughter of horses is a highly profitable business and most of the horses are ill-treated, underfed and scared in the hopes of making the most money for them,” says Marylou. For this reason, they know they must to do everything in their power to be advocates for these animals. Horses arriving through these channels are first placed in a 30 day quarantine in order to allow them to rest and regain their strength. Once they are evaluated by the veterinarian, they are moved to the 13 Hands facility where they continue their journey back to health.
“The physical aspects of being sick and undernourished are the easy issues to solve (usually),” says Jacki Zaslow. “It’s the mental issues of abuse and neglect that are the most challenging.” The staff at 13 Hands Ranch initially work on trust and socialization in order to ensure that each horse feels safe and can take their next steps without fear.
Once an evaluation is complete and the staff has an idea of what the horse knows and doesn’t know, they work with outside trainers to form a retraining program individually suited to the needs of each horse.
The horses at 13 Hands are available for adoption following a strict screening process for would-be adopters, however, this is not the only option for them. Horses that do not find homes outside of 13 Hands often stay and become part of their herd. “We keep them at one of our two locations forever. They will always have a home with us,” says Jacki. Some of the horses that stay as permanent members also have the opportunity to become participants in the Equine Assisted Therapy Program at 13 Hands Ranch. The program follows the EAGALA method and offers Psychotherapy for families, groups, and individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder and more.
13 Hands Ranch functions using a volunteer staff not just for work with the horses, but also for office needs, fundraising and events. Volunteers of all ages are welcome, so please use the information below to find out how you can help in any of these areas. You can also learn how to donate funds or necessary supplies, as well as foster or sponsor any of the wonderful horses currently residing at 13 Hands.
50 Tuscan Way
Clinton Corners, New York 12514
A Pony’s Paradise Equine Rescue - LaGrangeville, New York
"Our horses are the center of everything we do..."
A Pony’s Paradise began in October of 2013, when Melissa Ulmer and a group of other horse-lovers decided to take action to improve their horse community. “We sought to help remove unwanted and/or neglected horses from situations that put them in physical or mental danger and find them new, safe, loving homes,” says Melissa. The women at APPER know that they aren’t able to save all of the horses and ponies out there. However, with the help of a small group of horse-dedicated volunteers, they strive to bring a better life to the ones they can.
While APPER does take in horses from slaughter auctions, the majority of their horses come from members of the community that find themselves in tough situations and need help. For this reason, APPER takes in all breeds of horses. As Melissa puts it, “The variety is shocking, from Arabians that are completely unbroken, to old sweethearts whose owners have passed away.”
First and foremost at APPER is ensuring that the horses are cared for and know they have a team in their corner. “We work very closely with every horse all day long and are constantly evaluating their physical and mental health,” says Melissa. “All of the horses seem to find safety in the companionship of the other horses and the individualized attention from the people.” APPER keeps their numbers low to ensure that each horses receives these benefits. “We find the best results are when the horses have low stress, access to as much hay as they need and fields to roam,” she explains.
Training at APPER is determined on a case-by-case basis, with each horse having their own training regimen geared toward what they are most comfortable with. Horses that are physically and mentally ready are trained for basic pleasure riding during their time at the facility.
It can be difficult for those outside of the rescue to truly understand the beauty and love that blossoms here. “We know that our horses are wonderful and beautiful, but it is hard to express that,” says Melissa. When Rebecca Tocci, an equine photographer, volunteered to visit APPER and take some photos Melissa was excited. Rebecca arrived on a muddy, cloudy spring day, but was able to capture the beauty of the horses and the rescue in a way that words had been unable to convey. “It made us all catch our breath, it solidified everything we are trying to do. Our horses are the center of everything we do and she gave us a gift of beauty,” remembers Melissa. “She was able to capture why we devote our lives to saving them.”
All of the staff and volunteers at APPER give ceaselessly of themselves to ensure that these horses see that they have a wonderful life ahead of them regardless of their past. Use the information below to find out how you can become part of the process at APPER.
A Pony’s Paradise Equine Rescue
LaGrangeville, New York
Begin Again Horse Rescue – Lima, NY
A Horse Rescue Started by Three Friends Who Banded Together
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 Rescue (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
Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue - Dover Plains, NY
Educational and Therapy Programs to Enrich the Community
The Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue is located in the most horse populated county in the state of New York with more than 10,000 equines dotting the countryside! Deanna Mancuso, the LOHR founder, noticed a startling trend in her home county and founded LOHR to help take care of abused and neglected horses.
This is not a breed specific farm, so they take in horses ranging from minis to warmbloods. They have an especially large population of retired Thoroughbreds and are accredited by The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
LOHR has an impressive array of programs to not only engage the public, but also to help these rescued horses provide therapy for people in need. They offer the EAGALA model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Programs through their partnership with EquiNorth, Inc. The training team, along with two mental health professionals, help people of all ages overcome their individual struggles and find comfort in the presence of horses.
This is a permanent sanctuary so none of the horses are available for adoption. Still, there are many ways for the public to enjoy and help care for these animals. It takes approximately $7 per day to cover any horse resident’s expenses. You can sponsor a horse to help take care of his needs, or give your time as a volunteer. LOHR also encourages people to shop using their Amazon link to receive a portion of the proceeds.
This rescue is unique in the large number of programs they offer for the public. Check their webpage for the latest listing of riding or horsemanship clinics. Children can come on Saturday morning to experience the Pony Pals program where children ages 3-7 years learn about horses. Farm tours, summer camps, school field trip days, and riding lessons are also available.
Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue
Location: Dover Plains, NY
Donate: 2699 Route 22, PO Box 334, Dover Plains, NY 125622 (845-877-0685)
North Shore Horse Rescue - Long Island, New York
“Rescue and care for any unwanted horses, including those that have been neglected, abused, or are at risk of going to slaughter.”
North Shore Horse Rescue began with the story of one horse, a wild mustang adopted from Utah. Her name was Phoenix and she arrived at the facility pregnant and showing the obvious signs of a difficult road to get there. She gave birth to a beautiful foal which was named Wyatt. However, Wyatt’s fate was not for this earth and he passed two weeks later, as a direct effect of the abuse and neglect that Phoenix had suffered while pregnant. This event prompted the formation of the North Shore Horse Rescue and Sanctuary, where Phoenix continues to live wild and free.
NSHR takes in unwanted horses, horses with medical problems and former racing horses. Their mission is to “rescue and care for any unwanted horses, including those that have been neglected, abused, or are at risk of going to slaughter.” Since Phoenix’s arrival, they have gone on to become a guardian for the Equus Foundation, a member of the Unwanted Horse Coalition and have been verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. They take an open-minded approach to rehabilitating the horses in their care, utilizing both modern and eastern medicine techniques. “We rely on herbal supplements, exercise and lots of love,” says Beth Springstone.
Horses at NSHR are trained using natural horsemanship techniques and many of the sanctuary horses have the opportunity to be used for equine therapy. NSHR also utilizes equine therapy for veterans in order to provide them with much needed support. “Humans learn to love, heal and trust through the horses,” says Beth.
NSHR prefers that the horses stay at their facility, however they do offer adoption in the right circumstances. Potential adopters are carefully screened and must successfully sponsor the horse for a minimum of six months. This is done in order to prove that any would-be adopter is able to meet the financial demands of owning and caring for the horse. NSHR also reviews the potential adopter’s property, confirming that it meets the standards of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Please use the information below to find out how you can contribute to North Shore Horse Rescue in the form of monetary donation, supplies or to become a patron to one of their horses. You can also find out how to visit their facility and meet the staff and horses that call North Shore home.
North Shore Horse Rescue
Long Island, New York
Painted Bar Stables – Burdett, NY
A Riding Stable That Uses Rescue Horses in Its Program
Located right on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, among the beautiful waterfalls, rolling hills, and breathtaking views of Schulyer County, sits Painted Bar Stables. A local equine landmark in the 60s and 70s, this barn holds its own historic charm. And with all the beautiful horses that call this place home, it’s an attraction for horse riders of all ages.
Erika Eckstrom, the owner of Painted Bar Stables, purchased the 1851 farm house in 2008. Since she was a little girl, Erika loved horses. She spent much of her childhood at various barns in the Ithaca area, working hard so she could learn to ride the horses she loved so much. At age 13, she bought her first horse, Margarita, with the money she had been saving since she was little.
Erika spent her teenage years rescuing horses and training them as trail horses. She learned the importance of trust, confidence, and patience – characteristics that are instilled in her today, as she continues her work with horses.
Since purchasing Painted Bar Stables, Erika has worked to repair and renovate the stables and barn house. She has bred and trained a friendly, beautiful, and skilled herd of horses that love riding the trails of Schulyer County. Through her hard work and dedication, she earned the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014 for the Syracuse, NY district.
Standing true to her philosophy to “create a setting in which both people and horses are happy,” Erika has successfully created an educational, friendly environment that offers unmatched love and care to both the horses and the visitors.
At Painted Bar Stables, visitors experience the beauty of Finger Lakes from horseback. There’s many different rides that offer unique ways to see the nature surrounding the stables. Visitors can do shorter rides around the farm house, longer adventures in Finger Lakes National Forest, or even under the stars on the moonlight trail rides.
The horses at Painted Bar Stables are a tight-knit family, each horse a special addition to the herd. There’s over 35 horses at the barn, including retired racehorses like Elegant Jetsetter and rescues like Brienne of Tarth and Spock.
Spock, a white Appaloosa Mule with pointy ears, is a favorite at Painted Bar. (Photo above) When Spock first came to the barn, he was impossible to handle and didn’t trust anyone. After working with Erika, Spock is now a barn favorite and an awesome trail “horse.” He’s intelligent and stubborn, but very sweet and protective of himself and his rider – making him great on the trail.
Visitors who get the chance to come to Painted Bar Stables make unforgettable memories and have a great time. Rachael from New Jersey, who visited Painted Bar for a trail ride while on vacation with friends, said: “I had a wonderful time riding with Erika at Painted Bar. She put me on Spock who was a perfect gentleman throughout the ride. It was clear from chatting with Erika, that rescue animals like him are an important part of her operation. I would definitely go again and recommend this farm to friends…in fact – I already have!”
To learn more about visiting Painted Bar Stables, visit their website below:
Painted Bar Stables
Roanchar Ranch – Varysburg, NY
This Rescue Works to Save 'Gentle Giants'
Halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, in Varysburg, NY, lies a safe haven for Draft horses. Roanchar Ranch provides refuge for afflicted Draft horses. Lida founded the ranch in 2013 because she saw a need for a place where Draft horses could escape slaughter houses and cruel treatment after years of hard work.
The age of horses living on the ranch ranges between 7-20 years old. These horses are often “retired” once they can no longer meet the demanding requirements of their work. However, it isn’t the type of retirement you and I hope to enjoy one day. Their days are not filled with play and leisure. Instead, these horses are cast aside. Simple needs like regular meals and vet care are often neglected. In many cases, these horses are sent to auction, where “kill buyers” snatch them up to ship to slaughter-houses.
The fortunate horses who find their way to Roanchar Ranch have a chance at a new life-- one where they are finally valued as full beings rather than work tools. When they arrive, they are placed on a custom weight gain program, overseen by vet Dr. Anne Dewar. Once healthy, the focus shifts to retraining these horses to be companions. Using a natural horsemanship philosophy as the basis of the training program, horses are given the opportunity to becoming willing partners.
As you can imagine, the work of regaining a horse's’ confidence and trust is time consuming. Because of the small scale of the Roanchar Ranch program, they are able to provide individualized care to abused and abandoned horses. This leads to great success.
One example of a successful rehabilitation is the story of Maggie. She came to the Rescue Ranch afraid of the world. Lida recalls, “She had every right to be after being severely beaten for 45 minutes and dropped to the ground several times by the hands of a ‘trainer.’” For months, Maggie could not trust her caretakers. Even then, only a select few could groom her.
Today, she is a different horse. She enjoys visitors to the Rescue, especially children. The time caretakers were able to dedicate to Maggie has revived her spirit. She now has a new outlook on life. She is finally ready to find her forever home. Lida hopes Maggie can go to that place soon.
Of course, not just anyone can adopt a horse like Maggie. Potential adoption homes must go through a thorough application process. This process includes a detailed application and strong references. Lida says that adopting a horse means adopting the Rescue Ranch too. The Ranch likes to keep tabs on the progress of the horses and provide support during the transition. Once the horses come to Roanchar Ranch, they become family, even after they move on to their forever homes. The tight-knit bonds that form at the ranch last a lifetime.
Lida hopes to help overcome the perception that Draft horses are not ridable. They make excellent companions and are known to be “gentle giants.” Their personality makes them a great choice as a partner in many of the equine activities you may enjoy. She is accomplishing this goal, one horse at a time, at Roanchar Ranch.
Bit of Hope Ranch - Gaston County, North Carolina
Reach, Rescue and Restore Hurting Children, Families and Horses
With over 30 years of horse experience, Meg Vanderbilt knew that she wanted to combine her love of horses with her desire to help those in need. She began Bit of Hope in 2007, to help hurting children by allowing them to find hope and healing through a relationship with a horse. Their mission is to Reach, Rescue and Restore hurting children, families and horses by offering nature based and complete equine therapy wellness and educational programs.
“The horses that are at the farm are on their second or third job,” says Meg. “Some have been neglected and abandoned, some have been physically or emotionally abused, some needed a different type of job physically or mentally.” The fact that all of these horses come with a story is beneficial for the work that they do here. “Children can often identify with these physical or emotional scars that the horses present,” Meg says.
The horses at Bit of Hope are fed a forage-based diet, consisting primarily of hay and beet pulp, with grain to fill any nutritional gaps. “Chiropractors, supplements and lastly pharmaceuticals are brought in as needed,” explains Meg. All of the horses are kept outdoors in appropriate herd sizes, allowing them to move around and be social at their leisure. As Meg states, “this helps prevent or heal lameness, as well as reduce stress.”
Each of the horses at Bit of Hope is trained using natural horsemanship methods based on forming relationships. They focus on building trust, respect and responsiveness which translate into their work helping visitors at the facility. Children that come for sessions work with a licensed professional, an equine specialist, and a horse. “The horses use their natural instincts to assist with counseling or their big gaits to help riders build strength,” says Meg.
It is extraordinary to see the transformations the horses undergo, like Doc, who arrived as a rescue. “When he came to the Ranch, you could count every vertebrae and rib through his matted winter coat. He acted terrified in the arena and had scars from an ill-fitting saddle and spurs,” remembers Meg. “His physical body healed quicker than his mind. Hours of retraining taught him how to relax and accept a rider. Now he is a favorite with clients,” says Meg.
Doc’s struggle is something that many of the clients at Bit of Hope can relate to in their own way. His joy after adversity is also something that they can carry with them as a reminder through their own journey. “He still gets emotional at mealtimes by playing and rattling his food tub,” says Meg.
Please use the information below to find out how you can contribute to Bit of Hope’s mission, to help both the horses and the children that find their way here. You can donate funds or as Meg puts it, “we are always needing similar-minded horsey volunteers.”
Bit of Hope Ranch
Gaston County, North Carolina
Carolina Equine Rescue & Assistance - Wingate, North Carolina
“If you need help.... PLEASE ASK.”
While working as the regional director of an equine rescue, Darlene Kindle always considered opening her own. However, it took a combination of loss and generosity to get there. After the unexpected loss of a friend, Darlene was contacted by the woman’s husband, who requested that donations be made in his wife’s name to a local rescue. This act of kindness started the journey that would ultimately become CERA.
Darlene’s dream encompassed more than rescuing horses in need. She wanted to create someplace that she says, “not only works with local law enforcement and countless other rescue organizations in seizures and surrenders, but one that helps educate owners on how to properly care for their animals and avoid unlawful neglect.” CERA accepts horses of all breeds and ages, providing food, shelter and care to set them up for a long, healthy life.
Owners can come to CERA for education, but they can also apply for assistance when the going gets tough in the form of grants. CERA evaluates applications on a case by case basis and allocates funds/supplies as best as possible. The staff also networks with various individuals and organizations to serve as a resource for those trying to rehome their animals, whether it’s horses, dogs, cats or other farm animals. As Darleen states, “If you need help.... PLEASE ASK.”
While every horse saved is an incredible success, some serve as true inspiration. Hope’s Promise is one such horse. In October 2015, Darleen received a message about a 3-5 year old, severely emaciated horse going to auction in November. Unable to acquire her directly, Darleen decided she would do whatever it took to get this horse at auction. She won and was escorted to pick up her new horse. What she found was heartbreaking. The horse was skin and bones, had rotting teeth and a look in her eyes that Darleen describes as “wanting to die, she had no will left to survive.” Once Hope was seen by the vet they learned she was in fact 18 years old. This led them to believe she had been dumped merely because she was getting older, but Hope still had a life to live. Soon after her arrival, Hope forged an odd friendship with George, the resident goat, and the two were inseparable. “They slept in the same stall at night and both would scream if the other was out of sight,” recalls Darleen.
With the help of her friends, Hope made a miraculous recovery and when it was time, Darleen knew she needed a very special home. She contacted Wings of Eagles Ranch, a therapeutic horseback riding center, and told them Hope’s story. Hope passed her tests and now goes to work every day to help children and adults with disabilities. “Hope beat all the odds, she is happy and healthy, she never lost her will to live,” says Darleen.
Use the information below to learn how you can volunteer, donate funds or supplies, sponsor a horse, or purchase any of the unique items in their gift store. All assistance helps build a better future for the horses at CERA.
Carolina Equine Rescue & Assistance
Wingate, North Carolina
Harmony Farm Animal Haven, Inc. - Salisbury, North Carolina
“We specialize in animals with disabilities and cases of abuse, neglect, starvation and advanced age.”
Harmony Farm Animal Haven was created by two women with a straightforward goal: to create a place that took in equines and farm animals without discrimination. A place that accepted them regardless of their ability to be used for work, ridden, or the likelihood of adoption in the future. This was not a spontaneous decision, rather, one that was sparked by four animals who created a lasting impact.
“Our rescue started by taking in three senior horses, one with neurological and breathing issues, one with cancer and Cushing’s disease, and a 33 year old blind Appaloosa,” remembers Crista Stubbs. When only the Appaloosa remained, rather than leave her alone, they began the search to find her a new friend. The search led them to a one-eyed pony for sale. “When I got there to see him, he was severely emaciated, abused, his blind eye was oozing down his face, he was covered in lice and living in a tiny pen with four emaciated cows. There were emaciated animals everywhere,” she remembers.
They immediately knew that they could not leave him in those conditions. “He rode home quietly, surely knowing that life had nowhere to go but up,” says Crista. When Pablo, as he came to be known, finally met the Appaloosa, it was love at first sight. “They were best friends, it was the quickest bond I’ve ever witnessed,” Crista recounts.
Although Pablo was heartbroken when his friend passed, he would come to have many more friends. “He was the start of our realization that small ponies and minis are neglected nearly as often as horses, that their needs are just as great and their lives are just as important,” Crista says. Harmony Farm is now home to five minis, one chestnut gelding, a mini pig and a lamb. The minis have become a specialty at Harmony Farm, something they are very proud to be known for.
“We specialize in animals with disabilities and cases of abuse, neglect, starvation and advanced age,” Crista explains. “Because of this, our herd is small and needy, many of the animals cannot be adopted. The only factor we consider is quality of life.”
Rehabilitation and training at Harmony Farm takes time and patience. “We begin gentle and casual ground work, slowly as trust and health allow,” explains Crista. Due to the disabilities of the horses, many are not rideable. However, those that can, work with nearby trainers that only utilize trust-building methods and never use fear tactics.
Please use the information below to get to know the animals at Harmony Farm and find out what you can do to help. The animals are available for sponsor and every dollar raised helps pave the road to their successful future.
Harmony Farm Animal Haven, Inc.
Salisbury, North Carolina
Horse Helpers of the High Country – Boone, NC
Giving Sick, Abused and Unwanted Horses a Second Chance
Horse Helpers of the High Country is nestled along the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anywhere from 12-17 horses can reside on Wisteria Farm in Boone, NC. Once there, horses are able to receive the rehabilitation, care, and second chance they desperately need. HHHC also works with authorities to find other solutions when possible.
Their main goal is to ensure each horse is in the place where they will receive the best care, whether it is remaining at home, being placed on the farm, or finding their new forever home. They have a fund to aid good owners who face economic hardship. For horses who do find themselves on the farm, there is a lengthy adoption process to ensure a suitable fit. If the horse is not able to stay in their adopted home, they are returned to the farm.
They also have a 4-H club, a foster program, a sponsorship program, educational opportunities and workshops, and experiential programs. HHHC is an active member in the community, attending and hosting events, providing a place for people to come together, and offering aid throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. No one describes it better than Amy, the current HHHC president:
“When the rescue moved to its current location we anticipated rescuing horses and nothing more. What became apparent was this was a safe place for people too. It became a place where children, adults, and seniors interacted. "Regular" people worked happily alongside and with people with disabilities. People with different ethnic backgrounds, skin colors, and religious beliefs came together in a common goal and people with wide socioeconomic circumstances worked together with mutual respect.”
They have even written a book, Chester’s Barn. The book shares their story of rescue, security, friendship, and family with more people. In a small way, anyone who reads the book is brought into the fold of this special community too. Some luck children have a chance to interact more personally with the story. Amy explains, “We now do approximately 20 trips a year to schools in a 100 mile area where we read the book, sing a song written about Chester, and then allow the children to lead one of three miniature horses.”
The book tells the true story of a miniature horse named Chester. When he arrived at the farm, he was still a baby in need of a mother to nurture him. At the time, there was a horse there, Fiona, who was in need of a baby to nurture. She was recovering from cancer and had been separated from her baby to help her heal.
At first, they wanted nothing to do with each other. They stayed on opposite sides of the pasture. But, the HHHC community remained hopeful. They needed each other. After some time, they grew to depend on each other. For the seven months they were together, they supported each other. Once Fiona was healed and Chester was more mature socially, they moved on to new adventures. Without each other, they may not have been able to reach those milestones.
This story of hope and others like it are what keep the HHHC community going. But, they have a number of pressing needs that must be addressed so they can continue their impact in the equine community. Below is a list of needs for anyone wishing to help.
They need funds to cover their 70,000 in annual operating expenses. A permanent farm is needed too. They are currently on someone else's property. But, this is only meant to be a temporary location until they can move to their own property.
One more huge need is for a tractor. This would help them accomplish many routine tasks and maintenance jobs more efficiently. They also accept donations of tools and tack to replace worn items around the farm. Anything they can’t use on the farm can be sold to cover expenses.
Horse Helpers of the High Country
Horse Protection Society – China Grove, NC
Dedicated to Providing Sanctuary for Abused, Neglected, and Abandoned Horses
Written by Robyn Martin
Horse Protection Society is located in China Grove, NC, 30 minutes north east of Charlotte, NC. Founded by Joanie Benson in 1991 and incorporated in 1999, HPS is dedicated to providing sanctuary for abused, neglected, and abandoned horses in the Central Piedmont area of NC, including the greater Charlotte and Greensboro metro areas and surrounding counties.
HPS has taken in many breeds of horses, from miniature to draft. Due to the high demand for horse rescue in our area, HPS is committed to taking in those horses in the most dire of need. Quite often, our horses upon arrival are a 1 on the Henneke Body Score scale. Joanie fields many calls from owners and concerned citizens and offers education in equine nutrition and care, as well as steps to take when horse abuse or neglect is suspected.
Due to the extremely poor condition most of our horses are in upon arrival, we are very aware of refeeding syndrome, and gradually introduce a nutritionally balanced diet to all of our horses, evaluating daily for each individual horse.
Most of our horses have received some kind of training elsewhere, but we start fresh with every horse. Time with the other horses in our pastures is crucial in teaching new arrivals how to be horses again. Our seasoned herd members deserve a great portion of the rehabilitation credit. We give our horses all the time they need to rehabilitate, for starved horses, this can be at least a year, before beginning a formal training program. We believe training begins at HPS the minute the horse walks off the trailer. Once they arrive at our sanctuary, training is in progress.
Our volunteers provide consistent care and routines that over time allow our horse to develop trust and a sense of security they may never have felt before. Formal training always begins with ground work starting with loose lead and progressing to work at liberty. Only after we have established trust and have properly fitting tack do we begin riding horses. We are grateful to have an indoor riding arena to be able to work the horses in all weather. Due to the amount of horses we work with, we emphasize the horses learning basic skills, ground manners, basic riding, working off the leg. We leave it up to the potential placement homes to take it form there.
There is an extensive application process required of people interested in having HPS horses placed with them. Often, our best applicants are current or former volunteers. HPS has an application form that must be completed. It is required that people interested in having a horse placed with them actually spend time working with that horse before final arrangements are made. This minimizes the possibility of a poor match, and allows the horse and person to develop a bond before the horse arrives at their home.
Our biggest challenges, as is likely with all rescues, is finding dedicated volunteers and funding to continue to provide the high quality of care we strive for in caring for our horses.
One thing that is unique about our rescue is that we offer a safety net for our rescued horses who are placed in other homes. We do stipulate in our contract that placement homes provide an annual update about the well being of our horses placed with them. If they are no longer able to provide adequate care for any reason, HPS will gladly take the horses back.
There have been many times a placement home intended to keep horses for life but found they were unable to due to unforeseen medical or financial reasons. HPS is dedicated to caring for our senior horses, we often have horses living well into their thirties in relatively good health.
Horse Protection Society – China Grove, NC
2135 Miller Road, China Grove NC 28023
Pasture Pals Equine Rescue – Clayton, NC
Too Many Horses Who Need Help and Too Few People to Help
Alex was surprised when her husband came home from work one day with a horse trailer. But she was shocked when she saw what was inside. Inside, was Jessie, who Alex says was “the most severely abused animal she had ever seen alive.” Alex’s husband, Keith, found Jessie while he was at work that day. Jessie was sick, abused, and starving, barely living in a small, 20-foot square pen. Jessie knew he had to step in, and immediately bought the poor horse and got her out of that horrible situation.
Little did Alex and Jessie Daniels know that Jessie would be the first of many horses they would help, and the beginning of a new stage in their lives. While caring for and rehabilitating Jessie, the Daniels decided to get a companion horse for Jessie. While they were looking for another horse, they found so many more horses in horrible conditions, just like Jessie. Alex knew that she had to do something more, so she founded Pasture Pals Equine Rescue.
Since May 1, 2012, the day the Daniels rescued Jessie, PPER has taken in over 150 animals and rehomed 97 so far. Jessie, their first rescue, is one of the many horses that have been adopted. Today, she is now a therapy horse living in her forever home.
PPER takes in all types of equines, including horses, minis, drafts, and donkeys. In a recent interview with Alex, she said that “the PPER focus is on equines and the rescue takes in as many as there is space, money and volunteers to care for them.” After the horses arrive, they are rehabilitated and retrained, and evaluated without bias. The horses are evaluated constantly, so volunteers and staff can determine their natural abilities to match what they would be best at.
The horses at PPER are given the utmost care and love. Alex emphasized that at PPER, “we do not “flip” horses.” Their goal is not to rehab as fast as possible and sell the horse. Instead, they take however much time the horse needs to heal and regain its strength. Alex said: “we do not just take any horse. When evaluating a horse, we try to be sure that they have the chance to be rehabilitated and to have a healthy and productive life.”
The horses are first at PPER, and not just the horses at their barn. They spend a great deal of time helping individual horse owners re-home their horses so they don’t end up in slaughter actions or kill pens. PPER even helps start-up horse rescues. Alex says that “There are too many animals out their needing help and too few willing to go to the work and expense to help them.” PPER helps them learn how to be a productive rescue that can make a real impact.
Because PPER is 100% volunteer run, they depend on fundraising to care for their animals. They would love more sponsors and volunteers, as finding them is a major challenge. You can support PPER by stopping by their barn every 3rd Saturday of the month for their Pony Rides and Percheron Fundraiser. There’s food, games, and pony rides, and lots of fun. For more information, check out their info below.
Pasture Pals Equine Rescue
Safe Haven Equine Rescue and Retirement - High Point, North Carolina
Moving From Dog Rescues to Horse Rescues
Each horse rescue organization begins their work for different reasons or in different circumstances. For Gin of the Safe Haven Equine Rescue and Retirement, she started her rescue work because of her love for dogs. "I was heavily involved in dog rescue for years and received a call for help with a horse," she explained. "Having no resources for help for this poor horse, I went home and prayed about it, hence our rescue was born."
Luckily, Gin was able to draw on her experience showing western pleasure as a child to get started. They receive a variety of horses at Safe Haven, but most of them are emaciated or seniors that can no longer be ridden. Sick horses are rehabilitated under veterinarian supervision. Potential adopters find the organization through social media, local media, or word of mouth. They must fill out an application and pass farm visit approval before they are granted ownership.
Gin stated that their biggest success was being named a Global Federation Animal Sanctuaries certified farm. She also explained that the farm operates as both a sanctuary and as a ministry.
One of Gin's favorite stories is that of an extremely old horse named Gus. "Gus is over 35 and he came to SHERR weighing only 580 pounds. Today he is 1200 pounds, fat and happy!" She shared another story of a draft horse who came in with canker sores on both back hooves. "After six months of labor intensive care, she is now in training for dressage with her new adopted mother."
Safe Haven Equine Rescue and Retirement
Location: High Point, NC
Southern Sun Farms Sanctuary – Glendale Springs, NC
Home of Molly Mae: The 3-Legged Donkey
Nestled against the Blue Ridge Mountains of the North Carolina High Country, you will find a special haven for recovering animals. Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary makes it their mission to help protect and care for a variety of equines and the occasional dog, cat, raccoon and even deer fawns.
Under the loving hands of John and Ann Lisk, animals are nursed back to health and given a second chance at life. The Lisks have over 20 years of experience in animal welfare and started Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary in honor of their daughter Kasey, who died in a tragic hiking accident, while trying to save their dog on the property.
Their farm is populated by a wide variety of inspiration animals, but one little animal stands out among the crowd…a three-legged donkey! Molly Mae is a donkey that was discovered during a cruelty investigation in Cabarrus County, NC, where she had been hit by car. She was never taken to a vet and so this traumatic event left her without the use of her rear right leg.
The Sanctuary had the donkey evaluated by a well-known equine orthopedist and it was determined that it would be harder on her to try and fix the leg after 10 years of adaptation than to just leave her be. John explained, “She is not in any pain, moves freely (and quickly when necessary!) and is a happy member of our herd.” Today, Molly Mae enjoys romping through the fields of her home and visiting with the ponies in the neighboring pastures.
When horses first arrive at the Sanctuary, they receive a vet check, including an assessment of their teeth. This is usually followed with a feeding protocol as outlined by Cal-Davis. After that, beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and Nutrena Pro Force Fuel have been beneficial to many horses until they can resume a “normal” diet. Early in the process, farrier care is also provided to ensure horses are in the best shape possible and can be used as a diagnostic tool as well.
Once the horses are healthy, they are able to access training needs in their training complex. This includes a 100’x100’ arena and 60’ round pen. They first get to know the horse. Once everyone is comfortable, “Ann will usually throw a leg over them to see how they do.” When necessary, they work with local trainers and other skilled horsemen in the complex and on the trail.
When horses have been successfully rehabilitated, it is time to decide the best place for them. Some are best retired to the pasture, to live out their days in peace with the herd. Others become riding horses in their program. Still others are ready for the adoption process, hoping to find a loving forever home.
The couple depends on social media to find those perfect forever homes. John explains, “Quality adoptions can be very difficult in an extremely rural area. Acceptable horse ownership, is, sometimes, less than what we expect for these horses who have already been through some difficult times.”
They do farm visits for all potential adopters and have a strong adoption agreement. The agreement includes a clause that requires the horse to be returned to the Sanctuary if the new owners are not able to continue their commitment. But, they feel that “by the time that you get to that point, you’ve already failed the horse to some degree.” So, they work hard to vet each candidate thoroughly before moving forward.
Their biggest challenge remains funding. They are blessed to have generous neighbors who freely share the time and resources they have, but, actual dollars are hard to come by. Right now, they are in need of a bigger and more centralized barn to better serve horses during the harsh winters of northwestern North Carolina.
They are also in need of a more adequate trailer. They are currently using a 1991 Horizon 2 horse, thoroughbred size, dual axle, bumper pull. This trailer has a ramp load. They would be better served with a step-up loading trailer to make loading distressed horses a little easier. If you would like to participate in the Horse Trailer Sharing Program, be sure to comment below.
The sanctuary is different than many rescues because they take the horses that are not ridable, like the 3-legged donkey, Maggie Mae. They take the horses that may not ever be adoptable and provide them a herd at the Sanctuary to be their forever home. This, of course, strains their space, money, and adoption rates.
As you can imagine, these harder cases lead to horses who are uneasy at first. Once they have been at the Sanctuary for a while and start to relax, their personality really comes out. Ann and John say that when “they start to nicker when they see you in the morning because they are expecting good things, there’s really nothing better!”
Location: Glendale Springs, NC
We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
If you would like to suggest a hardworking group of rescuers to be added to our list, contact us at email@example.com.
After almost twenty years of rescuing and rehoming horses across the country, Copper Horse Crusade has created a new method of “rescuing” horses – different from other horse rescues. They pioneered the concept of “sustainably saving slaughter bound horses” and are on a mission to help as many horses as they can through sustainability.
Their organization focuses not only on the horses, but also on resource management. According to owner and founder Julie Copper, “saving horses takes more than good intentions, it takes sound principles, responsible resource management and a lot of commitment.” And at CHC, they are doing just that.
As a sustainable rescue, management at CHC has to decide what horses to help based on their mission and sustainability efforts. Their goal is not to save every horse, but rather, Julie says “to use the resources that are available to do the most good for the greatest number of horses.” Their goal is not just saving the horse from immediate danger, but also making sure that the horse will have long term placement available.
In fact, CHC is less of a horse rescue in the traditional sense, and more of a “halfway house for slaughter bound horses.” Most of the horses that come to CHC come from kill sales. Once they arrive at CHC’s barn, they enter a 30-day training and evaluation period, when they receive vet and farrier care, training (if necessary), and visits from potential new owners. During this time, the staff works with the horse to determine the type of work and rider that will be the best match for the horse.
This method has proved very successful and effective, especially for horses like Kizzi, Cactus, Valentine. They are all older, well-broke horses who have found new homes with young riders – and then went on to show-ring success. Julie says that at CHC, they “get the most joy out of seeing older, seasoned horses get saved and then go on to success with young riders.”
Another one of CHC’s success stories was about a young horse named Lady Jane. In March, Julie saw her at an auction. A two-year old filly, she didn’t look like much in a pen full of horses, but she was so friendly. She followed Julie around the pen, photobombing in half a dozen pictures they took. Luckily, Lady Jane passed all the tests CHC has for young horses – she was “quiet, sound, good minded, friendly, picks up her feet, leads and allows a rider.” After her few seconds in the auction ring, the only bidders were the kill buyers. Luckily, Julie and CHC jumped in and saved Lady Jane.
At CHC’s barn in Ohio, they are able to house about 20 horses at a time. As a result, each year they have around 80 horses come through their barn. The horses that spend time at CHC are trained to lead productive lives and, as Julie says, become “contributing members of equine society.” Currently, there are 7 beautiful horses available for adoption at CHC. When you adopter a Copper horse and give it a forever home, you allow CHC to rescue another slaughter-bound horse. To adopt a Copper horse or get involved, check out the information below.
Copper Horse Crusade
Voice for Horses Rescue Network – Toledo, Ohio
"When Needed, We Pay Out of Our Own Pockets to Keep the Program Running."
After working as a local Humane Agent for 16 years and seeing so many equine cruelty cases, Diana Murphy decided to start an equine rescue. She wanted to help the law enforcement agencies by housing horses seized for court cases, and by taking in horses from owners who needed to release them. As a result, Voice for Horses Rescue Network was formed.
VFHRN takes in every breed of horse, in every condition. From Miniature horses to draft horses, from horses that are sick and injured to horses that were abused and neglected, all are welcome. Some horses at VFHRN’s barn in Northwest Ohio are even ex-mounted patrol horses and racehorses. Horses from states all over the US come to VFHRN through owner surrenders, law enforcement agencies, and human societies.
The horses that arrive at VFHRN are evaluated and then given a plan of care that is specific to their needs. Their retraining program also varies from horse to horse, depending on their needs. After the horses are nourished back to health, they wait to be adopted.
A favorite success story was a horse named Bugs, a 16-year-old Paint Mare. He came to VFHRN in June of 2010, skinny and malnourished. After lots of love and rehabilitation, Bugs was looking and feeling much better. By December 2010, he was fully back to health. There are so many horses like Bugs who are able to regain health and start new lives, thanks to VFHRN.
One of the biggest challenges is finding the right horse for each potential adopter. The adoption methods VFHRN uses are extensive. They use many social media and internet outlets to showcase the horses that are available. When a potential owner is interested in a particular horse, they can inquire and apply to adopt. The staff at VFHRN will then review the application, check references, visit homes, and meet with the horse.
Voice for Horses has successfully placed many horses in their forever homes, and since 1999, they have helped over 800 horses. In the year 1999 alone, VFHRN fundraised and helped over 300 horses from going to slaughter and kill pens in Pennsylvania. They helped these horses get adopted by using Facebook to spread the news and show as many potential adopters as possible.
In a recent interview with Diana, she said that their organization is unique because of their Board of Directors. She said that they “have a very extensive background in many areas which helps the equines and other animals that may come our way.” She also mentioned their devotion and willingness to help, saying that “when needed, we pay out of our own pockets to keep the program running.”
This passion and willingness to help allows VFHRN to accomplish so much and help so many horses in need. Diana told one story of a large-scale rescue they were involved in. VRHRN helped assist in a cruelty seizure in California that involved 900 wild mustangs. The US Humane Society seized the property and all the horses after finding 300 horses dead. VRHRN took 20 of the wild mustangs and were able to adopt out every single one of them.
Diana said that their “greatest successes are helping save horses from slaughter.” She added that having volunteers who give all their effort all the time make their organization successful. To learn more about this wonderful organization, visit their website below.
Voice for Horses
Wild Horse Rescue- McDermott, Ohio
Rehabilitation at Wild Horse Rescue is based on trust and growth.
At the young age of ten, Betty Davison began using the resources she had, which at the time consisted of a small booklet called Barry School of Horsemanship, to help horses in need. “As a child, I didn’t have the money to go out and get the perfect horse, so my horse always had a problem that needed to be helped,” she remembers.
This became a lifetime of work for Betty, who decided to form Wild Horse Rescue, with the help of a small group, in April 2009. Betty continues using the skills that she learned 58 years ago in order to help the horses in her area. “I am now 68 years young and have osteoarthritis, but I can still go capture horses running loose and put halters on horses that others say can’t be done,” says Betty.
Wild Horse Rescue works with law enforcement and humane societies in Ohio, as well as other surrounding states to bring in the largest amount of horses they can. Due to the fact that Wild Horse Rescue does not have a separate quarantine area, they are unable to knowingly take in sick horses. This does not stop them from accepting starved, emaciated and seriously injured horses for rehabilitation.
Betty recalls one young colt that was brought to her after being seriously injured by adult stallions. He had not received treatment for his injuries and was covered in maggots by the time Betty took him into her care. “Even the vets didn’t think he would live,” Betty states. Yet he was able to heal and is now a pasture buddy at Wild Horse Rescue.
Rehabilitation at Wild Horse Rescue is based on trust and growth. Wild Horse does not retrain the horses at their facility, this happens at other rescues as an additional step in the horse’s rehabilitation. At Wild Horse Rescue, staff focuses on helping the horses overcome their trauma by using free range stabling. This allows the horses to become comfortable with the facility, without being confined and compounding any desire to flee. Once the horses feel more secure with their surroundings they work with them in the round pen to build trust.
Once the horses are ready for adoption Wild Horse Rescue accepts applications and talks to potential adopter’s veterinarians. They have found this to be an extremely informative approach in learning about would-be adopters for any horse leaving their facility.
Please use the information below to learn about Wild Horse Rescue. While there you can donate in the form of funds, or view the list of physical items needed to help with the continued care of horses in Wild Horse Rescue’s safekeeping.
Wild Horse Rescue
Wyandot County Humane Society - Upper Sandusky, Ohio
“We never turn any animal away, regardless of the kind of animal."
The Wyandot County Humane Society began in 1985 to act as an animal protection organization whose primary mission is to prevent and relieve animal suffering and cruelty. They strive to foster an environment of respect, responsibility and compassion for all beings through education and public advocacy.
At the time of its founding, there was no agency in the Upper Sandusky area dedicated to the care of animals in need. The dog pound that functioned in the area disposed of animals that ended up at their facility by selling them for research purposes or euthanizing them inhumanely, often by suffocation.
The co-founders of WCHS began by taking in stray dogs, utilizing three kennels in their garage, spaying and neutering them and finding new forever homes. Their hard work and dedication has grown into a multi-building facility which houses a wide variety of animals. “We never turn any animal away, regardless of the kind of animal (domestic, wildlife, livestock and exotics), what county it is from or the reason it has to be surrendered,” says WCHS staff. They now house more than 250 animals at any given time.
WCHS has been able to offer vital equine rescue services to their community thanks to the efforts of their dedicated volunteers. In 2017 alone, they were able to take in 51 equines. There is no charge for surrendering a horse to their shelter farm, which is equipped to take in any equine that needs a safe place. Upon arrival, all horses are placed in quarantine and brought up to date on immunizations. Nutritional status is evaluated for each horse and they are started on an individualized feeding plan.
WCHS has three full-time live-in caretakers that are able to work with each horse, ensuring that they receive all of the care and attention they need. “Most horses are good horses, they were just never taught what they needed to know, or the owner was not skilled enough to solve the problem,” says David. “Some know a lot and others know nothing, but most of the time there are gaps in the horse’s training and we fix those. We do a lot of remedial work with them.”
As many of the horses go on to participate in 4H, trail riding programs or dressage, learning where each horse is best suited allows for the best outcome. This is why WCHS evaluates each horse’s aptitude individually during training, to ensure the best long-term fit for both horse and human alike.
WCHS utilizes a lifetime lease placement system in order to track and protect all of the horses that come through their facility for the rest of their lives. A yearly report on the care and condition of the horse is required and the owners must return the horse to WCHS if circumstances do not allow them to care for their horse any longer.
WCHS has been able to accomplish incredible things since its founding, all thanks to volunteers and donations from supporters. Please use the information below to help WCHS continue to grow and flourish for further decades to come.
Wyandot County Humane Society
Upper Sandusky, Ohio
Horse and Hound Rescue – Guthrie, Oklahoma
Helping You Find Your Next Family Member
Located on a beautiful 50-acre ranch just outside of Oklahoma City, Horse and Hound Rescue is home to many ex-racehorses and thoroughbreds. However, unlike most horse rescues, at Horse and Hound, you’ll also find a bunch of happy, tail-wagging dogs running around. Horse and Hound is a rescue organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and finds new homes for both horses and displaced or abandoned dogs.
Horse and Hound was formed by a group of caring animal lovers who saw the need for a rescue organization. They wanted to help in whatever way they could, so they started their rescue to take in unwanted equines and dogs so they wouldn’t suffer cruel deaths.
Nelda and Larry Kettles own the land where Horse and Hound Rescue is located. They’ve been breeding and raising thoroughbreds for over 30 years, and now, they donate all their time, their land and facilities, and even their home to rescuing the animals that they love.
Most of the horses at their facility come from the Oklahoma racetracks. A 2013 study said that Oklahoma is home to 14,000 race horses and 800 breeding horses. Sadly, many of the thoroughbreds that have finished their racing careers go to the kill lot. Horse and Hound helps horses that can’t race because of injury, age, or ability find new homes and live long, happy lives.
The staff and wonderful volunteers at Horse and Hound socialize, rehabilitate and ride the horses that come to their rescue. In a recent interview with Nelda, she said that they “let the horse tell us what he wants to do as his second career.” By working closely with the horse and listening to its specific needs, they can then determine what will be the best career for the horse. Depending on what the horse wants, it can be trained in jumping, eventing, western disciplines, or just becoming a good trail horse.
The ultimate goal is to find loving permanent homes for these horses and dogs. Nelda said that “we do not offer finished horses, just fantastic prospects for whatever the adopter wants.” Through a detailed adoption process, Horse and Hound helps potential adopters find the horse or dog that is perfect for them. They have made many wonderful matches, and stayed true to their motto – “helping you find your next family member.”
One of their recently adopted horses is Strong Stand Stanley. He recently started on the local show circuit and Stanley and his partner, Kay, are doing very well. Nelda says “we are so proud of these two and can’t wait to see where they take each other!” Another successful adoption was Happy Camper. He was adopted by a young woman named Hannah. This fall, they will both be heading off to college together.
Success stories like these wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful volunteers at Horse and Hound. Nelda said they are “always looking for volunteers to help with transporting animals, grooming, riding, maintenance, socializing dogs and horses and any of the other never-ending needs.” To learn more about Horse and Hound or start volunteering, check out the information below.
Horse and Hound Rescue
Horse Feathers Equine Center – Guthrie, Oklahoma
Healing Horses and Horses Helping Humans
Rescuing and rehabbing neglected horses was something that always came naturally to Cheri White Owl of Guthrie, Oklahoma. After taking time off for three years to travel and then moving to Oklahoma in 2005, she saw an emaciated horse at an auction in early 2006 and felt drawn back into working with horses. Horse Feathers Equine Center was established in 2006, formerly known as Horse Feathers Equine Rescue.
What sets this rescue apart from many others is the extensive amount of work they do to help the human population around their farm. “Horse Feathers has many programs that we offer. We help with not only the horses here but helping people too. We work with Veterans or others who suffer from PTSD, Trauma and other issues. We assist when needed with Disasters and have had Large Equine Rescue Trainings here. We offer when funding is available, Owner Assistance for those who have lost their jobs, become ill or suffered from disasters in order to help keep their beloved horses in their homes."
In addition, Cheri talked about educational programs. “We focus on educating the public on proper equine care. We do not charge for this, we hold clinics at Oakridge Equine Hospital free to the public so that they may learn to be better horse owners or new owners.”
When not educating the public, the volunteer staff at Horse Feathers Equine Center provides a very high standard of care for their horses. “We have all breeds that come to our barn. From miniature to draft size. Most of what we get are emaciated, injured, and blind. Currently we get most of our cases from owner surrenders who no longer can care for them or law enforcement where a horse is neglected.”
Horses are immediately vetted upon intake and receive ongoing medical attention as needed. “My ability to do 90% of the vet work here helps the center save on funds procuring them in other areas such as feeds, hay, farrier.”
Once the horse has regained health, it is time to work on their training. “We utilize a tailored training program specific to each horse to help them realize their full potential, work within its limitations and work to address the issues that cruelty or neglect has left on their lives. We focus on strengthening their backs through lunging and exercises. We prepare them for saddle training or continue the training they have.” Potential adopters must fill out an application and "return to facility” contract with strict a "no breeding" clause.
If you’ve ever visited Oklahoma, then you know that the winds can be quite powerful over the plains. “We are in need of a covered riding arena in order to keep training. Due to the high winds here in Oklahoma this will allow us to work during those times and year round.” In addition, the rescue is always in need of supplies like Purina grain, farrier funds, and vet funds.
Cheri lists their greatest successes as, “Rehabilitating severely emaciated horses returning them to their best capacity. Adoptions into good forever homes. A very low return rate—only when adopter has become ill or injured and unable to care for their horse.” We salute the work of the Horse Feathers Equine Center. To learn more, check out their website.
Arabian Horse Rescue and Education - Boring, Oregon
“At AHRE we don’t just save horses, the horses in turn, save us.”
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
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch - Tumalo, Oregon
A Youth Ministry Program That Teaches By Healing Equines
In 2008, Kim and Troy Meeder were contacted to help with the recovery of a small horse found wandering in the high wilderness of the Cascade Mountains. When they arrived at the medical center, they were shocked to discover a sweet bay Arabian with devastating injuries. He had a severe leg wound, had lost half of his blood volume, was 200 lbs underweight, and his left eye was hanging from its socket. Most shocking of all, medical examinations determined that he had been shot in the head TWICE before being left for dead.
To the workers of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, the story of this small horse named Hero symbolizes the struggle that many people go through in life. They feel it is their calling to use their organizations to help save desperate horses, share their faith, and impact the lives of youth through horsemanship.
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch is located just outside of Bend, Oregon on a beautiful 100-acre property, but they started on a much smaller scale. It began in 1993 on a 9-acre abandoned cinder mine. Founders Kim and Troy Meeder took two years to revitalize the rocky soil so it could function as a farm. Generous donations in the years since have allowed the couple to expand the program to help broken children, horses, and families find wholeness and healing.
We spoke with Equine Manager Jeff Woodford to learn more about the program. “Many of our horses have been rescued from neglect, injury or abuse,” he shared. “Some arrive healthy and ready to ride, but all horses that stay show a general friendliness to people and willingness to spend time with the kids who come here.”
“It is wonderful to have a facility that is able to meet the needs of all sorts of rescues. Whether a horse needs physical healing, building trust, or basic training, our goal is to include children in the process as much as possible. Ultimately, our job is to show the love of Jesus Christ to children and families. Working so closely with horses provides endless opportunities to live out parallels of a person’s relationship with our heavenly Father.”
The goal of the ranch is to create reliable, trustworthy, confident horses that love people. That may look different for each horse, but they include kids in that process wherever they can. The four pillars of the program include mentoring children, supporting families, rescuing equines, and empowering through ministry.
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch is a powerhouse program that is certainly making a difference in the lives of both equines and children. We salute them for their ongoing efforts and ministry!
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch
Location: Tumalo, Oregon
Donations: 19344 Innes Market Rd. Bend, OR 97703
Equine Outreach - Bend, Oregon
They Rescued a Descendant of the Great Secretariat
Secretariat was arguably the greatest racehorse that ever lived. Today, his descendants are highly prized for their racing potential and bloodlines. Yet, in some unfair twist of fate, one of his granddaughters was part of a starving herd of thoroughbreds rescued by Equine Outreach organization in Bend, Oregon. This just shows you the high quality of many rescue horses who have been discarded or forgotten. (See Photo Below)
Equine Outreach was founded in 2003, when a local sheriff asked founder, Joan Steelhammer, to help with the seizure of 128 horses. Equine Outreach's Volunteer Coordinator Shela Boynton explained, "Joan ended up taking five of the horses, two of whom are still at the rescue organization." Today, they rescue a variety of horses from feral reservation rescues, donkeys, a Clydesdale, mini-horses, and those taken out of kill pens.
Shela shared how the horses are rehabilitated. "They receive immediate and ongoing veterinary and farrier care and whatever food is needed to help them recover." They also receive constant attention from the ranch's volunteers, some even sleeping by their sides through the nights.
"We have volunteer trainers who work daily with the horses to help them become more adoptable," Shela continued. "Other volunteers spend time with the horses to help them learn to trust again."
The biggest challenges are keeping the horses fed and the bills paid. "We are an all-volunteer organization relying solely on donations and grants," Shela shared. Thankfully, they have a very strong group of helping hands. In just one year, the volunteer roster went from 10 to 200!
One special story is that of an entire herd of Tarpan horses (shown above) who were part of a breeding project to ensure continuation of the breed. Equine Outreach provided foster care when their owner could no longer care for them, and found a home for the herd where they are living well today.
Location: Bend, Oregon
Donate: 63220 Silvis Road, Bend, Oregon 97701
Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue - Sheridan, OR
Care For Over 300 Horses in the Last 5.5 Years
Based in Oregon, Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue works alongside Animal Control to provide a safe haven for horses and other animals. The husband/wife duo have provided care to over 300 horses in the last 5.5 years. In that time, Harmony has seen everything from mini’s to draft horses (and everything in between).
As a member of the Oregon Animal Control Counsel, Harmony works with local officers as a lifeline for high risk horses. They step in to prevent horses from being placed in feedlots or auctions. Once placed in their care, they create a rehabilitation plan that can include vet care, trainers, and volunteers.
On one occasion, they were called by local officials to rescue 30 farm animals. Around animal 98, Joy called her husband and co-founder, David, to let him know that she was coming home with “a few more animals than expected.” Joy recalls, “We took in 122 goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and ducks.”
Of the many animals rescued that night, only one rooster was lost. Every other animal was rehabilitated and sent to on caring homes. All the pregnant goats and sheep went on to have healthy offspring. Through these successes, Joy and David are driven to continue their tireless efforts.
Other success stories start off on a more heartbreaking note. Joy recalls one rescue where she arrived to find 9 studs (and their companion, a llama) in a field, knee deep in mud, starving. Other horses were already dead in the field. After the horses were gelded, handled, and rehabilitated, the 2 standards and 7 minis were all successfully rehomed.
She notes, affectionately, that one mini in particular was most fond of the llama. He loved to share his food with her. The llama was also able to be successfully adopted into a home with other llamas.
As you can see from these two stories, every rescue is unique and has its own challenges. All too often, horses arrive starving, neglected, and sick. Nursing them back to health can be a long, but rewarding, road.
Success has many definitions at Harmony. “It is hard to say what the greatest successes are,” says Joy. Sometimes the success comes in enabling animals to stay in their original homes through ongoing support and education. Other times it is finding a loving, forever home for a horse that was once deemed dangerous or unfit for riding.
The staff at Harmony take great pains to find those perfect matches. They have an application and interview process. But, they don’t look only at what is on paper. It takes time to get to know the applicant.
Joy and David feel it is important to see how they interact with the horses, consider the home environment, and even vet them online and through social media. They have worked hard to provide a chance at new life. They won't let their work be in vain.
Beyond the challenge of finding the perfect new homes for each animal, the other concern is always funding. They are currently in need of a new trailer. The one they have now is a 1992 open stock trailer. What they need is a tall, open stock, four horse, bumper pull trailer with a tack room. They are also always in need of continuing funding to help maintain the facility and cover the cost of vet care.
Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue
9604 Harmony Rd
Sheridan Or 97378
Linn County Animal Rescue - Lebanon, OR
Two White Mares Become Best Friends After Being Rescued
The Linn County Animal Rescue (LCAR-Equine Rescue) was formed in 2005 at the request of the local sheriff’s department. A farm as needed to help with abused and neglected horses that are received through law enforcement seizures, and court ordered dispersal. Board member Kris Little shared, “The facility is located in rural Linn County Oregon, near the Santiam River in the foothills of the beautiful Cascade Mountains.”
The horses that enter the LCAR system are in extremely bad shape with body scores of less than 3. All types of horses in need of care and rehabilitation are accepted. Kris explained that special programs are used to heal both mind and body. Each horse also receives individual veterinarian medical evaluation and attention from dedicated volunteers.
“Because of the terrible circumstances these animals have endured, our retraining is mostly limited to gaining their trust and giving them a second chance at life,” Kris shared. “Some have been so badly abused they are not people friendly and have to be re tamed with patience and gentle hands.”
LCAR’s biggest challenge, like most rescues in our nation, is finding sustainable funds to support the needs of the operation. This rescue is 100% run by volunteers and funded by grants and public support for the special needs of the horses.
Kris shared one specific story of a rescued horse named Ember. She was a 25 year old white Arabian seized by the Benton County Sherriff in 2007 because of severe neglect. “She was on death’s doorstep!” Ember was slowly nursed back to health by the LCAR’s veterinarian and volunteer staff. Still, the workers could tell that while her body was healing, she still craved something to heal her spirit.
Five years later a 15 year old Paso Fino mare named Princess was rescued again through the local sheriff’s department. Princess and Ember became stall neighbors, then best friends, and eventually inseparable partners. “They would roam the pasture together each and every day.”
The story has one more touching twist. An older couple with very little previous experience with horses began to volunteer at LCAR. They took a special interest in Princess and Ember Kris shared, “They started by cleaning stalls, feeding and keeping the water buckets full. They would brush the horses coat and clean their hoofs. Then they started buying bedding materials for their stalls, and special feed supplements and carrots out of their own pockets.”
“About a year later the couple retired and moved out of the area, but not before they built a heated barn next to their new home to accommodate Ember & Princess whom they adopted. Ember, now 30, has trouble chewing so they cook her carrots now she can still eat her favorite treats.”
The staff was thrilled to see these two white mares form such a special bond and find new owners. “At LCAR this is what we work for, to see the horses recover from their ordeals and become healthy enough so that we can adopt them out to new forever loving homes.”
To learn how you can help, see below:
Linn County Animal Rescue
Location: Lebanon, Oregon
Donate: 39389 Plagman Dr, Lebanon, Oregon 97355
Oregon Horse Rescue - Eugene, Oregon
“Broken people can be a great asset for broken animals.”
Oregon Horse Rescue began in 2012, when Jane and David Kelly answered an ad on Craigslist about a Percheron named Katie Sue. They knew that without their intervention there was a good chance the malnourished mare would be purchased by a kill buyer, and they simply couldn’t let that happen.
When Jane contacted Katie Sue’s owner, she immediately received more than she had bargained for. Along with Katie Sue, the owner surrendered three other horses. Still one month away from closing on the property that would eventually become OHR, Jane and David knew they couldn’t leave anyone behind and arranged for boarding. Soon after, Katie Sue and her three friends became the first residents to enjoy their new, beautiful 70-acre home. This act of kindness has now grown into an organization that has helped over 100 at-risk horses.
The mission of OHR is straight forward. To provide a safe and supportive home for horses and other animals that have been neglected, abandoned, or otherwise mistreated. “We rehabilitate horses to the best health possible, and selectively place some rehabilitated horses in new homes that can provide a safe, supportive forever home,” says Jane and David.
This mission functions successfully thanks to their five tier approach: adoption, sanctuary, foster, volunteer and education. Each part of the plan covers an area where there is a need that can be met.
OHR is not breed specific and takes in all abandoned, neglected, abused and disabled horses. They do specialize in horses with vision impairment. Rehabilitation at OHR takes place with the staff working in tandem with a veterinary profession to ensure each horse receives the medial and nutritional care to provide the best possible outcome. “Each horse is an individual and is treated as such,” explains Jane.
Retraining of the horses is geared towards each horse’s individual skill set. “We follow the ASPCA’s best practice guidelines for evaluation of in-hand skills and provide support, miles or exposure to horses lacking in skills in particular areas, with positive reinforcement practices.”
OHR also believes that it is important to focus on the human aspect of their work as well. “It’s no secret that there’s an industry-wide lack of resources surrounding adoption and care of non-typical horses. At OHR, we want to change that,” says Jane and David.
The OHR website provides educational resources to teach about first-time horse ownership, equine nutrition and dentistry, general and medical care, and the issue of equine neglect and abuse “We aim to educate the public about the problem of mistreated horses and inform them about solutions.”
OHR welcomes volunteers of all experience levels and believes that everyone can benefit from time spent with these animals. As one volunteer said, “Broken people can be a great asset for broken animals.” This idea is one that OHR wholeheartedly agrees with. As Jane says, “we encourage people who have gone through hardships to come out and spend time with the horses. There is healing in what we do, both for the horses in need and for the people.”
Use the information below to learn more about the amazing work done at OHR.
Oregon Equine Rescue
Project Spirit Equine Rescue & Rehab - Klamath Co., Oregon
Keeping a Promise to Save Horses in Oregon
In 1989, Chuck and Nadine Hoy saw a horrible case of animal abuse that they were powerless to stop. The poor suffering horse, “Spirit” did not survive, and they vowed to never let it happen again. The Project Spirit Equine Rescue and Rehab in Klamath County Oregon was formed and continues to help horses in honor of this promise.
Today, Connie Willard spearheads the program and talked to us about some of the challenges Project Spirit encounters during its work. “Equines of all types have passed through the rescue. We take each case on based on circumstances,” she explained. “That could include owner surrenders where the animal is in poor shape and the owner cannot take the necessary actions to bring them to health, law enforcement activities, abandonment, and strays."
Each horse that enters the facility is carefully evaluated and veterinary services are arranged as needed. The new horses are kept in quarantine for a period of time and given a custom diet based on their needs. Retraining starts immediately with the simple act of daily and loving contact from the rescue workers.
Once the animals are in better health, Connie explained that they start more serious retraining work. “Horses are worked on the premises, entered into a TIP training program, or sent out to our annual event, The Pegasus Project Rescue Horse Event, where they receive 90 days of professional training, then are exhibited and included in an auction style adoption event.”
Adoptable horses are listed on their webpage and Facebook page, where potential adopters can submit applications and references. “Our biggest challenge is fund raising,” Connie explained. “Our operation is donation based. We have a strong network of supporters that carry our current activities, but we have dreams of our own facility with room to help even more horses.”
Connie is proud of the work that they’ve done over the years. She shared, “Every animal that becomes healthy and happy as the result of our rescue is a success story. We not only "rescue" horses, but we provide information to the public, counseling animal owners on how to improve their properties or animal husbandry. Our focus is on the horse. We will do anything we can do to prevent animal abuse or neglect and to stop that cycle.”
When times get tough, Connie and her volunteers simply look at the orphan foal shown on their logo. “He was named "Chase" after the district attorney that paved the way for his rescue. He is now a strong healthy horse with a wonderful home. Every time we see the logo we stop and think about the little baby that needed our help, got it, and is now thriving because of us. It inspires us to continue our work, to help the next horse that needs us, to rescue, rehabilitation, refresh, rehome - to complete the circle of ‘rescue.’”
Project Spirit Equine Rescue & Rehab
Location: Klamath County, Oregon
Donations: PO Box 580 Chiloquin, OR 97624
Strawberry Mountain Mustangs - Roseburg, Oregon
How a Rescue Can Partner With Law Enforcement to Save Horses
In the winter of 2016, the Strawberry Mountain Mustang rescue and rehabilitation center saw an unusual influx of horse rescue cases. The cause of this wasn't typical abuse or neglect, but rather owners who were unable to cope with difficult weather and rising hay prices. Strawberry Mountain Mustangs takes in these horses to nurse back to health and often criminal charges are not filed against the owners.
During an news interview, president Darla Clark stated, "It's a human issue. It's a social issue. It encompasses so much more." During a more typical season, the rescue takes in law enforcement neglect cases that often include Hennecke body scores of 1.
Darla shared, "We work with various agencies around the state to rehabilitate, and if necessary, build a criminal case against a defendant." They use the UC Davis Refeeding protocol, farrier, vet, chiropractic, and dental care to bring the horses back to health. This along with training from professionals around the state makes the horses as adoptable as possible. All of the horses find homes within the state of Oregon.
Darla explained that their biggest achievement is, "Establishing a successful program that law enforcement around the State or Oregon relies on." She continued, "We work with the Oregon Animal Control Council to provide additional law enforcement training and education, and we've been involved in successful legislation to make repeat animal neglect offenses a felony."
Strawberry Mountain Mustang's unique relationship with the local law enforcement sets it apart. Darla shared, "We receive no federal, state, or local funding to take in the animals we do. Because we do not charge law enforcement, we help preserve those diminished animal control budgets and enable animal control officers to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently."
Strawberry Mountain Mustangs
Location: Roseburg, OR
Donate: PO Box 2133, Roseburg, OR 97470
Last Chance Ranch – Quakertown, PA
A Horse’s Life Hanging in the Balance
When a horse named Clarissa first arrived at Last Chance Ranch in Quakertown, PA, her life was hanging in the balance. It was a cold day in January of 2016 and she had just been rescued from a nearby farm. Her chestnut coat hung loosely on a bony frame and her hooves were severely overgrown. Her tall Thoroughbred cross frame was 300 pounds underweight and her legs were too weak to allow her to stand on the trailer. It took a team of Richlandtown Fireman and rescue volunteers to lift her back onto her feet and help her settle into her new home.
The first 48 hours were very difficult.
The mare was supported in her stall using a rented Anderson sling for the next month while the staff at LCR worked around the clock to feed and nurse her back to health. After just a few short months of this loving care, she blossomed into a beautiful young mare who was ready for under saddle training. In July, a young woman named Taylor visited the farm and formed an instant connection to the mare. Today, Clarissa lives under Taylor’s guardianship and is thriving in her new life.
This is just one of hundreds of stories that come out of the Last Chance Ranch rescue in Quakertown, PA. LCR was founded many years ago by Lori McCutcheon who rescued her very first horse at the tender age of 14.
Today, LCR rescues all types of equines including the young, old, the broken, abused, and neglected. They maintain a constant heard of horses, ponies, draft horses, mules, and donkeys. These animals are either being rehabilitated, trained, or are ready for new adoption homes.
We spoke with rescue representative Jackie Burke who was able to describe a bit about how the farm operates. She explained that the farm has quarantine and rehab protocols in place to deal with all of the sick and malnourished horses that come to the farm. “We work with a team of veterinarians to develop a plan for sick and malnourished horses and provide round the clock care.”
Once the horses are returned to health, a full-time trainer along with volunteers and interns work to retrain the horses in the ring and on the trail. Jackie shared, “On occasion, we train our larger horses to become mounted police officers for Baltimore and Philadelphia Police Departments.”
Horses ready for adoption are advertised on rescue search engines and in local equine publications. This rescue is unique in that they never transfer full ownership over to the adopters. Instead, adopters gain full-time guardianship of the animals and can write all care expenses off as charitable donations at the end of the year.
The operating budget for LCR is nearly $700,000 each year so they depend heavily on fundraisers, grants, and public donations. If you would like to make a donation or volunteer with LCR, check out the information below:
Last Chance Ranch
Location: Quakertown, PA
Omega Horse Rescue - Aireville, Pennsylvania
“Often times when the rescues are in training, they know we aren’t their forever people, but they still want someone to love.”
Kelly Smith has been involved in horse rescue since the early 1980’s, officially founding Omega Horse Rescue in 1997. With a goal of finding nurturing homes for every horse, donkey, mule and pony that they come into contact with, Kelly has had a tremendous impact on the lives of horses in need around her. With more than 100 horses now coming through their gates annually, Omega Horse Rescue has placed more than 1,300 equines in homes to date.
Omega Horse Rescue accepts all breeds of equines, regardless of age or level of training. Upon arrival, all horses enter into quarantine where they undergo both behavioral and medical evaluations. Training at Omega is a multi-step process designed to suit the various levels of training for each horse. One of their trainers focuses on starting horses that have no prior training, while a second trainer finishes the training regimen and shows the horses to potential adopters. “Both trainers bring different aspects to the horses training and the horses we adopt out are generally very useable riding horses, often for both Western and English,” say Nikki, an Omega volunteer.
All of the volunteers at Omega work very hard to provide the best level of care to each horse, sometimes with unforeseen outcomes. During Nikki’s time volunteering she has seen many horses rebuild their lives at the facility. However, one young mare in particular found a place in her heart. “She is incredibly talented and I thought her previous owners had made a huge mistake in dumping her.” While watching the horse go through training Nikki had to keep a hard truth in mind. “Often times when the rescues are in training, they know we aren’t their forever people, but they still want someone to love.” In this case, the horse had decided for the both of them, Nikki was her person and was able to adopt her. “This mare chose me and I am incredibly lucky that she did,” she says.
Along with the rehabilitation, care and rehoming of so many horses, Omega Rescue also knew they had to address the larger issues surrounding their work. One of their main goals is to educate horse owners about the best conditions for their animals. To achieve this, Omega Rescue attends trade rallies, grants newspaper interviews and participates in public speaking events to bring awareness to equine care. Their passion for their cause reaches beyond their own community as they have been asked to speak at congressional hearings to help enact or reinforce legislation aimed at preventing inhumane equine practices across the country.
Please use the information below to find out how you can donate funds, supplies or time to Omega Horse Rescue’s mission. You can also take a moment learn about and donate to The Snowman Fund, started by Omega Horse Rescue in conjunction with the filmmaking team behind Harry and Snowman. Named after Snowman, the famous horse rescued from the New Holland auction that went on to become a champion in show jumping, the effort raises funds to give more horses the same second chance at a new life.
Omega Horse Rescue
PA Racehorse Rehoming, Rehabilitation & Rescue - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
“Any horse that comes into our program will never be homeless.”
In 2012, Dr. Kate Papp and her friend, Mandy Lee, began posting photos and info of retired racehorses in their area onto a simple private webpage. After successfully rehoming over 200 hundred horses using this method, they started a Facebook page and asked themselves, “Where do we go from here?”
They knew they had something good and knew they had the right team of people, with firsthand experience, to grow this into something really great. Their question was definitively answered in 2014, when PARR received their non-profit status. “We were approved to become an official charity to benefit the rehoming, rehabilitation and rescue of off the track TB racehorses,” says board member Kathy Chamberlain.
PARR operates out of one main farm which has stalls available for horses in their program. They utilize a network of foster farms, allowing each horse to have a place to call home while making the transition into their new lives. “We have a few private trainers/farm owners who are willing to open up a stall or two at times for TBs that come into our program, care for the horses, and get them on the way to "fat & happy" while they wait for their new owners to find them. Some of the lucky ones even get training out of the deal and end up a step ahead of the rest,” says Kathy.
Training programs at PARR are based on each horse’s natural abilities and health. This individualized regimen begins only when the horse has received a clean bill of health. This usually takes the form of ground work, however, when the horse is comfortable they start work on various types of jumping. “Every once in a while we have one that doesn’t have fun jumping so we try out other disciplines,” says Kathy. “One of our favorites was Lucy, she was good at jumping, but she loved running and could turn on a dime. We worked on gaming and she turned out to be an awesome polo pony,” she remembers.
The majority of horses at PARR are available for adoption once rehabilitated. “We present the unique opportunity for potential adopters to choose the horse that will best compliment their goal based on our comprehensive and rehabilitation program,” explains Kathy. All potential adopters must first fill out an application, supply references and submit to a background check.
There are also horses at the PARR facility that will remain there for the remainder of their time. This may be due to ongoing health issues, injuries that must be watched daily, unsoundness or behavioral issues that may make a horse unfit for adoption. It all boils down to what is ultimately best for the horse. “Any horse that comes into our program will never be homeless,” says Kathy.
Please use the information below to find out how you can assist in any of the variety of ways that are available. Whether through donating funds, volunteering or attending one of their events, the work done by PARR is only possible through your support.
PA Racehorse Rehoming, Rehabilitation & Rescue
Second Chance Equine Association - Norvelt, PA
More Than 140 Horses Have Been Rehabilitated and Placed in Good Homes
Over a decade ago in Norvelt, PA about a dozen horse enthusiasts realized that while their locale humane society shelters were able to satisfy the needs of small animals, none had the facility, finances, or staff trained to handle horses and other large animals.
Committed to the assistance of abused & neglected equine, Second Chance Equine Association was formed in 2006. To this day, they continue to take horses that have been surrendered to, or seized by, a humane police officer or are in life-threatening situations. The horses are rehabilitated both physically and mentally before they are adopted by a new family.
While they are not a sanctuary, Second Chance Equine Association will help owners in short-term need by providing hay and grain for the horses, rather than seeking surrender to a humane officer.
In the last 10 years Second Chance Equine Association has accomplished a great deal. More than 140 horses have been rehabilitated and placed in good homes. Monthly educational opportunities for horse owners are offered. Consultation and help for unintentional horse neglectors is provided to help them avoid seizure and prosecution. A quarantine barn and property have been leased and improvements and planning are ongoing.
As with all animal charities, they cannot continue without the support of those that want to give back. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with the life-saving work Second Chance Equine Association does, visit their website - https:
Second Chance Equine Association
P.O. Box 193 • Norvelt, PA 15674
Phone: (724) 635-5549
Horse Play Rescue & Sanctuary - Rhode Island
A Rescue that Focuses on Natural Horsemanship
The Horse Play Equine Rescue and Sanctuary has a unique philosophy for rescuing and retraining horses. Deidre Sharp explained, “Our retraining program is quite different – a variation on a theme of Natural Horsemanship – lots of play at liberty – we work on relationships first!”
This unique approach to rehabilitating abused horses results in equines who are more comfortable with their human companions and able to go bitless under saddle. This standard must be maintained after the horse is adopted out to the new owners.
In addition, Deidre explained, “We are unique in that we keep the horses as naturally as possible – out 24/7 with shelters, in herd groups, barefoot and eating natural diet – we take the time it takes. We create an environment that is conducive to healthy horses – both physically and mentally. Each horse is individual and is treated as such.”
Horse Play was formed back in 1999 as a therapeutic riding center for people with mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. They started with Deidre’s four horses and slowly began taking in more horses in need. “The need for rescue, adoption and sanctuary was so great, we changed our focus to rescue, rehab, and sanctuary in 2003.”
They take in all types of horses from babies to “old-timers” from a wide variety of breeds. “We will take ANY equine in need as long as we have the room.” Once horses are brought in, they are placed on a nutrition plan formulated by vets and years of experience. In addition, the horses are kept barefoot during their time at the rescue.
The biggest challenge for the folks at Horse Play is the same as at many rescues. They need money to handle the expenses of hay, feed, and special needs horses that need additional veterinary care.
Potential adopters need to complete and extensive application and visit the farm many times to get to know the horses they are planning to adopt. “We also visit them – horse, farm, etc, even after adoption we monitor the situation.” To this day, they have helped a very impressive 300 horses find new homes! Keep up the great work.
To learn more, visit their site.
HOPE Acres Rescue - Berkeley, S. Carolina
A Rescue Built From the Ground Up in Just 5 Years!
The HOPE Acres Rescue was formed just five years ago when owner Tracey Sawyer felt a strong calling to help rescue horses. She had minimal experience with horses and very few resources at the time. “We began calling state wide to talk with other shelters and visited a view. We compiled our findings, began the paperwork and here we are five years and 34 horses later.”
Despite their short time in existence, the HOPE Acres Rescue has already built a strong rescue program complete with veterinary care, retraining, and a full adoption process. “Our nutritional rehabilitation program is tailored to each horse’s needs, to ensure a slow progression to good health,” shared Tracey. They work with an offsite training program called 180 Horsemanship to assess the horses, work on groundwork, and eventually work under saddle. “We believe all of this will give the animal and the family the ability to put their best foot forward to ensure a peaceful, successful, understanding relationship as they begin their lives together,” explained Tracey.
Most adopters find HOPE Acres through their Facebook page or website. For the volunteer staff, their biggest need at the moment is a property of their own to host the rescue instead of their current leased property. A GoFundMe account has been created to help assist this need. They also look forward to a 4-horse bumper pull horse trailer as a future purchase or donation. Tracey is very thankful for the generosity of her numerous volunteers to establish the rescue program. “Almost right away we were surrounded by a vast team of experts in various fields who lent their advice, knowledge and expertise to our institution. All of these things combined have been essential in our success and growth, surpassing even our own expectations.”
We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
If you would like to suggest a hardworking group of rescuers to be added to our list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hickory Hill Farm - Mt Juliet, TN
Rescued Horses Help Children to Read With Confidence
Learning to read can be a challenge for some children. The Hickory Hill Farm offers a unique solution that helps both the student and horses in needed. To understand how this “Reading with Rescues” program works, you first need to learn about a horse named Gummi…Rescue co-founders Jenna Gibbons and Shea Hutsenpiller talked to us about the history of Hickory Hill Farm. Jenna said, “We came together with the desire to help BOTH animals and people. We sat and discussed our vision for the organization, and recognized our intention to do three specific things: RESCUE (rescue and rehabilitate animals), PLAY (provide programs for children and adults on the farm with our rescues), and HEAL (provide therapeutic services with our rescues to those in need of healing). The ongoing focus is that our rescues who stay with us (whether chosen to stay with us or while waiting to be adopted) will have a purpose - to give back to the community.”
She explained that the rescue is entirely volunteer run and relies on Social Media to rehome horses saved from dangerous situations. One particular mare named Gummi holds a special place in their hearts.
“One of our favorite stories to share is the story of Gummi, our 29 year old sanctuary (permanent resident) horse. Her story really illustrates what we mean by giving the horses a purpose and a way to give back in their own way. Gummi's owner of 24 years was diagnosed with a terminal illness. When this happened she sent Gummi to live with a friend who was to take care of her- long story short, when we were contacted by Animal Control and Gummi's owner to assist Gummi, she was in terrible shape.
“Our vet scored her at a BCS of 2 and prepared us for an unhappy ending. In fact, we were terrified to transport her as we didn't know if she would survive the trip. But, she couldn't stay where she was, so we did what we knew we had to.
“Gummi survived the trip to our farm, but was in a dreadful state. Our vet pulled blood for blood work and we decided on a refeeding protocol, and again, he prepared us for the worse. In his words, we were providing this mare with love and hospice care in what we believed would be her final days. After all- she was 29, frail, all of her unhealthy hair was falling out exposing nasty skin riddled with fungus, she was missing teeth, and very lethargic. When Gummi's bloodwork returned, our vet described it as one of the worst he had seen.
“Her glucose levels did not even register on the lab instruments, the other levels indicated internal infection or cancer, and also that she was severely dehydrated. First we treated for the internal infection. Then, slowly but surely and to all of our surprise, Gummi began healing. She went from a handful of soup consistency feed slowly to one scoop. Gummi was NOT going to lay down and die. She started meeting volunteers at the fence for her soup meals and a little bit of life returned to her eyes.” Over time, the rescue staff was able to nurse Gummi back to full health. She is now a permanent resident of the Hickory Hill Farm.
They also learned that Gummi had a particular fondness for children! She lights up whenever they are around! They began the “Reading with Rescues” program in June 2016. Today, Gummi is one of the therapy horses that teams up with a tutoring specialist to help kids overcome their fears of reading aloud.
Gummi gives each child her undivided attention while they learn to read with confidence. It is truly beautiful to see!
To learn more about the Hickory Hill Farm, visit their website at hickoryhillfarmtn.org.
Horse Plus Humane Society - Centerville, TN
The Story of a Brave Little Donkey Named Ivy
The Horse Plus Humane Society was founded by Tawnee Preisner in 2003 and has rescued an astounding 4,000 equines across three different states. They are an open door shelter so they accept all breeds of horses with locations in Tennessee, California and Oklahoma. Horses are given proper nutrition and training from staffed trainers on their road to recovery.
With this organization, we have the unique opportunity to share the details of one brave little donkey's journey towards health. Tawnee described the story of first meeting Ivy at a farm where the owner was charged with cruelty to animals.
Ivy was a small donkey in a paddock filled with mud. "I've never seen a donkey as skinny as Ivy was and still alive," said Tawnee. The volunteers were able to load her onto the trailer in hopes of restoring her to health. "We were really happy when we were able to take her away from the place where she wasn't being cared for properly."
After a cold night, they found Ivy collapsed in her pen the next morning. She had tried to lay in the sun and couldn't return to her feet. A makeshift sling and a tractor were used to hoist her to her feet before the vet came to check her over.
The vet visited that day and said she was 15-18% dehydrated. She likely would have died overnight if she hadn't been rescued because her body temperature was dangerously low and she was so dehydrated that she wasn't being stimulated to drink.
Still, Tawnee held hope that the little donkey could pull through. "She was so weak, but we could see this spark of life in her eye that she wanted to keep fighting. As long as she was going to keep fighting we were going to keep fighting for her!"
In the coming days she was able to stand on her own, but the success was short-lived. They found her in her stall again one more collapsed and unable to rise. They had to get the tractor out to hoist her up in the sling. "She kept fighting for her little life there."
The hardest part of helping Ivy was that she absolutely refused to drink. With every full syringe piped into her mouth, half would come dripping back out. A full week later, when she started to drink on her own, they were really excited.
To help raise Ivy's spirits, a previously adopted donkey was brought for visits. "It definitely perked up her interest to have another donkey there." Days past and Ivy was finally able to go for a short walk. She managed to go about 30 feet before collapsing into the grass. Tawnee remembered, "She was so scared that she fell. I could hear her heart pounding. She had given everything should could."
Once again, the tractor was used to hoist her up and return her to her pen. The workers held hope that she could one day find the strength to stand on her own, but they were starting to really worry. Tawnee paid Ivy a great deal of attention including vigourous massages that made her lips twitch in enjoyment. "Ivy's had just this little spark of life and zest."
A new action plan was established to help Ivy walk. She now had to take a few steps to get grain on her own. "We kept moving her bucket. She wasn't very happy with us, she would glare at us." The other donkey continued to visit when he could. "Whenever Brighty was there she would work extra hard. Still there days in pasture when she couldn't get up after lying down to rest."
Over time, Ivy and Tawnee went on walks that got longer and longer. "It was exciting to watch her gain her strength." Tawnee's most exciting moment came one day when she saw Ivy lying in the pasture and walked out to check on her. As Tawnee got closer, Ivy triumphantly climbed to her feet and let out a bray of joy! "It was such a huge victory for her!" She was finally able to stand up on her own.
Ivy's recovery story is not complete, but Tawnee and the workers at the Horse Plus Humane Society are extremely thankful for all of the donations and support that they've received. To learn more about the location in your area, check out the websites below.
Horse Plus Humane Society
Tennessee Location - Centerville, TN 37033
Oklahoma Location - Norman, OK 73026
California Location - Newcastle, CA 95658
River Edge Farm Horse Rescue - Middle Tennessee
“We are dedicated to taking in horses that are voluntarily surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them..."
Jane McAllister’s love of horses began in Pennsylvania where, along with riding, she worked with the local humane society and horse rescue helping unwanted horses find new homes. In September 2006, Jane moved to Tennessee looking for a climate that would allow her more riding time, and her desire to help less fortunate horse moved with her. Upon her arrival she offered her experience to the local humane society and was told that her particular skills were rarely needed in their area.
This, however, did not turn out to be the case and by January 2007 Jane had already taken in two horses that were in terrible condition. Despite her efforts, Jane’s endeavors faced adversity from outside forces at every turn. Her first two rescues were quickly followed by several others due to a scarcity of pasture and hay caused by rain shortages in the area. The crash of the economy in 2008 found Jane becoming a 501c3 separate from the humane society along with her acceptance of an even larger number of horses. Winters always brought Jane an influx of horses and, despite flood damage to her house and farm in 2010, Jane continued taking in as many horses as she could.
No matter the hurdles, Jane persisted and River Edge Farm forged ahead to aid and assist in every way possible. “We are dedicated to taking in horses that are voluntarily surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them, are abandoned or have been taken from owners where they were neglected or mistreated,” says Jane. River Edge Farm takes in all breeds and new arrivals receive a thorough check up. “All horses get vet checked, teeth floats, vaccinations and hoof care, as well as coggins testing and nutritional evaluations,” Jane explains. Once these evaluations are complete, staff follows a refeeding program recommended by veterinarians and developed at universities.
After the horse’s health has stabilized, their readiness for adoption is established. If training is necessary, Jane has three trusted trainers that she turns to for help preparing these horses for their forever homes. “Some are here a long time due to physical problems, age or personality issues. Some become permanent residents,” explains Jane. The road is not always an easy one, but giving up has never been an option at River Edge Farm.
Horses that are already trained become available to adopters meeting the necessary criteria. River Edge Farm requires that all would-be adopters have horse care experience and it is imperative that the abilities of the horse meet the needs of the adopter. In addition, all adopters must agree to return the horse directly to River Edge Farm if they are unable to continue caring for the horse for any reason. This ensures a level of security for the horse’s future once they are out of River Edge Farm’s direct care.
Please use the information below to find out how you can help River Edge Farm continue their extraordinary work through donations, sponsorships or by purchasing the beautiful handmade embroidered goods created by Jane herself.
River Edge Farm Horse Rescue
Safe Harbor Sanctuary - Cottontown, Tennessee
"We are proud to be the first rescue of our kind in Tennessee.”
With a training facility located in Cottontown, Tennessee, Safe Harbor Sanctuary has been a group effort from start to finish. Started by a group of concerned animal advocates, it now functions through a foster farm system of over 20 locations throughout middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky.
“At the time of our inception, there was not one single rescue that provided retirement and respite care to animals in need, while also working on rehabilitation, training and adoption to those that are able to have a full life in a new home. We are proud to be the first rescue of our kind in Tennessee,” states Elizabeth, Safe Harbor team member.
Safe Harbor usually receives their animals in three forms: neglect and abuse cases in partnership with local agencies, owners’ surrenders, and Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds that enter into Safe Harbor’s “After the Track Program”. Each of these horses requires a different approach to rehabilitation. Neglect and abuse cases often require months of intensive physical and emotional rehabilitation, while ex-racehorses receive 90 days of “downtime” where they just get to enjoy being a horse in a pasture. Regardless, all horses receive the necessary veterinary and dental care upon arrival to ensure they get the best start on their new life.
Many of the foster families involved with Safe Harbor are experienced horsemen and women and Safe Harbor also utilizes professional trainer, Jessica Lyons, at the Cottontown facility. For especially challenging horses, a trainer works for 30-60 days to instill a positive foundation for the horse. Even horses that may be unrideable get lessons on what Safe Harbor calls, “Equine Good Citizen” training. This consists of teaching them to lead, load on a trailer and stand for the vet and farrier. “These skills are essential for any horse, regardless of whether they can be ridden or not,” explains Elizabeth.
Safe Harbor is the only Global Federation of Animal Rescues Accredited rescue in the state of Tennessee and they work hard to uphold those standards. “This signifies to donors and supporters that donations are put to the best possible uses for the animals in our care, and that our standards of rehabilitation, training and placement are the best that they can possible be,” says Elizabeth. This transparency is important as Safe Harbor functions as a family within the community at large.
This sense of community extends to all that are involved with the work done here. “Our team includes licensed trainers, holistic equine nutritional experts, compassionate volunteers and children; who will become the next generation that carry on this cause,” Elizabeth states. Everyone is involved and works together to create the best possible environment for the animals that find their way to Safe Harbor.
“We have successfully rehomed for than 500 horses and livestock animals to date,” says Elizabeth. But they know that none of this would be possible without the dedication and support of those that believe in them. Use the information below to find out how you can become part of the Safe Harbor family.
Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - College Station, Texas
A 120 Day Training Challenge Helps This Rescue Showcase Their Horses
The Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society was created to specifically deal with the overwhelming number of equines seized from law enforcement cases and operates from a network of foster homes spread throughout Texas. Jennifer Williams, president of the organization, shared, “The majority of our horses (and donkeys and mules) were neglected before they came to us. However we also get strays as well as abandoned horses.”
The rescue works to rehabilitate and retrain each horse depending on their individual needs so they can become good equine citizens. “Those horses with behavioral problems, including those who have little or no handling, go to a very experienced foster home or to a professional trainer so they can get the handling they need to be safe.”
One of the most interesting aspects of this rescue operation is the Bluebonnet Rescue Horse Training Challenge held each year. Jennifer described the event, “During the challenge, approved trainers and foster homes work with a rescue horse for 120 days either in hand or under saddle.” She continued, “They then compete over an obstacle course and in a freestyle event.” This unique event allows potential adopters to see the great ability of these horses, jumpstarts the horses’ training, and helps horses find eventual homes.
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society benefits from a very knowledgeable staff including an Executive Director with a PhD in Animal Sciences. The staff from Bluebonnet regularly give presentations at national and region conventions, consult with writers for magazine articles on rescue and welfare topics, and even participate in research with academic institutions involving the source and placement of rescue horses.
As with many rescues, Bluebonnet has a rigorous approval process for all adopters. The rescue struggles at time to have enough people to foster the horses. Still, in the last ten years, they’ve successfully helped over 750 horses! Jennifer is clearly proud of her organization. “We have horses out their doing things – being kids horses, trail riding, competing in various competitive trail associations, showing, working, and being loved. That’s an awesome success!” To learn more, visit their website.
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society
Donate: PO Box 632, College Station, TX 77841-0632
Easy R Equine Rescue - Lubbock, Texas
The “R” in Easy R represents the three main goals for the sanctuary: rescue, rehabilitate and rehome.
In 2005, Angie Alspaugh and her husband Terry took in their first 2 horses, having no idea how rewarding the experience would be or what it would turn into. They founded Easy R Equine Rescue in 2009 to “provide respite to horses in need and allow other people to experience the joy of adopting a rescue horse,” says Angie. The “R” in Easy R represents the three main goals for the sanctuary: rescue, rehabilitate and rehome. However, restoration, relaxation, rejuvenation and renewal can also be found by the horses and humans alike who visit and spend time here.
Most of the horses at Easy R arrive after being seized by local law enforcement due to neglect and/or abuse. Easy R does not usually take in owner surrenders, however they will make an exception if there are extenuating circumstances for the owner. All horses undergo an initial evaluation with a veterinarian for illness and injury. They are started on a refeeding program suited to their needs, including any medications or supplements. Horses at Easy R also see the farrier, dentist and an equine chiropractor when necessary.
Retraining at Easy R begins with an assessment of manageability, after which the horse is placed in either a foster home or with Angie and Terry. Each horse then begins work on ground manners, accepting a halter and loading in a trailer. “Because our organization is small, we do not have the funds to provide professional training to as many horses as we would like. Therefore, we have to vet potential adopters and try to locate people who have the desire and skill to adopt and train a rescue horse,” say Angie.
While Easy R does not provide therapy services, they do believe that being around horses is inherently therapeutic. “Many people work on their “stuff” when they are around the horses, often not even realizing it’s happening,” says Angie. They were lucky enough to witness one of those moments last year when a group of students from a local charter school visited for volunteer activities. These children had hard home lives, difficulty in traditional schools and some behavioral problems. One young boy gravitated to a particular Mustang, after having been told the horse’s history of physical abuse before arriving at Easy R. “While the boy groomed this horse, we could hear him saying, “It’s not your fault. You are a good boy” over and over,” remembers Angie. One of the teachers later informed Angie that the young boy had a history very much like the Mustang and had continued talking about the “horse that had been abused” long after they left.
Easy R Equine Rescue offers community involvement in the form of field trips, day camps in the summer and various volunteer opportunities. Use the information below to find out how you can become involved or donate to help Angie and Terry continue providing the three R’s for the horses and individuals in their community.
Easy R Equine Rescue
Equine Rehabilitation Central Texas – Leander, Texas
People and Horses Helping Each Other
Lisa Rivers founded the nonprofit organization, Equine Rehabilitation Central Texas (ERCT), in 2012 to rehabilitate horses that have been rescued from abuse and neglect. At ERCT, they rehab horses with supplements, highest-quality hay and feed, and lots of love. After the horses are physically healthy, staff and volunteers at ERCT work to heal the horse mentally and emotionally.
To do this, they use Parelli Natural Horsemanship. This method helps the horses learn to trust humans, see them as leaders, and heal emotionally. Parelli Natural Horsemanship not only helps horses, it teaches people as well. The volunteers learn how to communicate with the horses in a trustworthy and understanding way, allowing both the human and the horse to build trust and self-confidence.
This method reflects ERCT’s mission – “people and horses helping each other.” In fact, three years ago, Lisa started a therapeutic horseback riding program called Hopeful Hearts Therapeutic Riding. This organization is currently helping 60 people with developmental and mental disabilities. Riding and interacting with horses allows them to heal in a non-threatening, peaceful environment. It benefits both the horses and the people.
After horses are rehabilitated and retrained at ERCT, the horses are adopted and rehomed, or they can stay and go into the therapeutic horseback riding program. Any horse can go into the riding program. Right now, they have horses in a variety of breeds and sizes – from Haflinger pony to large warmblood horses. In a recent interview with Lisa, she said “our greatest success is giving rehabilitated horses an appropriate job with our therapeutic horseback riding program.”
The Texas Stars Foundation provided partial support for rescued horses last year and is now providing support for a second veteran equine program. Veterans with PTSD and or traumatic brain injury will now be able to experience the healing power of horses.
Organizations like the Texas Stars Foundation and Lisa’s organizations are made possible through volunteers. Lisa says they have a strong volunteer program, and many of the horses are adopted by the volunteers. Though ERCT has wonderful volunteers and staff, they also have challenges.
Their biggest challenge is funding. It is very expensive to physically and emotionally rehabilitate horses. Lisa says that “if we had more funding we could rehabilitate and rescue many more horses.” You can help ERCT on their journey to help horses and people by checking out their website below and donating today.
Equine Rehabilitation Central Texas
Lone Star Ranch and Rescue – Blue Ridge, TX
Focus on Quality of Care Instead of Quantity of Rescues
Lone Star Ranch and Rescue was started out of a love for horses and and other livestock. We spoke with Taylor from LSRR and she told us, “Our Founder spent the majority of her early life around horses and other livestock. She adopted her first horse and spent a couple years working at a rescue daily and found it to be the direction she wanted her career to go in. When the opportunity to open her own rescue came about, her and her family moved out to Blue Ridge and opened Lone Star Ranch and Rescue.”
LSRR rescues neglected and abused horses from situations such as owner surrendered, seizures, and animal control agencies. To help malnourished horses LSRR has a partnership with the UC Davis re-feeding program. A licensed vet handles illnesses and injuries immediately. And all horses undergo 2-week health assessment quarantine before joining the herd.
“We want to focus on the quality of care that we provide versus bringing in as many animals as possible,” Taylor says “… if we bring in too many animals we can no longer afford [quality care for] our rescues … and we make sure they get everything they need.”
When the animal is healthy enough to begin exercising, a licensed veterinarian creates a personalized care program. Horses that aren’t under saddle are trained before adoption. Otherwise, LSRR fine-tunes their previous training before listing them. The training continues while searching for the perfect home.
Potential adopters are given a site check to verify suitable accommodations. They must also have access to a vet and farrier. After adoption, lifetime visits are done to ensure proper care.
LSRR has serious financial challenges. Their facilities (shelters, barns, etc.) need to be completed, and they are in dire need of a reliable trailer. The organization’s current trailer is irreparably damaged and unsafe. They desperately need a 3 or 4 horse gooseneck trailer.
Lone Star’s rescue success stories happen when they find incredible homes for their horses. Many have been adopted; some have become lesson horses, kid’s ponies and even a ranch celebrity.
Taylor shared one such story about Perci (photos to the right):
“Perci came to us in July 2016 at a body condition score of 1. [She was adopted after] 9 months of training and rehabilitating. [We] found a wonderful home where she gets to run with a small herd of horses on 100 acres. She’s the newest celebrity of Lone Star Wine Cellars and will be with them for life.”
If you wish to help this organization, check out their information below:
Lone Star Ranch & Rescue
7397FM, 1377 Blue Ridge, Texas
Osborne Stables Equine Rescue - Sutherland Springs, Texas
“Stopping Cruelty Before It Begins”
Osborne Stables was formed in 2002, after taking in four horses that would otherwise have been killed. This single rescue opened the floodgates to the difficulties in the area. It wasn’t long after that initial rescue that calls began pouring in for assistance and asking for advice. This realization, that the need was far greater than they had initially imagined, helped them form their mission and vision for the rescue. They saw the necessity for assisting horses with providing much needed education to owners and potential horse owners. Their motto became “Stopping Cruelty Before It Begins”.
The horses at Osborne Stables come as veterinary and law enforcement referrals, while the human visitors are often owners of endangered horses, referred by individuals for education or relinquishment of their animals. Horses at the rescue may be placed with an adoptive home if they are in good shape, however Osborne Stables functions as a permanent refuge for many of the horses that arrive to recover from injuries, illness, neglect, abuse and abandonment.
Osborne Stables follows a slow rehabilitation program, believing that a slow introduction to the herd is necessary for physical and emotional healing. Retraining for handling and riding is performed at the facility, often implementing the Parelli 7-Step Safety and Riding Programs. All horses, whether they are rideable or not, are able to be involved in Osborne’s Equine Assisted Learning Program. They help teach confidence, self-esteem, and self-control in individuals with anger and emotional issues.
Osborne Stable’s location allows them to provide education and services to all of the surrounding cities and counties. They provide education to all ages, individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth, as well as individuals sent through the court system for mandated community service hours. Osborne Stables has had great success with volunteers sent to them in this way, many of them staying on to help the horses after their mandated hours have been met. “During their time helping they have learned so much about the horses and even more about themselves. Horses mirror people and can truly help make a positive change,” says Osborne staff.
Osborne Stable’s greatest success came to them in the form of a young at-risk boy that was attending an alternative school. He worked with Chester, a horse that had been severely abused in his previous life, and came to gain the confident he needed to make the decision to seek help for his drug addiction. “If Chester can make it through all he has been through, I know that I can beat this and get away from the bad people in my life,” said the young boy. Using the rescued horses that these youth can identify with helps open new doors for these children.
Osborne Stables staff, along with the 32 horses and 5 donkeys that call this home, are working to expand their Equine Assisted Trauma Therapy Program in the aftermath of the Sutherland Springs shooting. Please use the information to find out how you can help them continue their work for the horses and humans alike in their area.
Osborne Stables Equine Rescue
Sutherland Springs, Texas
Runnin’ Free Ranch - Ennis, Texas
“People that have struggled with physical, emotional, mental or spiritual issues can have significant breakthroughs with the aid of equine assisted counseling.”
Founded in 2016, Runnin’ Free Ranch is a place for humans and horses to rebuild lives together. Runnin’ Free Ranch was developed with the mission to provide a “non-judgmental, non-pressured environment where veterans, at-risk youth, special needs children and their families can experience freedom, hope and positive life-changing relationships through the facilitation of equine assisted activities and counseling,” says Amy.
Both of the special horses at Runnin’ Free Ranch are rescues that have been adopted into the program following their rehabilitation. In this way, Sevin and Zeke are able to give back and help those that find themselves in need, a situation that they themselves understand in a way no one else can.
Runnin’ Free Ranch offers one- and two-hour sessions for individuals, families and group. Each session incorporates a mental health professional, horse specialist and one or more rescue horses. The sessions are structured to allow participants to examine their human relationship patterns through the example of their human/horse relationship experience. “Runnin’ Free Ranch believes that a hands on experience challenges people to look at themselves and the world in a new way,” says Amy. “People that have struggled with physical, emotional, mental or spiritual issues can have significant breakthroughs with the aid of equine assisted counseling.”
The methods at Runnin’ Free have proven to be very effective for the many individuals that have sought help at their facility. “They have given my daughter a safe place to work through some things in her life. Not only can I see the changes in her, but her teacher and school counselor have noticed as well. I feel like I am slowly getting my happy little girl back,” says one young girl’s mother after watching her daughter interact with the horses.
Equine assisted therapy can also be a rewarding experience for those that seek help for themselves. As one individual tells of his time at the ranch, “A Navy veteran, I struggled daily with rage, stress, low self-esteem and a lack of empathy. My interpersonal relationships struggled as well. My relationship with Sevin has helped me let go of control and the shame of past mistakes I’ve carried for years. I am forever grateful for the treatment I’ve received.”
Runnin’ Free Ranch offers their therapy sessions at no charge in order to allow access to all individuals that seek help with them. Use the information below to donate and contribute to the valuable work done at Runnin’ Free Ranch. You can also find out how to volunteer and become part of their family of healing.
Runnin’ Free Ranch
The Love Angus Foundation - Houston, TX and West Indies
Rescuing Island Horses Abandoned After Their Racing Career
The Love Angus Foundation is located in Houston, Texas and in the West Indies. We spoke with founder Monique Francis to learn how the volunteers of this organization are working to save horses in Jamaica.
Monique explained, " I am from Jamaica and after various trips back home I wanted to do something to change the culture of how animals are treated there. It is a common everyday sight to see starving, injured and abandoned animals all over the street. After seeing our first rescue, Angus, with 3rd degree burns on his body I decided to start The Love Angus Foundation." The Love Angus Foundation works to rescue horses, cats, and dogs in Houston and in the West Indies.
The Love Angus Foundation has rescued several quarter horses that were abandoned or injured during their racing career. Monique was able to secure stables at the Camanas Park in Kingston, Jamaica to provide shelters for the rescues. They have a volunteer vet that assists with the rehabilitation efforts.
Monique continued, "We have also been educating the race horse owners on how to humanly treat and care for their horses and to prevent abuse and abandonment of their race horses. Although we do not support horse racing, we have noticed that educating the owners has helped to rehome elderly horses instead of them being abandoned in fields."
The Love Angus Foundation is proud that they were officially designated as a United States Charity in 2015. This allows them to open avenues of fundraising that were not available before. They are also happy to bring their first rescue, a dog named Angus, to the states as a charity ambassador. Monique said, "He is spreading joy to lots of refugee children in the Houston area with Catholic charities. It has been a joy to see him heal physically and psychologically from the day he was found."
The largest need for The Love Angus foundation is a 7-horse trailer that will be used to transport horses from various parts of the island. Since the terrain can be difficult to navigate, a single trip can take up to 8 hours. The use of a larger trailer would allow them to move horses more efficiently.
Monique added, "Also, we are in desperate need of grain feed. There is only pellet feed in Jamaica and it often causes horses to colic. We are always looking to ship donated grain feed for our rescues." To help out, please see below.
The Love Angus Foundation
Location: Houston, TX and the West Indies
Donate: 8511 Spotslyvania ln, Houston, TX 77083
The Pegasus Project, Inc. - Murchison, Texas
"We revitalize the animals’ spirit."
In 2009, Allyson DeCanio was contacted by an attorney for the Humane Society of Easy Texas regarding 14 neglected horses. They hoped that Allyson, a lawyer and horse lover, may have some valuable input. Little did they know, their call was the beginning of something much larger.
Allyson got involved and the horses were rescued, with two stallions coming home with Allyson and her husband, Mike. This incident taught the couple about the large number of horses in need in their area. They decided to take action and The Pegasus Project was born.
The Pegasus Project takes in all breeds and ages of equines - horses, ponies, minis, donkeys and mules. They receive their animals from a wide variety of sources, including law enforcement seizures, horses picked up by the sheriff as strays, owner relinquishments and rescues from kill pens and auctions.
The Pegasus Project retains the services of a number of veterinarians to ensure that each animal receives the care that it needs through every step of its recovery. “Of equal importance, we revitalize the animals’ spirit. We handle them in such a way that they feel safe and secure and build trust in humans,” says Allyson.
The facility utilizes natural horsemanship techniques to develop all of the horses that enter their program. They have two full-time trainers on staff, and world-renowned trainers Bruce Logan and Mark Rashid serve as advisors to the board. They work to provide ongoing education and guidance to ensure that each horse receives the best training possible.
All horses at Pegasus Project stay until they are ready and able to be adopted by their forever home. “Whether that takes 3 months or 5 years doesn’t matter to us. We give the horse the time it needs to reach its potential and become a safe partner for its adopter,” explains Allyson.
Since 2009, hundreds of horses, mules and donkeys have been rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed through the program. Sometimes it’s one horse at a time, other situations require the care of an entire herd.
This was the case when Allyson and Mike became involved with the Phoenix Herd. In April of 2016, Mike and Allyson tried to save a yearling foal by the name of Phoenix. Despite their best efforts, she died from malnutrition, parasite overload, and a horrible, untreated, necrotic facial wound. It soon became known that she was one of a herd of approximately 20 equines that had been abandoned by their owner nearly two years prior. Upon arrival, the remains of 4 other horses were found on the property.
Through a long process, involving many volunteers, trainers and the loss of another herd member, the remaining 14 horses were relocated to The Pegasus Project. They have all shown immense promise, heart and perseverance. The Pegasus Project’s efforts also resulted in six counts of animal cruelty charges against the owner for the lives lost.
Please use the information below to find out how you can donate, volunteer and get involved with The Pegasus Project. You can also learn about their various events and shop the products available on the website.
The Pegasus Project, Inc.
Throwaway Ponies - Farmersville, TX
How Horses Can Help Retirees Regain Purpose and a Positive Outlook
In Farmersville, TX, there is a special rescue called Throwaway Ponies founded by Karen Bander. She explained how the rescue got started. "In about 2005 I started by fostering for Lone Star Equine Rescue and realized no one wanted the old and the lame horses. We started as a sanctuary, but soon realized there was a need for taking in all ages and types of horses. We got the name because a trainer we knew was often given horses and he called them “Throwaway Ponies”. We became a 501(c)(3) in 2008."
Throwaway Ponies takes in horses of all types: PMU mares, blind horses, ponies, mules and donkeys. Most are undernourished. Many are strays and come from the Rockwall County Sheriff’s Department. Some are taken in because their owners cannot care for them due to their own health issues.
New horses are always given a vet check, coggins vaccine, and dental work first. Then, depending on what the vet says, they start on hay and wet alfalfa. Gradually, the horses are introduced to feed.
Karen shared, "We have volunteers who spend time teaching the horses to trust people. We sometimes have to send the horses to professional trainers. We have just been selected to participate in the Forever Foundation training program." Although they have volunteers of all ages, Karen explained that many of their volunteers are over the age of 50.
One especially touching story of a volunteer is about 79 year old Ira. Karen wrote, "He got horses from another rescue after he retired. When his horses passed, he didn’t think he could take on another one, so he started volunteering. “Rose” came to us from the kill buyer. She was terrified of people. We thought she was a 2 yr old because she was so stunted, but her teeth showed she was 4."
"Ira started by sitting in her pen for 3-4 hours a day," Karen continued. "He just sat in his chair and waited for her to trust him. It took several weeks, but eventually he could groom her, halter and lead her and pick up her feet. She is now with a professional trainer and we hope she gets adopted soon. Learning to train a horse and helping Rose has helped Ira gain a sense of success and purpose in his retirement years."
This demonstrates what Karen feels is the most special aspect of Throwaway Pones. She shared, "We use the horses as a way to help people recover from personal hurts, to learn to be a leader (they have to be the leader or the horse will be). Many of our volunteers have been people over the age of 50 who always wanted a horse. At least a dozen of our volunteers have ended up adopting their own horse from us. Many of our older volunteers say working with the horses have helped them regain purpose and a positive outlook after retirement."
To learn more about Throwaway Ponies, check out their contact information below:
Location: Farmersville, TX
Donate: PO Box 149, Farmersville, TX 75442
Whispering Winds Ranch - Roby, Texas
"I was not prepared for the world of unconditional love that I was headed for!"
When Susan Pohlman and her husband, Tom, rescued their first mare together in 1987, it sparked a desire in them that to this day has remained undiminished. They rescued horses in need from time to time, but it wasn’t until 2006 that they began addressing the situation on a larger scale. “My love of mustangs started in 2000 when my husband, Tom, and I attended our first BLM adoption - I was hooked. As a professional horse trainer I was not prepared for the knowledge these guys would give me and a world of unconditional love that I was headed for,” recounts Susan.
They began operating their rescue in Sandy, Oregon, where they worked closely with law enforcement to provide a safe place for horses suffering from starvation, neglect and abuse. Susan, Tom, and the herd relocated to Texas in 2016. “The dampness of the Northwest was beginning to show its signs, and the dryness of the West Texas plains has been a blessing. No longer having to stand in rain soaked fields, and each having stalls and cover to get out of the elements, has allowed them to flourish,” Susan explains.
Whispering Winds is now home to a wide variety of horses, including elderly and handicapped horses, mustangs that roam to their heart’s content, owner surrenders and broke to ride horses. Susan uses her 52 years of experience and expertise to give each and every one of the horses exactly what it needs. She is a certified natural horsewoman and recognized through the American Quarter Horse Association.
All horses that arrive at Whispering Winds are evaluated by the veterinarian, placed on an individualized feeding plan and retraining is done at the horses pace. “Once they respond at liberty with free will, we move on. We believe that a solid foundation is the key to a safe and willing horse partner,” states Susan.
These horses remind those around them that life is worth living every day, no matter the obstacle. When no one bid on 21 year old Josie at auction in 2005, Susan knew that Whispering Winds was the place for her. Having worked as a ranch horse for several years, Josie was retired and sent to auction when she developed uveitis and could no longer see properly. Since arriving at the ranch, Josie has gone completely blind. “Adjustment was a little difficult for her at first, but she now maneuvers her area easily and is quite capable of roaming the 10 acre pasture with ease. She knows where every bump and post is and unless you knew she was, you could not tell she was blind,” Susan says.
Seeing the horses regain their happiness, trust and confidence is why Susan, Tom and the team at Whispering Winds are so dedicated to their work. “We do this because of our love of these magnificent animals,” she states simply. Use the information below to see how you can contribute and get involved for the horses at Whispering Winds.
Whispering Winds Ranch
Wings And Reins, Equine Refuge, Inc. - Devine, Texas
A Retired Show Jumper Specializes in Retraining Aggressive Horses
Wings And Reins was founded by Jo Harp, who used to compete as a show jumper in England. Jo was injured and developed a rare nerve disease that left her unable to work a regular job. People started coming to Jo asking for help with their horses. The demand got so high that Jo decided to start Wings And Reins so she could help more horses.
Wings And Reins mostly has horses and a couple of donkeys but they accept all types of equines. Most of the equines they take in are either abused, neglected, or unwanted. They have worked with Law Enforcement in 5 different counties.
Jo shared, "We work very closely with our vet to ensure that the horses are getting the best care for their individual needs depending on sickness and injury. Our vet recommended a feeding program that was tested through Kingsville A&M that has been hugely successful in helping our horses gain weight. We feed them alfalfa pellets and corn oil which is gradually increased over time.
"For example: A 1000 lb horse would get 5 lbs of alfalfa pellets and 1 1/2 cups of corn oil per day.
"Once a horse is healthy, we start ground training and working on the horses mind. A lot of the horses are abused so we have to help them trust humans and then we can move forward with teaching them all the basics so they are safe to themselves and to humans.
"Once a horse is healthy and trained, we post videos and information about the horse available for adoption. The potential adoptee then visits the horse and we also inspect their home to make sure that it is safe and horse friendly, including horse safe fence and a solid shelter. We also follow up with occasional home visits and our adopted families are always sending us pictures and videos.
"Fund raising and getting volunteers is always our biggest challenge. We operate solely on donations and volunteers. No one gets paid to work at Wings And Reins. Anytime we can take a horse that is starved and close to death and then get them healthy and adopted to a loving home, is always a huge success."
Jo Harp specialize in dangerous horses that most people want to put down. She trains those horses for not only Wings And Reins but also for other horse rescues and individuals and makes them safe again so they can have a happy life.
She continued, "We keep our intake to no more than 25 horses at a time. This enables us to give individual attention to each horse every day and to be continuously working on helping the horses recover from their negative experiences. We also provide horse training for outside sources so that we can help as many horses as possible.
"We use a 3 horse slant trailer which is great for transporting horses that are comfortable with trailering. We would like to have an open stock trailer for horses that are wild and difficult to load, which would make it a lot easier especially when we have to pick up multiple horses or horses that are loose on roads.
"We have taken in several horses that people have demanded that they be put down because they are mean and aggressive. Our belief is that their is no such thing as a mean horse, they were not born mean, people made them that way. We have a 100% success rate of re-training these aggressive horses so that they can have a happy life. We never give up on a horse because of their behavior issues. We also have a very high adoption rate due to our constant daily hands-on-approach and re-training program."
To learn more about Jo and her rescue efforts, see the information below:
Wings And Reins
Location: Devine, Texas
Donate: PO Box 593, Devine, TX
We don't have any horse rescues listed yet for this state.
If you would like to suggest a hardworking group of rescuers to be added to our list, contact us at email@example.com.
Dorset Equine Rescue - East Dorset, Vermont
The Dorset Equine Rescue runs completely on donations which is made possible only by the generosity of people like you.
Written by Jen Straub
Nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains in East Dorset, Vermont, the rescue began in 2012 when I acquired my first two rescue horses. Although I had been a horse owner for many years prior, it wasn’t until I adopted my two mini horses, “Daisy” and “Duke”, that I realized the severity of the situation that so many of these majestic animals face.
Our organization gets contacted almost daily by people who wish to surrender their horses to us for many different reasons. In some cases, there has been loss of a job, serious illness, divorce, loss of interest or death of the owner. We are happy when we can help not only the horses in these tough situation, but also the folks who have fallen on hard times and have no other options for their horses. Occasionally we receive horses through law enforcement who had to seize animals because of a severe neglect or abuse situation. By intervening, we prevent the horses from ending up in a worse situation or going to auction which would put them at a high risk of shipping to slaughter.
When we have room, we also pull horses from auctions and kill pens to protect them from ending up on a slaughter truck bound for Mexico or Canada. Often these animals arrive at the slaughterhouse seriously injured from transport due to extreme overstocking of trailers. It’s common for them to be extremely dehydrated, having had nothing to drink or eat for days. It is an exceptionally long and grueling trip for them. Horses have played a major role in building our country and deserve better.
Each incoming horse goes through a 30-day quarantine to protect the current horses already on the farm from possible contamination of contagious illnesses. We provide all necessary care for them and make sure the transition into their new herd is as stress free as possible so that they can start to thrive. When each horse is ready, they slowly start a training program. The Dorset Equine Rescue has a full-time trainer who evaluates each horse’s abilities and physical condition. We make sure that we get to know our horses very well and continue their training for as long as they are with us. We want to assure the best possible home for them, so the better we know what they are capable of, the better we can match them with their future adopter.
We require every new home to provide a certain level of care including shelter, a good sized turn out area, and basic vaccinations. Once a horse comes through our rescue, we do everything in our power to keep it forever safe from falling on hard times again. We strive to make sure each horse and adopter is compatible so they both have the best chance of developing a lifelong and successful relationship.
The Dorset Equine Rescue runs completely on donations which is made possible only by the generosity of people like you. If you believe in what we do, please consider a tax deductible donation so that we can continue to help these amazing animals.
Dorset Equine Rescue
East Dorset, Vermont
Central Virginia Horse Rescue - Kenbridge, Virginia
“To save, protect, and rehabilitate equines in need."
Central Virginia Horse Rescue founder Cindy Smith had fostered a lifelong dream of saving equines from the traumatic reality of slaughter. When she was offered an old bony work mule that had been turned away from slaughter in 2009, she knew it was time to move forward with her dream. Rosebud, that bony mule, came to be the first of many equines saved by Cindy and the CVHR. Since its small beginnings, they have now rescued over 400 horses and have no plans of slowing down.
The mission at CVHR was created to cover every step of a horse’s journey from start to finish. “To save, protect, and rehabilitate equines in need. We rescue unwanted, abused, neglected, or abandoned equines; provide them with care and rehabilitation; and finally find them a compatible, loving home. We believe that education is the long-term solution to improving the lives of equines,” says Cindy.
CVHR understands that every horses needs are unique and important, which is why they ensure the veterinarian is always on-call at CVHR. This has proven once and again to be of paramount importance, as it was in the case of Ruby. This two year old filly came to CVHR with cellulitis in both hind legs. “The skin on her legs just fell of when I went to clean her legs the first day,” remembers Cindy. The staff at CVHR spent six months wrapping and medicating her legs daily, while constantly monitoring the fluid leaking from her joints. Their hard work, along with Ruby’s perseverance paid off. She now loves jumping and running in the pastures with the rest of the herd.
This dedication and passion extends to every breed and age of equine from any situation. “We take in every kind of horse, donkey and mule from every possible situation,” Cindy states. CVHR takes in horses from animal control, owner surrenders, auction and feedlots. They have also worked with law enforcement on some the largest seizures in Virginia.
Each horse that finds it’s forever home is a success for CVHR. They know first-hand the positive impact a horse can have on a family. When Doug arrived at CVHR the vet said she had never seen a horse so thin, but he had an unwavering will to live. When he was well enough, he was fostered by a therapeutic riding school in North Carolina. “At the school, a nine year old girl who had been sexually abused fell in love with him, and would talk and talk to him. Her parents said it was the first time she had ever talked about her experience,” recounts Cindy. The bond that formed between the girl and Doug was something her parents couldn’t bear for her to live without. Doug became a part of their family that very same Christmas.
The staff at CVHR puts their hearts and souls into the work that they do, but none of it is possible without their dedicated supporters. Please use the information below to learn more about CVHR and the ways that you can help them continue making their dream come true.
Central Virginia Horse Rescue
Greenfield Equine Retirement Farm - Reedville, Virginia
“We want their last days to be their best days..”
At Greenfield Equine Retirement Farm the mission is to provide a forever home for each of the horses that finds its way here. “We want their last days to be their best days,” states Angela Self, one of the founders of Greenfield Farm. Specializing in elderly horses that need a place to live the life that they have left, it all began with the simple act of helping a friend in need.
When Patricia Fox came to Virginia to do some work on her property, she brought her three horses with her so they could enjoy the land and stay at the farm. “On the third day, I arrived to find Comanche, a sweet Appaloosa, who’d been given to me by someone who no longer could care for him, standing by corral gate not moving. The ground had been torn apart as if an excavator had been there. Apparently, sometime between 9 pm the previous night and 9 am the next morning, he had somehow injured his hip by falling and worked all night to get up on his feet,” remembers Patricia. Comanche’s prognosis was not good and Patricia mentioned to her neighbor, Angela, that she was concerned about him making the trip home and that it may be time to put him down.
Angela immediately stepped up and said that she would take care of Comanche as long as he lived. “In that matter of time she setup a course of taking care of horses that had outlived their usefulness but still wanted to be a horse, or ones that lost their owners by sudden death and had no family to take them on,” says Patricia. Over the past four years the two women have worked together to take in rescues that have been surrendered by their owners, seized due to abuse and neglect, and retired horses that just need a place to live out their golden years.
Greenfield operates as a 24/7 farm so that each horse is able to receive love and attention at all times. They work very closely with the veterinarian and farrier to assess each horse’s individual needs and work with them daily on rehabilitation. “Our goal is to be able to turn them out in the pastures for their remaining days and let them bond with the herd,” says Angela.
Since Greenfield serves as a forever home for all of the horses that come to them, it provides a unique opportunity to see their rescues grow and flourish. This is the case with Prince, who arrived to the farm in November of 2015 in critical condition. He was given a body score of 1 after being evaluated by the vet. Despite his troubling state, Prince was able to make a remarkable recovery and is currently enjoying the pastures and his friends at Greenfield, where he recently celebrated his 41st birthday.
All of the horses at the farm are cared for thanks to the donations of caring supporters. Please use the information below to find out how you can help give these horses the retirement they deserve.
Greenfield Equine Retirement Farm
Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue - Afton, Virginia
“We are an all-breed rescue so we get everything from minis to draft horses and anything in between.”
Maya Proulx grew up with horses, always having at least one rescue horse at any time. She knew that she wanted to help horses on a larger scale and in 2008 she started Hope’s Legacy with the rescue of, oddly enough, a single donkey. That one donkey and Maya’s dream have grown into a rescue that has helped over 150 horses, ponies, and donkeys.
Hope’s Legacy receives many of its horses from Animal Control cases, but is also a safe place for animals that have been surrendered when owners are no longer able to care for them. Due to the wide variety of animals in need, Hope’s Legacy takes in any equine that needs assistance. “We are an all-breed rescue so we get everything from minis to draft horses and anything in between,” says Maya.
Maya and her team work very closely with their veterinarians to come up with customized rehabilitation programs for each horse that comes into their program. “We work with a network of area trainers to evaluate and create a training program for the horses that need it,” Maya states. Horses that enter the training program spend 30 to 90 days with a professional trainer before they are considered ready for adoption.
Unfortunately, not all horses are able to participate in the training programs as they are unable to be ridden. “One of the biggest challenges we face is trying to find homes for our ‘companion-only’ horses, very few people want to support a horse that is not able to be ridden,” says Maya. This doesn’t stop Maya and the team at Hope’s Legacy from providing care and love to all horses, regardless of their ability.
When looking back on the years at Hope’s Legacy, Maya chooses to remember one particularly busy time as a big success. “In October of 2015 we took in 29 horses from the Peaceable Farm case in Orange County,” remembers Maya. It began with a call from the Orange County Sheriff needing their help with a massive farm raid. 101 emaciated and neglected horses, donkeys and mules were being seized and Hope’s Legacy was there to offer a safe place for 29 of them.
But the rescue was not destined to settle down just yet. Five months later, they were contacted about another raid. This time 40 horses were being seized. Hope’s Legacy took in 19 horses that day, two of which were pregnant. “The horses arrived in varying levels of emaciation, many with chemical burns,” May recounts. “Our amazing volunteers and supporters really rose to the occasion and made it possible for us to assist all of those horses.”
Use the information below to find out how you can become a part of this dedicated team by volunteering time, donating, or participating in their Capital Campaign to raise money for their new location. Maya and her team have been able to do amazing things with the support and dedication of those around them, you can be a part of their continued efforts.
Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue - Hardy, Virginia
The Remarkable Story of a Mare That Fell Through Her Trailer Floor
Here at Double D Trailers, we always try to emphasize the importance of proper trailer safety and maintenance. The Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue recently shared an intense but touching story of how the worst can happen when someone neglects their horses.
The Patricia Muncy shared the story of a mare named Blair who was traveling down the road with her former owners in 2003. She wrote, "Holes in the trailer floor were 'over-looked' by the transporter, and Blair managed to get a hoof through the floor boards. As a result, her left hind leg was dragged against the road for an unknown number of miles." A police officer pulled over the rig and the frightened mare literally broke out of the trailer.
Once a vet was able to assess her injuries, they found that the front part of her pastern joint had been skinned away. "This injury left her with a hole in the front of her joint about the size of a tennis ball, with no stability in the joint itself."
Blair was in for a long and uncertain recovery, but the staff at the RVHR were impressed by her spirit. "There was something about this little mare that asked for that second chance," Pat wrote. When she arrived at the rescue, she was thirsty, very thin, scared, and in a great deal of pain. Once the staff was able to clean her up, they could see the full extent of her injuries. "The damage was shocking to us all, and an amazing lesson in living, working anatomy."
Over time, her injuries healed and it became clear that she was pregnant from her time with the former owners. "She proved to be a tough mare, and continues to be highly motivated to heal and remain with us for her rehabilitation." Pat wrote, "Next time you need to move your horse, when you're checking your trailer for the usual things such as brakes and lights, please take an extra ten minutes to test the soundness of the floor!"
About nine months after her tragic accident, Blair gave birth to a beautiful little coat named Ripley. He was adopted out to a new home and mother and son are both doing well to this day. Blair now has a permanent place at the farm and in the hearts of the RVHR staff.
RVHR is a small family run farm that has the goal of helping horses in need. To see more photos or to learn more about RVHR, please see below:
Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue
Location: Hardy, Virginia
Donate: P.O. Box 13 Hardy, VA 24101
Iberian Horse Rescue - Ellensburg, Washington
A Facebook Networking Group Transforms Into a Rescue for Iberian Horses
Lorrie Fox loves Iberian horses. She loves them so much that she started a Facebook page in 2013 to see if there was a need to rescue this breed anywhere in the country. As it turns out, the greatest need was actually just five miles from her own horses, so the Iberian Horse Rescue was born. She shared, "I started the hands-on rescue just over a year ago, February, 2015, to try to address the needs of the horses in my local area directly, and it grew from there."
This is a very young organization with limited resources. Lorrie explained that their greatest need is for a facility where they can house their rescued horses until they can be adopted out or sent to foster homes. Lorrie explained, "Currently, our horses are housed with members or friends of members throughout locations in WA and one in ID. It makes it difficult to show horses to potential adopters."
So far, all of their rescued horses have come from the kill pens, which comes with some risks. " Taking horses from kill pens is one of the highest risks there are when working with horses. We have taken in horses with laminitis and other lameness issues, as well as horses with little to no handling, or have had negative handling or training experiences with people."
Luckily, these once hopeless horses are embraced by a loving community. "We have a strong network of volunteers within the Iberian horse lover communities, locally and interstate. They work with their local veterinarians and with us."
The retraining program at the IHR is still developing. Lorrie would like to offer more in the way of retraining but this is dependant on them finding a new facility. Currently, they rely on volunteers to offer their free time.
"We will try to help any Iberian horse no matter its location. Iberian horses lovers are a certain kind of horse people as well. We tend toward animated, expressive and some would say "spiritual" horses."\
Iberian Horse Rescue
Location: Ellensburg, WA
Donate: See website form
Kataluna Horse Rescue - Carnation, Washington
Dedicated to Helping Slaughter Bound Horses
Katie Berman from Washington grew up working with rescue horses. When she was 12 years old, one horse came into her life that changed the way she viewed horsemanship. This particular horse was not responding to any of the "typical" methods of training, and she was not ready to trust humans yet. Since traditional methods were not working, Katie decided to use the idea of allowing the horse to learn FREEly, and make their own choices. Katie admits that she was really hesistant, and scared that her horse would run away when she took off the ropes. After years of patience and practicing the FREEDOM technique, Katie and her once-fearful horse had devloped trust and a friendship that couldn't be broken.
Since then, Katie's view on working with rescue horses has changed forever. Katie is the founder and trainer at Kataluna Horse Rescue and Kataluna Horsemanship. Kataluna is a small organization dedicated towards helping slaughter bound horses and rescuing them from local feedlot and auction yards. At Kataluna Horsemanship, their team helps horses who have endured that physical and emotional trauma and bring them into our ranch to help them heal and rehabilitate through giving them the freedom of choice.
There is a large slaughter industry for equines, which is why horse rescues are so crucial. Katie's organization is passionate about giving horses the option to learn to trust humans again, and give them a second chance at life. "We vow to help any animal reaching out for help, however focus specifically on freedom from feedlots for horses awaiting their last days before shipping to Mexico or Canada for meat consumption purposes."
At Kataluna, not only do they put in countless hours of work, effort, and love toward rescuing horses, they also offer lessons. They offer a variety of lesson options including liberty, riding, basic ground manners, trick training, and rehabilitation for neglected horses. Their lessons are customized toward the individual and their needs, as well as the needs of their horse. The goal of their training is to create a deeper connection between the horse and human and increases confidence and self-esteem.
Organizations like Kataluna Horsemanship are making a huge difference in the lives of horses across the country. In order to continue their operations, they rely heavily on finances. The cost to bail one horse from a feedlot ranges anywhere from $250-$900. Other expenses include vet care and feed for their horses. Katie states, "We cant save every life but it all starts with ONE. It all starts with YOU."
SAFE Horse Rescue - Woodinville, Washington
Impressive Training Program Helps Once Abused Horses Turn Into Champions
The SAFE (Save a Forgotten Equine) Horse Rescue in Woodinville, Washington works hard “To rescue, rehabilitate, and retrain horses facing neglect or abuse and provide them with the best opportunity for a permanent home and a lifetime of safety.” The organization was co-founded by Bonnie Hammond when she worked with others to rescue a single horse from a Washington slaughter pen in November of 2005. Today, this small organization is able to help 27 horses at a time, but depends greatly on volunteers and donations. Many of the horses are given veterinary care by Dr. Hannah Mueller of the Northwest Equine Stewardship Center.
Horses at SAFE receive ground and under-saddle training from dedicated members of the staff so that they can be good equine citizens in a loving forever home. The rescue was featured in our article “From Slaughter Trailer to Dressage Champion” where we learned about one of their success stories, Delilah. This starved mare was seized by animal control, pregnant, and in poor condition. After months of rehabilitation and retraining, Delilah blossomed into a gorgeous dressage competitor who qualified for Regional Championships.
This is just one example of the many horses that have been helped through SAFE’s impressive retraining program. Blogs and training videos are available on their website so you can follow the horses’ progress and get to know the horses before you adopt. Learn more about SAFE’s training program and adoption process by visiting their website or reading more in our blog.
Sunrise Equine Rescue - Grapeview, Washington
Rescue Horses as Therapy Horses
Animals can be wonderful companions to help heal both the body and the mind. That is why the staff at the Sunrise Equine Rescue (SER) regularly take their miniature therapy horses into nursing homes to visit with the residents. Like many rescues across the country, SER doesn't consider themselves JUST a rescue. They do important work to educate and help the community around them. Besides the nursing home visits, Sheila Christiansen shared, "Another service we provide is therapeutic horseback riding instruction. We have a certified therapeutic riding instructor who is credentialed through PATH International. Our rescue animals are an integral part of this service."
The rescue horses at SER mostly include saddle horses that had been used for trail riding, 4-H, showing, pasture pets, or companion animals. They also take in equines like rescued Thoroughbred race horses and donkeys. "SER is a 501c 3 non-profit, charitable organization that was established in 2009 by a group of local women with a common interest who recognized the need and desire to create a haven for abused, neglected, and unwanted equine," Sheila explained. The rescue operates from Sunrise Stables boarding facility in Grapeview, WA.
New rescue animals are always placed in quarantine. Next, they undergo a veterinary exam to determine their most immediate needs and create a rehabilitation protocol. "In keeping with our rehabilitation and healing environment, we are very fortunate to have a certified equine massage therapist who donates her skills to our cause and is instrumental in the rehabilitation and physical well being of our resident equines."
Rehabilitation is the first priority, and then horses begin their training work. Sheila shared, "Our trainer, an accomplished equestrienne who is also the president of our Board of Directors, performs the inital assessment and determines the necessary training regime."
SER's most pressing need is for funds to care for the daily needs of the animals. "We rely strictly on donations, grants, local festivals and events for our funds." Their hard work is paying off. Sheila and the rest of the SER volunteers are extremely proud of the the 13 rescued horses that they have placed with new families in the last 7 years!
Sunrise Equine Rescue
Location: Grapeview, Washington
Donate: Post Office Box 2427, Belfair, WA 98528
Heart of Phoenix - Huntington, West Virginia
Bringing Horses Back From the Brink of Starvation
In April of 2013, the Heart of Phoenix Horse Rescue discovered a pony named Turner (shown below). He had a severely injured leg and was scheduled to be shot by his owners. The rescuers took Turner under their wing and, with the help of Ohio veterinarians and farriers, he was given a clean bill of health just a few months later. It’s stories like this that show the true heart of these workers.
Tinia Creamer explained that the rescue was formed between 2009 and 2011 in the tristate area of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky when her team recognized a huge need that wasn’t being met. The group operates solely within rescue homes and does not have a standing facility.
This operation is unique in that they see the most extreme types of starvation cases not always typical with rescues across the country. “We have a long history of remarkable recoveries with horses that experts said could not recover from gross starvation,” Tinia explained. Most of the horses come from animal control cases where the animals were seized with body scores of only 1 or 2.
It takes a lot of work and skill to bring these animals back when they are in such bad shape. When the horses first arrive, they are always vetted right away. “We get a fecal count, worm based on condition, and parasite load. We have teeth floated right off. We typically offer free choice high quality grass hay and loose mineral paired with a probiotic in the beginning.”
Once the horse is starting to recover its health, the team evaluates their training level. “If the horse is unstarted, green or has a problem area in its previous training, we have a few professional trainers that give us a reasonable discount. We will put the horse through 8-12 weeks of training before placing the horse up for adoption.” Almost all of the potential adopters are located through PetFinder or Facebook and must undergo an extensive background and reference check before they are approved. Still, the rescue’s biggest challenge is finding qualified adopters and foster homes.
Every horse rescuer fears that their animals will fall back into a bad situation after being rehabbed. To combat this, each of the horses that pass through this operation is freeze-branded and the Heart of Phoenix retains ownership to add an extra layer of protection. It takes a great deal of work and heart, but the Heart of Phoenix volunteers are up to the challenge. Their greatest joy is seeing a once starved horse thriving with a new loving family.
American Standardbred Adoption Program - La Crosse, Wisconsin
Life After Harness Racing: Helping Standardbreds Find a Second Chance
The American Standardbred Adoption Program (ASAP) serves to help non-racing Standardbred horses find homes nationwide. The organization is based out of southwest Wisconsin near La Crosse, but also has foster homes in nearby Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan. Director Susan Wellman described the typical horse that enters the program, “Most horses coming into our barn have been meticulously cared for and valued as racing athletes. Horses average 3-5 years of age.” Most of these horses are former harness racers that were not fast enough to compete at the ‘high dollar tracks.’ Some of them have endured brief stints as Amish buggy horses or come directly from kill pens. (To learn more about the positive side of harness racing, check out this article.)
Once a horse enters the ASAP program, the staff or veterinarian quickly evaluates their health. “A fecal sample can help determine if there are parasites that need to be treated. Vets also can conduct a dental exam to see if a tooth problem could be contributing to a horse being underweight.” Once the horse has regained health, they enter the retraining phase of rehabilitation. Most of the Standardbreds are retrained as saddle horses with little difficulty. Susan shared, “Retraining Standardbreds to saddle is relatively uneventful, as Standardbreds have been handled so much since they were born that they take to saddle with little or no resistance. Driving cues may be necessary until the Standardbred learns leg cues.”
The ASAP finds potential adopters through their website and Facebook page. The also advertise on additional social media, on Craig’s List, or at various fairs and expos throughout the year. The main farm cares for an average of 20-25 horses at any given time. They are always in need of donations for feed and hay throughout the year. Susan continued, “We are always looking for foster homes that are willing to provide summer pasture or care for a horse while they are waiting for that perfect home.”
In the 20 years of this rescue’s operation, they have been able to help many Standardbred horses. “Our greatest successes involve any horse in need who comes to us with a broken spirit, full of fear or doubt, and to see them blossom into horses who seek you out, crave your attention, and want to give back despite what they have been through in their previous homes.”
Helping Hands Healing Hooves – Cedarburg, WI
A Simple Dream. A Dash of Hope. A Touch of Faith. Endless Possibilities.
Helping Hands Healing Hooves provides “A simple dream. A dash of hope. A touch of faith. Endless possibilities.” It’s a beautiful sentiment for a rescue that focuses on using therapeutic riding techniques to help those with disabilities. HHHH has been operating from Cedarburg, WI since 2006.
HHHH takes in a variety of horses including a mini pinto mare, a mini donkey both from a broken home, a pony and gelding whose owner lost her job and could no longer care for them, two paint mares, a young gelding, a few walkers, a Paso, and other grade horses.
Each of these animals is cared for by the HHHH staff along with two veterinarians and a Purina representative. Together, this band of caring people create quality rehabilitation and nutritional support programs for the animals.
A rescue representative named Deb shared these successes: “Helping the horses [recover] and watching them help our clients – people of all ages with many differing disabilities; seeing the amazing connections; watching our staff and volunteers be as richly rewarded as the clients and horses…”
The organization has two of Mark Rashid’s resident trainers to oversee the horse rescue re-training program. Both trainers have extensive training with rescued horses.
Most times, adopters reach out to the organization. On occasion, horses are listed on the website for adoption. HHHH usually has a list of possible adopters, including references that have been researched and have participated in site visits.
The biggest challenge is finances and other necessities such as feed, hay, and overhead expenses.
“We truly love what we do. We frequently hear from our “non-horsey” volunteers how impressed they are with the horses’ personalities and overall understanding…we’ve seen non-verbal clients speak and wheel chair bound clients move freely…[along with the] transformation of rescued horses…”
If you wish to help this organization, check out their information below:
Helping Hands Healing Hooves
Location: Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc. - Colfax, Wisconsin
Her quirky, goofy, affectionate rescue horse seemed to understand in a way that no one else did.
In 2013, Cindy Prince was attending law school, preparing for exams and getting ready to go pick up Kirby, an Arabian gelding who had lost his eye in a trailer accident after being saved from a kill buyer. On the eve of his pick-up, Cindy dislocated her kneecap but arrived on crutches in a leg immobilizer to take Kirby home, he’d made it this far and she wouldn’t let him down. However, not long after, Cindy was diagnosed with cancer and her life came crashing down around her.
Throughout the devastating effects of her treatment, she longed to be with Kirby. Her quirky, goofy, affectionate rescue horse seemed to understand in a way that no one else did. She realized that she didn’t care about her career or the myriad things that had seemed so important before. Kirby had changed her way of thinking; she wanted to spend her time in the barn helping other horses through the worst times of their lives, just as Kirby had done for her. In 2014, Cindy finished her treatment and Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab was officially born.
PTRR takes in all breeds, ages and genders of ponies, donkeys and horses regardless of their state. “We have taken in and rehabilitated emaciated, orphaned, abandoned, abused and unwanted horses from owner surrenders and law enforcement seizures. We also specialize in nurse mare orphan foals,” says Cindy.
After a veterinary evaluation, special needs horses are placed on a rehabilitation program based on their individual needs and all refeeding is done following the UC Davies program. Once they are rehabilitated, horses are evaluated for training. Training is a fun experience for everyone at PTRR, horses and volunteers alike. Volunteer trainers take on the horses that only need a quick training refresher. The rescue also runs a "Trainer's Challenge" where trainers compete for prizes with the ultimate goal of making the horses ready for their new homes.
PTRR also puts in an immense amount of work with the nurse mare orphan foals in their program. “We partner with the Kentucky Humane Association Equine CARE and take in several orphan foals each spring. These foals need round the clock care and feeding in order to survive without their mothers,” says Cindy. Regardless of their beginnings, PTRR wants these foals to grow up never knowing a day without love, care and compassion.
In the three short years since PTRR’s founding, they have rehabilitated, trained and found loving homes for 65 horses, ponies and donkeys. While proud of this number, the staff at PTRR have no intention of slowing down. Through the help and support of donors they are hoping to build a larger barn to “take in more special needs horses, allow more volunteers and youth groups to visit and provide more one-on-one interaction between humans and horses,” says Cindy.
The photo shown above is a photo of Kirby. Please consider becoming a "Kirby Crusader and donate or sponsor a horse in his memory.
Please use the information below to learn more about PTRR and donate to help make these dreams come true.
Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc.
Touching Smiles Equine Therapy - Cascade, Wisconsin
The majority of the horses at Touching Smiles are miniatures, each having lived a different path to reach their destination.
In 2005, Sheryl G. stumbled across a photo online of a little brown and white miniature pony with one blue eye and one brown. She was immediately in love and knew she had to go meet with the breeder. She couldn’t have known that the story she would hear about that little pony’s extracurricular activities would change her life forever.
After a two hour drive, the breeder told Sheryl and her family about taking his miniature ponies on trips to local nursing homes to visit the residents. He wasn’t part of a program or organization, he just loved seeing the joy it brought to those they visited. Sheryl took home the half brother of the pictured pony that day, and later adopted the first mini when he became available.
Still, she couldn’t forget the twinkle in the man’s eye when he talked about his trips. Sheryl and her family decided to form Touching Smiles in an effort to offer equine assisted therapy to individuals with special needs and began rescuing horses to build that dream.
All of the horses are cared for under the careful supervision of a veterinarian to ensure that all members of the herd remain happy, healthy and secure. Training for the animals at Touching Smiles is all about “patience, patience, patience,” says Sheryl. Each animal takes their time to develop trust and confidence in their surroundings.
The majority of the horses at Touching Smiles are miniatures, each having lived a different path to reach their destination. A few are blind, some were neglected and others were abused. Renegade arrived at Touching Smiles and learned how to be a horse for the first time. Having been raised on a goat farm, his initial reaction towards humans and animals alike was to put his head down and charge. However, Renegade has come a long way since then, he now not only knows that he’s a horse, but has proven to be a wonderful therapy partner.
While seeing all of their horses healthy and safe is a success for the staff at Touching Smiles, seeing the breakthroughs facilitated through human/horse interactions never fails to touch their hearts. One such instance at Touching Smile involved an eight year old boy that was going through an adoption when he arrived at the facility. What Sheryl didn’t know was that the boy had been completely nonverbal until he began visiting with the horses. “I was unaware of that fact, until I saw his adoptive mother with tears running down her cheeks,” remembers Sheryl. “She then told me that he hadn’t spoken at all before that moment. That one visit confirmed for us that what we are doing matters,” she says.
These moments are what drive Sheryl and the rest of the Touching Smiles staff to keep doing what they do. Please use the information below to find out what you can do to contribute and help create these moments for more individuals at Touching Smiles.
Touching Smiles Equine Therapy
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