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
If you are interested in loaning or donating your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: