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
Trailer: NOT NEEDED
If you are interested in loaning or donation your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: