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
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: