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
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: