If you’ve visited the home page of my blog, you’ve seen the little blip where I talk about The Shadarobah Horse Rescue. Helping with a horse rescue has been something that has always interested me. Throughout nursing school I would check out rescue websites, but committing volunteer time is hard when tests, studying, and clinicals run the world.
After graduating and deciding to jump in and buy another horse, I also looked into some rescues. It is still a dream of mine to one day adopt a rescue. Although I ended up buying instead of adopting, I wouldn’t change that for the world. Cash, to me, was a rescue. He desperately needed someone to fall in love with him and give him a chance. Besides, with all the care I had to catch him up on, my wallet definitely thought he was a true rescue!
Shortly after owning Cash I reached out to Shadarobah Horse Rescue to offer my time. Life got busy over the holidays and I kind of forgot about the rescue. A few months later I remember waking up on a Saturday and scrolling through Facebook (pretty much my morning routine). I saw that the rescue had taken in 10 horses and needed volunteers and supplies. I sent a quick text again offering my time and help, and was asked if I could come out that day. I shot out of bed, so excited, talking 100 mph to my half asleep husband (who could care less about horses).
I had seen the pictures posted on Facebook, and tried to mentally prepare myself. The pictures didn’t do the horses justice. They were unbelievably thin, caked in mud, and overall just really sad looking. Despite this all, I fell in love with rescue! I ended up donating a portion of my Sundays for a couple weeks to help out.
There were two paint mares, one a draft cross and one terrified of people. It took over 30 minutes to catch her that day. Luckily, we work with some very patient volunteers. There were three Percherons that were pretty big and scary, in my opinion. I was told that two of the three would kick and none of them were interested in being handled. There were two Belgium drafts, one of which has already been adopted to a loving home! There was a little black mare, and a mini. Of course the one everyone was most interested in was the Gypsey Vanner.
For a couple weeks I spent every Sunday meeting new volunteers and brushing and handling the horses. The third Sunday I showed up I met another new volunteer. She has a heart for Percherons and owns one herself. Despite being told about the “beasts” in the back paddock, she declared that we were going to brush the Percherons that day. I wasn’t too sure about any of it, but if she was determined, who was I to stop her? Instead I agreed to help her. I’m SO glad that I did! Although those mares were a bit untrusting at first, they were huge love bugs! Not to say these horses were suddenly able to be easily handled, but they enjoyed treats and being brushed. We still had to tread lightly. I’ll never forget the first time in my life almost being kicked by a horse, especially one of that size! It forced me to remember that these horses were not my sweet Cash, who let nothing bother him.
Having to support 10 horses required a lot of resources. Although everybody and their brother was stepping up to foster some of the drafts and the Gypsey Vanner, the rescue cannot just place horses with anyone. Luckily, the Appalachian Trainer Face Off was looking for unhandled drafts and draft crosses. Our rescue contacted the Heart of Phoenix rescue that runs this competition, and they were able to take four of our horses! I’ll link those Facebook pages below. Check them out to follow the progress of our rescues! Iron Gait Percherons Draft Horse Rescue and Sanctuary was able to take one of our Percheron mares, who was deemed too old for the competition. Heart of Phoenix rescue was kind enough to help arrange transport for the old mare to make her way to GA where the rescue is located.
A few weeks later the little black mare that I loved found a foster to adopt home. I couldn’t be happier for her! The Gypsey Vanner was also adopted out to a wonderful home. All that remains of the Whitely 10 is the little paint mare that was so afraid of humans. She is currently being fostered by one of our dedicated volunteers, and is doing wonderful! Before, it was hard to even pet her. Just recently our volunteer was able to blanket and saddle her! She has also put on some much needed weight.
Helping with the rescue has been such an amazing experience. It also helps fulfill the void of wanting to get a second horse! I have my heart horse, Cash, at home. I also have a whole barn full of rescues that I’m able to love on whenever! If you’ve ever considered volunteering at a local rescue, I highly encourage it. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing once neglected animals progress and flourish under proper care.
Below are a lot of links! Check out the competition and fellow rescues mentioned above. There are links for Shadarobah Horse rescue below and on my homepage if you are interested in donating or volunteering. The rescue recently took in another 6 horses and could use donations and supplies. More to come on the Albion 6 and counting in a future blog post!
Applalachian Trainer Face Off – follow our rescues Nakita, Maribeth, Beatrix, and Allegra
Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, INC
Iron Gait Percherons Draft Horse Rescue and Sanctuary- follow our rescue, Debbie
Shadarobah Horse Rescue