I work with rescue horses, because I enjoy the transformational journey that takes place in the horse.
At first glance, a rescue horse may look dirty, scared, unhealthy, and worthless. But I've found that underneath the disheveled appearance beats a heart that's still willing to love. The horse just has to be shown how to trust again.
My own rescue horse, Banjo, doesn't at all resemble the horse I met years ago, inside or out. That scared, dirty, dangerous horse is now my trusty best friend.
When I met Killian, a horse taken in by Colorado Horse Rescue, I was struck by his physique as well as his beauty. He's a tall, solid-red chestnut. And underneath that beauty was a horse who wanted a partner?a friend he could trust.
He'd been donated to the rescue because he wasn't suited for the level of competition his owner had chosen. This happens frequently. When a horse fails to meet the demand of his owner's chosen discipline, he's discarded.
I often wonder how it feels for these horses to go through the process of moving from an upscale show barn to a horse rescue. Such a drastic change. Not just the physical shift, but that slip out of the limelight. Once the owners' primary focus, they're now cast off.
And the former show horses are the lucky ones. What about the truly abused horses?
But a horse's heart is an amazing thing. I'm always moved by the horse's ability to show up and try, even after being mistreated, starved, beaten, neglected, and discarded by humans.
Killian had been left at the rescue untouched for years, mostly because of his nervous, forward under-saddle style. This horse was just waiting for someone to take the time to help him.
With patience, love, and consistency, he blossomed. He changed from a high-strung animal to one who's relaxed, even gentle.
Banjo helped to ground Killian. He provided a calming influence. He's good at that.
Killian transformed into a solid, trustworthy, gentle horse. As soon as he completed his transformation, he was adopted out as a young rider's first horse.
I love the journey, the transformation, the conversion from fear to love.
(For more rescue-horse success stories, go to http://ahomeforeveryhorse.com/articles.)
If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.
This project helps find homes for America's 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
- Begin the search for your next equine partner at AHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
- Visit the site's "Services" section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
- Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.
If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.