Our mandate is to provide therapeutic riding and other horse experiences for children and adults with special needs, and to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home horses at risk of neglect, abuse or slaughter. People Helping Horses Helping People.
The Horse Sanctuary is 100% volunteer-run. all money raised goes directly to helping our horses and our special-needs clients
This winter, The Horse Sanctuary is home to 12 rescued horses. Two are ready to be re-homed, but the other ten will be with us for the rest of their lives, too old or infirm to find adoptive homes. Some work in our therapeutic riding program, helping children and adults with disabilities like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimers, Spinal cord injury and more.
No Government Funding
Horse rescues receive no government funding. As a registered charity, The Horse Sanctuary is able to provide tax receipts for donations, but we are entirely self-financed. The fees charged for therapeutic riding help off-set our costs, but represent less than 40% of our annual operating budget. Those who cannot afford to pay, are not charged for our services. And while the therapeutic programs run for seven months of the year, the school horses and rescues must be fed and cared for year-round.
When we opened our doors in 2007, a bale of hay cost $2.50. Since then, costs have skyrocketed as high as $7 a bale in drought years, and $4.50 is the standard selling price. Round bales have gone from $30 to $60 or more. Prices for grain and supplements, vet and farrier care and hydro have all increased as well.
Why Horses Need Us
Most people assume that all horses are owned by rich people and that an animal as magnificent and beloved as the horse would never be neglected or abused. So it comes as a shock to learn that tens of thousands are slaughtered for meat exports every year and countless tens of thousands more are left to suffer lives of hidden neglect.
Our rescue horses have many stories to “tell:”
An Old Horse Story
It’s disturbing that some horse owners are prepared to “dump” a horse once it reaches a certain age. Once he can’t compete at the highest levels or put in the trail miles demanded of him, the older horse is discarded. This might mean being warehoused in a bad pasture or low-quality “boarding” facility without adequate food, veterinary or farrier care. It might mean “re-homing” through auction or a “horse free to good home” ad that most often leads to a kill buyer’s trailer and the slaughter house. Delusions of “retirement” homes where the old horse can serve as a cherished companion to younger horses are just that. Delusions. Very few such homes exist, and most discarded senior horses meet with a bad end.
Some end up at sanctuaries like ours. Each of the school horses in our therapeutic riding program is a senior, but still with much to give. For our program, advanced age can be a bonus – a horse with much experience and wisdom may make the perfect partner for a vulnerable rider with disabilities.
Injuries and Illness
Some horses have the bad luck to suffer career-ending injuries or chronic illnesses that make them unsuitable for work. Often, these horses require expensive maintenance to keep them comfortable. Many end in the same downward spiral of neglect or slaughter as the old ones.
The Horse Sanctuary is currently home to three such horses:
Havana, a retired polo pony who was a star of our therapeutic riding program was recently diagnosed with Wobbler’s. This neurological disorder (in Havana’s case likely linked to arthritis) causes a loss of coordination, making the horse unsafe to ride. Havana is enjoying retired life.
Taffy came to us with debilitating founder – a painful condition of the foot which may cripple a horse or force humane euthanasia. We are fortunate that our highly skilled farriers – T & T Farrier Services – have offered to provide Taffy with the corrective shoeing she will require for the rest of her life to make her pain-free.
Sophie is a sweet pony in her twenties, blind in one eye from uveitis. Her lack of sight has made Sophie nervous of new situations and unsafe under saddle. But she LOVES to be groomed and fussed over.
Overbreeding, Bad Training, Ignorance and more
Every year, more horses are bred than can possibly find good homes. Many are low quality horses produced to satisfy a human’s ego, with no thought to producing a quality riding partner or improving a breed. Some unscrupulous breeders admit to breeding more horses than they can sell, hoping to produce a “star.” They are willing to ship the “extras” directly to the slaughter house.
Horses branded as dangerous, un-rideable or “crazy” have been ruined by bad trainers or poor riders. Sadly, it’s the horse that pays the price for human ignorance. Once labelled “bad,” a horse has little hope of finding a decent home.
Some horses land in terrible situations through sheer human ignorance. A filly ended up in our care – at death’s door at the age of 7 months – starved and sick with little will to live. Never receiving proper nutrition or health care, she nearly lost her life. These horses and many more like them need our help, and we need yours.
How you can donate:
Use PayPal on our website: www.thehorsesanctuary.org
Mail: The Horse Sanctuary, 1090 Warminster Side Road RR3 Coldwater ON L0K 1E0