Giving of your time and resources is one of the best things you will ever do in your life. Helping another, horse or human is like nothing else. Here our programs focus on helping the horses, helping each other and in the end, we wonder who rescued who.
We don’t consider ourselves a rescue really, we are an all volunteer, 501 (c)3 non profit animal welfare organization, and we take in horses that are injured, that perhaps have no where else to go, or have been neglected or sometimes even seized.
But the word “rescue” can have so many bad connotations, and we are such a happy joyous place. Rather than blame the situation they came from, we instead focus on how grateful we are to have them here.
The phrase “it takes a village” – you really understand that if you visit, volunteer, or donate to our organization. We on average have 20 injured Off the Track Thoroughbreds (OTTB’s) horses in our care, in various states of rehab. We have on average 100 volunteers with 1500 service hours a month just to get thru the basic care.
We actually never intended or conceived in having a children’s educational program, what we have, has developed organically. Mom’s just kept showing up saying how can I get my young children involved? So we developed an educational program, to teach kids, not a riding program, but everything horse . From feeding and grooming, to being there for vet and farrier visits, to setting up a round pen, hooking up a trailer, reviewing an adoption application, paying the vet bill, calling in the feed order, helping w new volunteer orientations, assessing and rehabbing horses, retraining horses, and the list goes on. They are learning everything. They are learning to run a barn, manage a herd, and with this, they are learning a whole lot of life lessons. How to be responsible, how to work through frustration, how to support each other and bring each other up, the power of positivity, what hard work is really all about, how to keep going when you want to give up, the joy of working hard and getting it right. Its like no other program out there. And on top of it, we use ex racehorses. Horses that are young, injured, and while mostly well behaved, not always. They are large, and can be intimidating, but we show all of our students how to manage, to stand up for themselves, to have boundaries and in the end this enormous horse is listening to THEM! You would not believe how amazing it is for these young girls, to be in charge, to make decisions and get the respect from a 1,200 pound horse. Really if they can do this, they can do anything.
We are so proud to offer this here in the community of Naples, FL. Most of our horses come directly from Gulfstream Park. We hope you will consider enrolling your child in one of our programs, we have a one day camp that is offered various times thru out the year, that is co ed ages 7 and up. We have week long camp that is girls only, 7 and up. We have an ongoing, once a week program that meets for three hours each week and goes thru out the year, that is girls 8 and up. For really young children, we have a Mom and Me class that is 3-7 years of age, co ed, and also a wee ones that is ages 5 and under, co ed, that is a really a short introduction to horses for the littlest of littles. Our list of classes can be found HERE http://www.horserescueflorida.com/education
THE OFF TRACK THOROUGHBREDS
Ex Racehorses. Expensive, young, and injured. What they need is lots of love, guidance and healing. Then retraining and hopefully a forever home! They have been handled by professionals all of their lives, now they are in a world of non professionals. The kids are amazing, with the love they share. This is so important. They also don’t weigh much, so make really great riders when a horse is healing and need to be in light work. They are not professionals, they make mistakes. The horses need to learn that people make mistakes and to be ok with that. They show the horses that they are learning too, and together they move forward. The girls, and the horses, get lots of coaching, and lots of guidance, but quickly the girls learn to assess a horse, they make good decisions, they consider the horse, figure out who to fix “problems” like maybe a horse doesn’t stand still for the mounting block or pick up his feet so easily, or maybe they teach him to bow. They all do a lot of work at walk and whoa. Two of the most important things you can teach a young racehorse. The horses feel their love and willingness to learn and are so super tolerant of these young children. Its beautiful to watch. Since we are an all volunteer organization, all the proceeds from classes and programs go to help feed and care for the horses. Its a Win Win! They are helping the ex racers in every possible way, and our amazing volunteers that dedicate their time and their heart to run the program, well we couldn’t do it with out them either And of course the parents, who chose to support our mission and show their kids that there is a way forward w love, hard work, and perseverance.