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P.O. Box 4603, Sunland, CA 91041-4603 / Phone: 818-353-9577
A Non Profit 501(c)(3) Organization (Non Profit Tax ID# 91-1913960) - Donations are tax deductible
The Arabian Horse Rescue Network is no
In 1996 when I first came online, it was on the AOL Pet Care Forum Arabian horse boards. I had been working with Equus Sanctuary for about 2.5 years at that time, and so jumped on those boards with both barrels loaded, pointing out the number and quality of Arabian horses going to slaughter. It got me no where. But I continued to post and started to make friends and enjoy the people there. In May 1997, we posted about the small herd of pathetic Arabians at the feedlot -- those AOLers jumped in and that was the beginning of the AHRN.
For those of you not on AOL, the AHRN / Arabian Horse Rescue warranted its own folder soon after we started to pull Arabian after Arabian to safety and find them homes. Our website went up in October 1997, and through that we established our supporter list which is now over 1200. In February 1999, the Arabian Horse World article appeared, the hits to our site skyrocketed, and the interest in our work did, too. The single most common comment from those folks was, "I had no idea this was happening." That was a major educational tool for us, and as we have said before, took guts on the part of Denise Hearst.
We have placed well over 100 horses. There are probably 40 or so that were placed so quickly that we never even got them on our website. There were weeks at a time when I had 8-10 horses to care for when I got home from work. In the summer of 1998, we started to acquire a few foster homes willing to take horses with possible strangles. Our first foster family was the Segovias, who took two pathetic youngsters -- and then dealt with all of their own horses getting sick as well.
Our (meaning you folks as well as us at the frontline) ability to work miracles together was amazing. In January 1999, the funds for those old Draper girls came in so fast (one lady paid for one of them in full to save her life), and we were not without what we needed to trailer, care for, and feed them the special feed they needed. But more important the outcry to the school, and the continued efforts of one of the women who initially contacted us about them, resulted in changes in policy for taking donated horses at the school.
99% of the horses we placed are still where we sent them. The 3-4 that did not work out came back to us. In that, we are very fortunate. But the matchmaking has been pretty fun really -- I must have been a town matchmaker in another life! I found that when someone contacted me with an unquestionable, "That one is MINE!" They were right. Something about a specific horse spoke to them, and since that is what happened with me and Merlin, I understood that and learned to trust it.
People have said quite often, "I don't know how you do that -- go down to the feedlot." Most of the time it didn't bother me. I knew that we were doing the most we could do, and I guess I was able to go there, look at the ones we were pulling, and go home. It wasn't difficult for me (with a couple of exceptions), to have a horse here for a month or so and then let them go because I knew there were going somewhere where they would get more attention. Usually I had so many here that to create a real one-to-one bond wasn't possible -- my free time was spent with Arthur and Merlin. The ones that I had to work especially hard with -- if they were really sick or really frightened -- were the ones that I found difficult to let go.
The little filly Libby, that came with Calricia, will always be one girl I feel especially proud of. I had to learn a whole new method of working with horses because of her. Terrified when she arrived ... couldn't get near her. Five months later, she walked down the driveway and on to the trailer like a pro. It was one of my best moments ever.
But I do not aspire to martyrdom -- doesn't suit me. I have just always had a knack for getting things done and organized. However, since last summer I have found myself fatigued physically and emotionally from this -- and have thought of discontinuing this work. I look at Merlin who is out of shape and overweight from lack of work, and spend so much time after my full-time job doing AHRN stuff that my own horses stand and stare at me as if to say, "Excuse me ... we're here ya know!" I feel like the pediatrician who is wonderful to his patients but his own kids are not well and in trouble!
The thing I don't like at all is that I seem to have come full circle and arrived back in a place I don't want to be. The anger at the continued disregard for the lives of these animals, the numbers bred, the former owners and breeders contacted who don't care that this youngster has ended up where they are, but they are expecting 4 or 6 more new foals this year. The justification of continuing to breed as if an Arabian horse has never gone to slaughter. It seems that someone else breeds all the horses that come to our attention. Well, SOMEONE is breeding them ... and SOMEONE is dumping them!!! Most breeders will just say they do the best they can in selling their horses, and I am certain they do, but cannot be responsible after that. I have found that those who breed as a business refuse to accept that the numbers bred is an issue.
I spend time reading the various Arabian horse forums on the net, and see the situation within that 'industry' -- I hate that word, but that is what it is. I find myself thinking, "Are we talking about the same thing here?" As I stop, aghast at the realization that under the pages and pages, and words and words and more words, these posts are about Arabian horses. Well, ya coulda fooled me!
As a result of the AHRN, I have been pulled into that industry and I don't want to be there. It's not for me ... never has been. A 'war' of the same verbiage erupted on the AOL boards recently, and it was the same thing, and I saw my posts and I saw my anger return and it's not how I want to live. It's a fight that has no end, and if one of our supporters won the lottery and told me to quit my job and do this full time, we still would not end it. The Arabian industry is a mess and so far removed from that which is the whole purpose of it -- the Arabian horse -- that it has become necessary for me to give myself permission to say "ENOUGH". This just isn't for me … if I can't change things, then I need to go back to what is important in my simple little life. I admit I have never been a gracious loser.
When I started out in 1997, I had Arthur and Merlin -- still do of course. I think I did pretty good … three years later, I have Arthur, Merlin, Phoenix, and Neero. I know some people (CyndiB, Daniella, Angela, Cindy H…shall I go on?), who'd still have about 90 out of 100 of the horses that passed through my life had they been in my muck boots.
I want to go out to the tack room (ok, ok ... it's a garage that hasn't seen a car in years), dust off my old Keiffer dressage saddle, and break it to Merlin that his retirement is over, and go for quiet rides where, for a time, life is perfect. Phoenix, if he is ever going to be a normal horse, needs to be worked and reminded every day that there is nothing to be afraid of. Neero Monty is the 50% Raseyn stallion that was sold by Cal Poly for $1.00 -- I think of him as my gift from Edna Draper for helping her old girls. He was placed in a home for a while, but when we found out he was not properly cared for we went and got him, and here he will stay. Arthur is pretty self-contained other than he likes to hang out with his mom, and there are moments recently where I stand still long enough for him to nibble at my clothing again, and I am reminded that he is the love of my life, and at 30 something, won't be around forever.
At this time we have nine horses to place (I think it's nine). When they are in new homes, that is it for the AHRN. I can't do this any more … I don't want to do this any more. I want to crawl back into my little life with my beloved animals. There are a few other things I wish to pursue -- including some research into the whereabouts of Arabian horses advertised in the World / Times say 10 years ago. And the same for the remaining Draper herd. Ok, ok, so my penchant for trouble is just a natural part of my personality.
There is the issue of the Draper mares -- we will have four to support. I hope that as the need arises, you will help me keep them safe and cared for -- it really is a personal favor to me. But if you met them you would know why I have become so committed to them … they are treasures, and friends of Mrs. Draper have called me and told me how they believe she would have reacted to how her beloved old girls ended up.
For any of the AHRN horses that may end up needing us again, WE WILL BE THERE. A 501c3 doesn't have to be active to maintain its status. So any of the owners of our horses, should anything happen in your life and your AHRN alumni need help, we will be there for them and for you. You have my word.
This is not the last you will hear from me -- we will let you know who still needs a home when Tink and Eli feel better, and the few others that are in our care. I have some photos of our alumni that need to go up for you to see, and our pal Angela is doing a website for me of the Draper horses with photos taken last week. I also want this letter to be on our website for a while, and a few words from the others who have been with me since day one deserve a say as well.
I guess I just finally needed to say it out loud to make it real. Easily done? No … I will definitely have some tears to shed, and a hard time saying 'no'. There are several Arabians at the killer's right now, and I have to say no. It is a sad, sad bottomless pit, and I want to ride my horses again.
The barn door with the AHRN logo on it is closed.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for making the AHRN what it is.
|Arabian Horse Rescue Network
P.O. Box 4603
Sunland, CA 91041-4603
Web page design by Robert Herman and Diana Patterson.
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