The story below is Julee O’Reilly’s story. Julee, life long Saddlebred lover, has a lesson program in Delaware, OH and her ASB rescue story as told by her, is written below. (I couldn’t keep this compelling story to myself).
I adopted “Berried Treasure” (not his real name but he certainly is one!) now referred to as “Barry” in the Fall of 2009. I was looking for a horse for my lesson program and had previously adopted an older horse from Saddlebred Rescue (Methusela – “Zeus”) as a companion horse, which I dearly loved. I discussed my needs with Pat and Nealia and when Barry arrived at SBR, it was determined that this horse would suit my needs. I saw his picture, took a leap of faith, and he was on a trailer a few days later bound for Ohio.
I could not have been happier with him! He is the PERFECT lesson horse – kind, sane, broke, absolutely adorable. He likes his job each and every day and was everything I wanted in a horse. I can’t imagine a horse like him being only hours away from shipping to slaughter. If Pat and Nealia had not seen him lift his head up above the others, he would have been lost and that thought is what drives me to do all I can to help support the efforts of Saddlebred Rescue.
I have built my lesson program around these rescues because I feel the public needs to have an understanding of just what slaughter is all about. It’s not the old, sick, or injured horses that the oldmyth would lead one to believe. Instead, it is any horse, any breed, any age, any time. For me to beable to utilize these horses in my program shows my students that there is a flaw in the whole processand that SBR, through all its efforts, can and does make a difference in the lives of these horses.
Saddlebred Rescue is so different from other “rescues”. While they are in fact “rescuing” horses from slaughter, their scope goes far beyond that. The care and rehabilitation that the horses receive is top notch because what is needed for each horse is recognized by professionals. Each horse is evaluated under saddle to determine what they can do and what they like to do – trails, lessons, therapeutic, pleasure, etc. This allows for the best match to be made between horse and potential adopter and SBR is not afraid to tell someone that a particular horse isn’t suited for what they are looking for. I admire that and feel that is part of the success of the program. However, it doesn’t just end there.
Each horse continues to be worked and their progress is monitored. Not only is the horse getting the structured exercise to get in optimal shape, but is then able to truly show the true colors and abilities it has to offer. The safety net that goes along with every horse is key to making sure that the horse’s best interest is always paramount. If ever an adopter’s situation changes, be it health or financial, etc., and they cannot keep the horse, the horse can always be returned to SBR. SBR’s proximity to the horses in need, the facility available to house and evaluate the horses, the professionals to monitor each horse and determine its abilities, and their ability to network in and out of the industry makes this program work.
So, if you are wondering what happened with the donations you make to Saddlebred Rescue, well now you know. In short, SBR rescues, rehabilitates and places horses in their new home and job. It’s a good thing, it really is. No, it’s a GREAT thing.
This year’s Brunch and Silent Auction is being held on Thursday August 23, 2012. More details to follow, but to make sure you get a spot,