One Man’s Story

In Praise of Saddlebred Rescue

Clifford The Big Red Couch

After not riding for many years and having several big changes in my life, I decided, before I was six feet under, that I wanted to ride again.  Growing up on a farm, I loved riding my ponies, and later a “half saddlebred”, but then I went off to college.

Still loving horses, when first teaching school I was lucky to ride colts a couple of summers for the wonderful Gray Barham at Sandy Knolls Farm in Ohio.  My times with Gray Barham and those young horses were truly wonderful, and a gift I feel honored to have received.

To shorten this saddlebred love story, I decided to inquire about a Saddlebred Rescue Horse.  I called them and explained my situatioon, abilities, limitations, wants and needs.  They told me about an older horse that seemed to fit my needs.  We are both “older”, and he was trail broke and big, which I needed.   They called him, “Clifford — The Big Red Couch”, and they referred me to their website.  I liked what I saw and had a saddlebred trainer / friend, Joan Lurie, also inquire about him for me.

After several telephone conversations, and completing all the paper work, Clifford was on a van to Stonelea Farm in Prospect, KY.  Arriving the next day at 4:30 a.m.,  this big, handsome, red, chesnut gelding walked off the van…   I was thrilled!

We gave Clifford a couple of days of R&R and pampering, then my friend, a hunter / jumper trainer, rode him first.  Clifford was a perfect gentleman, but my friend thought Clifford held his head “a little high”.  I said, “That’s wonderful, he’s a Saddlebred!”

The barn, his new home, on an 800+ acre farm, has thoroughbreds, hunter / jumpers and fox hunters.  Clifford is the Saddlebred Missionary, and a very good one with his head out of the stall saying hello to everyone.

I don’t think I could have gone out and bought a horse as nice or well suited for me.  He makes me feel good every time I see him and every time I ride him.  We are two old guys having a good time together.

The most amazing part of all — Clifford, a Saddlebred Rescue Horse, seems so appreciative and thankful to have a good home.  He shows his love and he shares his love with me.  What more could I ask?

Clifford — The Big Red Couch & Tom Schoeni.


     When I read this story of Tom and Clifford it drove home just how effective Saddlebred Rescue is.  Although I am unsure how Clifford wound up in the rescue program, I know that Nealia and Pat found a great horse, vetted him, retrained him, most likely got some groceries in him  and discovered exactly where Clifford would excel.  After all of that, they managed to pair him with the perfect Dad.

      All this hard work comes at a price.  Hay, grain, ivermectin, transportation, vaccinations, teeth floating and shoeing all cost money.  Please help us by making a donation to Saddlebred Rescue (  Or, you can attend the brunch fundraiser held in conjunction with the World Championship Horse Show, or you can spread the word by inviting people to follow this blog.  All are important ways to save Saddlebreds from needless slaughter.  Everything counts.

     One last thing, from reading Tom’s words, I think Clifford has excelled in his new environment.  Kudos to every one involved!  Thanks Tom, for sharing  your story.

Thanks in advance for all you do,

Cindy (who loves Saddlebreds)


About Save a Saddlebred

This blog is on behalf of a cause that is near and dear to my heart, Saddlebred Rescue. Our group saves, rehabilitates and repurposes saddlebred horses. To date, we have prevented 900+ horses from being slaughtered. I'm proud to be a part of that. This site will bring you news of whats going on and of course, pleas for donations. Think about it, it's a great cause.
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18 Responses to One Man’s Story

  1. Maryta says:

    What a great story. This makes all the work worth it. Thanks for sharing

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    What an awesome story. I love reading these.

  3. Patty Adams says:

    I love reading these stories!! These horses have so much to offer, even after their show ring days are over! Thank you to Saddlebred Rescue for taking care of these animals, until they find their forever homes…………….Please donate just $5.00 if you can, all you have to give up is 1 Starbuck’s Coffee, and like magic – there’s the money that can make all the difference in a horse and a human’s life!!

    • Patty, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Sherri, I feel confident that there will be another horse for you. Call me crazy, but I believe that the universe will take care of us when the universe is ready and when the universe believes we are ready.

      Thanks to both Patty and Sherri for your valuable comments. It all counts.

  4. Sherri Michaels says:

    I was so happy for Clifford, but at the same time sad. Sad because had finally almost talked my hubby into letting me have a horse and had started to get some place to keep him lined up. Then he found his forever home and it sounds like he is loving every acre of it. Sometime in my future there will be my own comfy couch. And those who know me I need a couch.

  5. Thanks to Tom, SBR and Clifford — a winning combination!

  6. Pam Davis says:

    So love these stories. With the hundreds of horses adopted from SBR, hope to be reading many more of these.

  7. Wonderful story and an amazing forever home!!! Saddlebred Rescue comes through again!

  8. some day, in my dreams, I will own a Saddlebred rescue from SBR. So glad Clifford has a wonderful home. I want to be a wonderful home to a rescue to help out a awesome organization that really knows what they are doing.

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