Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"So How Long Have You Been Into Horses?"

Anyone involved with horse rescue or consumed with saving them off the track or off an auction lot, has been asked "So how long have you been into horses"? Its akin I guess to how long have you been collecting baseball cards or watching ballroom dancing?. I think you are either "into them" from your earliest memory or something comes to your attention that spurs you into action. Into horses isn't a passive past time, it's an all consuming passion, well at least for me and the numerous others I have met in the past five years.

My earliest memory of a horse in my life was a palomino pony when I was three years of age named Peanut. Peanut was never as happy to see me, as I was to see him. He was owned by my babysitter and stood under a tree often enough for me to know where he would be. No apples or any other amount of temptation made Peanut happy to see me. He bit me often, but I didn't care, I always came back for more. Its the same with rescue, no matter how many times you are thwarted or discouraged, you come back for more.

I became involved with saving horses after I read that 1986 Kentucky Derby Winner Ferdinand had been thought to have been slaughtered overseas. Up to that point I had no idea that anyone wanted horse meat for human consumption. I didn't know about the network of race horses going to slaughter in the United States for European plates. I couldn't imagine that an American icon, the horse, was treated in such a disposable manner.

I wanted to do something, but really didn't know what I could do. I only had one mission and that was to make a difference in it's life. I started by doing a search on the Internet. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the subject. I found that there were a couple retirement places for California race horses and that seemed like the perfect fit for me. I began volunteering for the Exceller Fund http://www.excellerfund.org/ However, after a bit it became apparent to me that I needed to do more. I wanted to touch the horse that I was going to sponsor. I went back to the Internet and found CERF (California Equine Retirement Foundation) in Winchester http://www.cerfhorses.org/ I was thrilled to find out that there were a couple horses available for sponsorship and that my visiting the horse and spending time with him was not only welcomed but encouraged. That was in September 2004. I have been with CERF ever since. I went into my sponsorship of Remote Controller, my handsome chestnut boy, with the gesture that I was changing his life but in retrospect he changed the trajectory of my own, and rescued me instead.

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