Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who's rescuing who

I talked to one of my horse show friends the other day. She knows that I haven't done much with horses in eight years.  She said, "if you want to get a horse fix and don't want to do hard riding, why don't you come with me to Dark Horse Rescue?  I volunteer there every Tuesday."

Dark Horse Rescue is located near Hernando, MS.

DHR has been rescuing horses and placing them in forever homes since early 2009. "Our goal is to give horses a brighter future by providing them with proper nutrition, medical care, training and love then place them in a forever home," says Director Christy Gross on their Facebook page.

"Currently we have horses of all ages and riding disciplines in need of a good home. DHR volunteers work very hard to give each horse the love and care it deserves. We put a lot of time and effort into what we do and are proud of our horses and what they become because of our program. Our experience and knowledge is used to educate the public on the proper care and maintenance of the horse," says Gross.

Volunteer Faye Roberson helps at feeding time. 
So, today, I tagged along.  It did my heart good to fill feed buckets, throw hay and groom.  As I ran the rubber grooming pad over the horse's rump to loosen the caked mud, I felt myself begin to relax. She stood perfectly still as I brushed her, even her legs and feet, and detangled her tail. I couldn't resist getting the scissors and trimming her uneven mane.

Sasha is a 4-year-old registered quarter horse mare. Her papers say she is black, but she is turning blue roan. She is only about 13.3 hands high. When Sasha first came to DHR she was extremely thin and had not been cared for. She had scars covering her body and did not trust anyone. (see below left, second pic)

It actually felt good to get back in my "barn clothes"—not-so-gently-worn jeans, muck boots, vest (so you can peel off layers if you get hot), deerskin gloves.  Better than business board room clothes any day.

I wasn't the only rookie volunteer. Jane Alderman was shown the feeding routine and got a lesson on grooming from Lindsey Champagne. (see below, left, top)

Lindsey just happens to be the daughter-in-law of volunteer coordinator Susan Champagne. Feeding and caring for horses means time and money. DHR gladly accepts donated feed items or hay. Champagne keeps a neatly-organized schedule of her volunteers to make sure all time slots are covered.

Today she was cleaning the stall of AJ, who is confined inside due to a hoof injury.  Overall, it was a delightful, sunny day in the well-kept barn.  I don't really know who benefits more—the horses or the volunteers. This sign hanging in the barn hall is full of wisdom. I guess I'll go back next week.

For more information, visit the DHR web site at http://darkhorserescue.org/ or find them on Facebook.

Volunteer Coordinator Susan Champagne
Jane and Lindsey


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