Safe Harbor to debut outdoor arena at Breeds of the World

Safe Harbor to debut outdoor arena at Breeds of the World

Jen Todd , USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published 11:22 a.m. CT April 7, 2017 | Updated 12:40 p.m. CT April 7, 2017  Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary hosts an awareness event called Breeds of the World, with horse demonstrations, a petting zoo, rides in a buggy owned by George Jones and more. Wochit (Photo: Courtesy of Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary) 142 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE Country legend George Jones was a horse lover. And Cottontown-based Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary will host rides in his old horse buggy in its upcoming Breeds of the World open house event on April 22. “It’s a nice little piece of history,” said Executive Director Sariah Hopkins. “It’ll be a Standardbred ex-race horse pulling the buggy.” In conjunction with ASPCA’s Help A Horse Day, families can ride the buggy, see a variety of breeds of horses — many of which are up for adoption, pet pygmy goats and miniature donkeys and horses, and even meet the steer, Stewie, in a kissing booth. Attendees at the Breeds of the World event can take rides in a buggy once owned by George Jones. (Photo: Courtesy of Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary) Volunteers will show and tell the stories of rescue horses from Arabian to Dutch Warmblood to Gypsy Vanner breeds and beyond. “This year, we wanted to make the horses really front and center and showcase the versatility of horses that come through the rescue,” Hopkins said. The festival kicks off with the grand opening of Safe Harbor’s new outdoor arena, which will allow for more training, fundraisers and other services at the site. With the new arena, Safe Harbor can also expand its therapy programs for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and children in the foster care system through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model. Although the organization is a horse and livestock rescue at its core, helping people through a love of animals is another central piece of its mission. “EAGALA is a really beneficial therapy format for kids in foster care, but it’s not typically covered by insurance,” Hopkins said. “We’re looking into that as a way we can help contribute as a public service charity and make that more affordable and accessible for kids in foster care.” At Breeds of the World, horse demonstrations will take place in the 100-by-200 foot arena, funded by the Rogers Group with contributions by the Gallatin Lowe’s. Construction workers are building an outdoor arena, funded by Rogers Group, for more training and events. (Photo: Courtesy of Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary) At dusk, attendees can participate in a memorial Chinese lantern release for pets who have passed away. At four years old, Safe Harbor is the largest horse rescue...

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Thursday Thoughts – I Rescued A Horse

Thursday Thoughts – I Rescued A Horse

You see it all the time.  Someone talks about their horse, and says “I rescue this horse and…”  For this Thursday Thought, we want to talk about our thoughts on the many phases of what it means and does not mean to rescue a horse, and then our esoteric view of when does a rescue horse cease to be a rescue horse. First, what does rescue mean? By Definition…. res·cue /ˈreskyo͞o/ verb 1. save (someone) from a dangerous or distressing situation: So let’s break that down.  In our case, the someone is a horse or livestock animal.  To say I rescued this horse you are saying I saved this horse from a dangerous or distressing situation.  Have you saved the horse if you put it on a trailer with no resources for food, vetting, safe surroundings, or a plan for the future?  Have you saved the horse if you plan to try to rehome the horse as quickly as possible after taking it in to your care?  In our opinion, probably not. Yet, we still get emails regularly and messages that say “I rescued this horse, but have nowhere for him/her to go.  I was sure you would take him/her.”  Well, the reality is we can’t necessarily do that.  If we have room for an auction horse we will go to the auction to rescue the auction horse.  Rescue does not mean possession of an animal.  Rescue means that you have the resources to call a vet, follow veterinary recommendations, get dental care, chiropractic care, vaccines, coggins testing, feeding protocols, training, hoof care, and time to let the horse heal emotionally as well as physically. It means that whatever it takes you will do.  Rescue means a horse may be with you for years before he or she is ready and equipped to face the outside world again.  Rescue means you will not idly rehome a horse–that you will vet the home and follow up to assure the safety of the placement.  Rescue means applications and contracts for placement.  Rescue means that you have truly SAVED a horse, not just been a stopping point from one bad situation to a subsequent risky situation. Do you have to be a 501(c)3 organization to rescue a horse?  Absolutely not.  Every day wonderful people individually rescue horses from bad situations. They rehabilitate them, and sometimes keep them, sometimes place them in new appropriate homes after their rehabilitation in processes very similar to ours.  Individuals are the army, the 501(c)3 are the villages who are working in more concentrated fashions to end neglect. We applaud the individuals who truly rescue.  They are a critical component of the equine welfare world. The next group...

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Thursday Thoughts – Have I Been Enough?

Thursday Thoughts – Have I Been Enough?

Dear Safe Harbor, Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. The team has become amazing, the horse training has been phenomenal, the quality of the adoptions are amazing, and the community work is growing. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ahead of you. Another part is scared because time is racing and I can’t slow it down. I wonder, have I been enough? Have I given the organization what you needed? Have I provided all I can to the team? Have we created a footprint that can have an unbroken legacy?  Have I let you down? I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be at being a volunteer executive director. I want to be great; and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it. Everyday I make mistakes. Sometimes I snap when I should be sensitive. Sometimes I lecture and give requests to volunteers and totally miss that what they needed was a hug. Sometimes I completely and utterly miss it. I know that I do. Sometimes I misread a match between a horse and an adopter.  Sometimes I miss on giving praise and gratitude that I feel.  I forget that people can’t hear the joy in my head when I don’t say it out loud. I watch myself miss it, and later I grieve that I didn’t respond differently. I miss it when I am tired, and you get my leftovers at the end of a long day. It’s the reality of having an all volunteer organization, and a job that has to take priority over the passion I have for saving the lives of horses.  I wish all my priorities could be first in my life, but regrettably, other priorities have to be first—family and work being the prime ones. I miss it when I am scared. I am scared of big things and little things.  I thought after a decade of rescue I’d have it all figured out.  I look at other rescue presidents and some of them seem to have it all figured out from the outside looking in.  I get scared of making the wrong choice.  I get scared of offending someone on accident.  I get scared of doing something that could damage the reputation of this wonderful organization that over 100 people have committed their time to. Sometimes fear snatches my heart and I can’t seem to think of anything else. I forget to relax and and enjoy the ride.  I forget to celebrate all of the successes.  I forget...

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Thursday Thoughts – The Christmas Horse

Thursday Thoughts – The Christmas Horse

Most of us at Safe Harbor have been around the block in rescue for a while, and we’ve found there is one place we differ from a lot of rescues at Christmas.  We LOVE the idea of people receiving a horse from rescue as a gift. In fact, we think a Safe Harbor horse is the most perfect gift in the whole wide world! Now there are some caveats to that, so let’s clear the red tape first. An adoption application is required for all horses from a responsible adult who will be a caretaker for the horse. One family cannot “Surprise” another family with a gift of a horse. We will always do our best to match the horse with the skill level of the gift recipient. See, in most cases, a pony for Christmas is a gift given from a parent or grandparent to a teenager or a child, and it is a decision that has had much contemplation put into it by the family.  Occasionally, it is a gift from a husband to a wife.  In these cases research done by the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, and other agencies who research animal welfare has shown that animals given as gifts are loved and cherished as much or more as those who are acquired under non-gift circumstances.  In fact, the relationship of the giver to the recipient often adds and entirely new layer of love over the relationship.  Imagine being given a horse by a dearly loved grandparent, and having that horse to love and cherish long after your grandparent has passed away.  It is a friendship that keeps your grandparent with you as a friend for years as you reconcile and mourn your loss. We’ve consulted other rescues, research analytics, our own histories, hearts and consciences, and come to the conclusion, that most of you–like us–would have loved and cherished a horse forever.  Making dreams come true is just one of the side perks of rescue, and this time of year is a big time for us.  December 25th for most of us is a morning when we’ll wake up and have some of the wishes of our hearts desires placed in front of us.  If that wish has 4 hooves and a sweet fuzzy nose, then all the better.  Merry Christmas, and we wish for all good horsemen and women to have...

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Thursday Thoughts – With Gratitude

Thursday Thoughts – With Gratitude

It’s easy to forget since we’ve come so far. 3 short years ago, we were 5 people with experience in horse rescue wanting to make a difference in the world. As we reflect in gratitude today our hearts are full. Our lives have been blessed with a bounty. Today we are a village of 140. Today almost 500 equine and livestock lives have been touched because you cared. You volunteered. You donated. You fostered. You adopted. You became our family in compassion. Today we are remembering that we were just 5 people and how important each and every one of you are. Never feel insignificant. Never feel that as just one person you can’t change the world. This work is growing. Your power to make the change you want to be in the world has never been greater. Today as we sit with our families and reflect on our blessings they will include the children in foster care, the autistic, the disabled, and all those who we have been blessed to watch blossom as they have had experiences with horses at Safe Harbor. Today, and all days, we are #thankful for you. We are thankful for the magic you have brought to our lives and hundreds of others. We are thankful for our hope for a brighter future that you have given us. We wish you a very very happy and blessed...

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Thursday Thoughts – Red Tape

Thursday Thoughts – Red Tape

Oh boy.  It happened again this week.  We received an adoption inquiry followed by a commentary. “Ya’ll have too much red tape, so I’ll just get a horse elsewhere.” Really?  We ask for the basics..who you are, who is your vet, who is your farrier, what is your horse experience? These are questions that anyone–EVERYONE–rehoming a horse SHOULD ask.  We call the vet and farrier, and if there are none, we’ll visit face to face.  It’s just that simple.  We work on matching.  We aren’t trying to sell a horse, get a horse out of our care or move one on too quickly.  Our goal is the right human for the right horse, and yes, in our world, the horse comes first.     What do you get in return? Well, let’s start that list: A LIFETIME GUARANTEE – yes, whatever horse you adopt can come back to us at any time for any reason. FULL VETTING – That means wellness exam, shots, coggins, additional medications if needed, diagnostics if needed, and you get all of those records. A TEMPERAMENT EVALUATION – From a qualified trainer who wants to make sure that the horse you are adopting never ends up at risk again.  That means there is no point in “over-selling” the horse. (Funny story on that one…recently one of our team members was contacted on Facebook, and then BLOCKED on Facebook,  because she told the prospective adopter that the horse in question was too hot natured and would be a dangerous match–here’s a funny response to that [not G rated] You Blocked Me On Facebook). A TRAINING EVALUATION – Yes, the horse is ground-worked, longed, tested in multiple environments, and even given professional training. A CONTRACT – You may consider that to be more red tape, but that contract is binding on us as well as for you, and states that your adoption fee is refundable, exchangeable, and that we are a support network for you and your horse. So here is our Thursday Thought.  What is Red Tape?  Red Tape is useless fluff that gets in the way.  Red Tape is policy without purchase. Red Tape is interference.  Red Tape is confusing.  As the word cloud points out it is wasteful, unnecessary, redundant and worse. There is not a single question on our adoption application that is red tape.  For every question there is an ESSENTIAL purpose.  Every question has verifiable purpose.  Every question is procedural to make sure that the horses who leave us go to happy homes with humans. A final Thursday Thought?  The last person who told us that our process was unnecessary went to ride a horse off Craigslist and broke her back.  So, the...

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