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A Brite Future

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:05 pm
by Denise Houpt
Bev and Brite 2013.jpg
Bright Futures Farm by Denise Houpt of Inspire Me Equine

Bright Futures Farm, currently located in Sarver, Pennsylvania is a struggling equine rescue like so many across the country. Bright Futures Farm is a 501©3 nonprofit corporation founded by Bev Dee 12 years ago. Bev works long hours not only in the physical part of the rescue, mucking stalls, feeding the 15 horses in her immediate care, maintaining the farm but also behind the scenes, placing horses in foster care, assisting with transportation needs of horses to their forever homes, writing grants and finding new resources to help more horses. Additionally, Bev works full-time, to cover the costs of the rescue that are not covered through grants or private donations. Bright Futures Farm began with a “Brite Decision”.

Bev was exposed to horses as a little girl, but never owned a horse of her own. She found Brite Decision at a rescue in West Virginia as a nine year old. He was by High Brite out of Early Decision foaled March 10, 1992. Brite had 11 different homes in only nine years of life. At first glance it you may be quick to think he had a behavioral problem, but then your mind shifts. This horse, Brite Decision is a racehorse, bred to run, bred to potentially make someone lots of money. That is, lots of money if you make the cut and if you don’t, then this story like so many of those who have gone before him and are yet to follow ends in an uncertain future. Some are disposed of some are placed in horrific conditions while others find a place. Brite Decision found just that place.

Brite was labeled a Black Type Graded Stakes Placed Horse. In English what this means is he placed 3rd in The Comet Stakes, a Grade 1 race. This 3rd place standing in this type race is what gave Brite this Black Type distinction. When listed in Thoroughbred racing publications, his name would show in bold face type. Many of these races were claiming races. In a claiming race, every horse has (or is) a price tag and the horse can be bought or "claimed" out of the race for that price. The person wanting to claim the horse puts in the request before the race and after the race they are the new owner, regardless of what happens to the horse in the race. The old owner gets any purse money and the new owner gets the horse, no matter what the outcome of the race. Out of 71 starts, Brite took first 19 times and second 12 times. In his career, Brite earned $150,000.

Fast forward to 2001, Brite is standing in a lonely stall at a West Virginia rescue with little hope. He was lame and unable to be ridden. The owner of the rescue had been told by two different veterinarians to put him down. There was no money to find the answer for his lameness and at this point, seemed senseless to find the money because there were many others in the care of this rescue that needed help too. Enter Bev Dee and what happened next changed not only Bev’s life, but also that of Brite Decision. When the two met, Brite cautiously, but with certain curiosity approached Bev from the back of his stall and they connected. Those of you, who know horses, know what “connection” is and how it feels. Bev asked the rescue owner about adopting Brite and was told to “take him” because he was a financial liability. This was Bev’s first horse, a rescue. Did she really know what she was in for with this guy? During the next several weeks Bev sought the advice of veterinarians and with x-rays determined the reason for Brite’s lameness. What they found was sad. He had developed several hairline fractures in three of four legs and was foundered in both front feet.

Now at 21 years old, not only is Brite Decision the namesake for Bright Futures Farm, but he is also a very important part of the day to day operations of the rescue. When Bev realized how many horses needed her help, she formed the rescue, Bright Futures Farm. Brite welcomes the new horses to the rescue and claims responsibility for them while they are in his pasture. He knows exactly what to do. He puts them in line when necessary, but is always a kind and gentle soul. He may just turn and look at them or move his body in such a way that gives the “signal” to straighten up. No need to kick, bite or be mean; it’s like he knows kindness matters.

Bev is a single lady, who graciously accepts help from volunteers a day a week or several times a week, whenever help is available. There are many who donate their time and effort, money or products, some even services to Bright Futures Farm. There are others who “sponsor” a particular horse. This business does not come without headache and heartache, as Bev has lost her share on this journey, but what keeps her going is that she is making a difference in the life of each and every one of these horses. Some of the residents of Bright Futures Farm are as old as 36 years. Each one of these horses has a story and Bev is going to tell it. Even though many of these horses are seniors, they still have much to offer. In addition, Bright Futures Farm is one of only two rescues in the country that offer permanent retirement for senior stallions. The stallions are not kept at her farm, but are boarded at various locations. In fact, Bright Futures specializes in care of senior horses and has experience in Thoroughbred rehabilitation from racing injuries. A few of the rescues are owner surrendered; a few have found Bright Futures Farm as their forever home, because their owner passed away. These horses are there because they needed help and Bright Futures Farm is there to provide hope and help.

And if that doesn’t seem enough, Bev also runs a cat rescue from her location in Sarver, PA. She has a cattery housing 18-24 kitties. She even has a few that are in foster care. All adoptable kitties are on her website and prospective owners go through the same process as any one adopting a horse. There are interviews and paperwork to be done to verify the placement is the right fit for everyone.
Dependent on public donations and a few small grants, Bright Futures Farm is currently in the fight of its life. Originally, Bright Futures Farm was housed in nearby Titusville, PA; but Bev moved to be closer to her aging parents; offering them assistance as needed with doctor visits, etc. The move to the Sarver, PA facility was in 2011. The current facility housing Bright Futures Farm was on a lease to buy agreement; however, Bev recently received word that the current owners were “taking back” the property in May, 2013. Leaving Bev little time to relocate her cattery and 15 aged horses; she fears the worst if a new location isn’t soon found.

Horses like Brite would not have survived without people and organizations like Bev and Bright Futures Farm. Bev has a donkey on site, a 5-year old Warmblood and even the last surviving son of the famous racehorse, Secretariat. It is rescues like this one that should continue to operate. The standards set by Bev for the care the horses and kitties are beyond measure. She’s not in this for the money, there is no money in rescue; she’s in it to save lives, to change lives; the same way Brite changed hers.

Denise Houpt
Inspire Me Equine

Re: A Brite Future

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:52 pm
by Denise Houpt
Bev Dee and Brite Decision. They have been together for just about 12 years.

Re: A Brite Future

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:54 pm
by Denise Houpt
One of the residents of Brite Futures Farm - Summer 2012

Re: A Brite Future

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:56 pm
by Denise Houpt
Leah is one of Bev's volunteers. She has interacted with so many of the rescues and is truly an asset to her program.

Re: A Brite Future

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:57 pm
by Denise Houpt
Ziezo was a Gelderlander. He had an amazing life with the last ten years with Bev. He recently passed away at the age of 28.

Re: A Brite Future

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:58 pm
by Denise Houpt
Just a few of the volunteers at Bright Futures Farm.