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Who rescues whom

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Susan Friedman
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Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:14 pm

Who rescues whom


It’s about love. When I was in my 20’s I bought a retired thoroughbred ex-race horse named Clyde for 200 dollars. Until he passed away of old age, he was the love of my life. I am driving down a dusty, rutted road to the Sunrise Rescue Center in the middle of affluent wine country at 7 in the morning, toward some ramshackle buildings; a falling down barn, some sort of clubhouse, and old tractor parts: I am wondering if I really want to go back in time. I go into the clubhouse and it’s strewn with antique looking stiff riding boots, a saddle that has seen better days, cobwebs, old photos of horses, and no one in sight.


I walk to the back of the building and I see about fifteen horses of varying size, color and breeds installed in pens. Kids of all ages are brushing, cleaning stalls, and tending to wounds. Tracee, the owner greets me from over her shoulder, as she is getting the kids ready to do some training.

I wander off to look at the horses and I meet Charlotte, who while saddling her horse tells me she is nine and has been coming here since she was three years old. She introduces me to Sparky and asks me if I have even seen a mustang brand. She lifts his mane and explains the numbers that are tattooed to his neck. She is full of information about the horse, and tells me that she and most of the regulars come here everyday except Sunday. She cleans out stalls most mornings and then feeds the herd of horses. The horses are all types; from a persnickety Shetland, to an elderly majestic Iceland pony who is going blind, to a couple of mustangs, to broken-down thoroughbreds that have been rescued. All of the horses are trained and ridden without bits she tells me. Charlotte’s Mom told me Charlotte is raising money so she and Sparky can go to Reno for an exhibition.

Charlotte’s relationship with Sparky really touched me. She explained, “He is one of the few ‘people’ that I can always trust and can always depend on and he is just there for me and though he’s not someone I can talk to we can communicate in a good way and he is a very good friend to me.”


After several hours I sit down with Tracee, who tells me that she grew up on this property and at the age of seventeen she rescued her first horse with her Dad; a skinny thoroughbred with tick scars all over him. She found the horses and the horses found her. Horses that did not have a good life, horses abandoned, found in a dog kennel knee deep in mud, and a horse tied to a pole for three months, abused and neglected.

Tara a big wild mustang, was adopted from an extremely abusive situation. When she was rescued, Tara was bucking and was considered a rogue, but now she is being ridden bareback without a bridle. Tracee and Tara worked very hard through trust and abandonment issues, and emotionally they both saved each other. Now Tracee has passed Tara on to Kiren, a teenager who needed the companionship as much as she did.

There was no money when Tracee started Sunrise Rescue Center, and her board had to put up their own money. Charlotte set up a lemonade stand and raised $100 and they had Ride-a-thons to raise money. Just as she saved the horses, the horses saved the kids. The kids go there most everyday and when school starts, they go after school. Charlotte says of her horse, Sparky: “He has taught me to communicate without language by just being with each other and being peaceful…” A teen in the group had problems when her parents divorced and she would put her arms around her horse and sob. Some of the kids lost friends in car wrecks, and the horses help to heal them. These kids grew up with the horses, and the horses helped them emotionally. The horses get the best care possible and can live out their days in a caring situation.

The most serious problem facing the equestrian community is the overproduction of horses. Across the country thousands of unwanted horses go to feedlots and auction houses. Pared with struggling economy and the rising costs of feed, the situation is grim.

Who rescues whom here? I’m not sure, but I left feeling that if everyone could just see this they would be moved to do something to save these amazing creatures. A true celebration of the equine spirit and a glimpse into lives of people who help these magnificent animals.
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Susan Friedman
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:22 pm

Charlotte show's Sparky's tattoo.
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:23 pm

Charlotte washes Sparky.
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:24 pm

Kiren and her horse.
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:26 pm

The girls go for a ride.
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:27 pm

Tate and horse.
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:29 pm

Tate working.
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:35 pm

Yesenia and horse.
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Bev Pettit
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Bev Pettit on Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:34 am

Susan, those are wonderful stories ...inspiring and moving. Abandoned horses (well, abandoned ANY animal) always hit a strong chord in my heart and sensibilities. It is heartening to hear that there are such good people out there that care and are truly doing something to right such an horrific atrocity, such as cruelty to animals. Thank you for sharing your words and images.

PS --- I love your work!
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Leah Earle
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Leah Earle on Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:29 am

Susan, thank you for sharing such a touching story. I will look for Charlotte and Sparky in Reno at the Wild Horse and Burro Expo coming up in August. This is such a well written story you should submit it to your local newspaper or publication. :thumb:
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Susan Friedman on Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:02 am

Thanks so much for your comments. I've never done anything like this. The kids, the horses and Tracee moved me to tears and it was an eye opening experience for me. I hope more of the equine community participate in this forum.

Susan

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Karen Bayerl
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Re: Who rescues whom

Postby Karen Bayerl on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:19 am

Susan, your stories and photos are so inspirational and just what the horses need! Thank you so much for sharing.


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