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2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

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Sarah K Andrew
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2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Sarah K Andrew on Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:46 am

Since January 2010, I've photographed over 2,500 homeless horses. I try to put a face on the "unwanted" horse population, wherever these "unwanted" horses may be.

In addition to local rescues and farms, I visit Camelot Auction in Cranbury, NJ every Thursday and photograph the horses who were sold to the feedlot the night before. A group of dedicated horse lovers networks these horses every week, sharing the horses' photos and descriptions everywhere from feed stores to Facebook. The grassroots volunteer effort has made an impact; since November 2009, no horses have shipped to slaughter from this auction. Over 2,500 horses sold privately and have been given one more chance to get out of the slaughter pipeline.

Each week, I meet these horses and spend time interacting with them. They continually surprise me. Over 2,500 unique animals beg to be captured by my lens.

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The auction work is consuming because it has no end. The proprietors of the auction have been very gracious in letting me photograph their livestock, and give these horses a unique opportunity. In the auction barn, my mind is constantly spinning, and every time I turn around, there is another velvety nose, another personality, another horse who is getting an opportunity to have his face shared with thousands of horse lovers. In the pens, some cannot resist interacting with their human visitors, while some rest, exhausted from their long trips in the auction circuit.

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Over 100,000 horses are shipped to slaughter each year, and so many of their faces are never seen. For every horse at Camelot who is in a social media spotlight, there are many more who are unphotographed. Some are healthy, some are sick, some are physically injured, and some carry mental scars.

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The impact and scope of the Camelot Effort has reached far beyond my wildest expectations for both the horse community and my personal views as a photographer. The public response to the auction photos has been overwhelmingly positive, and it became clear that they had value far beyond their initial "mug shot" for identifying horses' faces and conformation. Although my time and budget were already stretched painfully thin, I embarked on a huge fundraising project with my friend Gina Keesling from HoofPrints (http://hoofprints.com) and together, we created a calendar of our favorite auction photos. Gina volunteered weeks of countless hours designing and producing these calendars. The final product was not a simple 12-month, 12-photo calendar, but was instead a masterpiece of inspirational quotes and over 100 photos. Although the auction photos could have easily created a gloomy tone, we worked hard to keep the theme positive and uplifting. In the end, I think we were successful.

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100% of the profit is being donated to One Horse At A Time (https://www.facebook.com/OHAAT/info). OHAAT is an appropriate charity, since they are not a rescue that houses horses, but rather an organization that helps horses in need across the country. What I particularly like about OHAAT is their gelding grant program- how wonderful would it be for photos of our own Camelot horses to help control the unwanted horse population? To date, the calendar has raised almost $30,000 for One Horse At A Time.

Although there is no way to track every horse and it is unrealistic to believe that they all found their perfect owners, there are countless success stories of horses who found appropriate homes. Whenever possible, I visit horses in their new homes after they have been sold out of Camelot or adopted out of rescues. Indian Delight is a Thoroughbred mare who found a wonderful home at Fallbrook Farm in Kentucky, thanks to my coworkers at the Thoroughbred Daily News chipping in and helping to pay for her auction purchase price, quarantine, and transportation.

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On my many road trips, I've met wonderful volunteers at equine rescues. In 2011, I visited 10 rescues in 7 states. Their everyday care of these horses is something so inspiring that it begs to be photographed. The selfless devotion that these people have for their equine friends is beautiful, and the impact that these organizations have on the community and youth organizations is profound.

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One of the most striking examples of the hard work of volunteers and the strength of the equine spirit is Zodiac, a Thoroughbred currently living at Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Maryland. He was a victim of severe neglect, and over the past 18 months, I have been able to document his progress from standing in his sling to frolicking in his pasture. Zodiac is a farm favorite, and many volunteers have remarked that just saying hello to him in the morning can brighten a gloomy day. He is a horse with the heart of a lion, and he's also a symbol of the spirit of rescue.

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My volunteer work started as a way to carry on the legacy of Alibar, my beloved first horse. It has shaped my philosophy as a student of the horse and a photographer. A "horse in need" can take many forms, from a horse standing in a feedlot, to a free pony on Craigslist, to an abandoned pet, to a critical case at a rescue. The face of equine photography is changing faster than you can imagine. I find myself photographing less frequently at the racetrack, where there is a line of a dozen photographers all trying to get the same shot; I find myself more often at a unique location, taking a unique picture, trying to make a change.

Next time you are feeling frustrated, I challenge you to take some time and give back to your community. Craft your own style. BE DIFFERENT. Take some time to help, and enjoy some much-needed experimentation and practice with your camera. You may think that you only have a little skill and time to donate, but as you continue to give, you may find that you are able to give more and more. The horses will thank you.

Related links:

Raceday 360 coverage of the calendar project: http://www.raceday360.com/2011/12/13/ho ... o-adoption
TDN Blog about Indian Delight's journey from Camelot to Kentucky: http://thetdnblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/ ... -back.html
Order a calendar here: http://hoofprints.com/ska
TDN Blog with photos of Zodiac: http://thetdnblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/ ... yland.html

Photo of me with my feline friend Sophia, the Camelot mascot. Photo © Vickie Anderson.

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Sarah K. Andrew - Rock and Racehorses
The Website: http://www.rockandracehorses.com
The Blog: http://www.rockandracehorses.wordpress.com
The Flickr Gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses

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Carien Schippers
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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Carien Schippers on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:37 am

Thank you Sarah. You are a true inspiration, and the way you have affected the lives of both horses and people will never be measured as it reaches so far.
I think a book should be your next project!
"Doing what you love is freedom,
Loving what you do is happiness"

~ Chinese proverb

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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Carol Lynn Coronios on Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:16 am

What Carien said. If a calendar can raise $30K, what could a book do?

What a big heart you have, Sarah!

Carol
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Sarah K Andrew
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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Sarah K Andrew on Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:06 pm

Thank you both so much! I'm deeply flattered. There is never a dull moment, that's for sure 8-)
Sarah K. Andrew - Rock and Racehorses
The Website: http://www.rockandracehorses.com
The Blog: http://www.rockandracehorses.wordpress.com
The Flickr Gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses

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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Diana Duffy on Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:22 pm

I can only echo the sentiments expressed!
Diana

"Ask little, expect less, praise more."

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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Michelle Twohig on Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:31 am

I just read the link about Zodiac. Sarah, you are, without a doubt, my hero. Thank you so, SO much for making these horses visible.
Michelle
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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Julie Smith on Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:31 pm

Kudos to you, Sarah! God Bless You for what you do. You rock!
Leave what is wild, wild.

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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Kevan Garecki on Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:11 pm

Hat's off to you Sarah ... the rest of us stand in your shadow
"We are responsible forever for that which we tame."
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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Debby Thomas on Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:55 am

Heartbreaking and expressive photos. Thank you for all you are doing, you are incredible. Gina has done an oustanding job on the design of the Calendar also.

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Sarah K Andrew
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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Sarah K Andrew on Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:52 pm

Thank you so much. I was fortunate to team up with such a wonderful group of people for the calendar project. The dedication and generosity that people have shown for these horses is breathtaking.
Sarah K. Andrew - Rock and Racehorses
The Website: http://www.rockandracehorses.com
The Blog: http://www.rockandracehorses.wordpress.com
The Flickr Gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses

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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Christina Handley on Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:41 am

Sarah, you have done an amazing thing and you are a true inspiration. My calendar is on its way and I can't wait to get it!

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Sarah K Andrew
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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Sarah K Andrew on Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:20 pm

Thank you so much- we're up to $33,000 in donations!

HoofPrints newsletter with the latest calendar news: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs00 ... 72951.html
Sarah K. Andrew - Rock and Racehorses
The Website: http://www.rockandracehorses.com
The Blog: http://www.rockandracehorses.wordpress.com
The Flickr Gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses

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Re: 2011: Road Trips, Rescues, and Revolution

Postby Alise Lamoreaux on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:00 pm

My favorite part of your story is where you talk about lines of people trying to take the same picture.... and how you call us all to action to take our own unique photos and get involved with seeing horses in a different way. Alibar would be so proud of you:) All those holiday costumes you placed him in and Peeps you tempted him with have paid off in your ability to find some unique detail that tells a story. Congrats to your calendar effort.
But I would still love to go to the race track with you some day:)
Sagetopaz


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