Wouldn't it be wonderful if we lived in a world where all horses were looked after properly? Where all ponies had suitable shelter and the proper amount of food. Where all horses had owners, and never ended up lame and scared at auction houses? That would be great, wouldn't it?
But, sadly, many horses and ponies are abused and live terrible lives. Thanks to uncaring or neglectful humans, they end up injured, starved — or even dead. Often when a horse is abused or neglected, local authorities like the Humane Society or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A) have to step in and rescue the horse — if they get there in time. But these organizations simply can't take care of every single abused or neglected horse. That's when horsey charities step in and offer a hand.
There are horsey charities located all over the country. Charities like Colorado Horse Rescue, Days End Farm Horse Rescue, and Lone Star Equine Rescue. There's probably a horse charity in your area. And they need help! It costs a lot of money to rescue an abused horse. Some charities go to auctions and buy horses so they aren't slaughtered for their meat. Sometimes the charities have to pay lawyers to go to court to take a horse away from a bad owner. And once a horse is rescued, he may need lots of expensive veterinary treatment if he's very sick or injured. All of these worthwhile activities take money — and lots of it!
We know that our readers love horses, and don't like to see our four-legged friends neglected and abused. That's why Young Rider is going to spotlight a different equine charity in every single issue. We want you to learn about the different charities, and find out how you can help them help horses!
You Can Help!
There are many ways that you can help a horsey charity, but the best thing you can do is raise money for it. First, do some research and decide which charity you would like to support. Write to the charity and find out as much as you can about it. Here are some great fundraising ideas:
Be a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Okay, maybe we'd better think of some other ideas!
Have a bake sale: Get together with a few pals and bake some cookies, brownies and cakes. Take them to the barn or school (check with a teacher first!) and sell them to raise cash. Make a big sign that tells people about the charity.
Hold a tack sale: Gather up the tack you never use and hold a tack sale at the barn with your pony pals.
Hold a yard sale: If all you and your friends clean up your rooms, you'll probably find a lot of old stuff, like clothes and books that you don't want anymore. Organize a yard sale and get rid of that old Spice Girls lunchbox!
Be a groom for a day: Sell your grooming services. Adult riders who go to a show might pay you to groom for them for the day.
Clean tack: Set up a table on a busy day at your barn and clean tack for other riders. Charge a dollar for a saddle, and two dollars for a bridle. You could clean boots and grooming kits, too.
Muck out stables: Offer your mucking out services for a weekend and charge a small amount. Horse owners will love to take a break from shoveling poop!
Tell Us About It!
If you raise money for a horsey charity, let Young Rider know about it. We want to hear fund-raising stories from our wonderful readers. Let us know what you did and how much you raised for your favorite horsey charity. Send us a few pictures of you in action, and we'll put you in Young Rider and tell everyone about you. You'll be famous!
The Equine Rescue League, Inc.
In 1990, Pat Rogers, ERL's founder went to a horse auction in Northern Virginia to investigate the conditions there. Before long she noticed Bitsy, a Thorougbred mare who was so weak she was whipped to make her stand and go through the auction ring. She was so skinny that all of her ribs showed through her mangy skin. Bitsy could barely stand up. How much did Bitsy sell for? $7. Bitsy probably didn't even survive the grueling ride to the slaughter house. Pat was so upset by Bitsy's treatment, that she founded the Equine Rescue League, to help other horses like Bitsy.
The ERL is a non-profit organization that supports the responsible use of working, sport and pleasure horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. They work to prevent the neglect or abuse of any equine, to offer educational programs to the community, and to provide shelter, rehabilitation and adoption for animals in need of their services.
The ERL currently leases a 66-acre farm near Leesburg, VA, but they could lose the lease at any time. This means they might have to find a new home for 40 or 50 horses, depending on how many were living there at the time. The ERL wants to buy its own farm, and has created an Equine Benefactor Program to raise money to buy land.
Pat thinks one of the biggest causes of equine abuse is ignorance. People buy a horse, but don't realize how much care it actually needs. They stop looking after the horse properly and it gets sick or dies.
The ERL looks after hundreds of abused and neglected horses each year, and it needs help! Check out its website to learn more about the ERL, and find out how you can be a volunteer or adopt a horse.
Why don't you "Help a Horse" and raise a little money for the ERL?Equine Rescue League
P.O. Box 4366
Leesburg, VA 20177