Sunday, October 21, 2012

How a Rescue Prepares for Winter

Yesterday was the Blue Skies Riding Academy's 2nd Annual Fall Festival. We had a bounce house, games, pony rides, the fire department came out, and concessions were fabulous. It was a great day and lots of fun. While the event was fun for everyone, the meaning behind not so pretty. Winter is coming, it's time to prepare for the lean months.

When you work with rescued animals, the need to raise funds is constant. As long as the economic climate in this country remains volatile, the volume of animals needing help will continue to grow. With each save, the need for money to feed these innocent bystanders grows. Whether assisting cats, dogs, or horses the people and groups working with these fringe survivors are heros. We see things which would appall most people.

BSRA saves horses. We bring them to a place of love, we feed them and heal their physical wounds. Once they are well on the way to recovery, the instructors and volunteers begin identifying their previous training. Interesting isn't it, we have these animals, who have come from many different backgrounds, and we only know what we can learn from watching and riding them. Some have little to no training, like Daisy. Others we know were racehorses, such as Oakley (Chilean Princess) and with a few there is only silence. A black void where only our imaginations dare to venture.

Once we know each animal's training, we build on that to restore their jobs to them. Horses need their jobs, it is their part of the unspoken contract between man and beast. We provide the food, shelter, protection and the animals help plow our fields, carry us to market or to war, provide a friend to listen when only a strong silent type will do. We build relationships with them and they with us. Part of that relationship is to swear they will never end up hungry and scared again.

Drought has caused the prices of hay to rise dramatically. The grains which go into commercial feed have risen as well. With the economic putting the squeeze on everyone, rescues are relying more and more on donations to keep rounds bales in the pastures and feed in the buckets. Forgetting reseeding pastures for spring; if it is between buying seed or buying grain, you buy what grain you can and seed when there is extra.

I don't usually use my blog to solicit funds, but harsh times call for new measures. Rescues need help, regardless of what area of the country you live in. $7.00 purchases one square bale of hay, $50.00 one round bale. We have 25 horses, and go through 100 square bales a month. There are 6 active pastures, that means 12 to 18 round bales per month. That does not include grain, supplements, farrier visits, vet trips or chiropractic. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.

So, as we enter into fall, knowing the holiday seasons will soon be upon us, how about sharing a little love for your local rescue? When you go shopping, add an extra bag of dog or cat food for the county animal shelter. $14 can feed our herd of horses with hay for one day; $20 would include hay and grain for one day. But any amount is needed. If you live in other parts of this great nation, look around. There is a struggling rescue in your area, working tirelessly to save the innocent from man's neglect and abuse. If you don't have money to give, volunteer! Just coming around these animals will restore your inner strength, your faith that we have a greater purpose on this planet.

If you would like to contribute to Blue Skies, there is a pay pal button on our website: And stop by sometime - identify yourself as a patron, and come meet the magnificent beasts who owe you their thanks. It will change your life.