This time of year reminds me of new beginnings, and all that we have to look forward to at Mid America Horse Rescue. As I've Said to our volunteers, 2012 is our year, baby!
As I look back, I think of the lives we've touched, including the lives of several special horses.
On Aug. 4, 2008, we saved three pregnant mares at a Fairmount Park paddock sale. Rapid Presence, aka "Rae Anne," was scheduled to deliver last. As her belly grew, so did our love for her.
Since I have yet to experience the birthing process, I was hoping to witness the arrival of each of our new babies. For three weeks, I slept in the tack room to ensure I was there for their births. Baby No. 1, aka "Pea," arrived the first night I wasn't on duty, January 31, 2009. Baby No. 2, aka "Belle," arrived while I was on a work trip in Phoenix, May 12, 2009.
Naturally, I stationed myself in the barn for Baby No. 3 as soon as I returned home. I had gone from beautiful accomodations at the Biltmore Hotel to sleeping on a 900-pound hay bale. But the miracle I was about to experience made it all worthwhile!
Thankfully, when Rae Anne's labor began, I was on duty! I immediately called the staff and our incredible veterinarian, Dr. Allen Mueller.
At first, Rae Anne paced, but finally, she laid down in the stall to give birth. My first sight of her foal began with a shiny black hoof, followed by two long, slender legs and a beautiful dark head. Positioned feet-first, this little fluff of life looked like a diver about to cut through the water.
Dr. Mueller stayed on the phone coaching us through the entire birth. The foal was big compared to his mama. With the front legs out and the head clear, the shoulders were next! We worked with the mare's contractions, but passing the shoulders was presenting a problem.
I had a soft, clean cloth and was removing the sack, clearing the nostrils and ears, massaging this little baby and waiting to see any signs of life. Dr. Mueller suggested slightly rocking the foal to help the shoulders clear and we did just as he said. As soon as the shoulders cleared, a baby BOY slid into our arms. But he wasn't breathing.
His little purple tongue hung limp from his mouth. With his eyes still shut, I cradled him, whispering to him, willing him to breathe. We reached beyond the foal’s lips and tickled his roof of the mouth to trigger the sucking reflex. In that moment, our baby boy gulped in his first huge breath, popped those beautiful brown eyes open and looked me straight in the eye.
To feel the rush of life flow into a living creature's body for the first time, to be the first living creature this little boy ever experienced made me cry like a baby! It moved me to my core. I will go through the rest of my life understanding how rare this occurrence is. My respect for God's creatures, and respect for the gift of life could not have been more deepened.
Now at the dawn of 2012, our baby boy, Troubadour, just turned 3 (according to Thoroughbred registry it was January 1st...but we know his REAL birthday is May 19th).
Troubadour is loved unconditionally and will never know a bad day in his life. He will never have to face the possibility of slaughter like other racehorses. Instead, he was given the gift of life by Mid America Horse Rescue. This year, he will flourish even more as he begins his training program.
2012 is our year baby! Happy Birthday Troubadour and our other babies at the farm!
Happy New Year and many blessings to all. Please come visit us and watch us grow!
I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support on the national news article about Letdetrumpetblare, aka "Buck", aka "Trumpet", aka "Cletus" which can be viewed here! Thank you Jim Suhr and Kent McDill of the Associated Press for making this story happen. I am grateful to our trainer, Michele Boyce, for giving her kind heart and talent to this incredible horse to see what he could do. James Graham, our jockey, is one of the best and looks at each race as "Buck" aka "Cletus" learning. Thanks also to Nate Ruffolo and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horseman's Association (ITHA) along with the tracks (Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course) for recently implementing their "After Care Program" a pension plan for retired Illinois racehorses. Programs such as these along with this type of support from our Illinois racing industry enable facilities such as ours continue our work by supporting these horses for their second chance. Our racing industry is full of incredible, kind hearted folks whose passion for horses and the sport is an inspiration to me.
Finding "Buck" was a life altering moment for me. Many of our incredible horses at Mid America Horse Rescue are retraining at this time for their second chance career. A vital component of their second chance at life is enabling them to use their unbridle spirit and courage to benefit our fellow two-legged family. Our horses have an undeniable ability to touch people's souls, and through touch therapy programs or therapeutic riding programs for children and adults who are physically or mentally challenged, these beautiful creatures can improve confidence, as well as emotional and physical capabilities in others lives.
We would love to invite all of you to attend our inaugural "Silks and Suits Gala" fundraiser and charity ball slated for Saturday, October 30, 2010 from 6 p.m. to Midnight at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Funds raised by the event will help provide shelter, rehabilitation and training for more than 65 ex-racehorses awiating adoption at our facility. Slated as the Midwest's premier 2010 equestrian event, the evening will include keynote speaker, Alex Brown, "Alex Brown Racing", a New York Times published author and horse welfare advocate.
Given the St. Louis Magazine article, and preparing for the "Silks and Suits Gala," this last month has been a whirlwind. And it just keeps getting better.
Our handsome brown boy, Letdetrumpetblare, aka Buck, aka Cletus, is now running under the professional training of Michele Boyce, located in Chicago, IL. James Graham, our jockey extraordinaire, has been teaching Buck the ropes on the track. What a great team!
To get to where he is today, Buck has overcome some incredible challenges. I purchased Buck off of a "killer truck" headed to Mexico when he was just a yearling (meaning he was still a baby). Buck had a front leg injury that was fixable (he was probably stepped on), as well as a shoulder wound. After rehabilitating him and giving him plenty of love and affection (and treats of course), Buck recovered and grew...And grew...And GREW...into a magnificent animal.
On Thursday, June 4, we entered Buck in his second race ever, at Arlington Park. Our boy ran a strong 6 furlong race and brought a 3rd place finish home after a several month lay-off. (He might have been ready sooner, but he sure enjoyed his home visit and all the snacks everyone gave him. It took a little longer to work that belly off of him... Ooops!!)
By Buck stepping on that track, he won so much for us!
Before the race occurred, Colonel Roy Arnold of Arlington Park had contacted some of the local equine media, who happened to witness Buck's triumphant return to the track. Thanks to Buck's ability to take his second chance and literally run with it, our boy and his trainer Michele Boyce, fast became national celebrities. (Thoroughbred Times recently carried Buck's rescue story, "Rescued Letdetrumpetblare finishes third at Arlington," which was followed by a brief piece from Chicago Sun-Times on June 8.) Since the stories debuted, fans from across the United States have been inquiring about Mid America Horse Rescue.
More exciting news followed the next day! Our dear friend, Nate Ruffalo, vice president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horseman's Association (ITHA), along with some very incredible members who train, own and support Thoroughbreds, have been spearheading the "after care program" from the Chicago tracks to support horses once they complete their careers. Following Buck's win, the ITHA, in conjunction with Arlington Park Race Course and Hawthorne Race Course, officially announced that a percentage of purses will now be set aside for the care of these horses. Both tracks have committed "seed money" to start the incredible program.
Buck, you have done your job running for your brothers and sisters and bringing attention to their very valuable lives. I am so proud of you. I feel like we have won the Breeder's Cup Classic! Thank you Colonel Arnold for believing in our story!
By running for Mid America Horse Rescue, Buck has touched so many lives. He's helping us share the story about the vital horse rescue programs that allow the industry, breeders and owners to collaborate together and save more lives.
Thanks so much to all parties involved and thank you ITHA for allowing me to visit in February and witness the program's development. I am so grateful to all of you! What a great racing industry we have in Illinois! I hope you will all come support our tracks and our great athletes. Your dollars there go to the horses' support as well.
So, how can you help?
Mid America Horse Rescue is starting its annual budget and capitol fund drives. Interested in fundraising or contributing? Contact me, Margo Sutter, at 314-302-2216.
Interested in volunteering at the barn? Call me or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with our Volunteer Coordinator, Tom Helms.
Funds to purchase the facility and funds for our daily operation are important for the retraining and rehabilitation of our horses, as well as the creation of our new programs for physically and mentally challenged children and adults.
I hope you feel the power of being involved in the legacy that's being created right now. Come join us! We look forward to seeing you!
I will write soon and thank you to everyone (those both two- and four-legged), who have become a part of our mission and touched so many lives. For your support, we are truly grateful!!
Momentum is building for Mid America Horse Rescue and we’re loving every minute of it!
A magazine article featuring Mid America Horse Rescue appeared this month's issue of St. Louis Magazine. Be sure to pick up your copy on the stands now!
Jeannette Cooperman, thank you for doing such an awesome job writing about Mid America Horse Rescue and capturing the spirit our unbridled enthusiasm. To my great friend Susan Gregory Nobbe, thank you for connecting Jeannette with us! And, of course, thank you Sir Anthony for coming into my life and creating this great mission before us.
So much has happened since the last time I updated this blog… My apologies, stale news is like stale toast and we have so much wonderful news to share! Time is one commodity that we just can't put a price tag on, isn't it?
Since the last time I posted, we've shifted gears to prepare for the Spring season. We've transitioned our public relations representation to a new and incredibly talented, professional and motivated young woman, Kristin Gumper of Standing Partnership. Wow, the old adage of when a door closes a window opens could not have been more appropriately said for us… However, I liken it to the door closes and the barn doors have flung open! Thanks so much, Kristin, for your professional advice and hard work to move us ahead and back on track. We are out of the gates, and off and running!
In addition, our event planning chair, Lisa Wood George, has created an incredible fundraiser for us – one that I simply can't wait for!
The "Silks and Suits Gala" is slated for Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Four Seasons hotel in St. Louis. With keynote speaker Alex Brown of Alex Brown Racing, this unique event will celebrate the horses that reside at Mid America Horse Rescue. The Gala will also feature a live and silent auction, with incredible works of art by some of America's finest artists. (We'll be listing artists and art work by August.)
Funds raised will help support these horses as they prepare for their second act in life. In fact, many of them go on to become equine therapy horses for children, sport horses or pasture pals. (I'll have to tell you about LetDaTrumpetBlare, one of the first horses we rescued, in an upcoming post! Man, can that boy run! He's now racing for us and is truly changing lives, by showing what second chances can mean for rescued Thoroughbreds.)
We have so much to celebrate, but so much more work to do. Please "Save the Date" for this black tie event. Tickets and sponsorships are currently available by contacting me, Margo Sutter at 314-302-2216, or e-mailing for information at email@example.com.
All proceeds of our event will support Mid America Horse Rescue.
So, dust off your finest duds and come join us for a night of dinner, dancing and celebrating second chances!
P.S. Many thanks to talented new friend Rudi Backart-Owens, who created our new look and invitation! Look for it in the upcoming edition in Cowboys and Indians Magazine.
We are so grateful to each and every one of you that makes our mission successful each day. Thanks for donations of time, tack and financial support. This is the time of the year when the weather becomes cold and nasty and the holidays roll around that we see less volunteers and donations. For those of you who never forget us, thank you!
We’ve Come So Far…In One Year
Looking back over our inaugural year I am amazed at how far we have come. Mid America Horse Rescue started six months prior to our intended opening date due to the Fairmount Park Paddock Sale held earlier than planned. We went into a reactive rather than a proactive state.
Our goal was to complete our lease/purchase at our facility, conduct fundraisers, then open by spring of this year. When I received the phone call regarding the Paddock Sale, I was informed there would be no representation for these incredible Thoroughbreds. We had no choice but to move swiftly into action.
We had a small, but mighty group on that hot August day we attended the sale. We brought home 13 horses, and assisted in transitioning a good amount of the balance of 80 that went through the sale that day. Our numbers of horses, as well as their needs, have grown over the year, but even in the most daunting of economic times we have forged ahead and made it.
After the sale we had more trainers and more horses come in. We have had 3 foals born successfully this year, turned around 3 starvation cases (you go Ferrari!!), dealt with 2 founder cases, and saw our highest risk girl, Princess, through a successful temporary tracheotomy (as well as foaling).
We also started growing our 2-legged family, as folks found out about our efforts and wanted to become part of the mission and our journey. With the assistance of our incredible volunteer group and communication through equine sites, we assisted at a dispersal sale last December, ensuring all horses were sold to, or transitioned into, great and safe situations. I am always amazed at the big hearts of our equine friends and family.
During this first year of our formation, Mid America Horse Rescue has sheltered, rehabilitated, retrained, adopted, fostered and transitioned over 200 horses.
With the continued support of our volunteering friends, colleagues, fellow equine enthusiasts, and strategic partners, we endeavor to move to Phase II of our goals to continue to build America’s premier Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation facility. We welcome you to participate in our fundraising efforts, and encourage you to follow us on twitter and our website for the latest information, monthly schedule, and announcements of our 2010 Corporate Sponsors!
Please check out our "Sponsor a Horse for the Holidays" site, and join us in our efforts to support a horse with their daily care. Remember, this is good not only for the holidays, but a special gift for a birthday, anniversary, holiday, retirement, memorial tribute, etc.
The gift of your time is always appreciated by the horses; they look to you to help make their second chance in life possible.
Come join us, as we look forward to seeing you in 2010!
Happiest of Holidays to you and yours,
I really look more for the content or thought process the clinician is bringing to our community at Mid America Horse Rescue, not so much if they are a "cowboy", "cowgirl," "Whisperer" (a term I find to be so over-used) or what background they hail from.
In my experience, most of the clinicians that know how to build a foundation under a horse come from more of a Western theory background. A lot of the folks in our area fail to see the point in building a foundation and a relationship between the horse and themselves. A good amount of riders in our area are more of the English riding discipline such as hunter/jumper, dressage (more of a French background), or "eventers."
Again, many members of the equine community practice a particular riding discipline, and don't necessarily open their minds to theory and, most importantly, any specific philosophy of horsemanship. Unfortunately, these people have a very hard time believing anybody with a cowboy hat on as they believe they don't need a foundation – they just lunge the hell out of the horse, get on, and - if jumping – they hang on, point and shoot.
Tragically, this is why they give up great horses: because they cannot handle them, or declare the horse "crazy," "dangerous," etc. Only after they have never taught the horse anything, or attempted to build a relationship with the horse. This situation most frequently occurs with race horses – a result which comes from horses having no apparent domestic potential when they finish their career at the track, a turning point at which they tend to be deemed unfit to move on to anything other than slaughter.
That's why I created Mid America Horse Rescue.
Big names, brand reputation, and good looks are not what influence me, when I am booking clinicians and assembling our educational programs calendar. I look for ideas to share with our local community, and sometimes our national audience on equine behavior. Mid America Horse Rescue's staff and our clients continue to find incredible success months after we host clinicians such as Ken Jones, Chris Cox, Morgan Dillard-Harris, and a select group of others.
What are your thoughts?