In January 2008, Saddle Light's barn manager, Lori, rescued the Welsh pony, Sonny D, out of a round pen where he was standing knee deep in mud when he was eight years old. Although initially fearful of human contact, as time went on, Sonny D started to trust again and was introduced to some of the smaller children who had problems sitting up and holding their heads up - and some couldn't even walk. But, when they were sitting atop Sonny D, they would laugh, giggle, and make lots of happy sounds. If Sonny D could talk, he'd say, "My walking helped the children get stronger, sit up by themselves, pull up to standing, and even start to walk. HOW COOL IS THAT!! I'm never leaving this place!!"
Charlie is the very reason that our organization was started over 20 years ago. Forgotten by his owner, he was left to fend for himself with another equine friend and slowly starving. By the time we were called to assist in a law enforcement seizure in December 2021, Charlie was hundreds of pounds underweight, dehydrated, in need of a farrier and an equine dentist. Charlie is thriving now. At 10 years old, he still has a wonderful life ahead of him. Safe Haven was created for horses like Charlie to ensure that they will be well taken care of and have the best life they can.
Elsie joined our herd as a sturdy choice for our children and adults with life challenges. After several years of service, however, she was diagnosed with Frog-Bone and Cushings diseases, risking her future at our program. Not willing to give up on this gentle giant, our veterinarian, farrier, and staff put Elsie on extended rest, adjusted diet and medications, and customized her shoes. As Elsie healed, she returned to the vital role of healing others.
Beyond All Limits aka "Beau" is a 30 year old OTTB that had 84 starts on the track. Beau has survived being over raced, and has lived with a chronic sinus issue for 6 years for which he underwent surgery and is on a daily nebulizing schedule. He is an example of and represents overcoming the odds. He's a survivor which draws our Equine Assisted Therapy participants to him for the support and positivity they seek. They also strive to beat the odds like Beau!
Regala Di Trieste (Pumpkin) is a 20 year old Thoroughbred and mother of 9 foals who then ended up at a local auction. She is aunt to American Pharoah, having the same dam as Pioneer of the Nile (Star of Goshen). She's made great progress. We plan on taking Pumpkin to some local shows
this spring and summer and document her journey from broodmare to show horse. Pumpkin is a perfect example of how trainable retired broodmares are, even after decades of no riding.
Nephew Howard D and Risque's Warrior
These two geldings were claimed and sent to race in Puerto Rico. After being sent to race in Puerto Rico ending in challenging racing experiences and poor finishes, "Howie" and "Risky" were rescued and rehabbed by the Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc. Through a partnership between our organizations, "Howie" and "Risky" were sent back to the states to find new homes and careers with the Secretariat Center. Kind and sweet, they are receiving additional aftercare treatment after their long travel home and will both make great horses for the right adopters.
Tonka is an eleven-year-old Haflinger Gelding standing 13.1 hands with a star, stripe and snip. Tonka loves his job as a therapy horse! He has found his niche in life and has made a lot of people feel fabulous about themselves. He participates in all our programming including horsemanship, learning and therapy. He's a real extrovert who keeps our therapy herd entertained!
Phoenix, a beautiful, highly intuitive rescued Shetland pony mare with a traumatic past joined our Miracle Herd a year ago. Even though she has trust and abandonment issues, she has an uncanny gift to connect with children, youth and adults receiving Trauma-Informed Care Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies services in our program. Many have experienced unspeakable abuse and neglect. Phoenix teaches trust, offers hope, emotional healing and unconditional love.
Buster with Volunteer Jean
Photo @Janice Fischer Photography
Buster is a 17-year-old Belgian Draft Horse gelding and is in his second year of service as a therapeutic riding horse. Buster loves attention from his people and quickly became a barn favorite here. Buster receives much deserved love and affection from volunteers, including Jean, a long-time volunteer of 12+ years. Buster has a quiet, calm and gentle personality, making him a perfect fit for so many different riders of every age and ability.
Ameera is a 35 year old Arabian who was part of a herd of seven that we took in July of 2020. Our veterinarian and team were able to diagnose her organ failure in the beginning stages and we were able to rehabilitate her fully. Today, due to her sweet nature, she is part of a herd that works in our programs for people wanting to learn more about horses.
Basie is a handsome Westphalian gelding who proves every day that he is a therapy horse extraordinaire! With an illustrious hunter/jumper show record and gentle disposition, his wealth of experience and knowledge helps participants like Parker build confidence as they develop more advanced riding skills. Basie absolutely adores people, and his curious nature and genuine kindness melts the hearts of everyone he meets.
Z, named 2021 Therapy Horse of the Year by the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation, is a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse who was donated to us after a suspensory injury which ended his show jumping career. Whether his rider is an eight-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, a 24-year-old young man with autism or a 65-year-old woman with a hip injury, Z is ready to help, creating joy-filled experiences while easing some of life’s burdens.
Photo @The Scout Guide, Hunt Country, VA
Thor is large in size and heart. As a Percheron X Welsh, he is the perfect combination of strength and kindness. He helps riders of all sizes and abilities "step into their dreams" by introducing them to the power of horses. Thor is a "horse of hope" in our herd of 20 therapy horses reminds us all to DREAM BIG and reach for our fullest potential!
March is a 23 Year old Mustang Cross who was surrendered to Sunshine to find a new home. March is a small but mighty Mustang Cross who is retired from riding due to a left front knee injury. She would be a good companion for strong willed equine friend. March connects well with sweet, calming, personalities and would be best suited in a patient home where she will be pampered.
There is no measure for the value of compassion, non-judgment and self-awareness that a clear channel like Tango can bring to people who have lost hope. He appears to see right into their hearts and knows intuitively how to make them feel safe so the healing process can begin.
Patriarch of the herd, reliable, consistent, and as loveable as they come, Stevie has claimed The Shane Center as his own for the past 12 years. At 25 years of age, he has helped improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities by participating in over 2,400 lessons to date! Stevie is shown here with Ben, one of his many best friends.
Eclipse, a pretty, compact little mare standing 14 hands high, had been waiting six months for a new home at a local rescue. At 12 years old, with broad training and a gentle nature, we knew Eclipse belonged with us. We needed her as much as she needed us and we are proud to be her forever home.
Deto is a 17 year-old Arabian-standardbred whose laid-back and gentle nature makes everyone feel at ease. Although he had a history of neglect and high anxiety, he has overcome those challenges with years of loving care and is now thriving as a therapy horse. With the help of our occupational, physical, and speech therapists, Deto works with children with disabilities to help them improve their function and quality of life. His energy is exceptionally calming, especially when engaged in his favorite activity of all time - grooming.
Spike had a rough life for a little guy. He was starved and mistreated before being rescued by a kind person whose circumstances changed and she needed to find him a new home. So he started a new chapter of his life with This Old Horse. Spike is 23 year old, chocolate miniature horse who prefers the company of horses to that of people. Which is just fine because he has found his safe and happy place with a little posse that includes a pony named Pixie, a miniature mule named Jim and a one-eyed miniature mare named Fodie B.
Sometimes when a horse has experienced trauma at the hands of humans, we let the herd do the work to make them feel safe. And brave. Spike is doing great, is easy to have around as long as he can see his little friends are there with him.
We all need somebody to lean on.
Besides being a "farm favorite", Zee-Oh-Six is our Ambassador. Zee is a 1999 gelding with over $400,000 in career winnings on the track. He won the Oklahoma Classics Stakes in 2002, 2005, and again in 2006, as well as numerous other victories. He was named the 2005 Oklahoma bred Horse of the Year. After retiring from racing, Zee-Oh Six continued to be a winner in numerous Hunter/Jumper events, demonstrating the mission of TAI with a second successful career. Now, at 23 years old, Zee Oh represents what all of our retired racehorses are capable of accomplishing.
Feel My Love (Ophelia)
Feel My Love, or Ophelia as we call her, is an unraced three-year-old filly. She sustained a tendon injury while in training at Charlestown Racetrack and is now in rehabilitation at Leighton Farm, the home base of Thoroughbred Placement Resources.
Elle, a 16-year old Thoroughbred mare, was adopted in 2018 and beloved for about nine months, but, she had recurring unsoundness, and in 2019, we accepted her back into our sanctuary. Elle is one of the many horses we rescue and re-home through adoption and provide sanctuary to ensure that horses are protected throughout their lives. We seek to embolden appreciation for the inherent worth of every horse.
As one of the founding members of the herd, Honey, a 17-year old Quarter horse is involved with every program we offer. Her calm, quiet demeanor makes her uniquely suited for work in an equine-assisted services program. Honey knows her job is important and the riders she carries trust her to take care of them. I know everyone says their horse is the best, but Honey embodies everything a therapeutic riding horse should be. She surely is one in a million!
Fancy was surrendered to the White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue in 2012. She was a saucy, friendly mare with a big personality. We found a wonderful adoptive home for her the following year. But after seven years, we needed to retrieve Fancy, as the family had fallen on hard times and they were no longer caring for her. When Fancy arrived back at the Rescue this past year, we were deeply saddened by the condition she was in. She was seriously underweight, and had untreated COPD that made it difficult for her to breathe. We were looking at an exhausted, defeated mare with little energy. Stabilizing her required constant monitoring and medications. It has been a long, slow climb, but Fancy is recovering. She has regained a lot of weight and is happy to be back home. Fancy will always require careful management and medication, and in consideration of this, she will live out her life as a sanctuary horse at White Bird.
Photo @Steed and Hound Photography
Meet the new Mayor of your barn! Taco is the silliest, splashiest, most social horse you’ll meet. He loves the camera and makes a lasting impression on everyone he comes across. While on the track, Taco broke two sesamoid bones in his right ankle, which means he’s best suited for walk/trot, and trail. He’s had a lot of groundwork training and has been put through many an obstacle course. A lot more woah than go. If you’re looking for the fanciest horse on the trail, with the most personality, look no further. Taco’s got you covered.
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