April 2011 Newsletter

 

Blue Star Equiculture
April 2011
In This Issue
BSE Video
Donate Today!
Upcoming Events
New T-Shirts are here!
Blue Star Believes
Photo of the Month
UMass Program
Join the Herd! Memberships
News from the Herd!
Hello, Goodbye!
Alumni Updates
Easter Egg Hunt
New York City
Beautiful Horse
Horse Quotation of the Month
If You Love Horses, You MUST Watch This Video
If you love horses, you must watch this video
If you love horses, you must watch this video

100,000 horses from the United States are slaughtered for human consumption every year, and they're NOT working horses.  Find out how you can help end the slaughter and draft a better future for horses.

 

It's called "teamwork."


DONATE TODAY!
Your support helps horses in need!

Blue Star Equiculture cares for up to 30 rescued and retired horses at one time.  Our horses, many of whom have special needs and to whom Blue Star has made a commitment for the duration of their lives, require feed, hay and regular veterinary and farrier care. 

If you would like to donate to Blue Star Equiculture to support our mission to help horses, humans and Mother Earth, a $ amount and click on the donate button below.

$


Or, text "HORSES{space}[your donation]" to 27138 to donate over the phone using Mobile Give.  (msg/data rates may apply)

Blue Star Equiculture is a 501(c)3 charity.

ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

Upcoming Events
EASTER EGG HUNT AND EARTH DAY WAGON RIDES Saturday, 4/23/11
12 pm - 4 pm
Egg Hunt at 3 pm
Blue Star Equiculture
Palmer, MA

***

BSE AT UMASS-AMHERST, SENIOR WEEK.
Wednesday, 4/27/11, UMass Campus
Amherst, MA

***

"BEAUTIFUL HORSE" PRO-CARRRIAGE HORSE RALLY
Sunday 5/1/11
Grand Army of the Republic Plaza, New York City
1 pm - 5 pm

***

WORLD'S LARGEST PANCAKE BREAKFAST
SPRINGFIELD 375
Saturday 5/14/11
8 am, downtown
Springfield, MA

Blue Star Equiculture will be giving wagon rides.

***

Blue Star Equiculture:
Your Horses, Your History, Your Future

Show it off!

Blue Star Equiculture has THREE new t-shirt designs available at the very affordable price of just $12!  Available in S/M/L/XL

 

"Going Green takes REAL horsepower."

 

"It's time to put the HORSE back in HORSEPOWER."

 

"SUPPORT WORKING HORSES"

Blue Star Believes
TheBoys
Blue Star Equiculture Credo

We believe that the draft horse is a national treasure. 
We believe that horses and humans fundamentally belong together.

We believe that all horses deserve loving homes where their physical and social needs will be met.

We believe that "work" should not have a pejorative connotation.

We believe that in these troubled economic and environmental times, working horses offer a sustainable means of equine husbandry. 

We believe that every working horse deserves to have his needs taken care of for the duration of his natural life.




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Dear Blue Star Supporter

 

Spring has officially sprung!

Not least of all having "sprung" is Fancy Dan, who is bouncing around happily, enjoying week 2 of his life. 

But lots of other things are flowering at Blue Star Equiculture. 

The collaboration between the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and Blue Star Equiculture has grown into the official announcement of Blue Star's founding of a new Working Horse Program as part of the Equine Studies Program at UMass's Hadley Farm.

As beautiful spring weather finally arrives in New England, Blue Star Equiculture has launched our "Beautiful Horse" campaign to educate the public about working horses, particularly about urban carriage horses.  We have also become the official retirement home of the New York City carriage horses

Speaking of working together - the horses have always been our guides and mentors when it comes to "teamwork."  Blue Star Equiculture truly believes in interdependence and we could not do any of what we do without the collaboration of organizations such as UMass, local historical societies, civic groups, other charities, etc. and we certainly wouldn't get far at all without the support of our adopters, donors and volunteers working together to secure the future for our community's homeless working horses.  It truly takes teamwork to succeed, but when you can harness a whole HERD of support, Blue Star can create so much good.   We need your support to launch our UMass program and continue to support our herd on the farm, as we help horses in need.

Read on for adoptions, news from the Herd, events, more about UMass and BSE, working carriage horses, and much more!


Retired carriage horses, Carter and Charlie-D., giving wagon rides at UMass's Hadley Farm as part of the 76th Annual Livestock Classic on Saturday, April 16th.  Blue Star officially launched our new Working Horse Program, which will begin fall semester 2011, as part of the Equine Studies Program at the Stockbridge School.
Photo of the Month



Fancy Dan wearing a halter for the first time, and like any exuberant colt, wearing out mama Fanny, Sally, and Justin in keeping up with him. Like keeping up with Fancy Dan, keeping up with all the exciting things happening at Blue Star Equiculture can be a bit of a challenge - a new baby, horses being adopted, a new Working Horse Program established at UMass, launching a BEAUTIFUL HORSE campaign in New York City and across the country, starting a 4-H Club, and much, much more... all in a day's work at Blue Star Equiculture!
Working Horse Program developed by Blue Star Equiculture at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, UMass

Mark and Tom Too working the crowd at a fundraising event on April 15th for Blue Star's new collaboration with UMass

This past week, Blue Star Equiculture officially received approval from the Dean of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture to integrate our working draft horses into the Equine Studies curriculum as part of a new Working Horse Program at UMass.


On Friday, Blue Star Equiculture board member Tom Horton hosted a cocktail party and information session at his home to begin to spread awareness and raise funds for this exciting new program.  Thanks to everyone who came out to meet Mark, Tom Too, Carter and Charlie D. and the Blue Star team as we launch this UMass-BSE collaboration.

 

On Saturday, Blue Star Equiculture spent all day at the 76th Livestock Classic at Hadley Farm at UMass.  We gave wagon rides and got to meet lots of the UMass students.  Already, interest is very strong from the Equine Studies and Sustainable Agriculture students about our program to teach them how to work with draft horses and rescued horses.

 

UMass and other five college students will be involved in internships and independent study programs on our farm in Palmer.  Our herd offers the teaching advantage of horses of a wide variety of ages (from Fancy Dan, age 2 weeks, to Clapton, age 35) and infirmities of differing degrees (horses with epilepsy, arthritis, vision problems, etc.).  Horses currently at UMass are either part of the reproduction program or have to be used in riding lessons, and so must not have any of the disabilities one would routinely encounter in a general cross-section of the horse population.

 

We will also be sending over 4 of our drafts to UMass, starting in June, so that draft horse care can be incorporated into the Equine Management course in the Animal Science department.  Blue Star Equiculture will also be offering a course in Draft Horse Certification starting in the fall.  This certification course, which we will be developing over the summer with the help of the Draft Animal Power Network, will be available to not only students, but also to the general public as part of the continuing education program at UMass.  The Blue Star horses at UMass will be available to do work on Hadley Farm or around campus, or to do jobs in Amherst and the surrounding communities.

 

We're very excited to have created this new opportunity to teach future horsemen and horsewomen about working with draft horses.  These students are future good homes for America's working horses, and, as part of our educational and outreach mission, we seek to cultivate in tomorrow's farmers and horsepeople a renewed appreciation for the working draft horse that has been so important historically to Massachusetts farmers.

Draft Horse Certification I

This certificate program will train participants in sustainable horsemanship with draft horses. Sustainable horsemanship is more than just buying eco-friendly products for the barn or composting manure (though these are great). Sustainable horsemanship means working with horses in a sustainable way, taking into consideration the horse population as a whole (for instance, seeking to address issues of "unwanted horses") and seeking to use the "green" alternative energy of real horsepower whenever possible. This program teaches students the basics of draft horse husbandry before moving on to teach them skills in working with horses in harness, both on the road and on the farm, working with rescued horses, draft horse training, practical problem solving, and farming with horses. At all levels, safety for horse and handler and the overall well-being of the horse are stressed above all else.

Level I certification will prepare the student to care for draft horses, properly fit harness and hitch a horse or a team to a vehicle, and safely drive the horse or horses both on the road and on the farm. Students completing Level I certification will be prepared, with adequate apprenticeship hours, to be licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Carriage Operator. Level I certification prepares the student for owning a draft horse, driving for a commercial carriage company, giving hay rides in a hay wagon, or being able to skillfully handle experienced farm horses.

This course will meet once a week for 3 hours in the fall 2011 semester with a limited enrollment of 8 students per section. There will be three sections, taught Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 3-6 PM. Enrollment will be open to UMass students and the public (for a fee). It will also require additional practice at the Blue Star Equiculture farm or on campus (Massachusetts Carriage Operator's Licensing requires 80 hours of hands on time). Successful completion of the course will be awarded a Certificate in Draft Horsemanship from Blue Star Equiculture.


JOIN THE HERD!
Herd membership for as little as $10 / month.
A Herd Member a day, keeps the horses in hay!

Where else can you get amazing equine educational workshops and hands-on horse experience with gentle giants, all while helping support the rescue or retirement of working horses?  Where else can you answer the question "Have you hugged a draft horse today?" with a resounding "YES!"?  Why send money off to some huge or distant organization whose direct works you may never see, when you could be helping horses right here at home in your community, and whose activities are publicized constantly on facebook, the internet, and the press? 

Blue Star Equiculture welcomes everyone to be a part of the life of the Herd.
Blue Star Equiculture is calling upon ALL of our supporters to "Join the Herd" and become a Blue Star Equiculture Herd Member for as little $10 / month.  This kind of small, repeated effort on the part of the Blue Star community will help assure the routine care of the horses, so that Blue Star Equiculture will be able to rescue and rehome more horses, expand our educational and outreach programs into the community and do even more to further our efforts to use real horsepower to draft a better future for horses, humans and Mother Earth!

Blue Star Equiculture is now offering Herd Membership at six different levels, starting at just $10 / month.  Sign up for a level of support that works for you.

Please consider joining the herd!  Herd membership easily pays for itself in the form of free or reduced admission to Blue Star Equiculture events.  And it certainly pays for itself in the warm, fuzzy feeling you get, knowing that you helped care for and feed a horse in need!

We currently have approximately 130 active Herd Members.  If we had 500 Herd Members, we would pay for our monthly hay needs.  If we had 800 Herd Members, hay and feed would be covered.  1000 Herd Members, and we're well on our way to having our community's homeless horses cared for by the community as a whole.

For more information or to JOIN THE HERD, visit our website here
Fancy Dan meets equine dentist Nicole Lombardo after she floated Ginger and Lacey's teeth before they went to their new adoptive home. Your Herd Membership helps provide dental care, farrier care, quality feed, and more to the horses at Blue Star whether in rehab, in retirement, or in route to a forever home- and helps us help Fancy Dan on his way to a long and happy life.
News from the Herd:

Huey Khan Huey's legs and feet have been improving by leaps and bounds!  Justin and Dr. Purdy gave him a really good trim that brought his feet into proper alignment and he has been much more comfortable.  His canker in his front feet is finally almost resolved, and he is looking sleeker and is standing more square than he ever has.  Yay, Huey!

 

Three-abreastJustin has been working with Duchess, Chyna and Kelly to practice driving three-abreast.  Sometimes an extra horse is needed for farm equipment.  Daisy, meanwhile, didn't mind being left out, as Iceman's affections have settled on her in a post-Tony B. world, and she is the center of a love triangle with Iceman and Charlie D.

 

Jesse, back in harness 32-year-old Jesse the Percheron made it through the winter.  As you may remember, we thought we were going to have to euthanize Jesse due to difficulties he was having following an injury from last summer to his hip.  Jesse, however, has let us know he's not ready to leave us yet.  An experienced teamster, Dave, visiting the farm recently, noticed Jesse in the Herd, and said to us, "You know what that horse needs?  He needs to feel useful.  Put him in harness and just take him for a walk, and he'll perk right up."  We took his advice, and Paul took Jesse for a special walk.  Dave was right!  Jesse's spring was back in his step - aside for being good light exercise, always good for the body, just being back in harness and feeling important was good for Jesse's spirit.  We'll definitely keep ground driving him periodically to keep him happy and healthy as long as the old man is up to it.

 

Kai, ground driving The volunteers have been working with Kai, the Norwegian fjord, to get some exercise.  At the age of 26, he gets sore if he gets ridden, even by the lightest of riders.  However, he's proved to be great at ground driving!

 

Gracie, new to harness If Jesse is at the end of a long life enjoying work in harness, Gracie is just beginning.  Sally has been working with Gracie to get acclimated to having things touch her where the harness will eventually be worn, and so Gracie has been spotted on the farm going for walks out to the field while wearing styrofoam pool noodles as a safe and comfortable training aid.

 

Peggy's cart is here! The training cart designed to order for Peggy has arrived, so with Sally and Justin's help, she can begin serious training in harness.  Peggy has already taken the cart for a test drive, but she's almost outgrown the harness that was bought for her last year.


Sponsor a horse Do you want to be a part of a horse's life at Blue Star?  Help us care for the horses on the farm who are here for long-term care, as permanent sanctuary horses, or in retirement!  Sponsor a horse today!

 

Pathfinder Returns to Blue Star:

Blue Star is happy to announce that not only have we launched this exciting new Working Horse Program at UMass for college students, we have some of our old friends from Pathfinder Regional Vocational High School back this summer, too!  Funding has come through to allow for paid interns on the farm to help us with our permaculture project, maintaining pastures, and caring for the horses.  Last year, Blue Star won the RiverEast Award for being the most successful program for Pathfinder interns.  Welcome back, Pathfinder!


What else has Blue Star been up to?

 

We're sure that we're probably leaving something out, but here are few other things we've been up to:

 

Blue Star Buddies 4-H Club Volunteer Nicole Finnie has organized a 4-H club for our 4-H age volunteers.  The group is a natural fit to formalize what so many of our volunteers have already been doing in working with the horses and learning about equine husbandry.

 

Gypsy Puppet Theater Look out this fall for the the Gypsy Puppet Theater coming to a school or nursing home near you!  Blue Star supporter and amazing puppeteer, Angie Arahood, has been selected to receive a Women's Arts League grant to create and develop a puppet show about equine and environmental issues, to be performed in a puppet theater built on our horse-drawn haywagon. Angie will be formally honored in June.  The project will be underway in the fall.

 

Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade Carter and Charlie D. had the honor of pulling Miss Congeniality of the Holyoke Colleen Pageant in the 60th Annual Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Dr. Beth Bowman demonstrating stretches on Dawson.

 

Workshops Our "The Horse Comes First" Workshop Series continues to be a success.  Special thanks to presenters Bill Darnley (foaling), Dr. Beth Bowman (equine stretches) and Jo Bunny (equine massage) for sharing their expertise.  Check out the Blue Star calendar for upcoming workshop topics.

 

 

 


Hello, Goodbye! --A New Arrival and New Homes

The Herd (led by Duke, Dawson and Peggy) wants to welcome Fancy Dan

Hello, Fancy Dan! As many of you know from last week's birth announcement, Fanny gave birth early in the morning of April 9th.  Dan the Man is a healthy, thriving colt.  He's already had several experiences outside, where he has taken the opportunity to explore - he's a handful for his mom, Fanny, who worries and frets over him as he goes running off to see the latest, exciting new thing.  Sally has begun working on the basics of his ground work; he had a halter on for the first time about a week ago.

 

Goodbye, Ginger and Lacey! Belgian sisters, Ginger and Lacey, have a new home!  They were adopted by Heidi, who has a small farm, on April 13th.  Heidi has all kinds of farm animals, but she had no horses!  Now, she's got a beautiful team of big girls.  Heidi and Jody report that Ginger and Lacey have settled in nicely, and have enjoyed several good groomings.  One of Ginger and Lacey's favorite things in the whole wide world is a good grooming.  We're so happy for Ginger, Lacey and Heidi!

 

Goodbye, Dexter! (Hello, a friend for a lonely Percheron!) Dexter has finally found a forever home at Horseneck Farms in Westport, MA.  He arrived there on Tuesday, April 19th, as a companion for their Percheron, Prince, who had lost a teammate.  One of the most important things a horse owner can do is provide equine companionship to their horses.  Dexter (now renamed George) has a wonderful home with his new friend, Prince.

 

 

Finding forever homes for horses is one of the most fulfilling things that we do at Blue Star.  It's always bittersweet, as we know we're going to miss every horse that has ever spent any time at Blue Star.  But the happiness these horses find with their adoptive families is ultimately what it's all about.  Horses finding homes also means that Blue Star has more room to take in other horses in need.  Who will we be saying "hello" to next month?

 

Are you interested in providing a forever home to a horse (or two)?  Blue Star Equiculture has several horses looking for adoptive homes, especially our younger residents, such as Dawson and Jetta.  Contact us to find out more, and we'll help match you with a horse to suit your situation.

Equiculture Alumni Updates

Lots of updates from Equiculture Alumni this month!

Casino, who lives with Kelly down in Florida, passed his one-year rescued anniversary.  Casino, formerly #388, was pulled from the kill pen after the March 3, 2010 auction at Camelot Auctions in New Jersey, thanks to Blue Star supporter Julie Zimmerman.   When Casino got out of quarantine and arrived in Florida, Kelly and her husband Donny had to treat him for previously foundered and unkempt hooves and a bad case of scratches.  He was also underweight and shy.


Kelly writes: Thank you to everyone who helped save his life, you guys rock! He's doing well, he's sound and his hooves are starting to look somewhat normal.  To the people who dumped him at Camelot - shame on you.  We don't even know what his name was... that's pathetic.  Casino is 16.2 hands and about 1400 lbs right now.  He was less than 1100 lbs when we got him.  He drives and rides and he's very polite to handle.  He doesn't push or step on you, very respectful - unlike the rest of my boys!  Thank you to everyone at Blue Star who stepped in when Cas was headed for slaughter.  Without you guys, he'd be dead and we'd be a little less human for letting it happen to him.  He's sweet and willing and there really isn't anything more you could ask of a horse.

Congratulations, Casino (aka "Thunderbutt") on your first year of many in the perfect forever home! 

 

Westbrook, a thoroughbred initially rescued off the track by the now-defunct King's Bridge Equine Rescue, was adopted last year through Blue Star Equiculture, having lived on the farm since September 2009.  Along with his friend, Crip (Foolish Move), who was adopted by Haley Zimmerman, Westbrook lives at home with his adopter, Brianna.


Brianna writes: Hello, I just thought I would let you know how well Westy is doing. I can't believe it's almost been a year since he left Blue Star.  He's doing amazing and getting a lot braver.  He loves trails and we're hoping to do a lot of showing this summer.  He misses his old pals, but I'm glad to have him right in my yard.  He and Crip were sunbathing today; it was very cute.  So, I just thought I would let you know.  Thank you for letting me adopt this amazing horse!

Hope, who was pulled from the Camelot kill pen in January 2010 by BSE volunteer Sarah Hull and later gave birth on 7/3/10 to our adorable Miss Gracie Blue Star, moved on Sunday, April 2, from her barn that she shared with fellow alumna Shyanne to a new boarding facility where Sarah is going to have her professionally trained, now that she's a coming 4 year old. (I must say, if you've seen pictures of Gracie trotting... Like mother like daughter!)


You'll see Hope has put her "I was an unwed teenage mother" baby belly behind her and is on her way to being a wonderful future riding horse for Sarah!

Hope's departure from her previous barn has had the happy side effect of making room for Shyanne's adopter, Carolyn, to rescue a Haffie who, like Shyanne, was perilously listed for free on Craigslist.

Hope is aptly named... still famous in the community that monitors the weekly Camelot auction for for kicking the auctioneer as a completely unhandled horse, and relegated to a tiny pen as one of the lowest priced horses of the week - as sure a candidate for the truck as any - she is now a cuddler and loves to be scratched, has already successfully been a mama, and is on her way to a long and happy life as a fine upstanding equine citizen with Sarah.

Finally, George!  George arrived at Blue Star about a year ago, as a rescue that had been passed on to us.  He was a little underweight, and suffering from an abscess on his shoulder.  Volunteer Lisa tended to his wound, which improved greatly under her care.  In the process, Lisa fell in love with George.  George was ready to go home with Lisa by last Labor Day, where he lives with his friend, Reese the thoroughbred.  Unfortunately, George's abscess, which was at one time believed to be almost healed, has not gone away; it flares up painfully every 3 weeks or so.  An ultrasound has revealed that George has a bone chip on his scapula that will need to be surgically removed to stop the cycle of abscesses.  George is scheduled for surgery on May 26th.  Lisa and George's friends are holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, "Noodles for George," on May 20st to help pay for his surgery.  More information about George's fundraiser can be found here.
Easter Egg Hunt - Saturday, April 23


Blue Star Equiculture in New York City

A night shift carriage horse enjoying his stall at Clinton Park Stables.
On Saturday, April 9th, representatives from Blue Star Equiculture (Executive Director Pamela Rickenbach, Director of Operations Paul Moshimer, board members Sally Sorel, Christina Hansen, David Milos, and Dr. Steve Purdy and his wife, Joyce) traveled to New York City to check out the most famous working horses in the world - the celebrated carriage horses of Central Park.  Blue Star Equiculture recently became the official retirement home of the New York City carriage horses, and we are already happy to offer Charlie-Daniel and Rosie a retirement home. 

As many of you are aware, the New York City carriage horses are a light
ning rod of debate.  Many activist organizations are agitating to ban the carriages and put the horses out of their homes.  In order to bolster their argument (which often hinges on the belief that horses and humans DON'T belong together - compare with BSE's belief that horses and humans fundamentally belong together and that "work" should not have a pejorative connotation), these organizations have accused the carriage drivers of a long list of alleged "abuses" ranging from keeping the horses in substandard stables to overworking the horses, to depriving them of water, to underfeeding the horses.  Week after week, the anti-carriage-horse groups hurl verbal abuse in the form of slander at hardworking horsepeople, who, in our experience, deeply love their horses and adhere to the first rule of horsemanship: The Horse Comes First. 

Pam and Paul meeting Blue the carriage horse at Chateau Stables.
We toured both Clinton Park Stables on 52nd St. and Chateau Stables on 48th St.  We got to see the horses at home and at work in the park, and staged an impromptu pro-carriage-horse rally on the Plaza.  We saw so many beautiful horses - all happy, healthy and well-cared for. Dr. Steve Purdy said it best, from his veterinary perspective: "I came looking for problems and I found none."

Blue Star Equiculture is an advocate for working horses, everywhere.   We encourage working with horses in harness as a way to not only sustain horses economically, but to restore and preserve the ancient partnership between horse and man.  For this reason, we support the right of carriage operators to keep their horses in the city, as horses have been kept in New York for almost 400 years.  The New York City carriage industry provides stable, well-regulated homes for over 200 horses.
Paddy and Steve going to work.  Paddy the Percheron has been a carriage horse in NYC for 11 years. He's a bit of a celebrity, especially following his appearance in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade.



Blue Star Equiculture will be returning to New York on Sunday, May 1st, to spend more time educating the public about the truth about carriage horses.  If you would like to join us, contact us!  Read more about carriage horses in general here, or see more pictures of our stable tours here.

Special thanks to our hosts, Stephen Malone (President, New York Horse and Carriage Association), Conor McHugh (manager, Clinton Park Stables), Anita McGill (owner, Chateau Stables) and Richard Brodie (Executive Director, New York Therapeutic Riding Center).
Blue Star Equiculture supports working horses in New York City
Blue Star Equiculture advocating for the carriage horses of New York City.  Carriage driver John, from the stables on 37th St., knew Charlie-Daniel way back when he was just "Daniel" and was owned by a Brazilian driver working out of West Side Livery on 38th St.  Said John on learning of Charlie-Daniel's light-work retirement at Blue Star, "Oh, that's fantastic.  It really does your heart good to know where he's at and that he's doing so well."
Beautiful Horse!
The Story behind the Slogan

You'll notice in our pictures from New York City that Pam is holding a sign that simply says, "Beautiful Horse." 

Blue Star Equiculture is launching our "Beautiful Horse" campaign.  What, you may ask, is the "Beautiful Horse" campaign?

Blue Star Equiculture's co-founder, Christina Hansen, explains:

Last September, Blue Star Equiculture participated in the Tub Parade in Lenox, MA.  The Tub Parade, sponsored by the Colonial Carriage and Driving Society, is a carriage parade that harkens back a Gilded Age tradition of showing off fine horses in harness at the end of the summer season in the Berkshires.  Blue Star brought Daisy and Kelly and our 1890s-era vis-a-vis, and had gotten them all gussied up and ready to go. The farm where we parked the trailer was a good mile and half away from the center of town where the parade was to be. 

Justin was driving the girls, and I was up on the driver's box as well.  We were gussied up ourselves, in standard carriage driver wear: top hats, tails, the whole nine yards.  As the girls approached the edge of town, where the "neighborhood" started, Justin and I spotted, in the distance, a pair of 20-something young women holding a posterboard.  Now, mind you, Justin and I are both former carriage drivers from Philadelphia;
Daisy and Kelly are BEAUTIFUL HORSES at the Tub Parade.
in our experience, there is only one reason anyone shows up around horses with a posterboard, and that is to protest the alleged "slavery" or "abuse" of the carriage horses. 

"Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me.  Seriously?" Justin grumbled, as we both sat up stiffly, and the tension level spiked.   

"Keep driving," I said.  "I'll take care of them if they give us any trouble." [Remember that carriage drivers have not only been verbally attacked, but have also been physically assaulted by anti-carriage-horse protesters.]

Justin and I were prepared to protect Daisy and Kelly from these women with the posterboard by whatever means necessary, when we got close enough to read the sign.

It simply said, "Beautiful Horse." 

The women started clapping.  "Beautiful horses!" they exclaimed. 

Conor's horse, Rosie, is a BEAUTIFUL HORSE.
I just about burst into tears.  The whole way through the Tub Parade, the crowd at Lenox was applauding all the horses.  I heard so many "Thank you"s and "Beautiful horse"s...  It was such a change from the usual experience that working carriage drivers like Justin, Pam and I have been through. When carriage drivers do the EXACT same thing as at the Tub Parade - that is, drive healthy, happy horses in harness - they hear "ANIMAL CRUELTY!" shouted at them out of car windows.  Carriage drivers who would risk everything they have to protect their horses are routinely called "animal abusers" and "slave drivers."  

As advocates for working horses, Blue Star Equiculture is working to change that.
It's time for the emotional abuse of horsemen and horsewomen by people who are deliberately misled to end.

We want signs held up around carriage horses to read "Beautiful Horse!"  We want what gets shouted at carriage drivers by bystanders to not be the grossly-misinformed "animal cruelty" but the TRUTH -- which is that a happy working horse in harness is a "BEAUTIFUL HORSE."

Follow us online to find out how to join the "Beautiful Horse" campaign and continue Blue Star Equiculture's work to draft a better future for horses, humans and Mother Earth.

Pam and Christina in front of a row of BEAUTIFUL HORSES on the Plaza in New York.


Horse Quotation of the Month
"Truth, to be retained, must be given the same mythic significance that we have given our lies." ~James Loewen

"I Wish I Were a Carriage Horse"

I'm here at the auction, don't know a soul
My owner couldn't keep me, I have to be sold
She lost her job, and money is tight
...She said she was sorry, sent me off in the night

I wish I were a carriage horse, with a nice steady driver
Work days at the park, and at night I'd retire
To a warm bedded stall and plenty to eat
Vacations in the country, a gig hard to beat

I'd delight passerby and customers alike
I'd do honest work, get fed carrots by tykes

I'd be in movies and books and on TV shows
Cause a NYC carriage horse everybody knows
Is an icon, a star, a piece of the City
And never in need of anyone's pity

A horse is a horse of course, they all say
But a horse needs a place in this age and this day
As in eons gone by, alongside his friend
Man and The Horse go hand in hand

I wish I were a carriage horse, contented and useful
They wouldn't call me homeless, they'd call me Beautiful.

 

Poem by Eva Hughes, who has been in the New York City carriage business for 30 years.  This poem was inspired by a picture of a draft horse on the feed lot oat Camelot Auctions in Cranbury, NJ. Photos of John the carriage driver with his horse, and Steve the carriage driver with his horse, Paddy - both taken on April 9, 2011 by Blue Star Equiculture.


Thank you for your interest in Blue Star Equiculture.  We hope to see you soon at the farm at one of our events or workshops, or out on the road as we clip-clop by!  Until next time, remember that "going green takes real horsepower!"

Sincerely,

Pamela Rickenbach and Christina Hansen
Blue Star Equiculture
About Us

Our mission is to provide retired working horses a sanctuary and homeless working horses the opportunity to be useful and positively improve their lives, while bringing education, equine awareness, skills and healing to the community and the environment.

Blue Star Equiculture is a vision born out of the hearts of like-minded individuals who feel the need to respond to the current, increasingly dire situation facing both the environment and homeless horses.

Blue Star Equiculture is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization. We rely on the donations of individuals and organizations in order to do our work.

We welcome contributions in time, materials, money, or knowledge.

All of us, equine and human, are part of an interconnected web of life.
Blue Star Equiculture
PO Box 7
Bondsville, Massachusetts 01009
Blue Star Equiculture
413-289-9787
www.equiculture.org




Blue Star Equiculture | PO Box 7 | Bondsville | MA | 01009
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