Heart Break

An animal does not have to die or become injured to break your heart. As a  professional horse trainer, my heart has been broken more than a dozen times by perfectly healthy horses and I am certainly not unique in that fact. Most professionals are in this business, because they love horses and want to spend their lives hanging around with them, you can tell right away when you meet such a trainer, that this is true. You will observe it in their actions as they handle and interact with any horse. Even if they must discipline a horse you will see good trainers do not lose their calm, rational or systematic approach. Their love of the horse will show in the way they work with their projects, all you have to do is observe.

Any person who has made their living training horses starting from the ground up certainly knows about hard work and commitment. There is a rewarding respect earned by paying your dues, staying humble and respecting those farther ahead in their journey than you are. Along the way aspiring hopefuls, seasoned trainers all will have worked with whatever horse we could get our hands on and for as long as we were lucky enough to keep our project. There is the lure among those who love these fine animals of trying to figure out how to make each individual better, while still maintaining and building some form of trust and respect. Not an easy task, and in this process, at least for me, a relationship is always formed. These relationships take a surprising hold no matter how professional one might try to remain. Even if we are warned, this is a sale horse, or a short-term project, that does not help, or keep us, from entering the heartbreak zone. Just because you KNOW you do not own the horse, you still form that relationship. The one that can break your heart. I know with certainty that I cannot spend weeks, months or years interacting with a being such as a horse, and not find myself enamored with that soul, in some way.

Usually, horses I work with also start to feel they are mine, and that I am their person. I think that is a good thing. It helps me to interact with each horse I handle as if he is indeed a long-term project that I cannot cut any corners with. I believe that every horse in a training program needs to learn to develop a relationship with their handlers. It should not be thought that spoiling the horse is the answer. However, stopping by to visit your equine friends, in their stall, at the end or beginning of the day, so they know they have a person, is imperative. Horses are HERD animals and horse trainers must become their chosen leader. Horses make choices all the time, they must choose you as their established leader. As I venture ever onwards into the world of unwanted horses here in America I find these truths even more important and vital. Horses who have been let down by the people they depended on have varying stories of hope lost, trust broken, miseries suffered. They need partnership routine, care and someone to trust, just as much, or more, than any individual.

The program we want to build here at Rock Bluff Ranch in Bell Florida will be all about partnerships. Partnerships that will mend heartbreak… for horses and people alike. Even though, each horse that passes through the gates either coming or going is likely to take all our hearts on just one more journey. Please find time to reach out if you can. We need volunteers, donations, products, services, fence building parties, grooms, riders, and aspiring horsemen to unite as we try to become part of a very real problem here in the United States of America. Horses are regarded as disposable. Something to be used in their prime and shucked off when they pass it. This need not be so. All it takes is you, you and you to step forward. Do what is right for any horse in your life and those with no voice of their own.

Please contact me at kybdressage@aol.com if you would like to help.

Just One Voice

Written by Guest Blogger  Rebecca Kohles

One of the hardest things to deal with in life is to be “one voice”.  It’s lonely and often unrewarding.

I know because often, my one, tiny voice keeps me up at night. So many horses are in need and it can be overwhelming. I’ve been there. I’ve felt that. I still do. Daily. For a long time, I have wrestled with a way to be the superhero that saves them all. Then reality sets in, and you falter; but you still want to fight for injustice. You feel no one will listen to you. Inadequacy becomes your mentor; and you feel anger and depression. If you don’t have your own farm or property, or own enough funds to care for a herd, it becomes a growing, helpless feeling. You battle to find your place in this puzzle of unwanted animals. It can be a very real struggle, to make that “one voice” count for something.

Being “one voice” does not have to make you feel powerless. An individual can have more power than you know. You just have to find it. Maybe you cannot provide a soft landing for a horse in need, but maybe you can train or volunteer to ride/exercise. Give a horse needed direction, a job, a chance at life. If you can’t train or ride, there are other ways to help that you probably haven’t thought of.

Here are just a few ideas:

Organize a feed drive, garage sale, car wash, oh the list is endless…for a local rescue. Selling on eBay? Donate a percentage of your sales! Buying on Amazon? Go to Amazon Smiles – donations are automatic!

Volunteer to groom at a rescue.

If you are lucky enough to work in the industry, perhaps you can influence your workplace to sponsor and take a stand. Massage therapists, can you donate a session to a horse in need? Work for a supplement company? Ask them to sponsor a horse…it never hurts to ask. The worst thing they may tell you is, no. Do you work at a showground? Will they spotlight a horse in need?

Do you have a talent unrelated to the industry? Perhaps you are a writer, photographer, or artist and could donate some of your proceeds? Or offer to give those horses a professional photo shoot to help it find a home…the possibilities are endless.

The bottom line is just because you are “one voice” there is a way for you to make a difference. You just need to soul search and figure out what the something is.

Until the last few years, as a current horse owner, I have selfishly enjoyed my Draft Cross mare of 15 years and climbing, with little to no thought about the others that have, and are suffering. I have recently looked at her in a different light. Coming from an Amish farm as a yearling, her story could have been so very different. I have recently seen so many horses like her on the kill buyer pages, they look unsure and terrified. I glance back at my mare; she looks confident and loved. While she is with me from yearling to her last breath, so many horses are not so lucky.

In the dark, vast sea of “one voices”, we, as an industry of professionals and adult amateurs need to take a stand. To set a new precedent and believe completely in our hearts what is morally right and pass that along to our students and friends. Instructors need to make it part of the curriculum. We need to be accountable and to bring America’s horses back into the light.

All it takes is “one voice” to make a difference. All it takes is “one voice” to make a change. All it takes is “one voice” to end their suffering. I encourage you to find your “one voice”. While I have found my “one voice”, a few times now, I will continue to seek out more ways to affect a change. I believe in the goals of Horses without Humans and no matter how much I can contribute, I will always want to do more.  I hope that you, whether professional or amateur, will join me. The horses need you.

Thank You Nutrena Feeds

Our horse training and equine theater business, KYB Dressage has been using Nutrena® Feeds as part of our equine health and nutrition program for over 18 years. We believe in their products, service, and integrity as a company. My name is Yvonne Barteau and I have some exciting news to announce.

When Kim and I started looking for companies to partner with us in our Horses without Humans 501c3 rescue and rehoming organization, I called out to our long term Nutrena representative who by now, is also a good friend of the family. It was holiday time as well as being the end of the year and everyone was busy tying up loose ends and tending to their own business and personal obligations. The long-term partnership we have built with Nutrena Feeds has come along with commitment and dedication from both parties, and despite the busy time of year, they wanted to help. We arranged a meeting in very short order, so their team could listen to our proposal.

Horses without Humans needed a small, four stall quarantine barn, a round pen, and an office/education center at the Rock Bluff Ranch in Bell Florida in order to facilitate our mission of finding horses in need forever homes. This mission aligns with the values of Nutrena Feeds, so they wanted to be a part of this worthy cause and offered us the help we needed to finish construction.

We will be sharing video updates as we move forward and soon you will meet the horses who needed our help, in finding their forever homes. Horses without Humans has inspired so many people to take action. We look forward to creating an example and prototype that other trainers and horse lovers around the country can emulate.

Horses without Humans and Nutrena Feeds want to unite in our love of the horse with both our short and long term goals in mind. No being, capable of competing at the Olympic level of competition as an athlete, should ever face the possibility of shipping across our borders to slaughter. All who love horses and can do something should step forward. Thank you Nutrena Feeds for helping those with no voice of their own.

Harvey’s Story

Meet Harvey a 2 year old warmblood cross that was sent to auction and found himself in a kill pen. He was started under saddle and had great ground manners, so they tried to find him a home before being sent to slaughter. Well as many of you know, horses are talented and he managed to get hurt badly. His leg lacerations were so bad he was pulled form the page and was put in a direct ship. Not sure why me but the girl that tries to find purpose for these horses people throwaway sent me a message. I have never purchased a kill pen horse. After talking to her, I weighed my options and passed on him. After a sleepless night I sent her a message back saying I would take him. At the point the lot owner wanted money for him. So I had to purchase him. I sent the vet to see him and the vet advised me to pass on the horse he was too bad. After talking to the vet and giving him my history with wound care, he thought the horse might have a chance. So I took the risk and brought Harvey home. He still has months of healing left but he is doing amazing.

Meet Daisy a 7 Year Old Welsh Pony

I purchased Daisy for a Christmas present for my daughter last year. Not knowing the pony’s past, I made arrangements to have the pony shipped to Texas. After receiving the pony her previous owner contacted me telling me the pony’s story. She was in a shipping pen for slaughter. She was shaved, rehabbed and sent for training. I couldn’t believe what she was telling me. This beautiful, kind sweet pony was sent to auction? Yes it was true! Why would someone do this? It happens because uneducated people have horses or wind up with horses in their possession. Help educate horse owners! Please remember never send your horse to auction!

Casper’s Story

This is my story on my American Saddlebred Gelding:

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Casper “Amber’s Spooky Guy” came off of a kill buyers truck in 1994. He didn’t want him because he was “wild” and difficult.  So much so that nobody could touch him in the stall and he needed a rope hanging off his halter. Casper was wild because he had been started in a show barn where they threw fire works at him and hit his stall with brooms to get him to “ear up”.  This made him crazy and even the trainer couldn’t ride him, Casper actually broke his arm by slamming him up against the wall when he was under saddle.  It took him 6 months to trot because all he wanted to do was walk or canter.  He wound up being the love of my life until he was 27. We showed, trail rode, and drove … but his favorite thing was teaching little kids how to ride. Casper needed a kind hand and patience. He was gorgeous but wasn’t going to ever be a World Champion because of his physical limitations.  Every time I rode him he ALWAYS gave me a hard time about something, either spooking (look at his name) or shaking his head in mild protest. One of the most trust worthy, safe horses (once he was rehabbed) until the day he died in 2015.

Into the Spotlight Part 2 is now an Award-Winning Documentary

Our Into the Spotlight Part 2 documentary which tells the story of the fate of unwanted horses and how we are helping won Best Equine Film at the Equus Film Festival in New York last week. Please help our efforts by making a donation now. Any donation of $30 or more will receive a gift of the DVD version of our award winning film. Simply follow this link to donate, and then email us at kybdressage@aol.com with your address so we can send you a DVD!