My name is Yvonne Barteau and in 2017 I founded an Equine Rescue rescue called Horses without Humans. The reasons for beginning this chapter of my life, are outlined in my Into the Spotlight documentaries that were produced during that same time frame. In short, as a lifetime horsewoman, I believed it was my turn to give back to the species who defined and shaped me. Little did I know, less than two years after relocating Horses without Humans to Bell Florida, I would meet, and fall in love with a group of emaciated horses, we have lovingly nicknamed. The Bone Yard.
The majority of these 19 horses, all various ages, breeds and training, were all subjected to a long and tortuous existence where they were systematically starved to the threshold of death. Although these same horses were denied the most basic of needs, they were still a hopeful lot. This group of sweet souls has touched the heart of everyone who meets them. Their journey has been followed on Social Media by thousands of interested fans from around the globe. I am beyond grateful that we met these remarkable horses, likely just hours before it would have been to late to save, at least some of them.
I have always listened to my inner voice, especially about the more important things. Life choices, changes in work environments, decisions regarding key relationships… things of that nature. Of course there were times I ended up making a wrong choice. But… that is something we all do from time to time. So I don’t mind that too much. I just try to figure out my mistake, rectify as best I can, and then go on.
I was born to become a horse trainer. That much I know. Thank god I recognized that truth early on. No one pointed me in the direction of horses. I pointed myself there.
Once in a while I would change my path a bit but horses have remained the theme of my entire life. The love affair with horses began when I was a child. Storybook horses turned to Imaginary horses. Sneaking bareback rides on someone else’s horses, turned to earning money to ride lesson horses. Lesson horses shifted to race horses. Race horses evolved into fixing problem horses, and then to starting horses. Starting horses led me to live theater horses. Theater horses led me into the world of dressage and then dressage horses brought me back into the equine theater world. However, the most important chapter of my life began when I entered the realm of equine Rescue and Welfare.
Each chapter of my particular story, was necessary, for my growth, as a horsewoman. I needed to learn, and to see. I needed to experience many things, so that I could have a much needed perspective. I am no stranger to horses, but, I was a bit of a stranger to the rescue world I entered just three years ago. After careful attention and observations these past few years, I will state one thing with absolute certainty. The way things are, is not the way things have to be. I can see changes that must be made in order to drag the equine welfare world out of the dark ages and into the light. I am compelled to do my part to elicit these changes. As I venture onward I am sure I will learn much more. And I will continue to need help. My support and media team, and my boots on the ground here at the ranch, make all of my goals possible.
Thankfully I have made some allies who I am proud to partner with. Christy Counts, of the Right Horse, and Emily Weiss of the ASPCA have provided instrumental guidance to me. They have encouraged me, educated me, prompted me, and advised me. The teams in their organizations have done likewise. I have also met some other amazing people in the rescue
world. People I both like and admire. I am super thrilled to be devoting this chapter of my life to seeing if I can make a difference for those with no voice of their own.
I think by and large the better run rescues already have caring down to a well defined art. Caring means many things. Answering calls, emails, or messages. Going to look at a horse, or. Multiple horses who may be in need. Listening. Taking in troubled horses and knowing what to do to make their situation better. Being okay with a day that has no defined beginning or ending.
The lack at present, that I see, is the ability to properly assess and train adoptable horses so they can find and keep a forever home. The other is a need for general education on all things equine in hopeful adoptive people. The third is awareness and responsibility for all horse owners.
There will be much more to come on this subject but for now I want to thank the horses and people who have guided me thus far and to remind myself how lucky I am to have a chance to make a difference.