Small Horse Rescue Making a Big Difference
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Major is now enjoying gentle rides with First Light Farm volunteers while Andrea seeks sponsors for his daily upkeep.

Major has had his fair share of bad luck. Dropped suspensories and a persistent case of heaves means that he requires special care. These health issues played a part in decision of his owner surrendering him to a small but active equine shelter in Perry, Maine.

Rehabbed and rehomed once, Major was repossessed from his first adopter after checkups by First Light Farm Equine Shelter found that his condition had deteriorated and, in fact, the adopter had sold the horse in breach of contract. Through a series of fortuitous events, the shelter was able to locate and reclaim Major.

When he arrived back “home” at First Light Farm, he was in bad shape. Severely underweight, he was lame in both front legs and was having trouble breathing. Major needed specially soaked hay, a daily regimen of bute and corrective shoeing to manage his condition.

But as the woman at the helm of First Light Farm, Andrea Barstow isn’t in the habit of giving up on horses. In 2008 she began taking in horses after being made aware of the shortage of rescues in her county. With a team of volunteers, she cares for and rehabs half a dozen horses at a time, and has successfully rescued and found new homes for 26 horses since 2008.

“We get so many desperate calls from people in all sorts of situations,” says Andrea. “They are getting a divorce, they are being thrown out of their house, they have a horse that is too much for them to handle. We try to help as much as we can.”

Andrea and her three member board may be small, but they’ve fostered an impressive reach via their facebook page and website. The costs associated with rehabbing cases of neglect are staggering, but through online auctions, contests, and other creative fundraising efforts, First Light Farm is able to operate successfully and continue taking in horses in need.

“Every time we find a home for one, there are always a dozen waiting in line to fill that empty stall,” she adds.

Andrea is slowly expanding her services by helping to re-home needy horses that she can’t bring to her farm under the First Light Farm adoption contract. The contract restricts the adoptee from reselling or giving away their horse without notifying the rescue first.

Major is now enjoying gentle rides with FLF volunteers while Andrea seeks sponsors for his daily upkeep. Along with proper feed and daily attention, Andrea began feeding him Perfect Product’s GastroEase EQ to support his digestion and prevent the symptoms that often cause ulcers in horses. Since he began to receive GastroEase, he’s been maintaining healthy weight, and his improved gastrointestinal comfort is reflected in his attitude and his overall condition.

“I found out about GastroEase after one of our volunteers took my horse Zippy to a riding camp and came back with some GastroEase that a trainer had given her,” explains Andrea. “Zippy’s career until he was 17 was an AQHA Western Pleasure show horse. He’s a high anxiety horse who internalizes everything. He’s a really hard keeper and a cribber, and I’d tried some Ulcer Aid and homeopathic herbs with him, but nothing seemed to work. Within two to three days of going on GastroEase his cribbing reduced significantly, and I could see a huge difference on him.”

Major and Zippy aren’t the only horses at First Light Farm that have benefitted from GastroEase; Andrea has incorporated it into her program with great success. Fragile rescue horses need all the help they can get, and GastroEase has been a valuable addition to their regimen of care.

This holiday season, with news of unwanted horses and horse slaughter legislation making headlines, consider supporting the efforts of a state certified horse rescue. These organizations work against an endless tide to save countless lives each year. First Light Farm may be small, but they are making a huge impact in the lives of the horses they encounter. Be sure to visit firstlightfarm.org to view their available horses, and “like” First Light Farm on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/firstlightfarm) to see their latest fundraiser. Major is currently seeking sponsors.

To find out more about GastroEase EQ and its many benefits, as well as the other specialized formulas for equine performance that Perfect Products EQ offers, visit PerfectProductsEQ.com

1 comments for this article Reverse Comment Order
Added: June 13, 2012. 05:29 PM CDT
keep up the good work you people do in rescuing and placing troubled and sick horses before they end up in the slaughter horse. My heart goes out to all of you and my heart is happy when I hear they get placed with good kind people.
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