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September 20, 2022
Social Mission: Aiken Equine Rescue
Since its founding in 2006, Aiken Equine Rescue has become one of the largest equine rescue farms in the southeastern United States. Not only are they dedicated to giving neglected horses and retired Off-The-Track Thoroughbreds a second chance at life, but they also serve as a venue for community gathering, offer interactive human-horse program opportunities, and positively impact the community in Aiken and beyond.
When a horse in need arrives at the rescue, they are provided shelter, food, water, training, and all medical, dental, and farrier care needs. The goal is to find a loving home for rehabilitated horses so they can live comfortable and happy lives. Volunteers at the rescue put their hearts into helping the animals that come into their care. “Some of the best moments are when the love connection happens, and one our rescues becomes someone’s heart horse,” said Pam Patron, Aiken Equine Rescue’s Volunteer Marketing Coordinator. “We say good-bye with a tug at our hearts, but we know they will grow into their new life, relaxed, open minded, trusting, and happy. Knowing we had a hand in transitioning the horses into their next chapter is the most rewarding.”
The rescue also serves as a place to facilitate the transition of retired racehorses from off the track to their next career. “When a retired Thoroughbred arrives hot off the track, we pull their racing plates, quarantine them to ensure they are eating, healthy and to allow them to decompress,” said Pam. “Seeing these magnificent athletes move boldly and watching how alert they are to everything around them is an emotional experience. They are taking the first step towards a new life.”
As a non-profit organization, the rescue relies entirely on private donations and fundraising efforts in order to provide opportunities of healing through equine education and interaction, and to provide safe and restorative homes to horses. On average, the team houses and cares for 60 horses a year, and in just that one year of operation, Aiken Equine Rescue will utilize 2,700 bales of hay, 3,120 bags of feed, and over 2,500 gallons of fuel.
While the rescue is focused on providing the best care possible to their four-legged tenants, they are also in a phase of rebuilding. Their main barn was lost in a devastating fire in April of 2021, with a property loss total of $450,000. The fire engulfed medical supplies, records, tack, feed, and the home office for the volunteers. Amidst the damage, the team has stayed positive and remains dedicated to their mission.
Aiken Equine Rescue, a recipient of the 2022 Platinum Guidestar Rating and accredited by the TAA (Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance), offers several ways for community members to get involved and donate to their cause. When you give to Aiken Equine Rescue, you have a part in creating a happy ending for displaced and neglected equines. You’re able to help transition off-the-track Thoroughbreds who are no longer able to race, horses whose owners have passed away or are unable to care for them, and animals that have suffered from neglect. But horses are not the only ones who will benefit from your assistance. As they say at the rescue, it is about “People Helping Horses, Horses Helping People”. The organization has a multitude of programs that work with people such as veterans, women affected by physical and sexual trauma, and at-risk youth. They have found a unique way to give back to the community by sharing the healing power that horses offer. As an Aiken Equine Rescue donor, you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of both people and horses who are hurting.
To learn more about how you can give back to horses in need and support the rescue’s rebuilding efforts visit aikenequinerescue.org.