Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue
"Where the Whispers of Many Horses in Need are Heard”
What We Care About:
- Animal Welfare
- Wildlife & Habitat
Skills and Expertise Needed:
- Web & IT
- Marketing & PR
My name is Brenda McArthur and I own and operate Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue located in Hagersville Ontario. I will tell you a bit about who we are and what we do here at the rescue.
I have always had a passion for horses, even as a child. When I was 10 years old, I used to help out at a local riding stable all day to have the opportunity to ride for one hour at the end of the day. At 14 I worked at a riding facility as the lead for trail rides and any other chores that were needed. I would spend my summers and weekends there. I did this for about 3 years.
I became a member of the Dunnville Humane Society Board and held the positions of Director of Investigations and Director of Foster Parenting. These were volunteer positions as Haldimand County did not have Humane Society services at that time, only animal control.
In 2001 when Welland Humane Society was contracted to provide animal control and animal cruelty services for Haldimand County, I obtained employment with Welland to provide animal control and cruelty services in the County. I obtained my official Agent status through the OSPSA which provided me the authority to conduct cruelty investigations. I also was an animal control officer.
Upon leaving the Welland Humane Society to obtain employment with Haldimand County Administration, I became a board member on the Welland Humane Society Board of Director with which I held the position for a year.
During the past 10 years I rescued 2 to 4 horses a year which quickly became 4 to 6. I began to realize there is such a great need for horse rescue in this area as horse cruelty is not as recognized as the more domestic breeds such as cats and dogs. I realized we needed an advocate to educate and provide a service to the public to help prevent horses from being subjected to auctions and even worse, slaughter. I needed a bigger farm.
We found the farm in Hagersville in the summer of 2007 and this dream started to become reality. We moved into the farm in December and the work began. We have a 48 acre farm with a few barns and arena. The main herd has a 17 acre paddock. There are a few smaller paddocks we have built to house horses that need more hands on care. We are still building more paddocks and hope to have more built in 2009. We are also looking to build a quarantine paddock, however this all comes with a price tag.
We are not legally a non profit and receive no funding. We raise funds through donation boxes and public donations that are sent in. We sold calendars this year with pictures of our rescues and it went very well, we printed 250 and sold most of them. We are currently starting a used tack drive to collect used tack to use or sell for funds to help the rescue. The Tack is being sold at Tack connection in Beamsville and Cayuga Feed and Farm Supply. We also bake horse treats and are selling them as well. We have been selected as a recipient for the Mayor's golf tournament this year to receive $1500 which we will build the quarantine paddock. We will also hold a garage sale, tack swap sale in August at the farm.
The farm operates on our personal wages as Dave and I both work full time to keep it going. We have 14 volunteers that come out to help with chores and working with the horses. I also have a trainer, Tom Shields, which donates his time to the rescue to conduct clinics for the volunteers so that all are training the horses with the same method. We use the Chris Irwin method which is a non-resistance training program. With this program, you are communicating with the horses in their language; it is a wonderful program that is very effective with these rescues as many of them have behaviour issues. I also have a Farrier, Eric Proulx, which donates his time every 4 weeks to trim as many horsesï¿½?? hooves as needed for free, what a gift!
We are desperately seeking a vet that will help us; we are hoping someone will step forward to donate a few hours a month to provide some examinations as vet care is one of our biggest expenses.
We currently have 34 horses on the farm, 25 of which are rescues.
During our first year, 2008, we brought in 42 horses, adopted 22 horses to good homes and euthanized 4 horses that we couldnï¿½??t save, however, at least they donï¿½??t hurt and are not hungry anymore. They have gone to a better place.
One of our special rescues is Rosie; she is an 18 year old Arabian mare that was so emaciated that you could count every bone in her body. She was also blind in one eye as apparently she had been hit with a paint ball. I was contacted by an acquaintance as the owner was going to euthanize her. I brought Rosie home in the fall of 2007 to see if we could save here and within 4 months she was absolutely a gorgeous loving horse. She has been adopted by a great family near Chatham and is loved by a 14 year old girl every day. Rosie touched everyone that met her as she was so kind and trusting even after the rough life she had endured. Since Rosieï¿½??s adoption, her original owner from 18 years ago has found us and is so glad that she has been saved. This man was devastated when he saw the pictures of what had happened to her.
Our current special case is Bella, a 3 year old mare that is going blind, she has cataracts. We are hoping to find a vet to help us with her as she has many good years ahead of her. She is so very friendly and loves people. She deserves a chance.
We totally rehabilitate the horses we take in from feeding to training, even if they are already ridden, we assess them over a 6 ï¿½?? 8 week period and take them through our full training program from leading to riding. This is so we can best fit the horse to the new owners. There is an adoption procedure in place where I interview the potential adoptees and inspect their farm. There is an adoption contract that allows me access to the horse and vet records for follow up. I do follow up and will remove a horse if it is not being treated properly.
We rescue the horses from local auctions and take in unwanted horses for the public that can no longer care for them.
Basically in a nutshell, I have dedicated my life to helping horses. Some ask me why do people mistreat horses and I respond by saying, why do people mistreat dogs, cats, children and each other?? It is out there everywhere and we can all make a difference. My motto has become ï¿½??Where the Whispers of Horses in Need are Heardï¿½??. I feel as though when I go to an auction, their eyes lead to their soul, it is as if they are saying please help me, that is where I get my strength to carry on this huge undertaking.
Whispering Hearts Horse rescue attends local auctions to save horses from slaughter. We also educate the public by speaking to local service groups about our mandate and the need for horse rescue in this area.
We provide a place for volunteers to learn more about horse care, as well as a place for high school student to complete their community service hours.
How To Get Involved With Us
We are desperately seeking a veterinarian to help us with some time, maybe 3 or 4 hours per month.
We always need supplies and fundraising initiatives to help us keep going as it is a real challenge to care for 35 - 40 horses.
Supplies are always needed, feed, tack, wood or monetary donations.
Monetary donations are always appreciated.