Abandoned horses find a home: heartlandhorserescue.org

Real Estate Broker/Owner with RealtyFLEX Field of Dream Homes

As a Horse Owner and Lover myself, I thought you might help this cause: heartlandhorserescue.org

This year's Barn to Barn Christmas Trail Ride starts at noon on Dec. 6.  Tankel's goal is to raise $2,000 this year. The minimum donation to participate is $30.  Please read the complete article from the Seminole Chroncle:

By Kelly Allen | November 19, 2008

CHULUOTA - Teddy eats a bale of alfalfa every day, a bag of grain each week and needs antibiotics and pain medication daily.

It costs about $130 to take care of Teddy for just one week - maybe that's why his owners left him injured, starving and alone in a field in Marion County.

But every time Lori Tankel walks toward Teddy in the morning or after her day at work, he greets her with a friendly nicker. And that bond, she says, is worth any expense.

Tankel is the founder of Heartland Horse Rescue, a nonprofit she started in August 2007 to meet a growing need she saw in Seminole County: horses like Teddy being abandoned or mistreated.

Lady, Tankel's first rescue, was 400 pounds underweight when she was found. She had only four teeth and had to compete with three younger horses for food. The owner's reason for Lady's malnutrition was that she was old. Tankel said that Lady, a 34-year-old palomino, has gained about 200 pounds in the year that she has been at the rescue.

All the rescues have been adopted except for Lady, who will stay because of her age.

But as heartwarming as it is for Tankel to nurse the horses back to health, rehabilitating each horse is a huge financial burden.

"It probably costs about $500 to rehab a horse per month," Tankel said. "That's probably being conservative. It's a very expensive ordeal."

Although each horse needs different care, Tankel said all the horses she rescues need to gain weight. That means buying a lot of food.

Aside from that, horses need their hooves trimmed every four to six weeks, yearly vaccinations, and deworming every eight weeks. Add on medications for horses like Teddy, and the costs escalate.

"We do get donations, but most of the money comes out of our pocket," Tankel said. Tankel works full-time at a veterinarian's office, which helps with the bills but also means she has to commute from her home and work in Winter Park to the rescue in Chuluota twice a day.

"I am at the barn Monday through Friday at 5:30 a.m. so I can medicate Teddy and ride Tucker. I go back after work to repeat," Tankel said. "People need to do their homework before they buy a horse. It's a lot of work as you can see."

Tankel says if more people thought twice about owning a horse, fewer abandoned horses would need to be rescued. "There are people who just don't know what is involved in owning a horse, from the expense to the time," she said.

But as Tankel rubbed Teddy, a horse that just one month ago was a shell of what he is now, she said she couldn't understand how anyone would abandon a horse.

"That anyone could just drive away from this face is horrible," she said.

The rescue has one fundraiser each year in December: the Barn to Barn Christmas Trail Ride. The ride starts at the rescue on Mills Creek Road in Chuluota, and participants can ride, walk or bike from barn to barn.

"Each farm that participates serves drinks and food, and this year we're hoping to have some Christmas carolers," Tankel said. "We've got a lot of door prizes that are donated throughout the community. Last year we gave away a lot of stuff and we'll do it again this year."

Tankel's goal is to raise $2,000 this year. The minimum donation to participate is $30. This year's Barn to Barn Christmas Trail Ride starts at noon on Dec. 6. For more information, go to heartlandhorserescue.org.


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