Submitted by Tiffany Baker
Lone Tree Brownie Girl Scout Troops 59 & 1226
Last spring, our new Brownie Girl Scout Emily K. wrote on our Troop Bucket List that she would like to visit a Horse Rescue with her Girl Scout sisters. The girls unanimously requested to have the opportunity to learn more about horse care and go horseback riding, but the idea of visiting a Horse Rescue had not occurred to me as a Troop Leader in a larger city area. We put a plan in motion for our girls to first have the opportunity to visit a rescue, then go horseback riding and maybe attend a rodeo together later this year.
Planning a visit to a Horse Rescue is easier said then done. Some facilities do not conduct tours with the public due to the sad horse cases they often work with and there are only a few Horse Rescues near where we live. We were fortunate to come in contact with teacher Marion Nagle from our school district who volunteers her time at a rescue, including education to help prevent future abuse of horses. (This particular rescue is about to move to Florida in two months, so we scheduled our tour just in time.)
Last week, our Lone Tree Girl Scouts broke out of the suburbs and embarked on a fieldtrip to the countryside to visit the Front Range Equine Rescue. Our city slickers learned more about horses then they originally bargained and hope to share awareness with other Girl Scout families.
Here are some startling facts shared directly from the rescue’s annual calendar:
With at least 80% of Americans opposed to horse slaughter, it’s hard to fathom why over 140,000 American horses are brutally killed each year for human consumption. Front Range Equine Rescue took the lead during 2012-2013 when U.S. horse slaughter plants attempted to open. It was Front Range’s legal strategies and lawsuits at the state and federal level which delayed any plant from opening. Still, every year over 140,000 of America’s horses are slaughtered in Canada, Mexico and Japan.
America’s horses are not raised as a food animal. The products and medications given to them over the course of their lifetime makes then unfit for human consumption – dangerous to deadly depending on what they have ingested. Horse owners commonly use wormer, fly spray, vaccinations, antibiotics, and medications like Bute, Banamine, DMSO, and Fura-zone to treat horses. All of these products (and over 100 other substances) are banned for use in animals meant for human consumption.
Thousands of horses could be spared a trip to slaughter each year by ending the unnecessary Premarin industry (women have many alternatives for hormone replacement therapy) and reinstating full protections for wild horses.
Our girls continued on to learn about how young horses are used to receive trophies and then put in to auctions as they age, become injured or are exposed to contagious diseases. There is a buyer at many of these auctions, with the sole purpose of purchasing horses to ship for meat. When unable to keep a horse, owners have many options other than dumping a horse at auction where the risk is high for any horse to be purchased for slaughter.
Understanding what it takes to care for a horse and the long-term commitment is crucial to preventing future abuse of an animal who is not a predator. Horses want the chance to be loved.
The girls discussed ways they can help make a difference for horse rescue by spreading awareness, volunteering at rescue centers or with horse stables working with special needs kids, raising money to donate toward efforts and reporting any known abuse. Hilary Wood, Founder of Front Range Equine Rescue, adopted her first abused horse at the age of 21. Our young Girl Scouts can make a difference and they are quickly learning this through the educational experiences we offer them. Thank you Front Range Equine Rescue!
Girls from our Troop reading the story ‘Black Beauty’ this summer will have special recognition. “If we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.” author Anna Sewell. Girl Scouts can be part of the solution.
Later this summer, our Girl Scouts have a surprise horseback riding camp planned. Parents have been keeping very quiet as we know the girls will scream with excitement!