Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center to Showcase Best Practices for Rehabilitating Horses

by Julie Hauserman

The push is on to finish building one of the most unique horse adoption centers in the United States: the new Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center in Murchison, Texas.

The center is slated to open in early 2011. And for hundreds of rescued horses, it will deliver an end to suffering.

“The horses we are taking at the Doris Day Horse Rescue Adoption Center have been through many hardships. They have been in situations of starvation, cruelty, and neglect,” says Melissa Rubin, Vice President, Animal Care Centers and Veterinary Services for The HSUS. “These horses will be able to recover at the center for as long as needed.”

With the help of generous donors, the Doris Day facility will showcase best practices for rehabilitating horses.

Each horse’s recovery is unique

Rehabilitating horses who have lived through cruelty takes patience and know-how. At Doris Day, the road to recovery for each horse will begin with an evaluation to identify health problems, nutritional needs, physical or medical limitations, behavioral issues, riding experience, and training levels. An assessment team will then design a customized rehabilitation program that will be carried out by a veterinarian, nutritionist, equine behavioral expert, trainer, and adoption specialist.

The innovative program will employ the Parelli method of natural horsemanship, an approach to training that’s built on understanding how horses relate and communicate. This method replaces force, fear, and harsh mechanical aids with love, language, and leadership to establish a rapport and develop trust.

Finding the perfect fit

The center will also dedicate considerable attention to the people who are interested in adopting the horses. An education center—made possible by a generous donation from Barn Pros—will offer courses in horse care, riding, and training.

“We are going to take time to make sure each adoption is the right fit,” Rubin said.

Experts at the center will teach potential adopters to see the world from a horse’s point of view—and to learn to communicate with horses in the same way that horses communicate with each other.

Adoption specialists will evaluate potential owners based on horse care knowledge, riding skills, training expertise, and readiness for ownership. Matching the needs and abilities of both adopter and horse affords the greatest chance of an enduring partnership.

“We want to give the horses the best opportunity to have new, lifelong homes,” Rubin said.

Donate now to help the center

Much is still needed for the center’s upcoming operations—tack such as saddles, veterinary equipment, stable supplies, and numerous other items are essential if the center is going to serve as many horses as possible. The HSUS is seeking donations to provide these items.

Please donate and learn more about the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center.

The Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center’s 25-acre site was part of the adjacent Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, which is operated by The Humane Society of the United States in partnership with the Fund For Animals and cares for some 1,200 animals, many rescued from slaughterhouses, laboratories, hunting ranches, circuses, roadside zoos, and the exotic pet trade.

The unique mission of the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center is first to restore health and happiness to rescued horses and second to find the magnificent animals loving homes. The center will be able to train up to 50 horses at a time.

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