This week’s honoree: Copper Horse Crusade.
Copper Horse Crusade rescues, retrains and rehouses as many serviceable slaughter-bound horses as resources allow and is a registered non-profit.
The organization was nominated for this week’s Standing Ovation by HN reader Beth Behrens:
“I would like to nominate Julie and the barn staff at Copper Horse Crusade in Cambridge, Ohio. I found CHC and Julie when searching for my current horse two years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t silently thank her when I walk into the barn and see my horse; the thought of what his fate could have been that day if she had not been at the auction just makes me sick. He is my first ‘rescue’ horse.
Julie Copper, founder and primary driving force of Copper Horse Crusade, kindly answered our questions about how her rescue works. She emphasizes the critical importance of resource management in running her operation. “CHC believes in doing the most good for the greatest number of horses. That means using resources — time, funding, feed — to save the horses that are most likely to find good homes in a reasonable amount of time. Being involved with saving horses requires continuously making the decision on what horses to save and what horses to let go. This is never easy.”
It takes time to thoroughly evaluate an auction horse, to put that horse in a variety of different situations in order to accurately gauge training level, disposition, and soundness. Auction horses sometimes come with baggage. It is the responsibility of the organization that pulls that horse to sort through the baggage and find an owner or adopter that is appropriate.
Horse rescues are not exempt from the principles of resource management and sustainability. Feed, hay, time, money and space are all resources that have to be managed wisely in order to do the most good for the greatest number of horses. When the number of horses that a rescue takes in exceeds the amount of resources available, bad things happen. Saving horses takes more than good intentions. It takes sound business principles, responsible resource management and a lot of commitment and hard work.
With as many as 80 horses coming through the CHC barn in a year, we are often out of names. Instead of a hip tag number, a CHC follower can name a horse for a $25 donation. We call this the Name Game.
Closing thoughts from Julie:
An operation like this is a lot of hard work, requiring huge amounts of dedication and commitment. It’s really tough emotionally. Being involved with CHC allows one to see the best of people, coming together to save a horse, and also the worst of people, who have no regard for their horse. Maintaining balance and perspective is important. The work can seem overwhelming. We would really like to gain greater exposure for CHC, reaching more people to support our work and thus saving even more horses.