Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we’re recognizing Renaissance Rescue Ranch of Farmington, Missouri.
Renaissance Rescue Ranch (RRR) is a 501(c)(3) organization that rehabilitates horses in need of a home, primarily ex-racing Thoroughbreds. We spoke with RRR founder and president Barbara Hutchinson to learn more.
Horse Nation: How did RRR get started?
Barbara Hutchinson: I founded the non-profit in 2010 as a 501(c)(3). I didn’t set out to be a rescue from the beginning — I just took in one horse from Arizona that needed some rehab, then I heard about another… word started to spread, and once I had ten horses, I found a ranch to house them instead of boarding and formed the non-profit!
I own the 75-acre ranch in Farmington, Missouri and Renaissance Rescue Ranch leases the property. The local community is pretty involved with the ranch; there are some organizations for the handicapped that come by regularly to visit. We’re a no-kill sanctuary, but out of our 90 horses on the property right now, probably 60-70% of them can be rehomed — there are plenty of sound, show-quality animals.
HN: Where do your horses come from?
BH: It’s largely word-of-mouth now, with about 90% of our horses coming off the track. We get a lot from Oaklawn in Arkansas, as well as Louisiana, New York and Kentucky. We recently took in 19 horses from New York — a woman’s husband had died and she had to disperse his entire racing barn, and she came out to visit, liked what we do here and sent all of the horses to us. She also included a donation that allowed us to build a new barn to help house them all! We’ll be able to adopt out a lot of those. Those larger cases are rare.
HN: Who helps to keep RRR running?
BH: We have some volunteers that come out to help support taking care of all of these horses, and one “chief” volunteer that often comes with me on the road to transport horses or pick up horses. We do have some paid staff around the ranch to help feed and move hay to the pastures.
We’d love to do more in terms of fundraising, but most of our time is spent working with the horses themselves. We’re in the process of revamping our website to help feature and facilitate more adoptable horses.
HN: What’s next for RRR?
BH: Well, I just found out I was accepted to the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover for 2018, and I’ve got a horse in mind already to take. I competed in 2017 with a rescue horse who had fractured his foot and had two days to find a new home off the track; he needed a lot of lay-up time but we made it through our dressage test at the Makeover! We have several eligible horses at RRR right now so it would be great to connect them with other trainers.
Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.