There is a quote by Sharon Ralls Lemon that says “The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and freedom.” This quote reflects the amazing work of Begin Again Horse Rescue whose mission is to provide “a safe environment for unwanted, neglected and ‘at risk’ horses in order to prevent as many as possible from suffering or going to slaughter.” I had the honor to interview Jen Lilly, Executive Director of Begin Again Horse Rescue, a remarkable non-profit that rescues horses and changes the lives of the humans at the same time.
“If you have gained the trust of a horse, you have won a friend for life.” Unknown
In 2009 the four founding members of Begin Again Horse Rescue came together as one. Individually they had been working privately rescuing horses. Recognizing they could do more good if they partnered together this non-profit was born. The group of four developed protocols as they went along. Originally they had a smaller space to keep the horses, yet six years ago an anonymous person gifted them a 28 acre farm. This space has allowed them to rescue more horses and do more to support the horses they rescue. They rescue donkeys and mules too. Jen shared their first rescue mule donkey, Joelene the mammoth mule, stayed with them for four years until she was adopted.
“Some horses will test you, others will teach you, and some will bring out the best in you.” Unknown
Begin Again Horse Rescues obtain the horses in a variety of ways. Sometimes a owner will surrender a horse, often because of a tragedy in the owner’s life. The Humane Society in Ontario, Yates, Livingston, and Wayne Counties will contact them in equine cruelty cases. Another manner in which they rescue horses is by going to horse auctions to kill pens where the horses are being sold with the intent of being slaughtered. All of these experiences take an emotional toll on the people from Begin Again Horse Rescue. Jen shared they do this work in pairs, giving the two people the support of one another during these difficult moments. The work they do is done with heart, soul, love and passion. This group of two part-time paid staff, an array of volunteers and the Board of Directors believe in what they are doing. Those horse neighs and nuzzles of happiness are what keeps this group going to do what they are doing in rescuing horses and finding them forever homes filled with all the right things.
“Two feet move our body. Four feet move our soul.” Unknown
Just like for dogs and cats there are foster families who take in horses. At the farm they try to keep under fifteen horses on site. What the staff and volunteers do is to care for, evaluate, and train the horse to get the horse ready for adoption. The group evaluates the horse looking at temperament, use, and restrictions. After the horses are rehabilitated, Begin Again Horse Rescue will put them up for adoption. Some horses will be companion horses that are not for riding. Jen, who has been training horses since she was 11 years old, knows there is a home for every horse. The important work they do speaks to the waiting list they have of people needing to surrender their horses and choosing to go to Begin Again Horse Rescue.
“They have taught me how it works. You have to let your heart be soft. You have to have your love be one inch bigger than your fear.” Unknown
For anyone who adopts a horse from Begin Again Horse Rescue they get a permanent lease on the horse. If for any reason they can no longer keep the horse the horse will go back to Begin Again Horse Rescue. Once a year someone from Begin Again Horse Rescue goes to check on the horse to see how they are doing. Jen shared praise for all the people at this non-profit. From her mother who just stepped down as CEO and now is the grant writer to the newly hired person who is PATH (Professional Trained of Therapeutic Horsemanship) trained all people play a huge role in the work they do. New programs include a pilot microchip program and equine assisted therapy for children with special needs. This group is always looking for ways they can do more to make a difference with horses and humans.
With honor and admiration we shine the Kindness Champion Spotlight on Begin Again Horse Rescue. Where a dedicated group of humans are leading the way in rescuing horses, donkeys, and mules so they can live their lives in comfort, care, and a whole lot of love. Begin Again Horse Rescue we thank you for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.
To learn more about the REMARKABLE Begin Again Horse Rescue here is their information: