A Horse Tale Rescue takes care of abandoned and injured animals

Are you a person who loves horses but doesn’t own one? There is a way to have your own horse, without having your own farm – and these horses really need someone who cares about them.

Named the 2019 winner of Horse Canada’s Heroes of the Horse Award, A Horse Tale Rescue has been rescuing unwanted horses since 2013, shortly after its founder Kerri Fenoff was able to save 15 Appaloosas that needed to be slaughtered because their owner fell ill and could no longer support his farm. The foundation, located in Vaudreil-Dorion near the border with Hudson, now has more than 300 members and volunteers dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable and loving environment to all the horses that pass through its doors.

“The organization is run entirely by volunteers,” notes Mike Grenier, executive director of A Horse Tale, adding that about 80 of the members are “hands-on” volunteers. “Three flows a day, 365 days a year, all flows are managed by volunteers.”

Volunteers perform multiple tasks in addition to feeding, including grooming, medical care, maintenance and cleaning of stalls and enclosures. Many also participate in the foundation’s many programs and committees.

“If we can find them a home forever, we will”

There are currently 14 horses on the property, most of which are older animals or have a health issue. Six of the horses worked in downtown Montreal in the horse-drawn carriage industry, becoming consumable when the City of Montreal banned horse-drawn carriages effective December 31, 2019. Others were abandoned for various reasons – or because the owners were no longer able to care. for them, or more tragically still, because they were no longer wanted.

“Some have suffered injuries and the owners no longer want to keep them because (the horse) no longer meets their needs,” explains Grenier.

All horses are available for sponsorship, and some will eventually be adopted into loving homes. Photos and biographies of all animals cared for by A Horse Tale are available on the organization’s website. https://ahtrescue.org/en/our-horses/.

“If we can find them a home forever, we will,” says Grenier, noting that most of the horses taken in by A Horse Tale can no longer be ridden. “We are trying to change perspective and show that there is also a way to have a horse in your life without having to ride.”

The foundation goes through a thorough qualification process for anyone looking to adopt. Once approved, staff follow up at regular intervals to ensure that the adopted horse is receiving good care.

“We always keep an eye so that they do not get lost in the system and that they do not fall back into the same situation in which they started,” assures Grenier.

Sponsorships for individual horses start at $ 20 per month. Sponsors receive a welcome package with a photo and biography of their horse. Although visits are currently limited due to health restrictions related to COVID-19 in Quebec, under normal circumstances, weekend visits are available on a regular basis. For 2021, A Horse Tale is setting up specific visit weekends and days with friends to allow individual sponsors to see their horses.

While the sponsors choose their own horse to support, Grenier says the funds are used to support all of the animals.

“All horses receive the appropriate care,” explains the general manager of the foundation. “The sponsorship builds a relationship as long as you have made a friend and you can follow the development of their story.”

‘Sunny’ supported by the residents of Vankleek Hill

You don’t have to live right next to the property to help out or to visit A ​​Horse Tale, and there are a number of ways to make supporting a horse even more affordable. Kelly McKinnon, who lives in Vankleek Hill, is part of a sponsorship group of seven women who support Sunny, a 16-year-old girl who is one of the most recent arrivals at the facility. The group has three members from the Vankleek Hill area – others are from Ottawa and Montreal – who sponsor Sunny in memory of a dear friend.

“A friend of mine visited me and she said the experience she had had was amazing – it had been so good for her,” McKinnon recalls, recounting how she first heard about it. by A Horse Tale.

The Vankleek Hill resident said her three-year-old daughter was fascinated by Sunny and the updates sent by the organization.

“Her photo has been on my fridge for a year and every time my daughter sees it she says, ‘There’s Sunny! »» McKinnon laughs. “They also let us know where our money is actually being used and what it is used for, so that you see a direct impact, which is also very rewarding.”

Beverley Greeley, who grew up in Hawkesbury and now lives in Laval, is another long distance sponsor of a horse at the foundation. She and her husband Brian Johnson decided just a few months ago to sponsor Maya – an 18-year-old Belgian crossbreed and former Montreal carriage horse – after initially contacting the organization to donate apples from the tree to their backyard.

“They take the best possible care of the horses – it really is a wonderful place,” says Greeley, who visited Maya in early April and describes her as a “sweetheart” with a very gentle disposition. “She was paired with Zack, who is a bit of an anxious horse. Maya has a very calming effect on him, which is why they put them in the same enclosure.

Experience program for people with special needs

For those who might have difficulty accessing the property, the foundation offers the A Horse Tale’s Experience program. The program for groups that support people with special needs and challenges allows participants to interact with animals in the care of the organization.

“There are many people who do not have the luxury – whether because of a physical or mental handicap – to be able to come and visit”, explains Grenier, adding that the foundation sets up special days for visits. groups from various organizations and also take the horses to private care residences. “Rusty, one of our mascots, is a former carriage horse and we have already visited two residences and have four more lined up.

“We’ll be going for a few hours just so the residents can come out and see Rusty, smell him, touch him, have their picture taken and just change their mindset.

More information on how to sponsor your own horse is available by visiting the A Horse Tale website at https://ahtrescue.org/en/. The foundation also hosts a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AHorseTale.

Mike Grenier, General Manager of A Horse Tale, with Maximus, a 25-year-old Percheron who spent 17 years as a horse drawn carriage, pulling carriages for tourists in Montreal.
Rusty, a 26 year old Belgian, is one of the mascots of A Horse Tale and visits private residences for people with special needs as part of the Foundation’s Experience program.

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