By Ron Tatus
California based Wild at Heart Horse Rescue received a 2019 Horse Welfare grant from the Parelli Foundation. The mission of Wild at Heart Horse Rescue is, where possible, to rehabilitate, train, and prepare rescue horses to become the well-loved family members they are meant to be. If a horse can be saved and live without pain, the Wild at Heart Horse Rescue team is willing to do what it takes to make that happen. There are also “permanent residence” horses on-site. These are sanctuary horses and must remain at the rescue due to their special needs and the extra care they require.
According to the rescue’s Treasurer, Leslie Stewart, every penny of donations received is used to support these horses. “We treasure [these] donations and work hard to earn them. We are able to rescue dozens of horses each year” thanks to Wild at Heart’s wonderful donors!
Since well-trained horses are much easier to place in permanent and happy homes, Wild at Heart strives to give the rescues the best chance to find a successful placement.
That’s why they chose this year to send 12-year-old OTTB (Off the Track Thoroughbred) mare Chattie Katie for saddle training with Parelli 4-Star Professionals Susan Nelson-Thibault and Maurice Thibault. Chattie was a very insecure and panicky mare. After only a month with Susan and Maurice, she blossomed into a much more confident, self-assured horse. Leslie added, “She has learned so many new skills and is a pleasure to ride.”
The members of the Wild at Heart team have been training their personal horses — as well as their rescue horses — in Parelli Natural Horsemanship (PNH) for more than five years. They attend clinics as well as host them at their facility. Thanks to Susan and Maurice, they’ve “had so much success, especially with troubled horses through this program.” They have applied grant funds to obtain individual training by Susan and Maurice for several rescue horses and plan to place a new horse in training each month. With this higher level of training, the Wild at Heart team believes they’ll have a higher success rate with adopting these rescue horses.
The plan is to bring four or five rescue horses through training by the end of the year. In addition, they will invite two or three volunteers to the facility once per month to observe and audit the ongoing training. This has the added benefit of providing the volunteers with additional visual training with the 4-Star Parelli professionals, Maurice and Susan, who have already been lending their high-level skills and talents to Wild at Heart Horse Rescue.
Making a grant to the Wild at Heart Horse Rescue goes a long way to validate the Foundation’s worthy mission: “Help create a better world for horses and humans through natural horsemanship education.”