A Special Thanks to Our Volunteers
Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization. On a daily basis, dedicated volunteers ensure that our horses and other animals have adequate food, water and a clean living environment
We have been blessed with our extra special team of Lead Volunteers, without whom, this rescue would not exist!
Thanks for your hard work to keep this rescue running and thank you from all the animals whose lives were saved thanks to your dedication!!!
Cheryl Flanagan - Director/Founder
Save the Horses
Meet the Volunteers @ Save the Horses
Cheryl Flanagan (Founder) with Lead volunteers: Bonnie Maloney, Pat Sneed & Don Peterson with two rescued Mustangs.
Rest in Peace Dear Sweet Quinn.
Please visit Quinn's tribute page here.
Fifteen years ago, I responded to an ad asking for horse volunteers at STH. There, I met Breeze Ezy, a gorgeous, drop dead, 17.3 hand TB racehorse, dressage, and jumper expert!
He took my breath away, and caused me sleepless nights, until I could go back and see him the following week! Eventually I adopted him! EZ was a hardkeeper, and through the years, gave Cheryl and I many grey hairs with his near Death experiences!
He did, however, teach me everything I know today, and gave me a glimpse into the strength of survival against all odds! EZ passed last year, and is buried at the farm, where I go and visit him still, every week. We had a wonderful 14 years together!
A few years after meeting EZ, Cheryl asked me to help rehab a TB who had a very serious leg injury. His name was Quinn. I took on the task, and 3 years later, we successfully rehabbed him to full recovery, when vets told us he would never survive, and would need to be put down!
At his last vet exam, he was cleared to go back into the Hunter ring for shows! Of course, I had adopted him by then, and decided to let him simply be a horse and do what he wanted! Quinn is at the rescue today, and is thriving!
We have been together now for 15 years! Quinn still misses EZ, who was his big brother, but we know EZ stands beside us everyday!
If I had not gone to the volunteer orientation that Sunday 15 years ago, my Life would never have been this rich! I have so many horses skills now, so many friends, and have learned so much about horse health and maintenance! At night before I go to bed, I am thankful for so many gifts, but the path to Nirvana at STH is where I truly come alive and live my Life to the fullest!
View a video about EZ Breeze here.
Lead: Saturday PM
I have been riding since I was little and have loved horses forever!
When I moved to Cumming in the eighth grade, I was looking for a place where I could be around horses. A few years later, I found Save the Horses, came to the orientation, and fell in love!!
I have now been volunteering for about 4 years. I am lead feed when I can come on Saturdays so I'd say my work is important in that aspect. Also, I feel that the horses that end up at the rescue need extra love and care. And I can at least give that!! I can't buy them all, give them the home they deserve, or pay for all their feed. But I can give them the love they deserve!
The rescue is my home away from home and I call my Saturday crew my barn family. The rescue is amazing!!
Lead: Wednesday PM
Darren Bondy and his best buddy Tequila Sunrise. They both came here for different reasons but found peace and love in one another.
Darren: I learned about Save The Horses in May 2013, after a devastating year of personal loss. Loosing my mother and all three of my pets (ages 14, 16, 19) and the end of a six year relationship, left me depressed, numb and feeling hopeless. While conducting some banking business, my banker introduced me to Save The Horses, where she was very involved. She asked if I would consider adopting a horse. I immediately replied, No. But I inquired about volunteering. I went to the next Orientation, learned more about the organization and how I could help, met Trudy and my life was changed.
Trudy is a beautiful Appaloosa at the rescue. She is completely blind and was abused terribly before being rescued. I fell in love with her immediately and felt a connection and trust that she extended back. I made her a promise that I would start visiting her and walking her. Because of Trudy's blndness and trust issues, getting exercise wasn't a given. Once per week, quickly turned into multiple times per week. Loving Trudy turned into loving every horse and the other animals. Volunteering my time to take care of these beautiful loving horses turned my depression and hopelessness into Unconditional Love, Passion and Joy! And I have learned alot about horses and their care.
The dozens of people who volunteer to care for these horses are amazing! It feels like family taking care of family. Besides the incredible stories about the horses, I've met some wonderful people and made some lasting friendships. Now besides volunteering 3-4 days per week, I find myself looking for an excuse to visit STH.
Last November, while in the pasture leading horses into the barn for the night, a horse I had never seen before started following me. He would follow me to the gate, wait for me to return, follow me to the pasture, then follow me back to the gate. I came back that weekend to groom him and get acquainted. His name is Tequila Sunrise. Long story short, he chose me. I adopted him in January and hope to buy a farm next year to give him a forever home. The love and energy at Save The Horses is like nothing else I've ever experienced.
Do yourself a favor, plan a visit, attend orientation, volunteer. It will make a difference in your life!
Sponsor or adopt a horse or simply make a tax deductible donation. It will make a difference in the lives of many horses and volunteers!
Save The Horses is long overdue for the recognition it deserves!
The “3 Ds”
Deborah Smith and her kids, Delena and Donovan, have been volunteering at Save the Horses since August 2012. They are regulars for the Saturday afternoon shift. The 3Ds initially wanted to find a facility in which they could help horses in need. Divorce had brought some tough times for their family, and Deborah knew that one way to get their minds off of the financial and emotional difficulties was to volunteer time to a worthy cause.
Although she’d never owned her own horse, Deborah and the kids had a passion for them, so horse rescue seemed like a great opportunity for the family to get involved in the equestrian community without the costs associated with riding lessons and horse ownership. Also, Delena had expressed for many years that she wanted to be a large animal vet when she grew up, and this was an excellent way for her to make the contacts she would need to get started when the time came. Finally, working with horses was a good way for Donovan to continue to learn about empathy, focusing, self-control, and a hard days’ work.
What Deborah didn’t realize was that while she was rescuing the horses, they were returning the favor by rescuing her own family, too! The volunteer work gave The 3Ds a new way to spend time with each other and bond. They all gained experience in horsemanship, gained satisfaction in helping those in need, and made new friends with the other volunteers. Deborah has been amazed at how much her family has grown through Save the Horses.
In addition to the horses, Donovan also loves the petting zoo full of chickens, ducks, pigs, a goat, and a sheep. Delena thinks the minis are just “too cute”. Deborah has become known as the “Donkey Whisperer”, as she has good luck in getting Annabelle and Lily into the barn. She has also developed a bond with Chevelle and tries to spend extra time with him every weekend. The moment in which he first took hay from her hand was something she will never forget. Of course, every creature at Save the Horses is special, and The 3Ds love them all!
Shortly after we moved to Canton 13 years ago, a casual conversation with a stranger revealed that there was a horse rescue somewhere in the vicinity. I looked STH up on the internet and found that it was less than 5 miles from me. I COULD NOT WAIT TO GET THERE! So I sent an email. And a phone message. And another.
Finally, I found an excuse to go there: I volunteered with English Springer Spaniel Rescue and they needed to have the registration for the Animal Rescue Fair delivered to Cheryl . I was enchanted from the moment I stepped out of my car and a horse ambled over to see if I had any treats.
Shortly after that, my job was moved to New Jersey and I found myself with time on my hands so I became a regular at the rescue, arriving in the morning and often staying til after dark. I should mention that I knew virtually nothing about horses except that I'd loved them my entire life. The volunteers were friendly and there was a great camaraderie. They willingly took the time to teach me the basics of horse care and safety. I don't think there is any better place to learn about horses and I've seen many things I doubt I could have ever seen anywhere else. I, along with other volunteers, spent nights sleeping in the barn waiting for an older blind mare to deliver her foal, and then helping to protect the baby from being stepped on. What an amazing experience that was! I could tell lots of stories like that.
As most regular volunteers do, I eventually became smitten with a particular horse and he became my personal pet project. One day I overheard a man saying that he would "like to have that horse for barrel racing". Wait. What??? Noooo, I couldn't let that happen. I went home upset and nervous, begging my husband to please please please let me have this horse and he said yes!! We had a small barn built on our property and brought Cheetah home in 2004.
In the months before that, I began to realize that something wasn't quite right with Cheetah. There were small things – spooking too easily or tripping. One day when I took him into the barn he walked smack into a wall. A visit from the vet confirmed my suspicions. Cheetah was diagnosed with Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU), a disease that steals a horse's vision by degrees. We think he now has perhaps 10% of his sight left, but he gets around just fine. The last time I rode him, he bumped into the mounting block and flipped me off onto my head. I decided he could be retired.
My other horse, Meadow, came to me as a sheriff's confiscation in Gainesville about 3 years ago. I saw a post on Face Book about a horse that would be put down if a home couldn't be found for her. Pictures showed a starving, depressed little mare and I knew I had to do something. Cheryl agreed to take me to get her. She has an old shoulder injury that renders her unrideable, but she is a sweet, precious soul and she's a perfect companion for Cheetah. It's funny to watch them pin their ears and bicker like an old married couple but they are inseparable.
Meadow before & after.
I was in college when I found Save the Horses- I was following multiple career paths, not happy anywhere I was. I didn’t grow up with horses, but finding horses helped me find myself.
The first time I came to STH, I met some of the volunteers, the horses, and even Trudy. It’s hard to believe that those few years ago she lived in the front pasture with the geldings and rarely let a person approach her. She’s come a long way, and so has the farm. I knew then I wanted STH to be the place I always returned to- you can just feel it. There is so much love, joy, memories, hope, and all the possibilities of rescuing lost souls… both horses, and humans.
When I graduated from UGA, I was fortunate and found a job, but I never expected it would be in the town where I grew up! I moved back to Alpharetta, but I couldn’t find my place here, no matter how hard I tried. I started coming back out to Save the Horses. I didn’t know the horses, and I didn’t know the routine. I came to open houses and orientations, everything I could do to meet all those horses and learn all the names- and begin to find my place there, again.
I came out as often as I could to learn about all the animals at STH. I loved them all, but still hoped that I could find one special horse to take care of. And then I saw an email- it was one of the volunteers asking for assistance to go pick up one of Cheryl’s horses that had been adopted, but was coming back to the rescue. The next week, he finally made it back and I knew that I needed to be there to greet him. Sunday Spice: he was so skinny and underweight- emotionally abused, sick and afraid. I took him under my wing and made it my responsibility to get his weight back up- along with his spirit. I walked him, fed him, talked to him and loved on him. Making my goal to heal him helped heal me. I didn’t in a million years to fall for an ex-race horse, or a big, bay gelding… But here I am, and he is my pride and joy. I am one happy momma!
It’s been a journey to get his weight back up- but that’s only the beginning. Now I am working getting him in shape as we work on our partnership and riding. I don’t compete, so I feel happy knowing that our journey will be one that will strengthen our bond more than anything else, in all kinds of riding… specifically, bitless and bareback. Every time we ride, I am so grateful to have the chance to work with this amazing being. He is so special!
Save the Horses has always been a place of healing. It is where I found myself again; it is where I heal. It is a peaceful place, filled with life and love. I truly believe this is because Save the Horses is Rescue…. but more than just a rescue for horses… it’s a rescue for us humans, too. I’m so grateful I can be a part of it, and help these lost souls, both horse and human.
Read more about Sunday Spice here.
We have been volunteering at the rescue for about 1 1/2 years. We started volunteering because of my daughter who was 7 at the time. She is very passionate about horses and dreams of owning her own animal rescue some day. We are a homeschool family so I figured what better way to help her with her dream than to volunteer and learn first hand what it takes to run a rescue. I had never been around horses so it has been quite a learning experience for me. Seeing the joy on her face every time we visit the rescue or help with a fundraising brings tears to my eyes.
There is always some way to help at the rescue and recently we have taken on coordinating fieldtrips. It is so rewarding to see children's and parents faces light up when they visit the rescue.
I got involved with STH about 2 years ago. My youngest daughter, Kate, was interested in learning about horses so I had been exploring opportunities to make this happen when I learned about the rescue. Several of our friends were volunteering at STH, so we went with them to check it out and have been regular volunteers ever since.
We receive so many blessings as a result of our time at the STH that it is really hard to quantify. We really love the people that we work with, and are so thankful for their willingness to share their knowledge and experience with us. It is rewarding to partner with people from all walks of life who are able to unite for a common purpose. Also, Cheryl’s vision and amazing attitude is contagious and we have benefitted greatly from our time spent with her. I love the opportunities that she has provided for my kids to work HARD and yet love every minute of it. It has been so awesome to watch my youngest spend a great deal of time earning the trust of Maverick, a mini who is not overly fond of people. She has learned so many valuable lessons at STH.
I was delighted that my daughter was interested in horses because I have always loved them as well. They are such remarkable animals. Historically, we have ridden them to battles and explored new lands on their backs. They have plowed our fields and have run thrilling races to entertain us. These animals are hard workers and will do most anything that we require of them. They are highly intelligent and form strong bonds with people. I enjoy getting to know their unique personalities and quirky likes and dislikes. Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” This has been true in my experience as our time at the rescue has been fulfilling in so many ways.
More about Lee:
I am a homeschool mom, I have 3 kids Will (20) who is in college (a cadet a UNG and contracted, which means he will commission as an Army officer when he graduates), Olivia (16) and Kate (12). I have been married to my husband Steve for 24 years.
When Ace came to us as a walking skeleton, Cheryl allowed him to roam (meaning he was not confined to a pasture) as we had to feed him every 3 hours. As his health began to improve, he became interested in what was going on around him. One summer night, I was at the barn all alone mucking stalls when the hair began to stand up on the back of my neck as I could feel that there was someone right behind me. I was startled and quickly turned only to find Ace’s nose about an inch from my face! While I was relieved that it was him rather than the myriad of possibilities playing out in my mind, he spent the rest of the night following me around like a (really, really large) dog which was comical but not at all helpful with the task at hand!
2001 was when I started Volunteering at Save The Horses. When I first started, I thought, WOW, I just LOVE black and white paint horses,, those are the BEST horses, they are so pretty and shiny and flashy!
I even had a horse then, a Registered Paint, by the name of "Norfleet's Beauty" She looked just like black beauty, and that was my FAVORITE book when I was young. I bought Beauty on an online auction, she was two years old and pregnant.
I had Beauty at Save The Horses. I was struggling with whether or not I wanted her to be put up for adoption. I really couldn't afford a horse, I only bought her because I felt sorry for her being on that auction. On May 8th, Beauty delivered her foal. The night before, she had no bag, was eating normal, no signs whatsoever she was about to foal. She delivered in the middle of the night, and as far as we could tell, and the Vet thought also, that the foal was too large and she couldn't push it out fast enough. They found his body in the stall, the next morning.
I ended up giving Beauty to a man that fell in love with her, and she, with him. He taught her to ride and to trust and she is doing great with him today. She was his Christmas Present. :)
I have learned a lot over the years, working with Save The Horses, but the most important thing Cheryl Flanagan taught me was this: "There is not a single life in this world, that is more important, than any other life."
This picture above of the flashy Black and white paint mare? Yeah, she IS beautiful, she is flashy, she was the horse of my dreams back then. But that, cute as a button, little john mule (below) is JUST as important. He may not be flashy, but he is alive, he deserves our compassion, our protection and our love, as much as the other horses do......... As much as we ALL do.
Not a chance I was gonna leave him behind.
John-Michael, Madeline, and Noah ( now 10, 13, and 15) have been volunteering with me at Save The Horses since 2011. Here is why we stay.
When John-Michael was 3 months old, we hear the word Neurofibromatosis (NF) for the first time. NF encompasses a set of distinct genetic disorders that causes tumors to grow along various types of nerves. NF can also affect the development of non-nervous tissues such as bones and skin. Neurofibromatosis causes tumors to grow anywhere on or in the body. NF occurs in 1:3,000 births. NF tumors may develop in the brain, on cranial nerves, or on the spinal cord. You can learn more at www.ctf.org/Learn-About-NF/Learn-About-NF.html
When you have NF, you have many, many doctor’s appointments, lots of unknows, and when a tumor does occur, only one option, surgery to debulk the tumor. However, surgery are too often, as NF tumors have a reoccurrence rate of 95%. Due to this, and knowing there currently isn’t a medical treatment, we have feed John-Michael as best as we can, loved him the best as we can, and kept life as normal as we can. Over 3 years ago when John-Michael was 6 years old, we went to Save The Horses on a fieldtrip. Having been a public school teacher in Metro-Atlanta for years, I was shocked to find this gem…. as I thought I knew of all the great places. Save The Horses was just what we need, and just what John-Michael needed, a place to take the focus off of himself, and opportunity to help others.
When he met Trudy for the first time, he was stirred with deep Compassion for her… compassion- a feeling of deep sympathy or sorrow for another who is stricken with misfortune, accompanied by the strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
He kept saying, “She is so beautiful. Why would anyone hurt her?” She was in Bravo’s paddock for quite some time, but we often had the opportunity to go out and bucket feed her and keep the herd away while she ate. As we spent time with her, our love for her grew. Trudy had to have surgery to have a cancerous eye removed and had to be housed in the main barn. This is when John-Michael was able to spend a great deal of time with her … face to face.
Her fear of people began to loosen over her…. Slowly replaced by a calmer spirit. She trusted the uncomplicated honesty that John Michael brought. She willingly stood for an hour or more and listened to his words. Like a compassionate friend, Trudy listened carefully to every word. As he feeds her, he encourages her and tells her what a good girl she is and that she will be ok.
He tells her about his own tumors and his surgeries. He tells her that she will be fine, just like him. Slowly the bandages come off. .. a bit more at a time. He prayed for her and stays as long as he can..
More bandages come off. “Trudy, you are such a pretty girl.. I love you. “
Then, the plexiform fibroma on his spine had grown too large once again… another surgery for John-Michael.
Not fun… but Trudy tells her friends how John-Michael has helped her. He gets get-well cards from all over America and the WORLD… all friends with Trudy and Save The Horses!
Look at the encouragement and compassion he received.
His bandages come off… he is healing. He finally gets to go back and see Trudy
She gets her apple bits or melt away mint and waits for 10 year old John-Michael to talk to her. True Friends helping each other.
Read more about Trudy here.
Lead: Sunday PM
I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2007. My daughter, Sydney, who is my shadow at the rescue and does a GREAT job helping out even with the dirty work, had just turned 2.
It was a time of intense change as I'm sure you can imagine for our family. One of the mindsets that came out of that experience was that volunteerism was not something that I wanted Sydney to have to 'choose' to do. For me, I wanted her to grow up in a home where volunteerism was just something we did, a way of life and our small way of giving back. So we visited the rescue when Sydney was 3 and we've been volunteering there ever since.
It has become a place of profound healing for us - the rescue though it is a horse rescue isn't just a horse rescue - it's a people rescue. Sydney, who is now 8, can likely share with you some of her amazing life lessons at rescue. We are blessed by the rescue, by Cheryl's example and by other volunteers as we all put aside many differences and work together for the greater good of the horses and other animals.
A year ago today I helped "Lady Jane" cross over the rainbow bridge. In my heart I knew it was for the best - she was no longer in pain and her eyes were asking me to let her go. I knew when she looked at me she was looking deep into my soul, she gave me something that nothing else could have.
Even though I had horses in the past, she was the first horse that I really truly connected with. She was the horse that showed me the real depth and beauty of the equine soul and spirit. The one who connected me to them in a way I hadn't been before. Because of "Lady Jane" she has fueled my goal to save as many horses as possible.
Everyday I thank deep in my heart to Theresa Batchelor at Bhfer for allowing Lady Jane to come to SavetheHorses. thank Cheryl Flanagan for allowing me to love Lady Jane and spending many hours trying to help me save her.
I also thank Pam Ross for introducing me to some of the most beautiful horses that so desperately needed lots of love and attention. And I thank those horses for trusting me enough to bring some love and trust into their lives. Hugs & kisses to my gorgeous baby girl Lady Jane. I'll see you at rainbow bridge one day.
Save the Horses
(Horse Rescue Relief & Retirement Fund, Inc.)
The Horse Rescue, Relief & Retirement Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
TAX ID: 58-2479748
P.O. Box 1123, Ball Ground, GA 30107.
1768 Newt Green Road, Cumming, GA 30028. Email: info (at) savethehorses.org
1840 Antioch Road, Cumming, GA 30040. Email: antioch (at) savethehorses.org
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