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  • Writer's pictureSandra Mendelson

A NEW BREED OF (HORSE) RESCUE: Spreading The Message of Health


Fueled by big visions and prototypically tiny pockets, horse rescues across the country take the best of what’s in our hearts and turn compassion into action on a daily basis. Rescuing horses from neglect, abandonment, abuse, starvation and slaughter and then preparing them for –and matching them with - the right forever home is not for the weak of stomach or spirit. Of necessity, the people who launch, manage and eat-breathe-sleep this commitment to horses must simultaneously brace themselves for the heart crushing experience of taking in and rehabilitating horses starved and abused to near the brink of death, while figuring out how to pay for the repair of a leaky barn roof, hold sparkling fundraising events, conduct community outreach programs and respond to the myriad of non-stop issues that can put a horse’s life in danger at any point in time during a 24 hour day.

Yet, even with their already daunting to-do lists, a new breed of rescue is emerging that has raised the bar even higher: becoming a voice for better health for all horses. By implementing both cutting edge and ancient alternative therapies, insisting on non-GMO, alkalizing whole foods nutrition, natural grooming, hoof care, training and even barn hygiene, these rescues are leaving no stone unturned in order to help horses regain physical, emotional, mental and energetic health. As they help their charges remember what it means to be a horse and to trust humans again (or for the first time) they also bring their bodies to a balanced state where they can once again heal themselves. In addition, they offer educational programs to their local communities to empower them to help their own horses lead more balanced, happy lives. Here’s a look at two of these game changing organizations:


ERAF management uses holistic and alternative therapies to complement regular veterinary care,at ERAF. Horses are barefoot but a trimmer provides supportive shoes if needed. The horses get 24 hour turnout, free choice hay and no processed food or treats. As much as they can afford to, they use non-GMO, organic, pesticide free, preservative free products”.

ERAF staff pays close attention to feed each horse according to his/her needs, focusing on various kinds of hay and hay cubes, Copra (partially defatted coconut meat), and natural supplements instead of synthetic, preservative-laden ones. For example, they use Dynamite products such as Dynapro liquid prebiotic/probiotic, Dynamite multivitamin/mineral, Free Choice Minerals, Dyna Spark electrolytes and Easy Balance blood sugar balancer. Some of the horses are also on a gentle detox powder called VivoZeoCompleteEQ that also boosts immune function.

ERAF similarly made it their mission to remove harmful horse care and cleaning products in favor of non-toxic, effective and natural alternatives for everything from floor cleaner to shampoo and soap, to the antibacterial cleaner needed during quarantine. Instead of chemical laden fly sprays, they make a mix of essential oils, vinegar and water. They also keep a homeopathic first aid kit on hand at all times.

The horses receive several different holistic healing therapies. These include regular chiropractic care, veterinary acupuncture with Chinese herbal supplements, equine scanning and photopuncture (acupuncture with light) and red and infrared light therapy.

For those horses who become sound enough for training, ERAF relies on natural horsemanship techniques based upon the horse’s innate instincts and methods of communication, not upon exerting the force of human will. They have also been known to hold successful natural horsemanship clinics and community events on everything from natural horse care to how to understand your feed label and the impact of toxins on the health of every horse.


“It’s a trend...this is the way a lot of rescues will be headed in the future” says Ann Jost, Founder and Director of Care For The Horses. “We also see ourselves as part of a movement to make holistic care more transparent and understandable so when we have a horse that needs special attention, we open up our treatment to the public as a case study for how natural therapies work to restore health”.

At Care For The Horses, a holistic approach includes detoxification, photopuncture and light therapy, especially for atrophied muscles and emotional issues. This use of therapeutic red and infrared light on acupuncture points “relaxes the horses and enables emotional release so they can actually trust again. In fact, we’ve seen such success with light therapy that all of my board members have purchased their own equipment”.

Diet is also hugely important. All diets are weighed so Ann and her staff can keep close tabs on needs as they change. “We don’t feed grain and instead focus on Bermuda hay, Timothy pellets and Cool Stance (Copra). We only use alfalfa as a temporary, transitional food to ease into diet change especially in cases of extreme starvation. We use herbal remedies to address Cushings and I.R and have found them to be most effective and without side effects”.

Each horse is treated as a unique individual: they create a plan for each one incorporating their dietary requirements, exercise, training and emotional work and all their board members take a personal interest in every horse. “Some horses stay with us a year or more, until they’re ready for a forever home. Once they’re adopted we do site visits to make sure the new owners continue the therapy that we put in place” says Jost.

When it comes to community education, Ann says she sees many people now want to go holistic and stay away from chemicals and unnecessary drugs. “We are fortunate to have Kay Aubrey-Chimene, owner of Grand Adventures Ranch holistic wellness center, who conducts educational seminars for us so people can learn how to use light therapy, photopuncture, holistic nutrition and safe products- and even how to treat ulcers holistically- to benefit their own rescued horses. She enables us to communicate that there’s a better way to care for the health of your horse”.


Sandra Mendelson, HC, CPT, CLT is Board Certified as a Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, AADP, an Equine Photopuncture Therapist and Certified Light Therapist, BANHS. She helps animals and the humans who love them, to reduce and eliminate chronic and injury-related pain and inflammation, improve energy and performance and achieve a state of balanced health through the use of photopuncture, (acupuncture with light), red and infrared light therapy, anti-inflammatory nutrition and detoxification.

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