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10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

IT’S A WRAP!!  Neigh Savers Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Gala was a huge success.   Board Directors Paul & Caroline Nathan opened their beautiful home for the event which could not have been more perfect!  Stunning views, gorgeous weather, amazing food and drink all combined to make this a spectacular occasion and, most importantly, gave us the opportunity to show our appreciation for so many of our loyal and committed supporters, including donors, adopters, sponsors and volunteers who were in attendance.    None of this would be possible without these compassionate and dedicated people who believe in the work we do and continue to do so.  We are so very grateful and look forward to the next ten years of making a difference in horses’ lives!!!

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala   Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala Neigh Savers 10th Anniversary Gala

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A heartbreaking goodbye: Salsa (Secret Room)

It’s with heartfelt sadness that I am writing this update. The other day I was forced to make a decision no trainer ever wants to make. Goodbyes are always hard but this one was mind blowing.  A couple of weeks ago as I started progressing Salsa (Secret Room)  into canter work I could tell he was extremely uncomfortable. In the beginning I thought he had a rib out and quickly called the chiropractor for an adjustment. He was adjusted and we were sent on our way. I thought for sure this was the issue and things were going to be smooth sailing from here on out. I was sadly mistaken. After a few days off I got back in saddle and could tell there was a serious issue. Something was wrong with our sweet boy’s back and he needed medical intervention ASAP. I loaded Salsa into the trailer and took him to a see a surgeon at Desert Pines Equine Center. She examined him and quickly agreed that his back was very concerning. He was brought back for X-rays and it was determined he had a very severe case of “Kissing Spine”. In all Salsa had 7 vertebrae kissing. He had already developed scoliosis in 4 of those. His back was quickly deteriorating and there was nothing we could do to stop it. The surgeon explained trying to fix this would be completely and totally unethical and he should never have a saddle on his back again. It was uncertain as to how comfortable he would be even living in a pasture for the remainder of his days. The amount of deterioration in his bones as a 4 year old was unreal. In all of my years, including the vets, we had never seen anything like this. The decision was made to lay our sweet boy to rest. Salsa was humanely euthanized with all the love and compassion in the world. I stayed by his side until his final breath. My heart is broken for this sweet boy. He had so much talent and so much potential. Letting this one go was really hard. I know he was only with me for 3 short months but the bond and partnership we developed together was truly an unforgettable experience. He will forever hold a special place in my heart. If we can take anything away from this and if I can change the life of just one horse it was time well spent. Listen to your horse, if he is showing signs of discomfort STOP and evaluate the situation.   Rest In Peace Salsa AKA Squishy. You will never be forgotten.

All my love,
Lindy

 

 

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CARMA Newsletter Feature

CARMA featured our very own Oso Smart in their latest newsletter! We’re so proud of our boy for his performances in the Thoroughbred Makeover 2016 and cannot wait to see what he does next.

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Placement Program Graduates

We have helped more than 100 Thoroughbreds transition from the racetrack into the next stage of their life.  Below are three “success stories” we are proud to share.

oso-jumping-rrp-2Oso Smart

This bay son of Curlin participated in the Retired Racehorse Project 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover.  Under the care of CARMA Aftercare Partner Neighsavers, Oso Smart showed in dressage and jumpers classes. He was one of the lucky Thoroughbreds to find a forever home at the show. He and his new owner have dreams of competing in the Paralympics.

21edae19-97b1-4ccd-8ee1-f30ac5ba6971Utopian

Our Graded Stakes Winner, Utopian, was saved by the generosity of his veterinarian who donated a live-saving surgery and CARMA taking a special interest in his unique circumstances. While he recovered well, this nine-year-old decided he would much rather enjoy life as a permanent retiree with our Aftercare Partner Humanity For Horses.

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With his incredibly sweet personality and unique appearance, our lovable one-eyed wonder has a second career as a therapy horse at CARMA Aftercare Partner – Square Peg Foundation. He helps children and adults with special challenges find their strengths by giving every visitor a hug when he meets them.

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7th Annual Day at the Races Wrap Up

We want to thank everyone that attended our 7th Annual Day at the Races and Holiday Party at Golden Gate Fields!  This year’s event one was for the record books with a full house of sold out seats, a huge and successful silent auction and our ever popular raffle.  It was a great day filled with new friends, old friends, good food and some spectacular racing.   We could not do it without you and we feel incredibly blessed to have had so many dedicated friends, volunteers and supporters join us for this fun day.

We were all treated to a rare dead heat in the first race of the day and to an exciting blanket finish in the Neigh Savers named race where a local jockey picked up her 500th career win.  Bear Creek junior volunteer Katelyn Read was honored with a winner’s circle check presentation for her award winning essay for the TCA.  After the last race as many of us were leaving, we were treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets over the San Francisco Bay.

This event goes a long way in supporting our mission to help re-home retired and endangered horses and we cannot thank you enough for your support.   We cannot wait to see you next year!

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RRP Thoroughbred Makeover 2016

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I was lucky enough to go along for the ride this year with Neigh Savers Foundation to the Retired Racehorse Project‘s Thoroughbred Makeover at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.  This event brought together hundreds of OTTBs, their owners, trainers and fans from all over the country to compete for $100,000 in prize money.  Each horse had less than a year of under saddle training and competed in a number of disciplines: barrel racing, competitive trails, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunters, show jumpers, and working ranch.  Vendors, seminars, and training demonstrations filled in any time not spent watching the OTTBs compete in their individual events.  It is a large and ambitious show for an event that has only been run since 2013.  We cannot wait to see what it becomes in another 5 years time…

To read the rest of the story and see more photos, click through to the article on Decidedly Equestrian.

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Race for the Rescues 2016

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Neigh Savers Foundation had a blast at Race for the Rescues 2016! Thousands of people came together to raise money to help save animals lives. The event raised almost $400K and out of approximately 80 teams Neigh Savers was placed 8th in fundraising efforts. We could not have done this without your help and we are so grateful to those of you who donated to this cause! Special thanks also goes to Jane Lytle who donated shirts, totes and caps and made our booth look so beautiful!!

It was also our pleasure to meet Jennifer Osborne of Fire and Ice Horses Rescue from Las Vegas who ran the 5k in her full fire fighting gear!!! We are fortunate to be able to reach out to Jennifer if we have a horse that needs special attention.

Once again, thank you to all the participants, donors, friends and family that made this our biggest Southern California fundraising event of the year!

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4th Annual TCA Youth Essay Contest Winner: Katelyn Read of Los Gatos, CA – Neigh Savers Volunteer

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It is our pleasure to announce that junior volunteer Katelyn Anne Read is the WINNER of the 4th TCA (Thoroughbred Charities of America) Youth Contest and Neigh Savers will be awarded the $1000 prize.  The essay needed to be less than 500 words and it is found below for your reading enjoyment.  Katelyn’s essay has been nationally published and she has been recognized in the Blood Horse Magazine.   Congratulations to the entire Bear Creek Stables team! 

“Life has always been three things to me – constant changes, diverging paths and unexpected goodbyes. In the first 17 years of my life, I have lived in Switzerland, England, Canada, and now California, always relocating from place to place. I’ve lived in countless different houses and gone to countless different schools. The word “home” never meant much to me, up until I first visited a small rustic ranch in the Los Gatos Mountains.

In early 2014, I was introduced to the Neigh Savers program by complete accident. I knew little about horses, and for some reason, I desperately wanted to learn more. Following my first visit, I was coached and mentored by Jenny Whitman, Neigh Savers Program Manager, who helped me learn the ropes and showed me the power of the bond between horse and human. Nothing has taught me more about trust and second chances than volunteering with these thoughtful yet energetic thoroughbreds, who will give their all and never stop trying for you. Soon after I began volunteering, my mom Karen Read, a lifelong horsewomen, adopted a lanky 16hh bay mare called Blame Rome. We decided on the barn name Rose, although she was soon pegged with the name “princess” for her love of pristine pine shavings and full-time stall cleaners. She wasn’t exactly a big winner at the track, but it definitely didn’t take long for her to win over my heart.

Rose fell severely lame in the winter of 2014. Old racing injuries flared up, maybe from navigating the rocky mountain footing. She was unrideable for almost three months, and needed daily hand-walking and icing. My mom and I spent hours at the barn each day, tending to her and giving her lots of love. I think that Rose understood how we were helping her, and in those long, rainy months, she came to realize that we were her family. Her nickers and her nuzzles have never ceased since the day we adopted her, and our bond has only grown stronger. She has taught me so much about partnership, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like if Neigh Savers hadn’t introduced us to each other.

As I fill out my university applications and wonder where my adventure will carry me next, I can’t help but think about how much these incredible thoroughbreds have impacted me. Volunteering with these amazing horses has given me memories that will last me a lifetime, no matter where in the world I am. Because of them, I have made lifelong friends, helped educate others, and most importantly, I have learned that no act of kindness is too small. Neigh Savers has taken hold of my heart and pulled me into something endlessly rewarding, and I feel so grateful to be apart of an organization that has helped not only revive thoroughbred’s lives, but humans too.”  – Katelyn Read

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Harry and Snowman Screening

Neigh Savers had the pleasure of presenting an advance screening of this film last night – September 17th, 2016! We had a great turnout and everyone loved it! Special thanks to Gina and her staff at Brightstar Saddlery for providing the venue and all their assistance.  Great job by the SoCal Neigh Savers Team: Board Director Maureen Sowell, volunteers Victoria Brentwood, Nenah Mikuska and Annie Eitman.
Help get this film the exposure it deserves by calling your local theater and ask them to bring it to your town!

 

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Learning to Jump

As Oso learns to jump, I have made it my goal to challenge and help him progress while keeping him feeling confident and successful about his ‘job’. Some horses take to jumping easily and quickly, others take a bit longer to figure out how to jump. Oso is careful for the most part to keep his feet out of the way of the jump, and when we are able to maintain a good canter coming to the jump, he is simple to ride! Our biggest challenge is to continue to improve the consistency of balance and rhythm in Oso’s canter. We have worked on a few different exercises so far: trot poles for strength and coordination, canter poles on the ground to improve adjustability and jumps on the circle to improve suppleness. In the next week I am planning on working on Oso’s canter on the flat, (getting him to accept my leg and allow me to sit a little more deeply in the saddle) and hopefully start jumping through small grids!

 

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Making Progress…

June 4 2016 – I have tried to take a picture of Oso every few weeks or so to keep track of how he is developing. It is so much fun to see OTTBs go from race horse to performance/riding horse!

Oso March 11 2016Oso June 3 2016

The last few weeks with Oso have been filled with developing strength (and steering) in the canter and preparing for our first ‘field trip’ off the ranch. I am planning to take Oso over to our local show venue (Woodside Horse Park) in the next week or so. In preparation, we incorporated some new things into our daily rides. When starting a young OTTB, I like to develop a routine that stays relatively the same until the horse is comfortable with the basic requirements of being a riding horse. Horses appreciate a certain amount of predictability in their training. Since Oso now comfortably walks, trots, and canters quietly with focus, I have begun altering our rides slightly to introduce some new factors. I find the more new circumstances a young horse is exposed to, the calmer and more easily they handle new situations. We have started riding in the bigger, spookier ring, at different times of day, and have both started and ended on the trail during our rides. I am looking forward to seeing how Oso will handle trailering for a ride at a different location–stay tuned for our next update!

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Volunteers Attend Equine Symposium at UC Davis

Sophia-Katelyn UC DavisWe are extremely excited that two of our volunteers, Katelyn R. and Sophia C. were recently able to represent us at the Equine Symposium put on by UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. They spent a long, but extremely informative day, attending lectures on Disaster Preparedness, Equine Disease Prevention, Colic Prevention and Treatment, and an excellent presentation on Lameness – Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment. They will be sharing the materials received with the rest of the Bear Creek Stables team in Los Gatos, CA..

They were also fortunate enough to attend the afternoon lab session on Lower Limb Dissection working with a deceased horse with Wobblers
Sophia-Katelyn UC Davis3Syndrome. This was a very profound moment for these two young ladies, who plan to study animal science and equine medicine at college. Even with all the many detailed anatomy textbooks that are available trying to understand the dynamics of horse musculoskeletal systems, nothing can compare to spending an hour in a lab environment with an equine surgeon. They commented on the high caliber of teaching staff and senior level DVM students leading the presentations.
The day also included a tour of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and barns, spending time with the new born
foals that are part of the UC Davis breeding program, and meeting with VMTH Director, David Sophia-Katelyn UC Davis2Wilson.

We are happy we were able to provide these young ladies with this opportunity as it is a great learning experience for them working hands-on with the horses in our program.

Volunteers are the Heart of Neigh Savers Horse Rescue

BCS HS Vol2 GroupIt’s 8:30am on a Wednesday morning, typically a pretty quiet time of the day at Bear Creek Stables. But on this midweek morning, the silence is broken by a myriad of questions “How do I put the halter on?” “Can you show us different breeds of horses?” Where are the brushes kept?”

Students from Los Gatos High School are with us, learning basic horsemanship skills, and helping out with the daily care of the rescue horses in the Neigh Savers program at Bear Creek Stables. Most of these Freshman have never been this close to any horse, never mind a 1300 pound, retired racehorse, her back so tall, few in the group can see over it.

But Carabella helps out. She lowers her head so Ben can fasten the halter, and stands patiently while another student cleans her hooves. Nicknamed “Marilyn Monroe” Carabella loves the attention, and gladly poses for photos with the group. Then we work on some ground manners in a small arena. The students lead Carabella, taking turns, learning that the further the horse is away from you, the more control you have. Carabella’s ears swivel back and forth – she is listening closely, and does not take her eyes off her new handlers. Program Manager, Jenny Whitman, demonstrates natural horsemanship “games” with the young Thoroughbred. Working without a bridle or lead line, Carabella moves away quietly, trots perfect circles around Jenny, then comes back to “join up” or connect with her, with subtle cues.

BCS HS Vol1 - GrahamThree hours pass quickly. The students practiced a safe framework for volunteering with horses, and learned about horse nutrition, grooming and daily care. Through one-on-one interaction with the horses, they learn that it is not about size, but leadership that results in a well-behaved and compliant horse.

Which is time well spent, because next week we are practicing manure management!

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