Kelly Young, the director of Lost and Found Horse Rescue near York Pa. really needs our help.
Young, who buys and rehabilitates horses at local auctions from which she believes the animals are often sent on to slaughter, has been told by the people who helped her start the rescue 13 years ago that she has until July to come up with the funding to purchase the facility, or she will be forced to close her operation.
Young, who grew up showing horses, transitioned into the rescue and rehabilitation side of the industry in 1990. She had begun buying horses to retrain as hunter ponies and stumbled upon auctions at which she had reason to think many of the horses were slaughter-bound.
“When I started going to sales where I would see the absolute atrocities of horses and ponies that were being sold for slaughter, it changed my whole perspective on how I viewed horses,” said Young. “I decided I wanted to do to be part of the solution and help the horses and ponies that I could help."
When Young recently passed a junkyard where cars were being sold as parts, she immediately made the connection with the horses that she buys at auction.
“I started thinking about all the new cars that are washed, look spiffy, and maintained," she said. "At the (major) horse sales, (horses) are all slick and pretty and it’s a beautiful place to go, but no one wants to go to the ‘junkyard’ sales and save those horses that could have a second chance.”
Ironically, attending those junkyard auctions is a now part of Young’s everyday life.
“We actually sometimes buy horses and ponies at the sales that are in such deplorable conditions they can’t be rehabilitated, but we bring them back to our farm and have them euthanized here so they don’t have to endure a trip on a truck to Mexico or Canada and so they have a good final ending,” said Young. “Unfortunately, there aren’t many that get that opportunity.”
A few years ago, Young met prominent trainer Nick Zito and his wife, Kim at a fundraiser for the Central Kentucky-based Thoroughbred equine retirement facility Old Friends.
“Kim loves rescue…since then, she and I have become very good friends,” said Young. “One year, Kim came to the sale after the Preakness with some of their winnings and rescued some of the horses out of the meat pen. They are real people who genuinely care about and love the horses that make them a living.”
What are some of your favorite equine rehab/rehome organizations and why? Do you know anyone that has adopted a retired or unwanted Thoroughbred? Feel free to leave a comment and share your story! And to make a donation to help Lost and Found Horse Rescue continue in its mission, visit www.lfhr.org.
Young’s favorite part of her profession is hearing all the stories of joy and happiness that the more than 1,000 horses she has placed in new homes have brought to other people’s lives. So please enjoy some photos showcasing some of the many success stories that have resulted from Lost and Found:
Conrad, winner of hunter jumper shows for his new owner
"He is an amazing horse with so much talent and an even bigger heart. He is one of the sweetest most gentle horses I have ever been around. He has gone from winning in the jumper ring to being ridden by a 6 year old in lead line at the same show. He's just that smart and level headed. Conrad has taught me so much about horses and life. He has truly been a blessing in my life." --Kelly Hudyman
Above: Doc, former racehorse, now a hunter/jumper champion
"Doc is now being leased by a young student of the woman who adopted him, Erin. They were champions in beginner hunter at their first show together a few weeks ago. Erin is a nice young woman with a huge heart for rescue."
Above: Ming Toy, a Thoroughbred who earned more than $80,000 on the track, but was neglected and suffering of starvation when Young rescued him from his former owner
Ming Toy has now been rehabbed by Young and is awaiting adoption at Lost and Found