The rehabilitation and adoption program at RVR Horse Rescue helps ensure horses like Cinco get a second chance at a happy life.
Growing up on a 1,000-acre ranch in Texas, Shawn Jayroe lived and breathed horses. She dreamed of one day creating a sanctuary for abused or neglected horses, particularly after observing a few local horses in need. One at a time, Shawn began purchasing some of these horses in order to rehabilitate and rehome them. This soon became a hefty undertaking without a facility, so the single mom and business owner saved up until she had enough money to purchase a 40-acre property in Riverview, Florida. This marked the start of RVR Horse Rescue. Since then, Shawn and her volunteers have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed hundreds of horses that would otherwise not have been given a second chance. Or in the case of Cinco, been born at all.
Cinco – the horse who almost wasn’t
In August of 2015, a call for help came to RVR Horse Rescue via Louisiana regarding three horses named Angel, Halo and Crosby. Good Samaritans had rescued the trio from a “kill lot” – a staging area for horses shipping to slaughter.
Once the horses were secure, the rescuers needed to find a place to take them. In a great act of altruism, the three horses were transported over many hours to their new home at RVR Horse Rescue. The 14-year-old sorrel mare, Angel, was battered and bruised upon her arrival. To the rescue’s surprise, the sweet senior was also pregnant.
Despite over ten years in the horse rescue world, RVR had never had a birth on site, so their many volunteers and loyal Facebook followers were excited by the news. Angel kept her fans waiting as her belly grew and finally began wiggling the following spring. In the wee hours of the morning on May 5, 2016, RVR Horse Rescue was awarded with a monumental first – the birth of Angel’s beautiful, healthy paint colt. Cinco was the winning name picked by his admirers to honor his birth date on Cinco de Mayo.
The highly anticipated first-ever birth was broadcast live on Facebook and remains the featured video on RVR’s Facebook page. In only 20 short minutes, one life that had been saved from slaughter turned into two.
The new mama stepped into her parental role beautifully and fans devoured updates on Cinco as he navigated his first days of life. Once he was gelded and weaned, Cinco went home to his forever family, while Angel got a pasture pal named Grace. Another rescue mare, Grace will be Angel’s companion until Angel finds a forever family of her own.
Rescue, rehabilitate, adopt
RVR Horse Rescue is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating horses in need, and is known for taking on cases that are the “worst of the worst”. A 100% volunteer organization with 501c(3) non-profit status, RVR rescues horses from across the state of Florida, and sometimes beyond. At any given time, up to 30 horses may be in rehabilitation at the facility. RVR’s goal is to rebuild the mind, body and soul of each horse that they take in, allowing them to move on and find forever homes through the organization’s adoption program, just as Cinco did.
On top of all their rehabilitation efforts, RVR also participates in fundraising events such as Giving Tuesday and Help A Horse Day. While most of the money they raise goes directly back into the rescue, it also allows them to provide assistance to other horse owners and rescues, to fund castration clinics, and to raise awareness.
At RVR Horse Rescue, miracles happen every day. With the birth of Cinco, the miracle of new life has been added to their ever-growing list.
Horse Angels for horses in need RVR Horse Rescue’s dedicated team finds innovative ways to expand their outreach. They recently hosted Large Animal Rescue Organization (LARO) training for 30 people at their facility. This team is now qualified to assist emergency response crews from around the country in the event of natural disasters, accidents, or in other times of need.
Another outreach initiative is RVR’s Horse Angels program. Horse Angels is designed to stem the tide of equine abuse and neglect by assisting horse owners during times of financial hardship. With sufficient vetting to confirm legitimate need, RVR provides assistance to local horse owners who are struggling to care for their horses by distributing hay, grain and even medical supplies. RVR also helps other local rescues during periods of financial difficulty or when they see an influx in the number of horses they care for.
The Horse Angels initiative is developing a system for struggling owners to apply for support through the feed bank. RVR is raising funds to secure a truck and trailer to haul hay and grain to horses in need. The addition of a semitruck will allow them to expand the reach beyond the local community. Horse Angels will collect hay and grain feed, and distribute it to approved horse owners or rescues.
How can you help?
- Donate bags of feed or bales of hay.
- Help them raise funds for a truck.
- Volunteer to assist with administrative duties.
- Help Horse Angels raise awareness.
Shirley Alarie is the author of three RVR Horse Rescue books. A Healing Haven is the inspirational adult story, complemented by a two-part children’s book series, A New Home for Dominick and A New Family for Dominick. The Dominick books include actual animals, people and events. Proceeds from all books benefit RVR. A Healing Haven is one installment of Alarie’s Lemons to Lemonade series of inspirational nonfiction books. In addition to her books, Alarie is a freelance writer and blogger. Check out her work at RVR Horse Rescue’s blog.