Horse Rescues Share Holiday Wish Lists

Horse Rescues Share Holiday Wish Lists

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

The holidays are prime time for lending support to charitable organizations. But when it comes to helping equine welfare groups, knowing what rescue operators need most is key. caught up with three rescue organizations--Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society in College Station, Texas; South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Horse Rescue in Miami Lakes; and the Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue League in Sandy Springs, S.C.--to find out just what they and other facilities are wishing for this Christmas season, some of which might come as a surprise.

The Basics

  • Parasite control products, such as fly spray. Be sure to check package labels to ensure products are not out-of-date, as these could be ineffective against pests.
  • New or gently used lead ropes: "We get lots of halters, but few lead ropes," said Jennifer Williams, PhD, president and executive director of the Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society.
  • New or gently used halters for Draft horses, yearlings, and weanlings; rescue horses come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.
  • Weight building supplements and other feed additives such as electrolytes.
  • Wheel barrows--especially large, heavy duty-types with puncture-resistant tires.
  • Bedding materials for stalls.
  • Industrial-type brooms.
  • Heavy duty trucks and horse trailers in good condition.
  • Grooming supplies, including original or unscented Ivory liquid dish detergent: "It really cuts through the grime and helps to fight skin fungus," said Jeannette Jordan, public relations specialist for the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Horse Rescue.


  • Cash to purchase hay, to underwrite training for rescued horses, to pay veterinary service expenses, and to cover the daily expenses incurred by equine rescues.
  • Gift certificates redeemable at feed, farm supply, and home improvement stores and elsewhere.
  • Volunteers, especially those with equine, marketing, advertising, and fundraising expertise.
  • Generous veterinarians: "We average $950 in veterinary costs for every horse we take in, so the best Christmas present we can get are gift certificates for care from our attending veterinarians," said Nicole Walukewicz, chair of the Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue League.

Of course, needs vary from rescue to rescue, so contributors should contact rescues or visit their websites to learn about their wish lists. For example, winter blankets might be a coveted asset in rescues located in colder climates while barn fans could be important to rescues in warmer climates.

Finally, attorney Milt Toby advises prospective donors to do their homework before contributing to any charitable organization, even those claiming 501(c)(3) status. Internal Revenue Service rules allow donors to deduct gifts to charities with 501(c)(3) status from their federal and state income taxes, but the designation does not guarantee the organization's legitimacy, Toby said.

"Many legitimate charities can't afford to go through the application process or don't want to do so for some reason; that doesn't mean that the charity is a fraud," Toby said. "Conversely, 501(c)(3) status does not guarantee that a charity is on the level."

As a result, Toby advises contributors to donate to rescues about which they have personal knowledge: "A personal recommendation from someone you trust is the next best thing," Toby said.


Happy Holidays!

The team at The Horse and wish you a very happy holiday season!

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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