As we head into this season of gratitude and giving, I was drawn to write this month about the incredible work being done by Paradise Stable Horse Rescue. Lawrence and Bunnie Harasym’s non-profit business mission is to provide a safe home for abused, neglected, or abandoned horses, nurturing them back to health while promoting public awareness and education on the responsibilities of horse ownership. But, as many readers will understand, these angels among us do so much more than that.
Bunnie talks about the love for all animals that she and Lawrence have shared since childhood, with a strong interest in animal welfare emerging over the years. During their first year of living on their acreage, they discovered horse auctions happening just outside of Saskatoon, where they made their first horse purchase by outbidding a meat buyer. One day, these horses are deeply loved, winning blue ribbons or teaching a child to ride. The next, they are sent to auction, treated brutally, and often crammed into semi-trailers for a hellish journey to the slaughterhouse. The Harasyms saw horses there that were injured or ill, but also many that were healthy, young and perfectly suitable for second lives. Their challenging, yet highly rewarding work had begun.
“We believe every horse has a purpose and they are not disposable,” says Bunnie. “We love to see a horse whose spirit is broken come to the rescue, as once they are rehabilitated through love, compassion, food, and vet care they become rejuvenated and their zest for life continues.”
This is accomplished through long days of devoted work – feeding, health checks, medication, cleaning, building repairs, bonding and exercise. The remainder of the day is spent in the office, answering inquiries about horses in need of placement, planning fundraisers, and working with the media to help put an end to the brutality of horse slaughter.
As the Harasyms can attest, operating a horse rescue is a huge expense that is also emotionally taxing. It runs 365 days a year and requires 24/7 commitment. Anyone thinking of going into the business of horse rescue must have a love and compassion for horses, access to land and access to a volunteer base, an excellent farrier and vet.
The Harasyms often face the sad challenge of having to reject horses because there are no spaces or funds to take them in. They overcome this through sponsors and volunteers, the angels behind the angels who work hard directly with the horses and coordinating fundraiser trail rides, silent auctions, bottle drives, donations and the on-site consignment Tack Shack.
The Harasyms have a dream for Paradise Stable - to include an indoor centre and arena for year round training and viewing of horses. In this centre, horse auctions will also be held where meat buyers will be barred, which will ensure that the auction is for people interested in purchasing and selling horses as companions and partners.
Currently, Paradise Stable has 16 horses in care. Their website features a list of incredible adoptables with so much to offer loving new families – including Calypso, a bay Welsh mare who would make a great 4H pony, and 3-year-old pleasure horse prospect Savannah. The inspiring success stories here will leave muzzle-prints on your heart. Bunnie says if you can save a horse or support a rescue near you, any donation will help this vital work continue.
Paradise Stable Horse Rescue was established in 2001 by Lawrence and Bunnie Harasym. The rescue is located northwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on a beautiful, scenic, and peaceful 80 acres. Visit Bunnie and Lawrence at: www.paradisestablehorserescue.weebly.com , http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=19
Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
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