By: Mimi Pollack
The Irish are known for having a special connection to horses and Audrey Reynolds is no exception. She grew up riding and competed successfully for many years in Ireland, England, and the United States. Twenty years ago, she suffered a serious injury which brought a halt to her show jumping and riding. She took some time off, and then decided she wanted to find a way to give back. She did so by founding Saving Horses Inc, a nonprofit that helps to find homes for abandoned, abused, and forgotten horses. For example, many race horses are discarded by their owners when they can no longer run competitively. They are sold at auctions to people with questionable motives or worse yet, sold for food at different “feed lots”. There is a federal ban on slaughtering horses in the United States, but the US Congress has failed to pass into law the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, so horses at feed lots are sold abroad in Canada and México. It is illegal to knowingly send horses out of California for slaughter, but the law is not enforced. Reynolds not only rescues race horses, but also other breeds. She has scouts at many of the auctions and feed lots that help her. She wants to give these forgotten horses a second chance to live out their lives in comfort. Fortunately, there are many organizations and non-profits that help dogs and cats find new homes, but, unfortunately, there are not so many for horses, so Reynolds is one of their champions.
Reynolds currently provides a home to eight horses at her ranch in Olivenhain, including El Nuki,12; Gracie, 19; Pirate, 16; Beau, 20; Buddy, 8; Aero, 8; Lucky Girl, 19; and her own Quarter horse gelding, Tuffy, 30; who she rode competitively and rescued at the age of 4. She also has two more being cared for by foster homes in Lancaster. As the president of Saving Horses Inc, Reynolds runs a mostly one woman operation with some volunteers, and is always looking for more to help her care for the horses. Many of the horses that she has found new homes for or fostered herself have had heartbreaking stories.
El Nuki, a handsome and friendly chestnut thoroughbred was once owned by a prominent southern California family known in the racing world. He had 16 starts and three wins. He won $131,000. Once he could not race anymore due to a career ending injury, the family put him in a “claiming race”. Anyone could claim him for $5,000. When his new owners realized how lame he was, they sold him. One of Reynolds’s scouts spotted him at a feed lot. This magnificent racehorse was going to be sold for food. He was with another thoroughbred named Daddy’s Pride and Joy, and the scout decided the two of them needed a second chance. El Nuki stayed with Reynolds and Daddy’s Pride and Joy was adopted by a loving home in New Mexico. They are the part of the lucky few who can live out their lives safely and in comfort. El Nuki is also lucky as Reynolds was able to trace his breeder through his tattoo. This conscientious breeder was concerned and although he has since retired, continues to send funding for El Nuki’s care.
Gracie, a beautiful chestnut hunter/jumper quarter horse, has bonded with El Nuki, and the two are inseparable even though El Nuki sometimes plays too rough. Gracie is one of those nice horses who rode and jumped her heart out for the first family that owned her until she developed serious lameness issues and could no longer be ridden. She was found at the same feed lot as El Nuki. She came with another gelding, and both had orders to “disappear”. Gracie could barely walk from her injuries and arthritis. She also had no shoes on her tender feet. Fortunately, both Reynolds and her scout convinced the kill buyer to sell them and promised nobody would know. The gelding was sent to another rescue organization. Gracie went out to two field adoptions, but both were unsuccessful, so she now has a good home with Reynolds. Reynolds has had both El Nuki and Gracie for four years.
All of this takes a lot of money, and Saving Horses Inc holds fundraisers every month or every other month to try to cover all the costs of caring for the horses, do grant writing, and find sources of revenue, but there is never enough, and many times Reynolds has had to dip into her own pockets to keep the operation going, and rescue as many horses as she can. These fundraisers bring in much needed money. Please see the website for details. www.savinghorsesinc.com
Welcome to Spencer’s Corner! Under the watchful eye of a very special Belgian Malinois, named Spencer, Mimi Pollack, an avid animal lover, will relay stories about our furry friends and the special people and organizations that protect and love them.