Horses get a second chance

By Kris Dubé, Fort Erie Times/Niagara Advance

Dave Allen, with 'Dreamer,' a thoroughbred at the Last Chance Horse and Pony Rescue in Crystal Beach.

Dave Allen, with 'Dreamer,' a thoroughbred at the Last Chance Horse and Pony Rescue in Crystal Beach.

When a horse's racing career comes to an doesn't mean its life has to at the same time.

Since 2007, the Last Chance Horse and Pony Rescue has been a refuge for injured and sometimes neglected horses to get a second chance.

Located on Rebstock Road in Crystal Beach, the five-acre facility houses 15 horses and five ponies and even a donkey named "Boomer."

Most of the time, equines are brought to the farm for race-inquired injuries such as bowed tendons or bone fractures.

Sharon Allen, owner of the facility, said once a horse is fully-rehabilitated they can be adopted by a caring individual or group, but entering them back into racing is out of the question. It's all about bringing them back to a condition where there is no more pain and suffering from the wear and tear of competition.

"They do heal over time, but you need to give them enough rest," she said.

Moving to the new facility in November from a property on House Road, Allen said the current ranch provides more opportunity to operate comfortably.

"We saw a lot of potential here," she said.

When a horse is fully recovered, Sharon says she is still very careful when putting them up for adoption and wants to be sure they won;t be used for something an injury has made the horse incapable of, or might jeopardize their rehabilitation.

"It depends on the horse's ability and what type of work they can get into," she said.

A handful of volunteers have made the rescue facility operate smoothly, which Sharon's brother-in-law says has been very helpful with the overall picture.

"The volunteers are very important, they help so much," he said.

But they do need more assistance, when it comes to finances.

Dave used two horses Dreamer and Hope as examples. Between the both of them over the last month, their combined vet bills have exceeded $1,000... which can be difficult to pay for out of their own pocket.

"That cost doesn't even include feed," he said.

It's the little things that also help, such as the generous donation from a nearby farmer who has given about 70 round bales of hay in recent months.

Dave also said a 48-foot trailer for storage would be huge asset.

"Even if we have to pay a few hundred dollars for it, is great," he said.

Sharon also has an idea she hopes will be received well by the community... the opportunity to sponsor a stall for $100 a month.

The Last Chance Horse and Pony Rescue is located at 4279 Rebstock Rd. and the public is always welcome to stop by during the day.

For more information, call (905)-894 9262.

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