1. Longmeadow Rescue Ranch (LRR) was purchased by the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) in 1988, made possible by a generous bequest to the HSMO. For hundreds of neglected, abused and abandoned ranch animals, the 165 acres of woodland and pasture is home sweet haven- at least temporarily. The ranch is located about an hour southwest of Saint Louis near Union, MO and is one of the most comprehensive horse and ranch animal care and rehabilitation centers in the country. In addition to this, Longmeadow provides hands-on humane education and volunteer experiences for both children and adults. The facilities include five barns, more than a dozen pastures and paddocks, an indoor arena and education center, picnic areas, an outdoor pavilion and a gift shop. Currently we have 61 equines and 37 ranch animals available for adoption, cared for by 10 full time staff and hundreds of cycling volunteers and horsemanship apprentices.
2. The Barn Buddy program sponsors animal ambassadors and helps LRR continue our rescue efforts. These animal ambassadors for ranch animal rescue come from a variety of backgrounds. For example, Twist of Fate “Twister” was the only baby born from a mare rescued from the infamous 2006 I-44 slaughter truck accident. He has grown healthy, strong and much beloved by all at LRR, and often gives demonstrations of horsemanship with our horse trainer. Barn Buddies regularly attend humane education and other events- some put on by HSMO, some by invitation. They have appeared twice on the Today Show, as well as many times on local TV stations. Recently, the Barn Buddies visited Saks Fifth Avenue for a day of shopping…not really. But they did entertain the folks who WERE shopping! Our Barn Buddies are even international stars- sponsors come from most U.S. states, as well as many countries—from South Africa to France to Canada and Peru! You can follow the Barn Buddies on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/lrrbarnbuddies/.
3. The apprenticeship program went live for the public on November 1, 2011. We realized that there was a lot of interest in horsemanship, and that LRR’s horse trainer, Scott Jaycox, was a gifted teacher of what we call “relational horsemanship.” That just means that for us, a relationship of safety and trust between the horse and the handler is the most important thing. We teach our apprentices how to communicate clearly and effectively with the horse, using “language” that the horse understands. Clarity and consistency of communication build trust between the horse and the person, and that leads to a trusting and successful relationship between them. Once a horse’s physical needs have been met and he is healthy and ready for mental rehabilitation and training, our apprentices can begin to work with him on a regular basis. This attention and training by several different handlers helps prepare Longmeadow’s horses for adoption. Apprentices teach them basic manners, groundwork, and assist in training them for riding. So far the program is working out great! We have about 20 active apprentices, and are starting a new class on May 1. This program benefits the horses because they get prepared for the real world—they experience what it’s like to work with a variety of different people, and the apprentices work with many different horses. Mutual benefit! We don’t have any permanent residents (other than our Barn Buddies), so all the horses that the apprentices work with are or soon will be available for adoption.
4. Longmeadow Rescue Ranch is a division of the Humane Society of Missouri, the largest animal rescue organization in the state of Missouri. HSMO was established in 1870, and since then we have been dedicated to second chances. We provide a safe and caring haven to all animals in need – large and small – that have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Our mission is to end the cycle of abuse and pet overpopulation through our rescue and investigation efforts, spay/neuter programs and educational classes. We are committed to creating lasting relationships between people and animals through our adoption programs. We further support that bond by making available world-class veterinary care, and outstanding pet obedience and behavior programs. LRR, as a division of HSMO, provides haven for and education about horses and ranch animals in need, such as chickens, cows, llamas, and goats.
5. No, alpacas and llamas definitely do not wish they were horses! They consider themselves a higher life form. Some of us actually believe they are an alien species, and some of our horses agree!
6. We take in ranch animals—everything from horses to ducks and potbelly pigs. Most of our animals come from abuse and neglect cases, as well as strays, transfers from other rescues and shelters, and sometimes owner surrenders.
7. Goats definitely have secret, nightly meetings during which they pass on arcane secrets of massage and trickery. We at LRR have attempted to infiltrate their meetings, but so far without success.
Because we didn’t get this up on the first of the month and are running a bit behind, we figured why not include a horse featurette!
The first horse we’d like to feature is Duncan, an 8-year-old Connemara pony, 13.1 hands high. He’s feisty and stubborn, as ponies usually are. He came to Longmeadow as a stray stallion, and we could tell right away that he had been spoiled absolutely rotten by his previous owners. We gelded him but he likes to get his way anyway but he is all bluff. Once you get his attention and respect, he rides very nicely at the walk, trot, and canter, and has been ridden in both English and Western styles. Duncan lights up when he’s asked to jump, and his form improves as the jumps get higher! He is a thinking pony who likes to be engaged in activity, and is very willing to please…when he’s in the mood…. He is a pony, after all! With consistent expectations, Duncan will grow in his skills and thrive as somebody’s partner in crime. Visit his page at http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=MOHS2.A496061 and his video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7G74V0-WDU.
If Duncan is not your flavor, we have plenty of other horses and ponies available. For those who like to jump, there’s Amelia, a dainty black mare who has won county fair classes while in a foster home, and Dakota, a spicy bay mare with more than enough speed to win any race across the field. Buckskin lovers will enjoy Simone and Marcella, and Prince, a bay Hackney, is green broke to the harness and cart. Visit our adoption page to see all our animals: http://www.longmeadowrescueranch.org/adopt.php