No sooner had Another Chance Equine Rescue of Ohio launched a $10,000 fundraiser to help defray the costs of moving to a new barn, than David Osage stepped forward to save the day.
Osage immediately offered to match all donations to Brenda Lewis’s charity, which rescues horses from the slaughter, and before you could hear a whinny or nicker, they were within $2,000 of their goal.
Top volunteer and donor Osage, who had previously adopted a horse from Lewis, says it is for all the big reasons, and small, that he was compelled to match donations to Another Chance Equine Rescue.
“My retirement plan is that I want to be in an animal rescue and support one, and Brenda Lewis is just so good at this at this, that she deserves to be set up,” says Osage. “If this was a business, this woman is so good at this. We have horses on a waiting list.”
Not only will the new barn give the charity a “fresh start,” it will also be less costly to operate, and logistically better situated, Osage adds.
“It was time, we had to get to our own place. Some our horses need special attention and shorter feeding cycles, and quite frankly, if we hit $5,000 in donations, I’ll raise it to $10,000!”
And as if that weren’t enough, Osage also enlisted the help of 50 rugby players from St. Edward’s High School in Cleveland. Students and their coaches are due to descend on the farm in Columbia Station on the 22nd of this month to clean it, level the stalls, make repairs, and do everything else that needs to be done, Lewis says.
Their good work helps counterbalance the sadness that often clouds her charity work.
“Doing horse rescue shows us too often the worst of humanity, but then everything comes together like Dave matching donations and our new facility,” Lewis says. “We never forget that the people who care make our work possible, and the good always outweighs the bad that people do to our horses.”
And the horses themselves bring joy to Lewis and to the volunteers who tend the herd of eight off-track Thoroughbreds.
Most recently, a 5-year-old gelding arrived who embodied the fairy tale horse in the story Black Beauty.
Risen Reign had been in danger of being shipped to the Sugar Creek auction when Lewis got a desperate call, pleading with her to come get the horse. “I said I’d put the horse up on Facebook, but that we couldn’t afford it another unless someone wanted to sponsor him,” Lewis said.
Mary O’Reily and her two daughters answered the call. Like Osage had done in response to the barn fundraiser, the O’Reily family had both the heart as well as ability to come to the rescue.
They agreed to pay for Risen Reign’s long-term care, and the chestnut gelding was soon at his new job, providing pony rides to just about anyone at the farm who wants to hop on.
“For the longest time I’ve wanted to have a horse my volunteers could ride, but, for a variety of reasons, we never had a horse suitable enough for that,” Lewis says. “Then we got Risen five or six weeks ago, and he has been giving rides to people who don’t even know how to ride!”
On the day he arrived he communed so tenderly with a 5 year old girl; her blond, curly locks touching the nose of the powerful ex-racehorse as he held his head at her level to listen politely to her chatter.
“He put his head right down to her face and held it there for 15 minutes,” she says. “I think we’re going to keep him, because he can be the perfect riding horse for our volunteers.”