horse rescues with a big heart*

Last weekend I had the honor of hosting some wonderful people attending the Homes for Horses Coalition Conference here in Nashville.

We had 11 attendees staying at my two farms representing rescues throughout the Southeast and California. These people work tirelessly and selflessly throughout the year to save & rehabilitate horses.

I made some new friends, learned quite a bit that I didn’t already know about the ins & outs of rescue and got to visit with two rescues that have been close to my heart. Lana & Becky from Therapony in California and Lori from Sunkissed Acres.

I am honored and humbled to be able to be a small part of the noble and important work these groups do. Please consider a donation…it is always greatly appreciated.

Here is a summary of the event from my friend Lori…who could have been a poet had she not gotten into horse rescue.

This past weekend, myself and 7 others from Horse Rescue United, had the opportunity to gather at the Rescue Horse Coalition in Nashville. It was well attended by rescues from all over the US. I had a chance to connect with some of the rescues I love. Deanna Kafka’s donkey rescue has always had a piece of my heart and more so now. She is so real and so passionate. A small group in California, Therapony, saving them one horse at a time with long term goals. We left with a lot of valuable information but even more so with the realization that we are all equal. We all face the same trials and tribulations. We all deal with the heartache and the successes. The struggles are shared clear across the board whether we have one or 150. Spending the weekend gathering information, sharing experiences and cheering each other on brings on a renewed energy. All the while watching Buddy and Henry both make it home added to the glory. It was a weekend I won’t forget for a while I can assure you. And sitting with the groups from Georgia who I work with on a daily basis, the best. We laughed, we cried, we planned, we committed. We are rescue.

gypsy vanner

show me your horses

…the more we work with horse rescues who take horses out of deplorable conditions the more we learn this to be a big true.

Two of our favorite rescues are Sunkissed Acres and TheraPony…If you are feeling generous today they would love to have your Starbucks money for today! Even $5 would go a long way…

…giving back & getting more…

trott-rescue1A few weeks ago we attended a fundraising event at the Peacock Hill Equestrian Center for Trott Rescue. It was such an amazing day…

I know we were there to help and raise money for a good cause and we did a great job. We sold a ton of jewelry and helped spread the word about the wonderful work that Trott does.

trott-rescue2But I feel like we got the better end of the deal. Simone & I arrived early and it was a gorgeous warm day. There were peacocks prancing all around with their feathers spread wide…the horses were just waking up and being fed. After we set up…I was able to attend some of the clinics they had…A natural horsemanship clinic and a wonderfully informative question and answer session from two equine veterinarians. And don’t get me started on the Tacos they had there…amazing.

It was a magical day…we spread some good in the world, I got to snuggle all the horses I could possibly handle, I learned a lot and we raised money for a good cause. What could be better than that?

If you want to read more about Trott or make a donation please visit their website.

XOXO
~h

…come join us and help the horses….

trott

As you all know we love horses. And we love people that help horses.
Trott Rescue is pretty special…they take retired racehorses off the track, retrain them and find them homes…all before they become rescues. We love this. Give them a chance at a great life before the damage is done.

This Saturday, May 18th from 10am-4pm they are holding a fundraising event. We would love to have you all come out and join the fun! There will be a Natural Horsemanship Demo, Western Demo, Food Tastings and of course Island Cowgirl Jewelry!

We will be donating 30% of our proceeds to TROTT USA.

Peacock Hill Equestrian Center
1 Irvine Park Road, Orange CA. 92869
Saturaday May 18th   10-4PM

…happy 5 years to us!…

anniversary-1
Me & my girls! Thanks to my great staff for all the hard work! (Aren’t they cute?)

My heart is full right now. And my customers are the greatest. I just wanted to put that out there.

Last week we had a shindig at our little store by the sea to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. We spent the day making sure everything was just perfect..we had gift baskets to pack and cakes to pick up and little gourmet appetizers to make…it was a group project to be sure…and all of my awesome employees were there to help.

Our goal was to make this a great thank you party to everyone who has supported us over the years. It was important to me that if someone took time out of their life to show up…that they were not disappointed. I believe each moment of everyone’s life is precious.

What really blew me away was how I ended up going away with more gifts than I feel we gave. A friend of mine, Bronny Dainiels, who is also a professional photographer was there snapping pictures of all of our goodies when I arrived. She managed to, completely unasked and unsolicited,  captured the spirit of our whole evening…start to finish. And the photos were in my inbox when I woke up.

Bronny Daniels- photographer extraordinaire...
Bronny Daniels- photographer extraordinaire…

Customers brought me flowers. They brought me heartfelt handmade cards. Food. Cupcakes. (Rice Krispies cupcakes which were gone in a flash…don’t worry…I am getting the recipe for all of you) Bottles of wine.

anniversary-4But most of all they shared stories with me. Stories of how they gave Island Cowgirl Jewelry as a gift to someone who needed inspiration. Stories of the artists they had discovered at the store and how much that meant to them. I heard over and over again…”We are so glad you are in Huntington Beach…we love your store so much”. Wow. Their overwhelming spirit of generosity was amazing.

One wonderful customer, when she learned that a portion of the days sales were going toward Sunkissed Acres Equine Rescue bought even more. Including a big wood starfish that she would have hand carry on the plane the next day on her trip back home to Florida. But she wanted to help the horses.

annivarsary-6The last gift basket of the evening was raffled off at 9PM. It went to a woman whose elderly mom had been there earlier. She said her mother often bought Island Cowgirl jewelry for her on her birthday…but that tonight she was a little short on funds and could not buy anything, but that she wanted to be at the party tonight to help us celebrate.

Her daughter had come back to the store in hopes that her mom may win the gift basket…because it would mean so much to her. And she did. I told her it was meant to be…anniversary-3And so everyone went home happy on this fine spring night…Me with my full heart. My peeps. And the horses. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Peace, Love & Horses,

~heather

 

 

…and then there was Sam…

As you all know if you have been hanging around that we support a lot of horse rescues & sanctuaries.  I would like to share a story that came my way and tore my heart into a million pieces this weekend.

Sunkissed Animal Rescue is run out of Georgia. The owners give relentlessly and selflessly to the horses that come their way…and are truly unsung heros in my book. Their horses are not “seen as the old and disabled they might have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be…”

Here is a chronicle of what took place via their Facebook page on Sunday…and how we all came to know Sam.

Saturday Morning
“Bizarre day yesterday. At 8:15 I got a call to help a horse who was down. In fact, she was dead. Then I was told of a dead horse on old 27 who in fact was still alive. Meet Sam. We got Sam up and on a trailer and to SKA, fed him everyfour hours during the night but this morning he is down. The vet is coming out very shortly and hopefully we can help this old man. Nothing about 500 pounds and ten years of youth wouldnt make easier but alas, this poor guy has seen his better days. He needs your good vibes. ”

sunkissed acres horse rescue

samcollage2

“None of this would have been possible without the help of Jen and Lisa who made countless trips back and forth to the farm. This guys owner was not willing to relenquish him and so they drove back and forth for meds, feed and finally the trailer when Sams owner accepted that he was unable to do anything for this guy.”

Sunday Morningsamcollage3 And this is Sam this morning. Down but alert. He has had bowel movements and was excited about his alfalfa hay, drinking well but unable to get up. There are certainly some underlying issues going on here and so we are now awaiting the vet. Nothing like a huge emergency Sunday vet bill for a horse I was not even able to take ownership of but…………………..the owner did not give me any contact information whatsoever and so, I am sincerely hoping he doesnt contact me at all. Like honestly, how will he get this guy home when he is lying down here.”

“The vet was here, I love that lady. Sam has been given some vitamins and is resting well. He is not in the least bit stressed, he is eating and drinking well, has good guteral sounds and color. So, we have decided to leave him down to simply rest. He is tired from fighting to stay alive for a while now. He is at ease and can now rest safely and he knows it. If he decides he wants to live, there is enough of him left to do just that. If he decides he does not want to, then we will accept that and help him in the kindest way possible. At this moment, rest is his best hope. Lets see if he can pull the miracle that Miracle did.”

Sunday Afternoon

sam2

SCREAMING FROM THE ROOFTOP, HE IS UP. SAM IS UP. Way beyond my or your call or knowledge is the will to survive. Be it for today or for the remainder, Sam said his life is worth fighting for. He is up, peed varociously, drank a good couple gallons of warm water, nibbled a bit and then introduced himself to the kids next door. Four legged ones. Its one step closer to seeing another day and if Sam says life is worth living, then no human being has the right to take that away from him. Welcome home Sam”

“OK I am crying stupid cry baby. Sam is up. There is nothing so heartbreaking as fighting like the devil for ones life only to lose it. Sam said not today.”

Monday Morning
“Close to the best news of all, Sams owner showed up this morning and decided he really couldnt look after Sam so he signed him over to Sunkissed Acres. Sam is safe.

“He was down again this morning and had clearly struggled but he whinnied his old whinny when he saw the groceries and warm water coming. Smart boy, he humped himself into the large run in area and used the wall to get himself up. Old horses are so smart. Another great day coming. Thankyou to everyone who made a donation to help this guy out. We paid his first vet bill thanks to the generous followers.”

And there you have it.
Sam.

And if you do not have tears streaming down your face right now you better check for a heart like the Tin man in the Wizard of Oz because if you ain’t crying by now you may not have one…

Island Cowgirl has offered to become Sams sponser on his road to recovery…so that he will never, ever be starved and left for dead again.

So buy more jewelry. Or give a donation to SunKissed Acres. There are lots more like Sam.

~XOXO

heather

…meet Jate…

Jate horse rescue

 

…”Horses are non-judgemental, honest mirrors. They know when we are angry or anxious, they know when we are excited or happy.”…

This is Jate.

He was a race horse who was owned by a college student in Upsate NY.  Jate broke his pastern in a race. His owner locked him in a stall for a month and never treated him. He dropped him off at the H.O.R.S.E Rescue & Sanctuary and walked away.

Jate is one of the most spirited and funniest horses I have ever had occasion to meet.

He knows he is handsome. He works you for treats. He is full of beans. Jate…a beautiful racehorse now has a club foot. All because some rich kid couldn’t be bothered to treat him.

I fell instantly, desperately in love with Jate.

Perhaps he was a mirror. A little broken, dealt a bit of a raw lot in life…but still bucking, rolling & jumping as if he were perfectly fine.

Still proud. Standing tall. Pure fortitude. Scarred. And all the better for it.

H.O.R.S.E. Rescue

 

…Jate…pure love…

He had gotten a bath that morning from the rescue volunteers…after which he promptly stopped, dropped and rolled in 4 inches of mud making him as dirty as can be….and full of crusty mud.

(Rebel. Which just made me love him more.)

If you would like to donate the the H.O.R.S.E. Rescue & Sanctuary you may give through our website. Every penny you donate goes directly to the rescue…and you can even sponsor a horse directly. Maybe even Jate.

Or you can purchase a beanie from our website…100% of the proceeds go to the horse rescue.

Peace, Love & Horses

~heather

…horse love…

horse jewelry

Here at Island Cowgirl a big part of our hearts are dedicated to horses…as you can tell by our past posts and much of our jewelry.

Did you know that the U.S. indirectly supports Horse slaughter. Kill buyers get ahold of unwanted horses in a variety of ways. They are stolen from pasture. A lot of them are trolling Craigslist and taking advantage of the economy by “adopting” horses that people can no longer afford and are offering to a good home for free. They then take these horses and put them up on “bail”. If no one pays their bail to save them…usually $300-600 they go off to Canada & Mexico to be killed for meat. Yes Meat. And yes, our lovely friends north of the boarder…Canada participates in this barbaric practice which has manifested this thriving industry of death down here.

Take the case a Buddy. Buddy & Dallas had been given to a family with a “special needs” child. They even came out to ride him with a crippled child. A few months later Dallas was found at a kill buyer. Someone paid his “bail” to get him out but Buddy was no where to be seen and his former owners feared he had suffered a similar fate.

buddythehorse1

Thankfully, he was found through the power of Facebook and is on his way home, but countless other horses and owners have not been as lucky.

We are always looking for ways to help the horse community… Below is a great site for more information on how you can help stop this travesty taking place against the gentle giants that melt our hearts.

save horses

I really encourage everyone to check out the AC4H website. It is such a tragedy that our friends don’t have their own voice… we must be the voice for them!

XoXo,

~heather

…buy a beanie, save a horse…

horserescue-collage2Many of you remember that we are raising money for the H.O.R.S.E. Sanctuary & Rescue in my hometown of Rochester, NY.

Jackie from Dreaming of Three  jumped in to help and was so kind as to design & make these beanies for us to raise money for the cause. (Big XOXO to her)

The beanies arrived yesterday at the studio and we decided to do a photoshoot…see how cute they are?

They are $15 each and the proceeds all go to help Mike & his wonderful rescue.

Mike has spent over 20 years rescuing neglected & abused horses at great personal sacrifice. His charity organization has saved over 400 horses.

Mike is terminally ill with lung cancer. His last wish is that his 11 remaining horses be placed safely. He made a promise to these horses that they would always be safe…we are working hard to make sure Mike keeps that promise.

Buy a beanie…save a horse!

There are four great colors available…Black, Graphite, Olive & Khaki… dreamof-three2-web

…give & receive…

A few weeks ago a complete stranger reached out to me with a plea. She knew I was from Rochester, NY and there was a cause there that she felt that I should know about. People that needed help.

Now you have to understand…this is my busiest time of the year. Not only do I have a wholesale business that sells to hundreds of stores around the country, a retail store, an online website and  design deadlines for the January collection…but my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer recently. So to say my plate was full was a massive understatement. The days that I get up at 4AM in the morning and begin work are too many to count.

But when I read their story about these selfless heroes I knew that I could not say no. For some reason I kept thinking back to my recent trip to Bali. In Bali they believe that you go through life being kind. You smile. You don’t steal. You help people and you are gracious. Period. Not negotiable. And these people, who have less than nothing in many cases, practice this.

While we were there, my husband & I got caught on our motorcycle…(well, really it was a scooter embellished with flame decals but whatever) in a big rainstorm. We passed some workers on the road repaving the road. The way they do it there is a bit different from here.

A woman was carrying what appeared to be a giant cookie sheet of steaming hot asphalt on her head from the dump truck to the part of the road they were repaving. Back and forth. Back and forth. In 110 degree heat. In the rain. And she was smiling. It was about the most miserable kind of work I could ever imagine. And she had zippo to smile about…but yet she was.

I said to my husband…If I ever complain about my life again please punch me in the face.

Through living in a few third world countries (and other countries too) …I have come to believe that this really is the best country in the world. But we as a culture we really are spoiled rotten. Selfish. Whiney. It saddens me to say this…but it is true. We tend not to want to do anything unless we gain from it. We don’t want to help others. We wouldn’t last a minute with hot asphalt on our heads. Me included.

So this Christmas I feel that it is my obligation to help some random stranger that reached out to me. Despite the fact that I am insanely busy and the timing could not be worse. Despite the fact that I have my own heartache with my own family right now.

I just spent 36 hours trying to get home to Rochester, NY. I am going out to the Sanctuary to try to help these people.

If for nothing else but because it is the right thing to do. And because no one else is.

I hope you find it in your heart to do the same.

Donate to the H.O.R.S.E Rescue & receive 20% off