A Veteran and active-duty volunteer/recreation program. Attendees work together on projects to accomplish something together as well as share camaraderie. Depending on their interest and skillset, they may spend time grooming horses, repairing fences, checking water lines, or perform other maintenance on the property. During these scheduled visits, Veteran volunteers organize veterans from our community to participate with the soldiers to interact and work together providing lunch and fellowship. Active Duty participants get a mental break from their work at the base and have a chance to escape from the routine. Local Veterans enjoy affiliating with the group in a cooperative effort.
Tust&Release is an equine experience program provided to those affected by trauma. Specifically developed for Active Duty, Veterans, (including families), First Responders, and Battered Women groups. The Rescue provides a safe environment where participants can experience an equine behavior modality to break down barriers they may harbor. By engaging with the horses, one-on-one, participants and their families increase their coping strategies, interpersonal skills, and mindfulness, as well as self-confidence and leadership.
PonyPals™ is a new children's program developed by a retired Principal of 5 grade schools and more than 30 years in education. Working with local school districts to gain their objectives and model our program to support those objectives, the PonyPals™ program is for groups of children ages 6-12. The program will be offered in four different sessions with each educational session focusing on core skills of competency as well as offering craft fun. Horses teach critical traits including Compassion, Self-Control, and Confidence and are masters of connections. Children learn about horses, horse care and responsibilities in a fun, hands-on environment. More importantly, children learn about Volunteerism and Responsibility. Lifelong lessons that will help them succeed in school and life. PonyPals™ will be launched in June 2022. Feedback on the initial PonyPals sessions was extremely positive. Announcements on Facebook will be made when schedules are available and will include registration information. For inquiries, please email email@example.com
The Humane Society provides free Continuing Education training to the southeast regional states and First Responders in handling horse-related cases. Attendees learn how to recognize and respond to equine neglect cases. The Rescue accommodates these events by providing not only the space, but also the horses, volunteers, and the opportunity.
The Rescue works with multiple national organizations (AAVA) conducting a host of multi-day continuing education classes in areas such as wet labs for acupuncture, vaccinations, gelding clinics etc.
Volunteer Program Our Volunteer Program is crucial to our success. The Rescue currently has over 400 registered Volunteers. Each completes an Application which includes identifying their interest area for volunteering such as; farmhand, social media, etc. (See attached Volunteer Application and Volunteer Opportunities).
The Rescue works with the City of Aiken and County of Aiken when they confiscate horses due to neglect or abuse. The Rescue also supports the City and County Pre-Trial Intervention program by allowing offenders to earn community service hours at the Rescue. The Pre-Trial Intervention Program is a diversionary program designed for first time offenders of nonviolent crimes which allows them to avoid the court system by completing counseling, education, community service work, restitution and drug testing. These opportunities often stir a passion that allows them to view life in a new light. As an example, one "at risk" teen recognized what her passion was; changed her choices in life and became a veterinarian after her experience at the Rescue. She attributes the change to her volunteering at the Rescue. More than 150 "At-Risk" teenagers were provided a positive Juvenile Court outlet at the Rescue. We have hosted more than 400 participants in the County's Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
Tours, Dog Walk groups, artist guild days, church visits, school visits, weddings, education workshops and volunteer days are just some of the events hosted by the Rescue. Offering a beautiful, peaceful destination, the community has access to a safe environment that provides an enjoyable, relaxing location. The Rescue is viewed as an "Aiken Destination" for tourists and new-comers where they can see first-hand, the lives that are given a second chance.
The Rescue has partnered with the Aiken Sertoma Club, a group for hearing impaired youth. Initially scheduled to begin in 2021, the group start date was pushed back due to the barn fire which also destroyed our offices and classroom in 2021. The planned new barn has a classroom large enough to accommodate the children. The program would help hearing-impaired youth learn about horses and horse care in a unique, interactive setting.
The Rescue was one of the first to incorporate the HSUS Safe Stalls Program. The Humane Society of the United States launched its Safe Stalls Horse Rescue Network Program to connect equine professionals to help horses in crisis. This program helps horses rescued from cruelty and neglect cases or natural disasters, and is a nationwide system of horse rescue groups, equine professionals and enthusiasts who can provide emergency care and shelter to horses in need.