By Caroline Nickolaus
Bones protruding from the hips, sunken eyes, and sad expressions are some of the heart-wrenching things seen at horse auctions. Unwanted horses from lesson programs or those who were once privately owned stand helpless—futures unknown—in a scary environment. A good majority of these animals could have gone on to live perfectly healthy, long lives but end up at horse auctions because the owners surrender them due to financial reasons, life changes (such as moving or starting a new job), or loss of interest in the horse or riding in general. Some of these horses were once kids’ ponies, ex-show horses, school horses, or even those that pulled wagons for the Amish.
An auction is held where people can bid on a horse of their choosing after seeing it go under saddle or in hand. The two main horse auctions that take place near LIU Post are located in New Holland, Pa., and Camelot, N.J. The horses that aren’t lucky enough end up getting crammed into trailers bound for slaughterhouse plants.
However, the life of one lucky horse is about to change, as the coach and members of the LIU Post equestrian team are looking to purchase and rescue a slaughter bound mini. The team, under the guidance of Coach Jen Hennessey-Henick, has been fundraising through bake sales and contributions in order to rescue a miniature horse, which is set to go through sometime during the fall. The goal is to raise $1,500 and, so far, the team members have made almost half the amount.
The three LIU Post equestrian team captains, Cristina Bakos, a senior Speech pathology/Pre-Med major, Michelle Arenella, a senior Education major, and junior Alex Diez, came up with the plan to rescue a mini in order to raise awareness of the issue, get a cute team mascot, and—most particularly—to save a life. All of the money donated will be used to rescue the equine, and pay for its many expenses, some of which will include vet and farrier appointments, board, feed, and anything else it might need. The girls in charge of fundraising for the team are junior Education major Christina Kotarski, and junior Psychology major Christina Cepeda, but everyone on the team have decided to help out meet its goal. On Wednesday, Oct.1, a bake sale will be held during common hour in Hillwood Commons.
When asked about rescuing a slaughter bound horse, junior Christina Kotarski responded, “I am honored to be apart of such
a rewarding and inspirational fundraiser. We would be the first intercollegiate equestrian team on Long Island to save a horse from slaughter. I am so thankful for all of the generous donations and I know together we can all make a difference in one horse’s life.”
All members of the equestrian team are very involved with volunteer work, according to Colleen Dreyer, team treasurer and senior Public Relations major. “I think the equestrian team is very honorable for that,” Dreyer said.
The team is made up of riders of all levels, and practices at the on-campus facility, North Shore Equestrian Center. It is a part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), an organization in the United States and Canada, which allows students to take lessons and compete against other school teams without having to own his or her own horse. On Nov. 9 at 8 a.m., the team will be hosting its own show at North Shore Equestrian Center, where teams from the region will compete. It is an exciting event to watch, consisting of “flat” classes that require the riders to walk, trot, and canter, as well as “over-fences” classes that necessitate the horse and rider to navigate a set course of jumps. LIU Post students and faculty are encouraged to come out to the stables and support their fellow classmates.
If you are interested in joining the team or just have questions, the members meet on Thursdays at the stables during common hour.
If you would like to donate to support the mini rescue, you can go to www.gofundme.com/save-a-pony or email email@example.com. edu or firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, buy a cupcake or two on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the bake sale!