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54 Reviews
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January 30, 2014

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January 30, 2014

Over two years ago I was looking for a place to volunteer where I could be outside, be around horses, and continue to learn and grow as a person. GG was the answer to my extra time and energy, and desire to be involved with people who are dedicated and conscientious. Volunteering 2 days a week has made such a difference in my life, and I am grateful for the continuing opportunities that the rescue organization provides. The volunteers are valued and the horses treated with respect and dignity. It is a kind and interesting place to volunteer, well organized, with tasks accomplished in a skillful manner.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way to secure more land and facilities so more horses could be cared for. See what winter intervention could be available for the weather temps to be double digit, less wind, sunny always, and snow/sleet only after dark.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

January 30, 2014

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1 previous review
October 14, 2013

I volunteer regularly, and it's the highlight of my week. The farm is beautiful, the horses are so well cared for-Christine, Art and Alyssa go the extra mile to make sure that they are well cared for ... more

January 30, 2014

I volunteer at Gentle Giants on a weekly basis and am awed by the loving care that the horses receive. The staff and volunteers do their very best to rehabilitate these horses, many of whom came from miserable experiences. For example, there is one volunteer who used her annual leave from the government to work daily for a month, with one of the horses who is very fearful and who has "issues". She was able to help the horse to accept blanketing, touching around the face, longing on a long line, etc. Her dedication is matched by the staff and other volunteers. It's a great place to "work".

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a partner to donate land and care of retired and non-adoptable horses so that our resources can be used to rescue, rehab and adopt more horses who are in danger.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

October 14, 2013

I volunteer regularly, and it's the highlight of my week. The farm is beautiful, the horses are so well cared for-Christine, Art and Alyssa go the extra mile to make sure that they are well cared for and everything that can be done to rehabilitate the horses is done. This rescue is a gem

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

January 30, 2014

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January 30, 2014

I have been volunteering with Gentle Giants since 2012. I was able to use many of my already known horse skills. Gentle Giants also taught me new skills that pertained to draft horses. I have been able to take lessons and show these incredible horses. I have gown with the organization to auctions to purchase horses that would have possibly gone to slaughter. I also have helped horses be adopted. When horses have become sick or injured I have learned how to help with their rehabilitation. I have learned so many aspects of the rescue from working with the animals to administrative duties. Gentle Giants Draft Horse Society has taught me so much about the care of draft horses and the welfare of animals.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None The organization is always growing and changing to meet its own needs.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

January 29, 2014

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January 29, 2014

I started volunteering at gentle giants in 2012, i needed something to do in my spare time and absolutely loved horses! When I found GG I had to give it a try and I absolutely loved it, GG has changed my life. Iv had wonderful experiences, iv gotten to tend to auctions to help bring theses horses to a safe and secure place in hopes to find them loving homes, instead of having their life end in horrible matters. Iv gotten to work one on one with these animals and build wonderful bonds, and to even make one of them my very own! GG makes sure that these horses are place appropriately to the right homes and make sure both person and horse match! Iv been well educated with the way the process works with going to auction and what is the meat buyers price, and a safe home price. Some people think that spending loads of money is saving them from the meat buyer, but they are far from right. The meat buyers won't spend tons of money, and people think that buying horses offline that says "buy now their in the kill pen" are just paying boat loads of money to brokers, when in reality these horses where never in the kill pen. I could go on about so much I have learned but in all reality I would recommend gentle giants to anyone! You will learn so much and it's a life changing experience and I thank gentle giants for bringing my horse and I together it has forever changed my life for the better.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

October 24, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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October 24, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I found GG two years ago. Within 15 minutes of showing up on my first day of volunteering, I was given Manny to lead out to the field. He ended up leading me and then leaving me behind. I heard quite a few chuckles. From there, the day only got better. I was thrown right into things. I had experience with horses, but not draft horses, and I hadn't touched a horse in ~10 years. From mucking to feeding, I loved how I was thrown right into things. We went to a Parade of Breeds near DC that afternoon. Manny was mine to groom. I left the show that day with green(ish) stains all over my clothes, blisters on my heals (and hands, in part thanks to Macho Man Manny), and such a warm, fuzzy feeling. Fast forward to today… I’m now looking for a camper to place on GG land. I haven’t told Christine yet, though.

GG is a great rescue with amazing horses and people. Without a doubt, the horses are loved and well cared for. And happy! I love watching them frolic and roll, knowing they’re safe and well fed. Volunteers work hard and are very much appreciated. They are given every opportunity to work with the horses to gain more experience and confidence. After hard work, volunteers are even rewarded with the opportunity to ride. From meals of food, to movie nights, to fun shows—GG is a place where you can spend time and have fun with others who have a passion for helping horses. At GG, everything is very much hands-on. Questions are encouraged and safety is a must. You will experience all shades of the good, bad and sad of the horse rescue world. Honestly, I don’t think you could find another place like it, but until you experience it, you won’t know. Want to have a look into what it’s like at GG? Check out GG on Facebook. While you’re at it, check out Horsin’ Around.

Oh, and I love my pony! ;)

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Onsite volunteer housing, please.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 23, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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October 23, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I started volunteering at the rescue about three years ago. My entire experience has helped me expand my horizon and knowledge in the horse world as far as rescue, rehabilitating, retraining, and rehoming these amazing creatures. Since the beginning I have found my dream horse and continue to work with her every chance I get. The rescue is very good at training the volunteers as far as their experiences in the barn and with the horses. Safety is a strong element that the rescue enforces strictly. Riding and Training is done in an organized manner and the rescue is conscientious about the rider and horse team they pair. I am highly impressed by the skill, dedication, and heart the volunteers, trainers, and staff put into carrying the day to day chores. I recommend Gentle Giants very much.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Having volunteer meetings one a month.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 22, 2013

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October 22, 2013

I have volunteered at Gentle Giants on a weekly basis for more than two years now and look forward to continuing my relationship as a volunteer and donor for the foreseeable future. I have been a horse owner for the last eight years and know how much work and money it takes to care for just a few, let alone 60 horses well. I volunteered at another horse rescue in the past and found them to be way less appreciative of their volunteers than Gentle Giants. Here volunteers are greatly appreciated and supported. They encourage volunteers to challenge themselves as much as they wish and are eager to teach and answer questions. Many volunteers start out with little knowledge of horses and are still welcomed if they are willing to listen and learn. The animals are clearly loved by the staff and volunteers. Those horses who are elderly and can no longer be ridden are given as much attention as those who are favorite rides. I read on another review some comments about the presence of other animals as a negative of the rescue. I, however, find it to be a positive. The presence a resident pig, calf, assorted chickens and goats seems to help some of the rescue horses overcome their fears of new and strange things. I would love it if my personal horses were not fearful when in proximity to other farm animals when out at shows or on the trail. These animals are all well cared for by their owner and yes, sometimes by volunteers who wish to interact with them but it is not a requirement. It IS REALLY all about the horses. The Vet is in frequent attendance and her services are used whenever needed. The farrier is knowledgable, patient and caring and takes the time that it takes to deal with their often lengthy list of hoof issues from past neglect. The staff is incredibly knowledgable and their abilities and strengths compliment each other well. During the time that I have been there the rescue has moved to a larger facility with better accommodations for the horses. The fields are large and spacious and the staff works to keep the horses in small herd environments with animals with similar needs and temperaments that work together. There are fields for horses that need grass for weight gain and fields for horses who need to be kept with less due to weight and dietary needs. There is a roomy hospital barn for the horses with very special needs that has very large roomy stalls. Every effort is made to select proper feeding regimes for each individual horse. They are modified as the seasons and needs of the horses change. When I am ready to look for another horse I will most certainly hope to get one from Gentle Giants.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have more staff and/or experienced volunteers with the time to spend working with individual horse in training. Many times the amount of day to day work that needs to be done to take care of these horses precludes having enough time for consistent training, especially when the weather is bad. It would also be nice to have the funding to improve fencing on the property. It is in constant need of mending.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 17, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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October 17, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I have been with Gentle Giants for the past 10 months as a volunteer and a sponsor. I can not say enough about this organization. Everyone is devoted to the care of these animals as if they were their own pets. Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue is above and beyond providing basic care and needs of the horses. Christine Hajek is an amazing person, and I am happy to be part of this organization!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 14, 2013
6 people found this review helpful

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October 14, 2013
6 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with this organization off and on for the last 2 yrs,sadly I haven't been around in the last few months.The rescue as a whole has grown both in size and people,which is always good.Now I have been involved with other horse rescues and everyone has it's good and bad points.With that being said let me start with the good things about GGDHR.And I am sure my comments will be received differently by everyone who reads this.But if you have spent any time around the rescue and talked with the people you will see the following is a good assessment of activities at the rescue.During my visits I was always greeted with a smile from the staff,and always offered assistance if I needed it.The barn manager is a knowledgable horseman and is always willing to explain the routines of the individual horses.And from what interactions I had with him,he truly cares about these big beautiful creatures.The volunteer coordinator was always willing to assist with anything I was doing.And is knowledgable of the different breeds and common problems with each.And she also obviously cared about the horses.The maintenance guy was always busy with something,and I didn't get to chat much with him.But what interactions I did have it was obvious he knew alot about horses and farm maintenance.Christine was always willing to answer any of my questions and shows great passion for these beautiful creatures.I do believe that group can make great things happen for these horses and the rescue.As far as the rest of the board I didn't have much exposure to them.Only seen them around the rescue once in awhile.Now on to the part of my review that I am sure will be met with great opposition.The staff as a whole seem to know what they are doing,however I witnessed alot of unprofessional things take place at the rescue.Besides alot of drama and negative talk a out people behind there backs. I overheard alot of bad mouthing of other farms and volunteers when they were not around.I also noticed ALOT of alcohol on the premises,and I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing some poor leadership.And I think with the number of underage volunteers wandering around the rescue,having beer and wine in the refrigerators unsecured is in poor judgement.I noticed another post that commented on some overweight horses.I do know that one field in particular was commonly called "the fat kids".But to disagree with the other post,it did seem the problem was being addressed.However I did take notice to a growing number of personal "pets" around the farm.And during my visits volunteers were interacting with these animals instead of the horses.I believe if your running a horse rescue it should be about horses,not chickens,goats or pigs.In one way or another they are using resources that the horses could utilize.Now I have chosen to stay away from the rescue due to the horses contracting strangles.And not wanting to cross contaminate I have chosen to stay away.But it saddens me to say that I was informed that several of the horses left the farm and went to a clinic when the entire rescue was contaminated.And a good leader would have chosen to skip any and all clinics or shows until the entire farm was cleared by a vet.It is pure negligence to do otherwise,by doing so you are possibly putting other horses from other farms at risk.Even if a horse swabs clean it can still carry the virus and infect other horses despite what some people may tell you.Simply ask your vet and they will agree the farm should have been locked down until all animals were proven healthy.I believe especially in these tough economic times a panel should be set up by local government.To monitor and evaluate rescues to ensure money and resources are not being mismanaged or abused.It truly saddens me to say that if I had to rate this rescue to others I have dealt with,GGDHR would be failing in its mission.I noticed too many personal opinions by the president and some of the other board members I had the privilege to speak with ruining things for the rescue.I know of several good people that are no longer involved with the rescue due to personal opinions.I think both the staff and the board should go thru an evaluation process by those that are at the rescue daily.And if it is deemed that any one person is hindering the mission,they be removed.Now I am sure Christine will try to disprove all of my comments and she will have her friends back her up.But if you have spent any time at the rescue and chatted with the staff as I did.You will know what I have stated is true.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Remove the board members and elect new ones.Enforce proper conduct for a rescue that is funded by the public.Remove all alcohol from the common areas,and enforce a code of conduct for all board members and staff.Remove all "pets" (ie goats,chicken and pigs) from rescue property.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 14, 2013

more


1 previous review
November 8, 2012

I started volunteering mid-summer of this year and can't believe I waited so long to do it. Not only are the horses very well cared for, so are the volunteers. I volunteered at another rescue for al... more

October 14, 2013

I now have over a year in with Gentle Giants as far as volunteering goes and my thoughts have not changed. I would highly recommend this organization to anyone as far as donating, adopting, sponsoring and volunteering. I sit at a desk in front of a computer for 40+ hours a week; Gentle Giants is my own personal sanctuary from the work week grind. The staff and Board of Directors are highly approachable and engaging, with much knowledge to offer the beginner to the seasoned. My money and my time goes to this well run 501C3. The GG website is put together well, easy to navigate and always up-to-date. They maintain an interactive Facebook page where all comments are welcome and they share everything from fun times, political and educational news regarding horse slaughter, to the very sad times each and every rescue endures. Lastly the volunteers. I work with the best people ever. We have a well oiled core team who are always waiting for the newbies to come and join us with the hard work and fun times. Yeah...Gentle Giants is the place to be.

I filled out the questions below and they do assume you are no longer with the organization. That is misleading....I have no intentions of ever leaving Gentle Giants.

Chris Hickey

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Only have it rain on weekdays.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 8, 2012
3 people found this review helpful

I started volunteering mid-summer of this year and can't believe I waited so long to do it. Not only are the horses very well cared for, so are the volunteers. I volunteered at another rescue for almost three years and while that was an excellent learning experience for me, I never got a chance to do many things I wanted to. You can only hear "you can't do that" so many times before getting disheartened. At GG, you don't hear "you can't do that", you hear, "WHY can't you do that?". There is a young girl that is volunteering to collect hours for her future education as a veterinarian. She told our director that she had never been on a horse before. 16 and never been on horse. Christine was shocked and said, "well, we shall fix that." She looked at us and said, "Go get John" and 20 minutes later that young girl was up on a very large, gentle horse and the smile on her face was priceless. After she was done, another "older" volunteer asked if she could get on him and of course, she could. That woman left as if her whole year had been made in those short 20 minutes of walking around bareback on a Shire. Volunteering is not easy, it's hot, it's cold, it's wet, there is a lot of poop, there is heartache and there is a lot of happiness and camaraderie. I am going to be 56 years old very soon and am going to be a toy soldier in a Christmas parade, possibly even riding one of the giants. How many people get to say they did that? If you ever, ever had a desire to volunteer at an extremely well run rescue, this is the place. No experience? No matter...you will be taught. Experienced? Then it's a win win for both you and GG. I will be with Gentle Giants as long as they will have me.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

help feed and care for all 64 horses in residence! Volunteer