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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Equine Rescue of Aiken

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Crime & Law, Disaster Aid, Health

Mission: Our mission is to rescue unwanted horses who have suffered from abuse and neglect; and work with select racetracks to “repurpose” Off-the-Track Thoroughbreds. We provide each with food, medical attention and personal care until we find an appropriate and responsible placement. We also assume responsibility for the ongoing well-being for the horse after it leaves Aiken Equine Rescue.

Results: To date we have placed over 800 horses with an average of 60 horses per year.

Target demographics: rescue unwanted horses who have suffered from abuse and neglect & to "repurpose" Off-The-Track Thoroughbreds.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 70 horses

Geographic areas served: Aiken South Carolina

Programs: Community programs such as the Sheriff's detention program, providing horses for the veterans to use in the Saratoga Warhorse program held at our facilities, provide each horse with food, medical attention and personal care until we find an appropriate and responsible placement. We work with disadvantage Youth as an outlet for their community Service. We also assume responsibility for the ongoing well-being for the horse after it leaves Aiken Equine Rescue. We were one of the first to incorporate the HSUS Safe Stalls Program. We have been active in raising funds and bringing equine food and supplies for Disaster Relief.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Shannon H.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a special and magical place this is! We evacuated for hurricane Florence and were looking for something meaningful to do while in Aiken. The staff and volunteers were so kind and knowledgeable. Lauren gave us a tour on the golf cart. We met the director Mr. Rhodes who greeted us and made my daughter, husband and I feel like honored guests. He invited us to visit again to groom the ponies the next day which we did. The rolling hills and pastures were impressive and the facilities were clean but the real stars were the horses and ponies and of course Fiona the donkey. We fed and met so many...each with special stories that melt your heart. I wish I could adopt them all! This facility took in hurricane horse evacuees too. If you have a heart for horses and are looking for a meaningful and tax deductible charity I highly recommend this equine center. It’s a place where you can see your efforts making the world a better place. If you don’t have money to give just spending time with the horses helps them. I have to say this place just made my soul feel good. We will be visiting every time we come to Aiken to check on our friends!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful staff and volunteers! The offer some great outreach programs that positively touch lives both man and beast. ER of Aiken is an exceptional operation! I️ can’t wait to visit again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not only have I been to the Equine Rescue of Aiken multiple times, I have also spent hours volunteering because I can't get enough of all of the amazing things they do. Their facility has a sense of sanctuary nature, when you pull in. While it is a quiet a reserved farm, don't let it fool you that they are very busy providing tippy top notch care for these rescues. Don't just take my word for it, please go there and volunteer. It is life changing for equestrians and non-equestrians. What an amazing asset Equine Rescue of Aiken truly is to us in Aiken, SC!

1 cederpines

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great Organization helping horses and people....
Volunteer run and donation dependent

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great organization using the power of the animal to help people

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Absolutely a first class top knotch organization. The people are a community helping the horses to have a better future. I have visited several times and the care that the horses recieve is loving and compassionate. The rescue is very active in the promotion and education of the welfare and health of horses. They have engaging programs for helping the youth and our US veterans to name a few. The Equine Rescue of Aiken is a positive place for animals and people alike. I believe that they have become a true asset to the equine world.

1 Aaleyah Charlotte Lyn B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I rescued 2 horses from era at the beginning of this year (2018) everyone there makes you feel like family and are so happy to see the smiles their facilities bring to people after just losing my horse of 14 years I was kinda scared to go out there and see all the horses but from the moment we got there to the moment we left jim caroline and caitlin along with all the volunteers were very friendly and welcoming definitely a place to rescue from if you are looking to not only make friends but makes family

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Equine Rescue of Aiken (ERA)is the best horse rescue I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I had been looking for a rescue horse as a companion for my 23 year old mare. I had visited a dozen rescues and websites. My mare passed away prior to my visit to ERA. I visited to meet one of the horses I had seen prior to my mare’s untimely passing. I needed to be by horses. The staff there were so friendly, the property was immaculate, and the horses were absolutely gorgeous. I felt so comfortable I chose to volunteer. I not only fell in love with Jack, the one-eyed horse I originally wanted to see, but also Ally, a 23 year old TB. Both potentially hard to place horses chose me and my daughter. The staff didn’t just allow us to adopt on the spot, but took the time necessary to be sure the horses were a good fit for us, and to visit our property to be sure the horses would have a good home. The horses saved me. Jim Rhodes, Caroline Mulstay, and Caitlin Brady along with the volunteers there are my family now.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Aiken Equine Rescue is an incredible organization. Not only do they help to retrain and adopt out off-the-track Thoroughbreds, but they also focus on the healing power of horses with human. They partner with numerous organizations to provide equine therapy to people in need. A truly wonderful organization!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Equine Rescue of Aiken and have witnessed the great care and compassion provided to all equine and other guests/residents on site. It has been rewarding to see the transformation in individual horses, and celebrate their adoption into new roles that might not have been possible without the level of love and care delivered.
Equine Rescue of Aiken also has an impressive range of programs benefiting and engaging the community .

Board Member

Rating: 5

Became one of over fifty volunteers that helps three employees, soon after moving here. There are few places that refresh your mood as much as walking on this beautiful 90 acre farm on the southside of Aiken. Since their founding they have placed over 800 horses into loving homes. And of equal importance, they have invested in the Aiken community by helping people.....at-risk teens; military veterans suffering from PTSD; over 2,000 visitors each year who come to check-out the farm; and people who are a part of our county court's Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Equine Rescue of Aiken is an exceptional organization!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited once and became a volunteer the same day...an impressive place doing great work! This organization is located on 80 acres of beautiful rolling hills and is the temporary home for some sixty horses, while they wait for a family to adopt them. Most of the horses are off-the-race-track thoroughbreds, so are young and healthy.

Since the organization began in 2006, some 700 horses have been placed into loving families, making Aiken Equine Rescue the largest horse rescue of its kind in the southeastern United States. One of the amazing things is that there are only three paid staff, so volunteers are everywhere....over fifty volunteers help make it happen, no matter the weather.

Because the organization is lean and truly cares for the welfare of the animals, it has a great culture and reputation. Over 2,100 people came to visit the facility in 2015, and over 7,400 people follow it and 'Like' AER on Facebook....statistics that rock in a town of only 30,000 residents.

2 Ashley T.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have adopted 2 horses from the Equine Rescue of Aiken. It was a great experience both times and I am hoping to adopt again in the future! They are incredibly supportive of the horses and adopters even years later! I am proud to wear my shirt with their logo and I try to make anyone I meet aware of the great things they do for horses and humans alike!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Equine Resuce of Aiken has a special place in my families heart. We are not your typical "horse people" but having moved here a year ago it's our daughter Faye's favorite place in Aiken. We often come with carrots and take a break to feed the horses. On her very first visit and first time to ever feed a horse she held up her carrot and began to scream when the horse started eating. Three volunteers rushed over to be sure she didn't get bit and once we calmed her down my dramatic three year old said ... "the horse took my carrot".

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We took our grands (8&10) this week to tour this wonderful facility. Our tour guide, Christine, explained and pointed out the stories behind the horses. Our grandchildren liked feeding carrots to them. A blind horse came across a field and loved the attention he was getting. I'm still amazed at the recovery of the starved horse that now looks so healthy. The work being done here is a plus in our community!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I originally visited the Equine Rescue of Aiken as a new comer to town who was very lost in her life. Having always been a lover of animals it was nothing short of magical for me to be able to go somewhere every day to find peace among the horses. It's a remarkable place! Every horse has a story to touch your heart. Jim gave me the opportunity to start volunteering and doing odd jobs around the farm. I would look for any reason to spend my time there. The views alone would make you want to pitch a tent right on the hill. Jim and his wife Debbie quickly became very important role models in my life. They trusted me to help wherever I could. I learned so much about horses and I even got to assist with training to get them ready for adoption. That was life changing for me! It gave me such happiness and purpose in my life. I knew then that I wanted to go into the field of veterinary medicine (I am now a certified Veterinary Technician working towards Veterinary Medical School). Jim and Debbie have opened up so many doors for new and incredible opportunities in my life. I will always be grateful for my experiences and friendships that came from the rescue. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for them.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful place to go. Me and my family enjoy going out here to feed the horses treats. My children are too young right now to volunteer to help with them but as they get older we will come and volunteer to help care for them. Bring your friends and family out here. Please consider adoption if you have the room for one. But most of all please consider coming out here and showing your love to these horses as all the volunteers can't show all of them the love at once. It would help them a great deal out. If you can volunteer they will be so thankful for your help and dedication!!! Thank you equine rescue for all you do for these horses!!!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I moved to Aiken I needed a companion horse and Jim brought me an OTTB that he had just saved from the kill pen. He was in rough shape, not friendly but very well bred. A couple years later and he has the best personality, great on the trails and has been Fox hunting and Hunter pacing. One of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had with horses and as it turns out, one of the best horses!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to tour the Equine Rescue of Aiken, South Carolina on March 28, 2016, and found it to be an amazing place. The property is absolutely gorgeous with pastures of rolling hills with plenty of space for the horses to roam. A team of volunteers keeps the stables and paddocks clean, the horses well-fed, and the grounds immaculate. The horses are clearly loved and well cared for---if I were a horse, I'd want to live there! There was even a blind horse living at the Rescue, who was accommodated with a companion horse to assist him. This is a wonderful organization with an important mission.

2 b.ellis

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to the Augusta/Aiken area and was looking for a way to get more involved with horses even though I was relatively inexperienced. I am so glad that I found the Equine Rescue of Aiken!

Many of the volunteers have been there for years and it really is a big family of people who care. From the horses, to the cats, to the dogs, everyone at the Rescue is looked after with the highest attention to detail and compassion. And at no other facility will you get the same opportunity to have hands-on time with the horses you help care for, whether that means grooming, doing ground work, or even being able to ride (if you're qualified).

One of the most rewarding experiences is seeing a troubled horse who has either come from a harsh track/training environment or has experienced a traumatic event or loss of owner find their place and peace at the ERA. A horse that is head-shy, spooks, or just needs some extra attention to address bad habits will be a completely different horse after a week here at the Rescue. On a similar note, I think one of the best programs on site is the Saratoga War Horse Program. The War Horse program provides equine-assisted therapy to veterans that are often brought from thousands of miles away to participate and it is an incredible experience if you have the opportunity to participate as a volunteer.

And because there is so much love for the horses, it is always bittersweet to see one adopted out. But the adoption procedures and application are incredibly thorough and really qualify the adoptee to ensure that every horse goes to an appropriate and suitable home. Taking on the responsibility of an off-the-track thoroughbred is no flippant decision. This ensures that they can transition from a former life on the track to a new job with a new family, which might include trail riding, companionship for both humans and other horses, shows, jumping, you name it!

I cannot thank Caroline enough for her patience and the time she spent with me helping me to learn more about the horses and everything from haltering to veterinary care. And Jim was always around to crack a joke despite his huge task of making sure everything runs smoothly for over 70 horses, which is no small feat. I moved to a different state a few months ago and not being able to volunteer at the Rescue was one of the biggest drawbacks of my move. I learned a lot about horses, but I learned just as much about myself in the process. I am proud to say that my experience at the Equine Rescue of Aiken gave me the confidence and skills to take on my first horse, Dunny. He's a dun quarter horse that I hope to finesse and ride for many years to come, in no small part thanks to ERA.

2 Marcia36

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The view from the top of the hill told me this was like no other rescue I've been to before. Rolling hills of green pasture flowed into one another. The contentment and peace of the grazing horses filled my inner soul. It was a picture book setting. Surely this was someone's private farm. As I took in my surroundings I discovered why this Rescue was so special. It was filled with the love and caring of the farm managers and the many volunteers who took it upon themselves to make sure the horses were loved and cared for. That the horses had clean living spaces, grooming, fresh water, grain & hay, farrier, dental, vet checks. Did I mention "hugs"? And then there is the farm maintenance man who, with his team of male volunteers, keep the 80+ acres of fences mended, the grounds mowed, the water running, the hay into pastures, and so much more. The contentment in the horses' eyes told me everything I needed to know. They are loved and with the farm manager's watchful eye will find that perfect "forever home". There is the general manager who gives tirelessly of himself promoting the Rescue raising the necessary funds to keep this Rescue functioning. How could I walk away from this little slice of heaven and not return to volunteer? It's been almost two years now and I'll be there until my legs no longer carry me.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can not put into words how wonderful Mr. Jim and the Equine Rescue of Aiken are! Mr. Jim carries a smile that is contagious to others and everyone at the rescue, and always has the horses best interest in mind. The horses at the rescue are treated with the best care and loved unconditionally. I support the rescue 100+% and encourage others to visit, volunteer and see for yourself how absolutely wonderful it is!