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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Horsesisters & Associates Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Children & Youth, Health, Human Services, Rehabilitative Care, Youth Development Programs

Mission: HorseSisters Mission Statement promises: With finely trained volunteers, we promise to rescue neglected, abused and homeless horses and provide them sanctuary through rehabilitation, retraining and then adoption for some to approved homes. With equine assisted therapies, we strive to educate the public about how we can provide a special link between rescued horses and the dignified treatment of all children and adults with emotional, behavioral, social, mental, physical and/or spiritual needs. At any given time, as humans help the horses, the horses help the humans.

Results: Saving over 400 horses since our inception in 1998, we continue to help horses and humans. We are actively seeking a new, more permanent location where we can invest time and donations long term. Several new programs have been designed and will began 2013 with veterans and prisoners programs our highlight.

Target demographics: Anyone ages 3 and up that can benefit from equine therapies be that physical, emotional, spiritual, or educational. Those with any limitations will find miracles happen with horses. We offer programs for at-risk youth, provide community service hours, and have an equine 4-H at the Common Sense Ranch.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 56 horses, 2125 clients

Geographic areas served: The entire state of Florida, Brevard, Volusia, Seminole, Orange, Indian River counties

Programs: Special Olympic team, differently-abled riding and driving classes, 4-H activities, horsemanship training for volunteers, able-bodied riders & drivers classes, internships... "Stable Life" - equine assisted learning skills for children of all ages & their families or modified for at-risk youth and foster families, Red Ribbon Kids - Anti-bullying, Anger Management & Violence Prevention for children ages 8 - 18 Work & Ride - Entrepreneurship skills for children ages 6 - 22 The Art of Horses - equine assisted drawing & painting for children 3 - 22, Home School & Private School Equine Assisted Learning, Dignity Memorial® Escape School® - Stranger Safety Skills for children , Youth Group Awards & Scouting Badges, Bright Futures Scholarship Hours - mandatory community service hours for Florida college scholarships, beginning in the 9th grade, Brevard Community College & University of Central Florida service hours, "Rainbow Bridge" children's grief program, State of Florida Juvenile Justice Service Hours, P.A.Y. - Prosecution Alternatives for Youth Program, Native American Full Moon, Sunrise & Puberty Ceremonies

Community Stories

84 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Horse Sisters is a great non-profit with a dedicated leader. Her management skill are exceptional considering the physical disability which has prevented her to work with horses. It is an oasis for volunteers. Not only does horse sisters give back to horses but to the community as a whole. People find it as a home to care for horse it brings greater meaning to help the animals and to meet with the other volunteers of all ages. Ms Austin is good at delegating duties, the horses are well fed but always in need of donations, the volunteers are of all ages and walks of lives. In such an environment we learn to work together and care for each other on this farm. Horse Sisters is an environment where you build a sisterhood and a family among the horses. Ms. Austin as a former counselor has ton's of lessons to teach her volunteers. This comes to be a real help when many people volunteer and have personal problems her coping skills and therapeutic advice help people stay centered and calm. It is a grounded environment based in nature and the caring of others.
I don't believe there is as a good hearted people who are down to earth caring and there actions speak louder then words. HorseSisters is more then a farm but a family. It is a place which one can rely on which is safe and which is nurturing in the fact that everyone on this farm nurtures other's there is always a place as long as you are a giver.
The therapeutic nature takes in all types of people which promotes healthy lifestyle and reform the inter-dependency of the program. This is what nature and caring is about. I have worked at little bits in Redmond Washington and although they have fancy stables they don't have such a wide variety of outreach. At horse sisters you have teens, people on probation, retired people, handicap people and people who just love horses. Like everything it is a struggle and in need of feed and support, yet it is amazing how the farm has survived in such a poor economy in a suffocating place as Brevard County. I believe the ideals have over come in which is life the best one can do in Mims. Anyone should be proud to be associated with a remarkable self -sufficient inventive family as the Austin Family such things most of us can't independently create.
HorseSisters is sticking by me in the hardest time of my life and they are not intimidated by the nonsense and cruelty of members of this county. They know the difference between right and wrong and it is a safe place.




Volunteer

Rating: 5

Horse sisters has been a strong backbone in my life since 2007. Without them I don't believe I would be the strong light warrior I am today; I was an at risk youth, and with the help of HorseSisters I was able to stear my life in the right direction. They taught me strength, stability, confidence, loyalty, and what it felt like to be part of a family. I was taught to work hard for my goals and to never doubt in my abilities. I am now a college graduate, successful and strong in my field. I will always hold this group in a special place in my heart.

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Me and my family had heard all the stories about this place. But we dont like to judge people off other people's opinion. So we visited bought them hay grain alfalfa cubes. Volunteered let them use our equipment. Helped them burry two horses that died with my tractor. Then me and my family go on a vacation for two weeks. And we pay their caretaker to feed and water our horses we live down the street while we were gone. One day we tried to get a hold of their care taker his phone was cut off. So we called our next door neighbor to see if she could have him get ahold of us. To see if our horses needed anything. She get of hold of the director and she said we were in short two drug dealers that wave narcotics and money in the care takers face. To get him to take care of our horses when he should be taking care of hers. He was feeding her horses before ours horses both in the mornings and at night. She didn't know that our neighbor forwarded us her messages and then pretended like she never said thoes things. Just to clarify Im a medically retired army vet. Not a durg dealer I had given their caretaker 5 over the counter sleeping pills thoes were the narcotics I waved in his face. Because he was drinking himself to sleep. And by money she ment the 25 dallors of groceries so he would he had food to eat she doesn't pay her caretakers. And I bought him a carton of cigarettes. Im going to post the foward messages that my neighbor fowarded so this is how she talks about people who help her. Then she complains about people have a vendetta against her. She a liar a back stabber and she buys pain pills on the street then has the nerve to call me a drug dealer.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I have been involved with HorseSisters for nine years. Over the years, my involvement has grown. I see how the organization helps children and adults with different needs and abilities. I am proud to be associated with this organization. The horses are taken care of; I personally have helped with feeding numerous times. Despite a downturn in donations, we are able to take care of them because we pull together as a team.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful non-profit. Helping horses and helping people.

Review from Guidestar

1 Patricia151

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have waited my whole life to be near to horses but never could afford to. I am now in my sixties and for the first time have been welcome without a checkbook!! Everything ,no matter how small, I do is appreciated!! Even my grandchildren have been welcome here and are being taught so much I missed!! This organization deserves much better than they receive!! I am there weekly and no horses have been removed because of neglect!! They struggle everyday but are always positive and survive on very little!! So everyone reading this bring your children out for Horse Happy Hour on Thursdays and see for yourself!!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In my group home I can visit with my mentor. I can take lessons. And learn about horses. Everyone is nice.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering here for around 6 months. The horses are very well taken care of and eat well everyday. Because of a group of disgruntled past volunteers and such the name has been defamed. All I see here is love for the horses. We have one sick boy under vet care and on a special diet. The rest run around together and have a wonderful time. Donations have dwindled due to defamation however we all pull together as a family and make this work. Please come out and see these gorgeous happy horses. The person or group of people trying to tear this apart are only hurting the horses. No one else.

1 Rachel50

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It always makes me happy to be with this organization. I've had such great experiences with HorseSisters ever since I was young. The people that come through are so happy to see the horses and meet the people and crew that work here. It makes me happy to be apart of the herd and work with the horses that have such wonderful personalities. I look forward to many more years to come and hope to see this organization grow.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit has always made a great impact on my life. I've learned a lot over the many years I've been with them. They are like my family. The people here make the horses happy as well as those who come here. There are many positive influences here for everyone to look up to. I highly recommend this nonprofit to anyone who wishes to visit. 2015 is one out of many good years I have experienced with them and look forward to many more.

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2 Kelly198

Client Served

Rating: 5

Horse Sisters is an incredible organization. My son, who is severely autistic, received services through this amazing group. We were told he would never be able to do so many things. However as a client he learned not only how to ride a horse, but also how to care for one. His vocabulary increased dramatically and was completely calm and focused during his time with the horses. He was able to take his horse at Horse Sisters to the Special Olympics. There he was able to win a red and blue ribbon, that he still holds dear. My family also volunteered, and had a wonderful experience.

2 Joyce S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer and member of the board at HorseSisters for 9 years. I originally came to this organization in search of a place where my daughter could work with horses. She was 10 at the time and knew nothing about horses, except that she loved them. With the help of this organization my daughter has become a skilled horsewoman and has developed confidence in herself. I lost my husband in 2011 and having these horses has helped both of us in healing our hearts. I would like to see this organization grow and be able to help more people.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer and board member at HorseSisters for several years. I find the organization to be a positive influence on my daughter, as well as her friends who visit the ranch with her. What I like most is seeing the smiles on people, both young and old, when they interact with the horses. It is even more rewarding to see this with special needs kids and adults. Many of them have never seen a horse up close and this organization provides that to people who may otherwise not get the opportunity to get to know a horse. I am proud to be part of this organization.

Review from Guidestar

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an incredible organization, it's truely a win, win. The horses are rescued and in turn provide therapy for those in need. They manage on a very small budget as they are totally funded by donations. Any thing that is donated is greatly appreciated.

2 Blaise M.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a well run charitable organization with many enthusiastic volunteers and staff that have pledged their lives to the betterment of these horses. Regular events and exposure brings knowledge and training to first-timers and continued training and sportsmanship to the professionals.
Great Organization!

2 Robert178

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The place does amazing work.I'm severely mentally challenged with anxiety and depression amongst other conditions and I feel so at peace there. Its almost the only calming place I have left. Thank you HorseSisters, Clairese, Ron, everyone.

1 Penny Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Clairese Austin is a very caring individual, who has put her entire life into the rescue and care of horses and other animals alike. She has had to put up with the negativity that comes from others who are local to her, and hell bent on the criminal destruction of her rescue and her good name through slander, persecution, terror tactics and other ugly things I am totally aware of.

What I know is how much she loves her rescues, and how she struggles to take care of them, re-home them, and give them the best life possible, as they come to her in horrible conditions.

When individuals take photos of horses that were just brought to a rescue facility, these horses will be in less than excellent condition, which is the way it is in ALL horse rescues. She has a few locals that take pictures of her new arrivals and then claim that it was Horsesisters that put them in that state, when just the opposite is true. As a person who done a few personal rescues of my own, I know this to be truth. It takes time to recondition a new rescue horse to prime condition. It takes time, love, and financial support. Horsesisters provides all of these in abundance.

I created the Facebook support page called "Friends of HorseSisters" to help spread the word about this wonderful organization. Through this Facebook site, awareness is spread, and donations are accepted to help feed the animals and provide veterinarian care in this nonprofit organization.

Please think a minute about locals who for reasons of their own, wish to bring others down. This "Great Nonprofits" is a wonderful place to drop their diseased lies. HorseSisters is a first rate NonProfit completely dedicated to the health and wellbeing of those animals that are rescued. Many are successfully rehomed. HorseSisters does not drop the lead-line there either. If for any reason the re-homing is not successful she will accept the horse back. Not many rescues do this, which also emphasizes the true love she has for the horses under her care.

2 Paula79

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family met Clairrise, Ron, and Thunder in Cocoa Village. Thunder slipped that larger than life head down to sons level. Clairrise explained how horses innately where there is a need. Son attended week long summer camp and had the time of his life. He asked me to stop at the gate so he could run to his horse famiy. Memory seared on heart.

3 Charity3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great rescue organization! Known them personally for almost 6 years. The horses are their passion and their life!

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I have been Horsesisters on several occasions to volunteer and I also stay informed through their social media sites. Clairese, her husband Ron and everyone who volunteers have the biggest hearts and their lives revolve around the horses and other animals that they rescue. My life has been enriched by getting to know them and by learning what they do. They make me ask myself often what I am doing in my own life to help animals and other humans that need the help.

3 Writer

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to this nonprofit for several years. I love seeing pictures and reading stories about the horses and activies. If you are looking for a nonprofit to support, please consider Horsesisters.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great organization! My daughter and I have learned do much from them. Looking forward to spending more time there.

4 Tracy67

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I am a former volunteer, and I have so tried to ignore this woman, but it was just brought to my attention that in the last year this ranch has FOUR violations for loose livestock(I've been in horses for over 30 years and never had a single one) Total fines equaling $8715. This is just the last YEAR. She has also had charges for battery on a code enforcement officer, she has a long standing court order to not acquire any more equines. No organization can be considered great when they are in court several times a year for criminal infractions