I got so much help learning about horses. They helped me find my 20 year old adopted horse. I was able to get horse experience with their soul train program. Bonnie is there for me when I have questions. Thank you TOH!!
My story starts with This Old Horse as a long-time volunteer in many capacities. Wherever I could fit or find a fit I would gladly do that. I loved this organization, and founder Nancy Turner, from the start. Nancy's smile caught me at a trade show many years ago and I had to find out what she was smiling about. And then a new chapter started to unfold.
As Nancy wrote:
It was the end of their road and we mourned the fate of these magnificent, mighty Sheldons descended from America’s war horses, then neglected, blinded, starved.
“My sister has a farm in Goodhue. Should I ask her?” Becky Robb Hotzler posed that question. And in that instant, a glimmer of hope emerged. And a path home opened for our boys. Josh and Ricka Kohnstamm said they would welcome them to their farm. Supporters from all over the country raised their hands to sponsor and adopt each of these stallions, this ray of hope became our Wells Creek Wild Mustang Sanctuary. One ask, then another, then a miracle. We will never forget or take for granted what it took to make this happen. This beautiful, peaceful place is home to two bonded herds…the 20 stallions and the people who saved them.
So that was me, and my sister and my brother in law and what an incredible ride it's been.
We are all blessed in so many ways. The support of This Old Horse has been incredible. Always there with everything that is needed for the horses throughout thick and thin. And here we are two and a half years later, with all 20 of our boys standing strong, proud and full of vim and vigor. We love them and care for them and post about them often. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2494822023864922.
This has been one of the biggest honors and blessings of my life. To volunteer for This Old Horse and to uphold its mission as we go about caring for our boys at Wells Creek Wild Mustang Sanctuary. Love is Good!
I've loved horses my whole life. But it wasn't until I was in my 50's (horseless) that I realized that there was more to horses than galloping across the prairie. I started volunteering with equine assisted horseback riding therapy - and then met Nancy - which led to my following her when she established This Old Horse at Wishbone Ranch. I discovered that I just wanted to be with horses, learn their language, and help them. Wishbone Ranch was the perfect place and This Old Horse the perfect organization. I asked Nancy "What can I do?" She said "Do what you can, make it your own." And I have and it is! Bonus!!!! I've met so many great like-minded horse lovers and we have formed a beautiful community. We can see that we make a huge difference in their lives, as they do in ours. In these days of fear and uncertainty and social isolation, spending time helping horses has kept me sane and grounded. Double Bonus!!! My husband and I each have a horse we have adopted at Wishbone. My dream came true with This Old Horse.
The state of Minnesota is so lucky to have a place for horses like This Old Horse! The first time I visited I knew instantly that I was stepping foot in a very special place! To look out in the pastures and see all these horses grazing away without a care in the world was a beautiful sight to behold. I have seen many before and after pictures of horses that came to them that were going through a lot, many skin and bones! Within a short time you can see the changes in them that come from being cared for with so much love! Nancy, Tom and their staff and volunteers are dedicated to giving any horse that comes to them a life filled with unconditional love and care!
The folks at This Old Horse are the kindest people I’ve ever met. They take very good care of any and all souls that wash up on their shore.
Even the wild mustangs warm up to them.
They are fabulous to their volunteers and have a lot of fun programs too.
I’ve been with the group since 2014.
I started volunteering in May 2019 to achieve a comfort level with horses. Little did I know how amazing This Old Horse would be, it has given me so much more in return. Horses are so good for the soul. It makes you feel so good to be apart of something bigger than yourself. Along with caring for the horses, I’ve gained great new friends and am very blessed to call the barn my ‘Happy Place’. I graduated in to being an official stable hand Dec 2019. I am also on the Placement Team. This Old Horse is doing great work by filling the need for retiring, rehoming and rehabilitating horses giving them the life they deserve.
The first reason for volunteering at TOH was to be more comfortable around horses. So far I have exceeded my goals and am looking forward to new goals of ground work and eventually riding lessons. I am greatful to be apart of something bigger than myself and I am blessed with a happy heart. I can’t wait til the next time I voulnteer.
I can’t say enough for the ranch hands at this old horse. They are very knowledgeable and are good teachers. They are patient with you as you learn.
Bonnie and the rest of the people in this organization are amazing! They work so hard for these horses it’s incredible. Their work is truly a labor of love.
Growing up, my family would take a road trip every summer. That meant an inevitable drive through rural America. Farmland, cows, and horses! I would day dream about riding each and every horse I saw through open fields, galloping at full speed. Of laying in hidden meadow's full of wild flowers with my best friend - my companion - my equine.
This love for horses was rivaled by only one thing - my love for helping people. I knew from a young age I would one day work with either people or horses. Fast-forward to the 14th year of a social work career, I was burned out. I needed to find my soul again. So, I did the only reasonable thing - I hung up the social worker hat and started the search for the title of the new chapter in my life.
All it took was one two-word search - horses & volunteer - on reliable old Google to find that title.
"This Old Horse."
My husband and I attended an open house and took a tour of Wishbone Ranch. We met the horses. We met the people. I was hooked. It was more than just a place that had horses. It was a community - a family - a vibe. And, I HAD to be a part of it.
I immediately completed the application and training for volunteers and scheduled my first shifts. That's all it took. The more time I spent there, the more I wanted to get involved. From helping with feed and chores to participating in their Hearts & Hooves Program, to becoming involved in the Placement Team, I couldn't get enough. I was eventually hired as a stablehand because they couldn't get rid of me.
The best part was that I was finally able to fulfill my childhood dream.
Through This Old Horse's adoption and fostering program, I was able to become the forever foster for 5 horses.
Not only did I gain a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded, horse-adoring humans, I found my soul again.
My husband and I volunteer some time to groom the horses. It’s wonderful to see these beautiful souls come in broken and in a few months become their beautiful selves again.
This Old Horse is a great place to volunteer.
I first learned of This Old Horse during their involvement in the rescue of mustangs and war horses from a failed sanctuary. It’s especially meaningful to me that TOH not only accepts and cares for horses in need of rescue and/or retirement. It also welcomes and trains volunteers like myself who may have little to no experience with horses and turns us into confident and competent helpers. It’s wonderful to know that the horses are loved and tended to with respect for their individual stories.
When one of your two remaining horses suddenly died from a heart attack our remaining horse Jack (26 year old) was very distort. As horses are natural herd animals he was very nervous and unhappy, he would stand in the pasture and whinny looking for a companion. We knew we had to act fast however we really weren’t looking to purchase another horse. Our horse crazy daughter had moved onto college and we ourselves no longer rode. However we also had pledged to give him a forever home when we purchased him. So I started looking into adopting. I was immediately impressed by This Old horses website. I called and set up an appointment to meet the staff and visit the site. They were very accommodating and we were able to visit within days. We were givien a tour and met the placement coordinator along with the barn manager and several volunteers. Everyone was so enthusiastic about the role they were playing in making the facility the best it could be. We then proceeded to meet the current residents, the horses. All the horses were well tended and everyone seemed to know each horse on an individual basis giving us insite as to temperament and handling. It made it very easy for us to decide that this was the facility we wanted to adopt from. We knew by adopting we would be making room for them to be able to reach out and give another old horse in need a home. We decided on a gelding and as we live 2 hours north of the barn we were really impressed when we were told they would deliver him to us. Not only are they very knowledgeable about horses but they care about every individual horse they house. We are so proud to play a tiny part in the important work that this facility does, giving homes to older horses.
I started as a volunteer groomer a few years ago at Wishbone Farm in Hastings, their main barn location. They have an excellent online training for volunteers that addresses basic information about horses and safety around the barn. There are two grooming shifts a week that volunteers can sign up for. Depending on skills and comfort level, groomers can either partner with someone with more experience, or be a lead groomer to help others with less experience. Over the course of several months, demonstrations will occur with various specialists including a chiropractor to teach massage, a farrier to discuss the diseases and confirmation of the hoof, and other opportunities to learn. A number of volunteer events including open houses and fundraisers for the nonprofit occurs regularly allowing volunteers to participate in other ways to support them. The staff and volunteers are wonderful to work with, it is a clean and well organized facility. But the best part is the care of the rescued horses. The transformation that occurs in these horses is truly remarkable. I can't recommend them enough.
I have been volunteering with This Old Horse for 5 months now and the work they do is AMAZING. It is such a friendly inviting place and I have met some wonderful people as well as horses. Its hard to take care of so many horses but the staff is always on point and the appreciation they show volunteers is wonderful. You'll want to go back!
I love This Old Horse! I attempted to volunteer out there over four years ago, but met a very special pony they were taking care of on the very first night, fell in love and now own him. His name is Chili. He was starved and abused for the first four years of his life before he was rescued. He was so fearful of all things human. Still, This Old Horse took him in. It took weeks of work before I could even touch him. Now, four years later, he is safe, loved and is slowly building trust with other people. I adore my pony and I never would have met him without all of the good working This Old Horse does for the horse/pony world!
We have been happy with our experience rescuing a horse from This Old Horse. Bonnie is a pleasure to talk to and work with as is Patti, a volunteer for TOH. Both came to check out our property and meet our herd.
We visited for several hours, which helped them to understand what we were looking for, so they could recommend horses currently in their care. We talked about best fits and discussed the history of each candidate.
After we decided on a few horses to visit, Bonnie sent contact information to us so we could set up meet times with the owners. It was helpful to see the horses in their environments, meet the owners, and learn about the horses from those who knew best. Visiting the horses at their homes also gave us an idea of who was in the greatest need of a new home.
We decided on Coffee Machine, who, we discovered after we met her, was pregnant again. She had just foaled the previous August and was due this past August. We told TOH that we wanted to foster Coffee, but couldn't financially take on the care of the colt. They worked with us and paid for the colt's care until they found him a new home.
Now Coffee is at her forever home and will never need to be pregnant again. We love her and continue to build her trust every day. She has even mastered some of the obstacles on our mini obstacle course!
Because of our positive experience with TOH, we have recommended them to several people who have horses they can no longer care for and would certainly recommend them to anyone who wants to give a needy horse a forever home.
This Old Horse cares so much about the horses. I honestly think that the care they provide goes beyond the care many people give to their own horses. The volunteers are some of the most dedicated people you could ask for. They care for these wonderful animals in extreme cold and extreme heat with a smile. The horses are physically cared for down to the vet care and the feed they receive. But they also receive the pats, kisses and love that any animal wants and needs. After 4 years of volunteering I adopted the horse that stole my heart and consider him one of my best friends.
This Old Horse is truly an amazing organization. Thank you for everything you do!!
Love this place! I have a soft place in my heart for at-risk horses, and especially mustangs. So when I found out TOH had taken a number of BLIND mustangs, I knew I had to be a part of it! So happy to be able to spend time with so many special horses and help out a a great cause!!
I started going to This Old Horse to volunteer with my daughter (age 10 at the time) for a few reasons. 1) because I loved horses and I wanted to share that passion with my daughter. 2) because I wanted/needed to teach my daughter what "hard work" really was (which all you farm people out there know what that's all about!); 3) finally for a bonding opportunity with my daughter & I. Every week we volunteered at TOH rain, shine or snow and through the years, it became a part of us. We learned to love the horses & the people. It's like a big family. I definitely recommend it to all parents out there looking for a place to bond with their child and show them some responsibility & hard work. And, if you're looking to care for & love some really great horses who need you. There are plenty of them there!
I came to This Old Horse Inc. as a very skeptical possible adopter. Having worked with rescue organizations for other animal species, i had both positive and fairly negative experiences. My hesitancy was also aggravated by the emotional loss of my horse and the confusion of her remaining buddy, for whom i was now seeking a companion.
I needn't have worried.
This Old Horse, and in particular the adoption leader, were kind, considerate, thorough in their evaluation and assessment, patient, and supportive. They balanced the needs of myself and the potential horses for consideration. They provided two recommendations, facilitated a potential adoption process, and the final adoption.
I am now the proud caregiver of two new additions to the family who were the perfect pair to join our farm. I recommend This Old Horse without reservation, am now an ongoing financial contributor in addition to an adopter, and look forward to a long relationship with the organization.
They have, quite simply, turned my heartbreak into a joy. I am thankful every day that I worked with them.
The people at This Old Horse are dedicated to finding the perfect forever home for every horse. I’m fostering two sweet geldings who are enabling me to pass on my love for horses to my grandchildren.
My favorite charity. They give such honor and respect to unwanted older and special needs horses.
This Old Horse is an absolutely fantastic equine sanctuary, retirement home, and play place for equines that need some extra TLC. And what a lot of TLC these folks have to give! Their specialty is giving a home to equines that even other 'rescues' won't take- horses like the very old, blind, aged beyond being 'useful' according to most people, elderly stallions, untouchable minis, and on and on. Whatever the issue is- no matter how utterly impossible a challenge an equine's situation is, This Old Horse can sort it out, make it work to the benefit of the horse, and turn the whole issue into the happiest affair you can imagine. Nancy Turner and her compatriots are a barrel of fun, terribly creative, and they simply refuse the notion that there is anything on Earth that is impossible when it comes to helping horses that just don't fit in anywhere else. If anyone deserves a heap o' donations, it's this wonderful organization.
When I was running The Hallelujah Horses mission- a massive effort to find homes for 907 wild, neglected, starving horses from a failing sanctuary, my organization was able to find homes for all the horses in groups of two or more; all EXCEPT a group of 20 elderly wild stallions, about seven of whom were blind, several had one eye, and others had severely failing vision. We were determined to find the 'Hallelujah Stallions' a home, but who in the world would be willing to take on a single group of 20 WILD STALLIONS?! This Old Horse would. That's who. They found a wonderful couple who was willing to donate a big chunk of their land for a special sanctuary to be built on, TOH had a safe, strong fence built, shelters erected, and as soon as it was all ready, off the stallions went to their new home! Those guys are as happy as clams, they are treated like royalty, and are thriving with their buddies. They also adopted several other groups of Hallelujah horses that had special needs and are giving them the best life they could ever dream of. THAT is what kind of organization This Old Horse is! They are simply the best of the best at what they do!
Photos: Some of the Hallelujah Horses enjoying life at This Old Horse's Hallelujah Stallions Sanctuary in MN.