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Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue Society Ltd

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue was formed to facilitate the rescue of Draft and Draft Cross horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect.

Results: Thanks to the support of our generous donors, Gentle Giants has expanded and can now house 100 horses!

Target demographics: save draft and draft cross horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect

Direct beneficiaries per year: 150 horses

Geographic areas served: the United States

Programs: rescue, rehabilitation, retraining, and re-homing.

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Can not say enough great things about my experience volunteering at Gentle Giants. I started a little over a year ago and have been consistently at the farm 2-3 days a week. It is the kind of atmosphere that you find yourself drawn to, because you cant stand to be away. The program Christine is running for these horses is remarkable. I am constantly amazed at the change in these animals from the time they come to the farm to even a few months later. These horses from rough situations in terrible condition and through the love and care of gentle giants are rehabilitated into healthy, friendly, and most importantly happy horses.

The staff are friendly and helpful. As a volunteer it is a fun place, and a chance to learn a lot. The most rewarding of all is being able to make a difference in the lives of these animals through kind care and see the benefits of your work in these horses.

17 Derek C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are many ways we can be of service to our world, our community and all living things. Gentle Giants Draft Horse rescue is full of folks who care (literally and figuratively) diligently and deeply for some wonderful creatures. I just became familiar with the rescue earlier this year and have enjoyed learning about horses and making new friends along the way. I do what I can to support and fit this mission and its stars (the truly gentle Giants) into my busy schedule. Oh and there are more than just draft horses here. Come visit!

13 James181

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My girlfriend found and started volunteering at this horse rescue. I eventually agreed to come out and help with a project they were working on, the rest is history.

What I found is a giant family of genuine, good hearted, fun-loving, passionate horse lovers. I have always felt welcome and enjoy every visit the to the rescue.

The staff are always friendly and more than willing to take to the time to teach you anything you want to know.

I wish the world was filled with more people as kind hearted and honest as the staff and volunteers of gentle giants draft horse rescue.

13 Katie79

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This rescue is very dedicated to each horse it saves. Rehabilitation is paramount whether it's nutritional, injury or behavioral. A horse will not leave (through adoption) without many months of TLC. They seek to find the horse and potential adoptive person a good match. If for any reason the horse can no longer be cared for, they come back to the rescue as per adoption contract. I've been a volunteer for about three years now, and I can say that I have not found a group of people more passionate about animal rescue as I have with Gentle Giants. They are an amazing group. I could go on and on....

Previous Stories
11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Gentle Giants. They are highly organized and depend on the volunteers. I drive 3 hours round trip from another state three times a week because I totally love being at their farm. The horses get fabulous individual care. The staff and other volunteers care deeply about the horses and go the extra miles to make sure they are loved and get whatever they need. The horses always come first. I have worked with and for non-profits my whole life and I can say I have never seen one where there is so little money spent on useless overhead. We are all about the business of rescuing horses in great distress, making sure they are safe, rehabilitating them, retraining them with love and finding great homes for them. They are very strict about where the horses are re homed. The people involved are horse people and have broad knowledge of horse psychology and care. They are often among the first to intervene in rescue operations and are widely respected in the horse and animal rescue communities. They have classes and training volunteers must complete before being allowed to interact with the horses. The staff is amazing and work along side us volunteers. They often bring in experts for clinics and training and open them to interested people in the community. They participate in state and county fairs and have an award winning drill team made up entirely of rescued horses. These guys are the real deal and I am proud to be part of their tremendous mission. I also find the horses rehabilitate and restore me as much as I do them.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started at Gentle Giants about a year and a half ago. I am in love with it. All the people who work there. All the staff. Its like heaven on earth. I have never been so happy to wake up early, work all day, then go home. Because by the end of the day i feel better knowing i helped horses in need. I see horses come in in terrible condition and by the end of their rehab they are a totally different horse. Gentle Giants does all they can for every horse to make sure they have the best care they can give. I love Gentle Giants and i am proud to volunteer there.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering once a week at Gentle Giants since I retired 5 years ago. This has been an incredible experience and it is amazing how the rescue has grown during that time. The horses receive the best care available and are now benefiting from a full-time trainer. The farm is well-maintained and every effort is made to keep the horses healthy and more adoptable. I look forward to my time at the farm and spending time with these deserving creatures.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have now volunteered at GG for over a year and for (mostly) two mornings a week. I find the knowledge and compassion of the president, Christine; barn manager Alyssa and her her team - impressive! They fight hard to save and rehab the horses who are lucky to find the GG farm and when it is in the best interest of the horse, make the humane decision to let them go. The facility is consistently well managed and there is great passion and professionalism in the over 100 volunteers who support the horses. I'm proud to volunteer there.

25 Laura209

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering this past summer. I learned that the staff and founder are set with focus and conviction. The work they do for the drafts is unselfish, humane, and full of patient compassion- day in and day out.
I spent more than 20 years working with horses . I taught lessons, showed hunter-jumpers, broke 2 year olds, and was an exercise rider.
I know a little about the treatment of horses. In the past I spent many weekends at the auctions looking for schooling ponies among the many horses that did not get rescued by a lucky break.
Christine and her staff have provided a second chance for so many horses on a beautiful farm with an awesome and tireless staff. They work hard to get the job done every day. They are caring and friendly with a strong conviction for how they care for their horses, staff and volunteers. They work hard and care even harder for their horses, and are not afraid of having a little fun at the end of the day. Gentle giants will always have my support, even if I can only be there a few months of the year. They deserve as much support as they can solicit. Support the Gentle Giants!

15 Jessica183

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with GG for about 6 months and it's my home away from home. I've never met a more devoted set of volunteers, and a knowledgable staff who not only know their horses very well, but appreciate their quirks. I don't know what else to say...it's like being your true self and having an amazing support team and amazing horses to guide you on your way while you in turn our your heart out to these creatures that deserve love and compassion and tons of snuggles :)

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Gentle Giants for several months. Everyone there works hard and its really all about the horses. As a volunteer, I have been able to participate in varied experiences such as accompanying them to auction/on a rescue and performing in a drill team exhibition at a county fair. I have already learned so much and really feel a sense of accomplishment. You can do chores/work that are interesting to you or you have experience with as well as learning new things. They are also so dedicated to their horses, giving them each individualized feeding plans and combinations of indoor/outdoor time depending on their needs. This makes more work but helps each horse to thrive. They are also realistic about their horses, giving potential adopters all of the information about the horse not just the positive points.

11 Tbelle9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first started volunteering over 3 years ago. When I started I was only 12 years old. When I came to the rescue I had just left a different barn where I was told I was to short and young to ride anything over 13 hands. My first day at the rescue I was put on a 17.3 hand horse! I love that everyone is given such a fair opportunity. Since then the rescue has grown and upgraded to a new 109 acre farm. In the past 3 years I have assisted on rescues, adoption appointments, training, and many more things! I have learned so many great things and really had a ton of fun. I am one of the youngest volunteers and I couldn't ask for a better place. It truly feels like a huge family! The opportunities are endless at Gentle Giants! One day you could be training a horse, and representing the rescue at a world horse expo the next! I have gotten to ride and develop many skills at the rescue. I have been able to participate in many shows and events as well. The people are knowledgeable and fun to be around. I truly recommend contacting the rescue to learn about the opportunities at Gentle Giants!

Previous Stories
11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

7 Erica46

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at GG for a few months now and it is my escape. It's heaven on earth for me. It doesn't matter what kind of day I'm having I know that if I can make it to Gentle Giants I can forget all the bad and all the stress. I can do something I love to do. Be in an atmosphere I love to be in. I can comfort and be comforted by their amazing horses. It is my greatest joy to volunteer my time to Gentle Giants. GG staff is always there to guide and appreciate the work we do. Whether it's your first time around horses or you've been around them your whole life, there's always a learning experience with GG. Gentle Giants is one big horse loving family and I am more than happy to be apart of it.

6 Helene3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a devoted volunteer for about two years now, working at least two days a week for the rescue. Great people, worthy cause. Many, many horses have been saved, rehabilitated and rehomed. It's a joy to play a small role in the work of Gentle Giants.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

4 Sherry34

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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".

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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! ;)

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.