Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Minnesota's Own

Over the years I've been writing this blog, I've always tried to put out the word on horses in need as well as the organizations that are the first to rush to their aid. Many excellent organizations have been showcased here like Neigh Savers, Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue, and the Illinois Equine Humane Center to name a few. Now we have one to call our very own here in Minnesota: Standing in the Gap.

Standing in the Gap is the labor of love of Darla Jeffery, a Minnesotan with a passion for horses. She started Standing in the Gap last year when she recognized the void in the care of injured racehorses. Her goal, supported only at that time by husband Fred, was to rehab injured horses so that they can go on to productive lives as mentors for returning veterans. Everyone who has ever worked with horses know about their inherent compassion and kindness (mostly...there are always exceptions to this rule!) and Standing in the Gap looks to bring this undercurrent of understanding and acceptance to our veterans. Here is their mission statement:

We will stand in the gap for injured thoroughbred racehorses just moments off the track. We will provide nurturing care, rehabilitation, and training for these fallen athletes. We will guard their dignity with our integrity; teaching them - through love, commitment, and endurance - to become effective mentors for our returning military vets.

So far, their first two reclamation projects, Maverick and Solo Tour, have been a success - though Solo is still most definitely a work in progress. Both horses raced at Canterbury Park and had relatively successful racing careers before they were taken off the track due to injury. No one knows where life was going to take them, but Standing in the Gap stepped in (with the aide of compassionate and caring trainers) and have been healing and then utilizing trainer Mary Schenck to retrain them for their career after racing. In fact, the Solo Tour recovery was captured on video and is available on their website. About the same time Solo joined Standing in the Gap, so did Leslie Morely, another local woman who shares Darla's passion and dream, and the SITG rounded into shape.

To the right you will see a new widget. This widget is a fundraising widget to help support this new 501(c)3 charity and all donations are tax deductible. I know there are readers here from all over the country and I do appreciate all you have done in the past and ask for your help once again. But I'd like to make a special appeal to all of you that read locally in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin and, to one degree or another, are involved in racing at Canterbury. Please do what you can - a $10 donation from all of us (and I've kicked that off already) - would go a long way in helping to provide the resources to care for Maverick, Solo Tour and also give them the opportunity to go after more horses in danger of falling through the cracks.

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