Arizona American Saddlebred Foundation
Guest Blog by Catherine Gottschalk, founder of Arizona American Saddlebred Foundation. Arizona American Saddlebred Rescue is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the well being of Arizona American Saddlebreds
Purpose may point you in the right direction but its passion that propels you”
What We Do
Arizona American Saddlebred Foundation is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome American Saddlebreds in need. We provide a safe haven for the abused and neglected while recovering both mentally and physically. We also provide homes and assist show horses that have retired due to injuries, age or have just simply lost their competitive edge. Adoptable horses will participate in a training program that emphasizes on the wellbeing of each individual horse. It is our goal to do what’s in the best interest for every equine that comes to our facility and offer them a secure future through our adoption program. For the Saddlebreds that are deemed unadoptable due to physical or mental disabilities, we offer them a life of leisure either at our facility or with an approved family as a companion horse.
A Few Fun Facts about the American Saddlebred
The American Saddlebred is a proud line that descended from riding-type horses bred at the time of the American Revolution. They were used extensively as an officers mount in the American Civil War. Throughout the 20th century their popularity continued to grow in the United States and they soon became known as “The Peacock of the Horse World”. Many American Saddlebreds were also featured in movies such as Zorro and Gone with the Wind. Also a popular television show that aired from 1958-1966 also featured a very famous American Saddlebred known as Mister Ed.
My Passion for Helping Horses in Need
For as long as I can remember I have always been surrounded by animals. Everything from your typical family pets to cows and horses within walking distance of my family home. There was one specific encounter that I believe changed my life and helped me discover my life’s mission. I Remember walking to a nearby barn where I had discovered an old grey pony living in a tiny and dirty stall. Even though I was too young to fully understand, I knew something was wrong. This poor pony was nothing but skin and bones and his hoofs were so long he could barely walk. Every day after school I’d take him sugar cubes and give him the carrots from my lunch just so he had something to look forward to each day. That little pony helped solidify my passion for rescuing, helping horses heal and finding them loving homes.
Future Plans for Arizona American Saddlebred Foundation
It is our hope to help promote adoption, bring awareness to this noble breed and help showcase their amazing
versatility through organized events and community outreach programs. AASF is currently seeking a land donation to expand our facility which will allow us to provide homes for more sanctuary horses. Since we are currently one of the only Saddlebred rescues in the western states, we hope in the future to be able to assist Saddlebreds in neighboring states and have satellite locations.
The Emotional Horse Rescue Roller Coaster
I’m often asked why I rescue? Why do you waste your time on horses that can’t be ridden or that just sit around and eat all day? People will call them useless or a waste of money. I’ve talked to individuals that want to send their horse to slaughter because its old and even though still healthy, of no use to them anymore. Animals to me are not just tools. They are a lifelong commitment and considered family. There are so many ups and downs that go along with running a rescue organization. One day you feel like you won the lottery because you just found an amazing home for a retired show horse to live out the rest of his life. Then the next day you have a horse delivered that has been living on a concrete slab for 15 years and has been starved because his owner said he wasn’t worth anything. You find yourself doing around the clock feedings and calling in every expert farrier and your veterinarian just to figure out how to give this animal some relief. Their survival and comfort level is now in your hands and failing them isn’t an option.
This was the story of Ace who was one of my worst neglect cases and unfortunately we ended up having to humanly help him cross the rainbow bridge. Even though Ace couldn’t stay here with us, for a few short months he was able to feel what it’s like to be loved and cared for.
Our latest rescue was a two-year battle that we finally won in a court seizure.
Apache was a neglected horse that spent most of his life saddled and tethered to a post in his owner’s front yard. Even though he wasn’t the worst case we’ve seen, Apache was in desperate need of vet care and also suffers from extreme sensitivity to light. His owner refused to provide him with adequate shade, feed or general care. After nursing him back to health he is now happy, loved and adopted! Another story of neglect was a mare named Star who unfortunately was being starved by another local rescue. After working with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department we were able to bring her to AASF. Star had a rough few months and was severely neglected for so long her survival was questionable. Every morning I feared finding a deceased horse despite our efforts. Much to our surprise this
tough little cookie beat the odds and is now living with a lovely family as a companion to their retired race horse. The road to recovery is often emotionally and financially draining but giving these horses a well-deserved second chance is worth it. They are the reason why I rescue.
To learn more about Ace’s journey please visit our Facebook page
Apache with his friends Officer Trujillo and Officer Krimm from Phoenix Police Department
How Can You Help the Arizona American Saddlebred Foundation?
Arizona American Saddlebred Foundation does not receive federal or state funding and relies totally on the generosity of public donations. We also hold a yearly Holiday Horseshoe Tree fundraiser starting in the month of November. The funds from this year’s tree sales will go towards helping save an American Saddlebred from auction. There are so many other ways to help such as volunteering your time. We are always looking for people to help fundraise, marketing, help coordinate events, website maintenance, grooming horses and most importantly just spending time with our herd members. We welcome visitors by appointment only to come out and see what we do and experience the magic of our American Saddlebreds.
All donations are tax deductible and can be made on our website http://www.azamericansaddlebredfoundation.org
There other ways to donate such as our Amazon Wish List and feed donations can be made directly to Three Bar’s Feed and Tack. Please visit http://www.azamericansaddlebredfoundation.org/donate-and-wish-list.html for more information.
For all other inquires or to schedule a time to come out and meet the AASF horses call 480-652-4844 or email Catherine@azamericansaddlebredfoundation.org
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Arts Prescott Gallery, Sedona’s Village Gallery , Easy Street Galleria in Carefree and Dragonfly Arts in Cottonwood.