They’re big, they’re gorgeous and they are in need of rescuing. They are draft horses and thanks to Dr. Stacey Golub D.V.M., a local equine veterinarian, many of them are getting the second chance they deserve.
Golub founded what she jokingly calls her second full-time job, the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue, in November of 2010. Since then, she and an army of big-hearted, caring volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure that 15 draft horses have found their forever homes and have been rescued from abuse and starvation situations, feedlots, slaughter houses, or from owners who are just not able to care for them any longer.
When asked why draft horses, Golub jokes, “Once you go draft you never go back.”
In all honesty though, it is the gentle nature of the draft horse that pulls on Golub’s heart strings. “They are so good-natured, calm, kind and they return every bit of love you give them. They are great family horses, the gentle giants of the horse world,” explains Golub.
Currently, the rescue is caring for a seven week old, with long spindly legs, a short tail, flashy white and brown markings, and cataracts. This little ball of love and energy has been named Kai, which is Hawaiian for “bravely seeking sight”. Kai was born with cataracts and will be receiving surgery to help correct his condition on July 26 at Tufts Veterinarian School. The operation, including aftercare, will cost $4,000.
“This surgery is more than to give Kai his sight, it is to make sure that he lives pain free,” explains Golub.
“Currently there is inflammation in his eyes and if he does not receive the surgery this condition will worsen, become more painful and most likely result in us having to remove one or both of his eyes.”
Recently, in an effort to help offset the cost of this life-changing operation, the rescue held a cut-a-thon at the barn in Haddam Neck. Haircuts were donated by Jennifer Casenza, who owns and Sally Lincoln, who owns the in Niantic. Both professionals are volunteers at the barn and avid draft horse lovers.
“I wanted to be part of this today because Kai is a wonderful baby,” says Jennifer with a kind smile. “I know he will be fine no matter what, but this surgery will give him the extra step up he needs.”
Casenza and her husband Jim, who already have one draft horse they are lovingly caring for, will be adopting Kai’s mother Annie (a 10-year-old Clydesdale spotted saddlebred cross) once Kai is ready to be weaned.
Lincoln, who is passionate about doing all she can to help the draft horse rescue whenever and however she can, explains that she volunteered to be part of this very special fundraiser because, “…this is a great cause. Kai is a very special
little guy and whatever I can do to help I will.”
In addition to the haircuts, crafters were on hand donating their goods for the cause, the rescue was selling snow cones, hot dogs and treats and an online silent auction was held.
Kai and Annie, (who also has some issues with her eyes) enjoyed the day’s event and were “hamming” it for the crowd of visitors. Kai was bolting around the pen, playing in the sun and sidling up to the fence making sure that everyone who wanted to give him a pat and neck scratch got the chance.