Terri Stemper first learned of the horrors of "nurse mare" barns and the "throw away" foals in 2000 while working as a vet tech at a large equine hospital in Lexington KY. Nurse mares are bred to foal and then used as "wet nurses" mostly for Thoroughbred racing foals. The mares a bred for their milk. The poor babies are considered "throw away byproducts." These helpless new little foals are often shipped to auctions as young as one day old, left to starve and fend for themselves. Many are sold into the "pony hide" business. She rescued her first nurse mare foal that year, Taz. Today Taz, a Paint App-Walker mix is her star therapy horse.
Terri threw herself into the herculean effort of saving as many of these unnoticed darlings as she possibly could. She began rescuing nurse mare foals in small numbers in 2000, then in 2007 began organizing Dream Equine Therapy Center (DETC) and became a nonprofit in 2008 and received 501c3 status in 2009. The rescue's focus is orphan nurse mare foals. Since 2009 they have rescued 30-50 each year.
"That may not sound like a lot but it is a huge undertaking since some of them are only 1 day old. They need to be fed milk replacer every 4 hours and some more frequently if they end up on feeding tubes or IV fluids. Orphan foals can cost thousands of dollars to raise, because of the increasing expense of milk replacer and the special nutrition and care they need. We adopt them out to qualified homes as soon as we can to make room for more." Terri explained. Horses are available for adoption in all ages.
Terri is an RN and while working on the cancer floor she was inspired to do more. "I had patients ask me all the time if they could bring their kids out to see the horses or patients themselves wanted to come out and ride. That's how the therapy part started." Terri said. "So I wanted to gear my therapy towards, not necessarily disabled but elderly and those with terminal and chronic illness. We have miniature horses that visit facilities and nursing homes and also welcome people to visit the horses at the farm."
DETC's Mission Statement is "To provide emotional support and wellness to the terminally and chronically ill through recued and rehabilitated horses." They provide therapy to people in hospitals at nursing homes and the farm. All the therapy equines have been rescued and given a second chance.
|Terri giving some love|
Terri, the volunteers and supporters of DETC work each day to bring awareness to the horrible plight of the tiny helpless "throw away" foals, rescue, rehabilitate and find them loving homes, and through the therapy program, brighten the days of as many people as possible.
DETC is located in South Carolina and this month is moving to a larger facility so they can help even more horses and people. Please visit DETC's website to learn much more and how you might be able to "Help Them Help."www.dreamequinetherapycenter.org
Thank You Terri and everyone at DETC for all you do!!