Some 200 volunteers travel in and out of Riverview’s RVR Horse Rescue seven days a week – and some nights – caring for abused and neglected horses.
Even with active volunteers and generous veterinarians, though, horse rescuing is expensive.
So, when RVR got invited to apply for verification from the prestigious Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the volunteers added some extra gas over the past year and got it done. The acknowledgement from this global group can bring in more volunteers and funding, organizers say.
The verification is the first step to recognition by the GFAC, said volunteer Kelly Ford. “Since RVR has been growing and gaining in its reputation, they really wanted us to join the global federation. We had to show how we adhere to best standards and practices in horse care and in organizational practices.”
Membership is a win for RVR, said rescue founder Shawn Jayroe. The rescue was inspected and provided documentation and records, photographic evidence of its work. It was a nearly year-long process that can bring even more recognition to the rescue.
“We were extremely proud,” Ford said.
Jayroe said RVR received its certification in the mail just last week.
“We are proud to announce the verification of RVR Horse Rescue,” said Valerie Taylor GFAS Program Director-Equine. “The dedication of this organization to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of equines in Florida is tremendously commendable, especially as all their work is carried out solely by an all-volunteer personnel base. In addition, the work being done by RVR to bring educational opportunities regarding equine issues to the community, it is helping to increase awareness of equine needs.”
RVR, which has rescued and rehomed nearly 180 horses in recent years, cares for 20 to 40 horses at its property regularly, Jayroe said. Additionally, it has expanded its educational outreach in the community, including in schools and is currently training two mini horses as therapy animals.
RVR got accredited last year to take in and rehabilitate injured thoroughbred race horses, as well, then rehome them. “We don’t take in a whole bunch of thoroughbreds, but we take in injured (former race horses) and rehab them,” Jayroe said. “They mostly have leg injuries from racing. Lisa Gold is really good working with the legs.” Gold is married to RVR veterinarian Richard Gold and has a ton of medical experience, herself, Jayroe said.
“The first advantage of this verification is it helps spread awareness and what we are doing,” Ford said. “They have connections throughout the animal sanctuary world, so to speak. It spreads awareness of what we are doing, which helps in our education process, but then it also helps us acquire new supporters that see the value of what we are doing, and who want to help us out financially and through volunteering.”
RVR has only one more task to complete to become accredited by GFAS, Ford said. “That has to do with long-term financial planning. It entails documentation we are still collecting, and the board is determining how to meet our long-term financial needs.”
The GFAS accreditation is made possible through a grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Kenneth Scott Charitable Trust.
RVR is called upon by the public and by law enforcement across the state to intervene in cases of abuse and neglect. It also provides help for struggling horse owners in the form of gelding services and hay.