Leaderboard Banner

The Gentle Barn

by Patricia Nugent

When incidents of animal mistreatment go viral, people are galvanized to take action. This summer, the tragic footage of a 26-year-old working carriage horse named Ryder was taken after he collapsed on a hot New York City street. He was whipped in an effort to get him to stand back up. Malnourished and sickly, afterward he was taken to a farm outside NYC.

Ryder’s sad story gained further national attention when he had to be euthanized due to what CBS News reported was advanced age and other medical conditions. One of the rescue initiatives in the wake of this story was the stepping up of plans to build an animal sanctuary—The Gentle Barn—in Westchester County, New York, for the humane retirement of carriage horses like Ryder.

“It is only a matter of time before the next horse falls,” says Gentle Barn cofounder Jay Weiner. “We must act now by getting old and injured horses to a safe space where they can be rehabbed and live their best lives, and in the long term, we must replace horse-drawn carriages with electric ones.”

The Gentle Barn in New York Saves Animals

A development campaign has been launched for The Gentle Barn New York, a quiet and peaceful haven for the horses as well as visitors from New York, who are welcomed at open houses and as part of other special programs. Animal lovers everywhere are encouraged to donate, volunteer, or even host private fundraising parties in their homes to support the campaign.

This location will be the fifth for the nonprofit charity, which also operates sanctuaries in California, Missouri and Tennessee. “While we work toward the transition to electric carriages—the ideal solution for the horses, the drivers, the environment and New York City tourism—we can offer the horses a humane and loving retirement plan,” says Weiner. “We are prepared to mitigate the uncertain fate and less than healthy conditions that carriage horses face while also giving horse owners a new option and encouraging compliance with retirement age rules.”

At The Gentle Barn New York, the horses will join other rescued animals such as cows, pigs and turkeys. They’ll receive medical treatments, organic hay and feed, soft bedding, dental work, acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional supplements and around-the-clock care. In turn, they give “hugs” to children, veterans and others in need of emotional support, as part of a unique outreach program that is a Gentle Barn signature.

"The voice of the innocent needs to be represented and we are coming to New York to do this,” says Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn.  gentlebarn.org

You may also like