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Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture

Posted by Animal Care Team on
The draft horses enjoy an extensive series of pastures to run in.

To help honor the values of our founders Mary Ida and Wilbur Young, and to continue the Absorbine® legacy of compassion for horses and animals, in 2017 we’re sending all employees out to volunteer at an animal welfare charity of their choice. It wasn’t so hard to pitch this initiative – “You say we have to take a day off on an Absorbine volunteer days adventure visiting an animal rescue? Well twist our arms!!” This time, Sean & Alessandra visit Blue Star Equiculture Draft and Carriage Horse Rescue in Western Massachusetts. 


Alessandra and I met in Palmer, Massachusetts on a crisp (read “frigid”), clear, and gloriously sunny March day. The facility is an old 19th century farm that has seen pigs, dairy, and now horses, with a large traditional New England barn, plus several out-buildings. Below the barn is a network of fields and a large “Paradise Paddock”, a Temple Grandon-esq pattern designed to allow animals to move in their natural circular patterns. It also makes for great horse-human interactions as visitors can walk the perimeter and visit the herd that calls Blue Star home.

Pamela Rickenbach, Executive Director, met us at the entrance with a broad smile and warm hugs. Pam is the momma here, and like so many rescue operators, she’s dedicated many years to rescuing horses. At Blue Star, Pam and her team focus on housing, rehabbing and then re-employing “unwanted” draft and working horses, which is Blue Star’s niche. The interesting thing about Blue Star, beyond specializing in work horses, is that they also promote community around organic farming using horse power. They provide a good example by making organic compost and growing organic veggies on site, which helps fund the rescue. Alessandra, already part of the Blue Star herd, has been volunteering here for several years. To learn more or donate to their cause, visit their website here!

Pamela Rickenbach, founder of Blue Star Equiculture Draft and Carriage Horse Rescue in Western Massachusetts.

Pamela Rickenbach, Executive Director and matriarch at Blue Star Equiculture

During our visit, we did typical horse farm work, mucking stalls and repairing fencing. It felt great to help out. Being among these majestic animals who, through much work, have clearly been able to forgive humans for how they’ve been mistreated, was truly inspiring and grounding. Pam explained her view on horses and human interaction. “The energy horses have inside of them is symbiotic to peoples’ energy, and we’ve adapted to thrive alongside them,” she says. “When we are around horses, the technological world and its demands fall away, and we return to our natural state.” Every horse person knows this effect. People and horses are meant to be together!

Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture

Alessandra cleaning up the aisle after our stall mucking session.


Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture

Massive horses mean frequent emergency fence repair. Oops!

It wasn’t all work though. After we did our chores, we were invited to play with four Clydesdale foals, and turn out the draft horses into pristine snowy pastures to kick up their heels!

Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture Draft horses in snow

Star, Blue and Maize, three Clydesdale premarin foals from Canada, follow their “cool uncle” Max closely. Max is a retired New York City Carriage Horse. They love him!


Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture Shire Horses in snow

Here, the Shire contingent of the herd seems to pose for a picture. Foxy, Ben, Merlin, and Tommy are all brothers!


Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture

Star and Blue were eager to cuddle!


Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture

I think Star took a liking to me. It was mutual.

We even got to spend some time with Tex, who is among the top five largest horses in the world at 20.3 hands. Alessandra has known him since he came to Blue Star a few years ago, and they became fast friends.

Absorbine Volunteer Days - Blue Star Equiculture Texa, on of the top 5 largest horses in the world

Texas is very gentle and has good manners with people, but as the herd leader, the other horses respect him greatly.

We’ll be posting more of these Absorbine Rescue Adventure stories throughout our 125th Anniversary year, showcasing the important work America’s horse and pet rescues and sanctuaries do for our four legged friends. Thanks Blue Star Equiculture!

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