Georgia Equine Rescue League
Helping Starved, Abused & Neglected Horses in Georgia
"With your help we...will make a difference!"
Helping Starved, Abused & Neglected Horses in Georgia
"With your help we...will make a difference!"
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind who should be the GERL Volunteer of the Quarter, but in this case, I must say VOLUNTEERS of the quarter! That’s because there are TWO people who orchestrated and worked so hard to make our annual poker ride, now known as the Andee Rogers Memorial Ride, a great success. Ray Ziebell and Amy Cox stand out equally in everyone’s mind when we think about who is worthy of the title.
The “Andee Ride” featured some new things to make it fun; like throwing darts at a board filled with playing cards. Whichever card your dart hit, became a card in your poker hand. Then there was “Road Apple Bingo” which involved placing a couple of horses in a small corral containing a chalk numbered grid on the ground. Chances were sold for $5 each on which square would catch the first “horse apple”. It took those horses a LONG time to produce results! With a $100 prize at stake, the “results” were anxiously anticipated. In addition to the FUN part of the day, Ray and Amy served a delicious chili, salad, and loaded baked potato lunch. Amy arranged for a local country band to play for us. To top it all off, there was a lovely banner with a picture of Andee placed at the event entrance. Ray and Pierette put pots of beautiful flowers all round the banner. Andee would have loved that! No doubt, it was the most profitable and fun poker ride ever hosted by GERL over the past 20 years. Our thanks to Ray Ziebell and Amy Cox for their creativity and willingness to take on such an event for GERL!
One of the things that GERL has a need for are more volunteers to sit at our booths at various events. We often get invitations to come and set up a booth, but the burden typically falls on the shoulders of one of the GERL Board members.
I have a neighbor who comes over and enjoys working with my horses on occasion. She is relatively new to the horse world, but has really taken a shine to the world of gentle horsemanship training. She is much like a sponge, soaking up all of the information from experienced trainers and other horse people. Her name is Alice Enix (Alice in Waterland) and I have written about her in previous newsletters or shown pictures of her working with one of GERL’s foster horses that have come through my place over the years.
Alice set up a GERL booth at the Williams Plantation Old Frontier Days last year and enjoyed it so much she recently tended a booth at the UGA Bulldog Classic. She also sat in our booth all day by herself at the first annual Georgia Urban Agriculture Expo at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds back in May. A big thanks to Alice Enix for her willingness to help GERL out at these types of events in order to make people more aware of GERL and the programs that we offer. Congratulations on being picked as our Volunteer of the Quarter, Alice!
The GERL Volunteer of the Quarter is somebody who has been around for a long time. She has been a member of GERL for over 10 years and is also a huge supporter of the Mansfield impound. In fact, she is a former part-time employee-turned volunteer and can be found there on occasional weekend feeding duty. She is always present at the GDA horse auctions and typically helps out with the bidder registration process. By now you may have guessed her name is Nancy Bogardts.
Nancy is also a volunteer at her local animal shelter and is often on social media trying to help place dogs in forever homes. Nancy has several dogs of her own (all rescues, of course!). Being a “city girl”, she has no horses of her own, but she always has a barn full of horses at the Mansfield Impound that enjoy her affection, her gentle touch, and her love. Since Nancy is on social media a good bit, she often posts items about GERL on our Facebook page. She was doing such a great job that one day she looked in the newsletter and right there on the “Who’s Who” page, in black and white, it stated: “Nancy Bogardts – Facebook Coordinator”. She and I had a big laugh about that the next time we spoke, but thankfully, she agreed to carry the title, along with Rebecca Jimenez, who also helps out by posting GERL news.
Just recently, Nancy volunteered to help GERL out by representing our organization in a booth at the UGA Horse Owners Seminar held in July. It was her first time to man a booth for GERL, but I can tell you that she was a pro at it from the start. I think she enjoyed it, too, so I’m hoping that you may see Nancy in another GERL booth sometime in the future.
Nancy is one of the sweetest, best natured, people you will ever meet who has a huge heart for all animals. GERL would like to thank Nancy by recognizing her as our Volunteer of the Quarter. Thanks so much for all you do, Nancy!!
Our volunteer(s) of the quarter this time are Leslie Lambert and Jacki Moore. I don’t suppose a great number of our GERL members know Leslie and Jacki. That is because they are always quietly working in the background but they never stop doing anything they can think of to help GERL.
I met them years ago when they agreed to foster an old horse for GERL. They knew that “Vandy” would never be adopted because of his age but they also knew that he had been the heard stallion for a gentleman who raised very nice Quarter Horses years ago. The horse was eventually gelded and taught this gentleman’s grandchildren to ride. Now his owner was dying and wanted desperately for his much loved horse to be cared for in his last years. Leslie and Jackie fostered that horse on behalf of GERL for quite a few years until he died in his mid to late thirties this past year. They never submitted a bill to GERL for the outstanding, loving, and complete care they showered upon him during that time.
Whenever there is a call for volunteers and either, or both of them are available, they are there. It was a great help to have them at the recent Stallion to Gelding Day at Countryside Hospital for Animals near Jersey, GA. on November 19th. of this year.
A few years ago Leslie and Jacki adopted a horse through GERL. That horse, (“Hemi”), turned out to be a “trial”, to say the very least. He would walk all over his handler and was not safe to ride. He was even found to have some minor lameness issues. I thought that perhaps they should return him and get another horse but they refused to give up on him. They felt that he would end up being passed around from home to home and may even been mistreated because of his unacceptable behavior. Of course they were right but I could hardly help thinking of their safety.
In the end, they found a wonderful trainer who shared their concerns for the horse’s future and who wanted to take on a real horse training challenge. They all knew it would take time and patience. No doubt, it took quite an amount of money as well, even though their trainer charged as little as he possibly could. Now, several years later, Leslie is riding that horse regularly and has even bought a cart and is enjoying driving him!
They also adopted “Tony the Pony” after he competed in the first annual GERL Rescue Challenge. Tony was to be for their young nephews but it turns out that the children’s mother is enjoying riding Tony so much that they may have to look for another pony for the little ones!
About to retire from her years of work in the medical field, Leslie, who has a nice trailer and truck, wants to start an equine transport business. She will be on call for safe transport at any time of the day or night. She will accept both short and long haul assignments. If you ever have a need for equine transport, you can always find Leslie’s business card in the GERL Newsletter.
Most recently, Leslie and Jacki have agreed to take on part of my duties as GERL Secretary. They will be processing new memberships and renewals. When asked to do this, they never hesitated even though it is quite a time consuming chore.
Thank you Leslie and Jacki for your love of horses and your willingness to be of help to GERL whenever you are needed.
Ray Ziebell is our Volunteer of the Quarter this time. We can hardly honor Ray without mentioning his sweet wife, Pierette, who is always working in the background to help with anything Ray is doing.
Many of us in GERL have seen attendance dwindle at our fundraising events over the years. We attribute this to the fact that there are so many more equine related groups and events offered, that difficult decisions must often be made as to which to support.
Not willing to accept this reality, Ray held memories of a time when the GERL Poker Ride attracted so many riders that the trucks and trailers would not all fit into the Dawson Forest Equestrian Trail Head parking lot. They were lined up on both sides of the entrance road. Yes, those were indeed, “the good ole’ days”.
The fact that the GERL Poker Rides have, in recent years, attracted less participants, bothered Ray. He was determined to do something about it so he stepped up and volunteered to head up the 2015 GERL Poker Ride!
In conclusion, we at GERL are deeply grateful to Ray Ziebell (and Pierette!) for the many hours already given to this project and the many more it will take to make it happen in November! Full story in the 1st quarter 2015 Newsletter.
Many of us at GERL know Marian Finco as one of the volunteers with the Kel-Mac Saddle Club in Athens. Kel-Mac is one of the oldest saddle clubs around and are notorious for their work with youth in the show arena. Putting on horse shows takes a lot of dedicated volunteers, as you might imagine.
Kel-Mac has supported GERL with a large financial donation on several occasions, which is awarded at their Christmas banquet each year. Miss Anne and I usually go together and over the years we’ve learned who the “worker bees” are in their organization. Marian Finco was right in the middle of all that was going on and it was obvious she was passionate about Kel-Mac and what they do. She is also very involved with ACTHA and attends many of their rides, with her horse, Baby.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at one of the Kel-Mac meetings when Marian was present. After learning more about GERL and the overwhelming horse problems in our country, Marian decided to support GERL by becoming a member. She has been a regular at our Annual Meeting for the past few years; even bringing some new folks with her on occasion. She was an invaluable volunteer at the Rescue Challenge last November.
Marian recently mentioned to me that she would like to help GERL out more and asked if there was anything that I needed help with. Well…she saw the article I wrote in the last newsletter where I mentioned several jobs. We talked about the Stallion to Gelding (S2G) programs and low and behold, Marian is now GERL’s Stallion to Gelding Coordinator! She volunteered to take on the coordination of the annual castration day in November, in addition to the regular S2G program.
It seems that I no sooner got the words out of my mouth, telling her that we don’t get a lot of castration applications in the summer months, when suddenly we had 3 requests to process in about a 2 week span. It didn’t rattle Marian one bit. I am very grateful to her and what a relief it has been not to worry about this, anymore. Thank you to Marian Finco, our Volunteer of the Quarter!
Having just completed a weekend filled with “above and beyond the call of duty” volunteerism, we at GERL are faced with choosing only one person to single out as our volunteer of the quarter. We chose Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, not just for her hard work during our 2015 Rescue Challenge, but for her ongoing support of this organization in every aspect of our mission.
Rebecca has been involved with helping large animals (primarily horses) for many years as co-developer and primary instructor for the world famous, “Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue” courses.
When the winners were announced at the 2014 and 2015 Rescue Challenges, it was Dr. Gimenez who donated spots in her next ‘Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue” Course to the first and second place winners and a copy of her book of the same name to the third place winner.
GERL gratefully acknowledges Dr. Rebecca Gimenez for her hard work on our behalf and for her ongoing generosity in support of Georgia horses in need. Full story in out July, August, September 2015 Newsletter.
Your Board of Directors has selected a very long time supporter of GERL as our Volunteer of the Quarter. He is Steven Neal of Rutledge, GA. Steven has served on our Board of Directors, is an always willing foster home, and a regular volunteer who wears a number of hats when called upon to help with GERL events. Steven served as “parking attendant” for our first GERL Rescue Challenge. It was COLD out there but he and the others who accepted that duty did a fantastic job and we never heard one complaint from any of them.
There have been times when Steven has had as many as three foster horses in his care at one time. We always know that any horse that spends time at Steven’s lovely facility will receive the best care and that Steven will miss them when they go to a forever home.
Although it is not his favorite chore, Steven often agrees to be our “grill master” when we sell hot dogs and hamburgers at GDA Horse Sales. He always does an outstanding job. He especially loves to man the grill in July when the temperature and humidity are sky high………….just ask him. The main thing is that he does it, just as we all do whatever it takes to provide the care that horses in need must receive. That’s what we do, so we all just do it. Thank you, Steven, for being a very reliable part of our GERL Team!
If James Brown was “the hardest working man in show business”, then CeCe Calli is probably the hardest working woman in our organization. Several months ago when she agreed to take over the Foster Coordinator position, she very sensibly suggested that her duties also include those of the Adoption Coordinator. The two positions have always been very closely associated and required constant communication to insure that every horse coming into our program or being adopted was properly placed and tracked. The GERL Board of Directors enthusiastically accepted her idea. It was a “no brainer”.
Thus CeCe embarked upon the most time consuming, frustrating, and, at the same time, rewarding job of her life. In spite of the many hours she spends on the telephone or the computer on behalf of GERL, we have never heard one complaint from her or about her.
A very organized person, CeCe has made changes in the way that both positions are managed. She knows every horse in our program and exactly what type of home it needs. She knows just where to look for a foster home on short notice and that is very often required. CeCe is both a “people person” and a “horse person”. She lives on a small horse property near Hartwell, GA. with her husband, Lou. Although she has worked with Thoroughbred horses for most of her life, she loves and appreciates all horses and is very knowledgeable concerning their nature and care.
GERL is very fortunate to have someone of CeCe’s caliber in this very important Coordinator position. We are pleased to single her out to be recognized as our most recent Volunteer of the Quarter. We love working with you, CeCe and deeply appreciate the hours you spend on behalf of GERL and the horses.
We choosen a group of volunteers this time around…All the people who help do the cooking.
One thing’s for sure, if GERL is hosting an event of some type, most likely there will be food available. We have always cooked at our Poker rides and Fall Fests and Spring Fests over the years and we started cooking at all of the GDA auctions a couple of years ago. So much so, that we recently bought our own four-burner grill. Getting a volunteer to come and cook is a different topic. That is usually the last job that most people want to do. It’s hot and greasy, and smoky too!
For this edition of our Volunteer of the Quarter we decided to do something a little different by recognizing all of the GERL Cooks who have stepped up and volunteered to do the least favorite thing on the entire volunteer list. Our chef’s cap is off to Sonny Hinote, who has been our Poker Ride chef for many years, as well as Tracie Merson and Steven Neal, who have booth cooked for several of the Mansfield horse auctions; Ray Ziebell and Jack Pesserilo recently joined up to cook at our Gene Fest ride. Another pair of cooks we want to thank are Clay Harrison and David Lee, who cooked at our last Polo Match.
As you can see, It takes a lot of cooks to fill GERL’s needs! Thanks to all of you who gave your time! We LOVE our COOKS!!
We want to recognize another member of the GERL Board of Directors as our Volunteer of the Quarter. Tamma Trump of Little Brook Farm near Acworth is very deserving of this recognition. Tamma is a quite knowledgeable horsewoman and has been a true asset to our Board.
She is one of our outstanding foster caregivers as she is not only willing to provide space for a foster horse when called upon, but she also works for a veterinarian and has large amounts of experience and expertise in caring for sick and injured animals. Tamma, with the help of her employer, Dr. Ava Talmage, and many of her barn boarders and friends, was able to save the life of a precious starving mini mare earlier this year. We all anxiously followed the tense early days of Quickstep’s rehabilitation and shared the joy of her complete recovery and adoption into a loving home. Previously, Tamma fostered a young blind–since-birth mare named “Hope”. Astonishingly, the mare, under Tamma’s guidance, learned to respond to many voice commands which will be of help to her for the rest of her life. After taking care of Hope for a very long time, Tamma was able to find a suitable adoptive home for her. To watch either of these mares leave Little Brook Farm was bittersweet to all involved with their care, especially Tamma. At present Tamma is fostering a beautiful Palomino mare named Butter. She came to Tamma with a very serious and slow healing laceration of a hind leg. Tamma’s tender love and persistent care of the wound has resulted in miraculous healing.
It cannot go without mention that Tamma hosted a Betsy Moles Groundwork Clinic at Little Brook Farm on behalf of GERL in September of this year. The clinic was a huge success and resulted in a very generous donation from Betsy to GERL
As if her wise counsel to our GERL Board of Directors and her excellent care of GERL foster horses was not enough, Tamma, earlier this year, also accepted the HUGE job of GERL Rescue Challenge Committee Chairman and has done a wonderful job.
Our most sincere gratitude to Tamma Trump for her hard work on behalf of GERL and all horses.
Laurie Wilson is her name. Horses (and mules!) have long been her game. Many may remember a story about an aged Quarter Horse named Vandy that had been in permanent G.E.R.L. foster care for nearly ten years until his recent death. Vandy had belonged to Laurie’s father, Bob Hayden, until he could no longer care for the old horse. I first met Laurie on the day that foster caregivers, Leslie Lambert and Jacki Moore traveled to Mr. Hayden’s farm to get Vandy.
The next time we saw Laurie was years later. She had just been very surprised to learn that Vandy was still living and she had made arrangements to travel to Leslie and Jacki’s farm for a visit with the then forty year old gelding. It was a grand, emotional reunion and, just as we had sadly predicted, it was the last time she ever saw Vandy.
The entire Committee worked very hard to produce the Challenge but we could have never met with such success without Laurie’s direction. To top it all off, Laurie agreed to be our MC for the event. She carried out those duties dressed like a very savvy cowgirl while astride her unusually beautiful mule, Toby Jack. She did a great job as MC and the addition of Toby Jack was just the icing on the cake!
Our Volunteer of the Quarter is a GERL Area Coordinator who has helped with several situations involving skinny horse reports in her area and has attended many booth events for GERL over time. She has also fostered a couple of horses for GERL in the past and has horses of her own. She is married to a farrier and is a mother of two grown daughters and three adorable grandbabies. Her name is Debbie Whitworth and what a pleasant surprise to learn recently that Debbie also has excellent organizational and people skills. Those traits are valuable assets! All the while, she is quiet and shy-like. Who knew there was a live wire under that reserved demeanor!
Recently, Debbie went out on a limb and volunteered to put together a multi-county training meeting with law enforcement and animal control officers all over the northeastern part of our state. Orchestrating a “Multi-County” Training Meeting is no small task and it typically takes several people working together to host one. First of all, you have to find a location that is suitable for horses and also offers a meeting room large enough to handle forty or fifty people. Debbie secured a place (an insurance company) that had reservations about the horses at the last minute and she quickly and calmly shifted gears and picked a better place than before. It had an indoor arena with bleachers and even a heater! Since it was cold and windy day you can see why we were so impressed with the location she had secured.
Debbie had to wear her secretary hat and get to work obtaining all of the names and addresses of the county sheriffs and animal control officers that would receive the letter of invitation. There were at least twenty counties that were invited. She had to send out a reminder letter and also follow up with a phone call closer to the date of the meeting. All the while Debbie reported back periodically to let everybody know what was happening. This was the largest Multi-County Meeting that we have put on in 3 years of hosting them.
We offer lunch at all of our training meetings, so Debbie had to put on her Paula Dean hat and come up with a menu. She’s a great cook and decided to go “home-made” with a selection of soups, chili, sandwiches, salads, brownies and cookies. She and a few volunteers served up a delicious lunch for everybody. Did I mention that she also had coffee and doughnuts (there were cops in the room) and a few other yummy breakfast foods to start out the meeting? She thought of everything.
Debbie works and has a family, but what a gem she was to volunteer to pull off such a huge undertaking. I felt very spoiled just showing up and doing the presentation. Kudos to Debbie and her professionalism and dedication to GERL. It’s people like Debbie who make GERL look good!
This time, our featured volunteer is a lovely, smart, energetic lady who should have “NATURAL BORN VOLUNTEER” tattooed on her forehead! Any time there is something going on where help is needed, all we have to do is turn around and there is Linda Kundell. No matter how far she has to drive or how long she will be there, Linda makes herself available.
When asked to write for our newsletter about G.E.R.L. events she has attended, Linda never refuses and always manages to intertwine some of her ever present, tongue in cheek, humor into her colorful accounts. I first became aware of Linda as an officer and volunteer for CTHA (Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association). Linda was always in attendance when we gathered up at Jake Mountain in Dahlonega to clean trails. Then, I learned that Linda was also an officer and volunteer with the Kelmac Saddle Club on one of the first occasions that organization presented G.E.R.L. with a very nice check at their end–of-year banquet. She seemed very interested in our mission and before we knew it, she had become a member and enthusiastically set out to make herself a very valuable member of our team of “helper bees”. G.E.R.L.’s gain did not take away one minute of the time she continued to give to C.T.H.A. and Kelmac and their various activities throughout the year. A devoted wife and grandmother, Linda often finds time to enjoy riding her own horse, but it is her deep love of all horses that inspires her to do everything in her power to promote family activities involving them and to work very hard to help G.E.R.L. raise money to care for many equine which fall into unfortunate circumstances. Thank you for what you do, Linda Kundell!
Sometimes our special volunteers come as a pair and cannot be separated. Never has that been truer than this time. They are a long time married couple who are fortunate enough to share, not only a strong love for each other but a deep love of horses. They are George and Janice Lilley and they live in Houston County.Even though Janice has been very ill over the last couple of years and has been in and out of the hospital, with George ever at her side, it seems that every time we turn around, we learn that one or both of them have attended some event on behalf of GERL. An article written by Janice can be found in the last GERL Newsletter which describes their participation in a book fair sponsored by Books a Million in Warner Robins to benefit
GERL. Not only did they spend the day representing GERL but they brought “Goldie” to add interest. Goldie is the most beautiful little Haflinger gelding anyone has ever seen. He is just as gentle as he is beautiful and has come to be lovingly known as the GERL Middle Georgia “spokes horse”. When Goldie is around, he is usually standing quietly while many
young hands are eagerly touching his legs and body as the children marvel at being in his presence. Weather permitting, Goldie and George offer rides in their lovely cart, pulled by Goldie. George knows that these rides will be the memory of a lifetime for some of these young and hopefully future members, of GERL. When we were approached by Eddy O’Hern about putting on a spring ride at Mingo Trails Riding Club last April, it was George and Janice who stepped up and volunteered to help make all of the arrangements and organize the event. It was hugely successful and we hope that it will become an annual event. Just last summer, George was ordained as a minister of the gospel. He immediately offered his services as GERL Chaplain. We had never even dreamed of having an official chaplain but soon realized that this could be a very important role and we knew of no one who could fill it with more enthusiasm or humility that George Lilley. We are thrilled to have George as our chaplain! We want George, Janice, and Goldie to know how much we appreciate their outstanding and frequent representation of this 100% volunteer organization. It takes each and every one of us to make it all work. George and Janice Lilley are certainly doing their part!
It has been a long standing policy that members of the GERL Board of Directors are considered to be in-eligible for the honor of being chosen as our Volunteer of the Month or Quarter. Where in the world did THAT come from!? Our Board is composed of some of the most dedicated, hard working, and outstanding members of the entire organization. We are very pleased to “kick that policy to the curb” for this quar-ter. Our Volunteer of the Quarter is Eddy O’Hern, who also just happens to be our GERL Vice President and a very valuable member of the Board of Directors.
Eddy is many things. He is a retired military man (thank you for your service to our country, Eddy!), a great husband, father, and grandfather, an outstanding horseman and horse trainer, and a fine American. For all of the years that he served in the military, Eddy held in his heart, his love of horses and working with them. One of the first things he did when that long awaited day of retirement came was to let GERL know that he was ready to become more involved.
Knowing this, was an answer to our prayers because GERL desperately needed an active presence in mid-dle Georgia and he lives in Bonaire, GA, which is about as middle Georgia as you can get. Eddy was already a member of GERL and had proven that he had a deep interest in helping horses in any way possi-ble. When asked if he would consider filling the Vice President’s role in our organization, Eddy never hesi-tated and he went to work that day. Over the months that he has been in that role, we have come to value his wisdom and appreciate his problem solving abili-ties very much.
One of the first things he did was to organize and put on a GERL weekend fund raiser trail ride at Mingo Trails in Toomsboro, GA. It was a huge success and Eddy is already planning a repeat event this spring. Please watch for an announcement in our newsletter and plan to join us.
Thank you so much, Eddy, for all of those hot and humid days, as well as the cold and windy ones that you trudged to the barn and round pen to insure that Payday’s training was uninterrupted. Thank you also for being a part of the GERL Board and giving so freely of your time and wise counsel. Check out Eddy O’Hern Horsemanship on Facebook and his article about Payday in this newsletter.
Traditionally, most GERL activities take place in North Georgia because that is where the greatest concentration of our members can be found. I am delighted to report that in the past few years, we have acquired some enthusiastic new members in South Georgia who are excited about the path that GERL now follows as a way to accomplish even more for horses in need. When we realized the importance of encouraging yearly vaccinations for all horses, especially in the southern part of our state where the largest concentration of EIA is reported, then new member, Debora Hines stepped up to organize and host a GERL sponsored Vaccination Clinic near Cairo. Long time GERL member and supporter, Judy Ricketson, who had just moved to the area, never hesitated to step up to help. Judy later organized a second vaccination clinic in Valdosta. These two remarkable horsewomen managed to put on yet another Vaccination Clinic the following year and have co-hosted two hugely successful and well attended Multi-County Meetings on behalf of GERL as well. In addition, Debora organized the first South Georgia Castration Clinic in November 2011 with Dr. Alex Greenberg of Cairo Animal Hospital. A resident of Thomas County, Debora Hines presently holds the title of GERL Area Coordinator Director for South Georgia. She was previously recognized as one of our special GERL Volunteers in 2010. Judy Ricketson has been an active GERL member since the early nineties. Always ready to volunteer, Judy now serves as GERL Education Lead and Area Coordinator for Lowndes County where she now resides. They are both what I like to call real “go getters”. Both of these task oriented ladies have proven their willingness and ability to orchestrate the planning of successful events. GERL is extremely fortunate that they are willing to bring awareness to, and encourage support of our work in the south. We are very pleased to recognize their hard work by naming them our special co-volunteers of this quarter. All attendees enjoyed learning about the work of GERL and how they might more effectively enforce Georgia’s Equine Protection Laws
What can we say about a wonderful person like Ginny Scarritt? She is a working wife and mother who, even though she does not own a horse, made a special effort to be involved with, and find a way to raise money for GERL.
Approximately four years ago, Ginny became aware of a Southern States program which pays money to nonprofit organizations for collecting Proof of Purchase seals which are printed on each of their horse feed bags. She asked if she could initiate the program on behalf of GERL and be responsible for receiving the seals and turning them in to Southern States. Wow, Ginny! You mean YOU want to DO this? You aren’t just telling us that WE need to do this? Totally refreshing.
When she started promoting this program, I don’t think that Ginny person-ally knew any other members of GERL. Since that time, we were fortunate enough to have her attend one of our rides and we were all thrilled to finally meet her and give her a hug of appreciation. She enjoyed getting to ride one of Steven Neal’s beautiful TWH geldings on several of the organized rides during the weekend.
Over the years during which Ginny has administered the Southern States Program, she has raised thousands of dollars for Georgia Equine Rescue League! She took the initiative to make this happen. She does all of the work and GERL gets the total benefit. We would like to express our ongoing and most sincere thanks to Ginny Scarritt as well as Southern States.
Traditionally, most GERL activities take place in North Georgia because that is where the greatest concentration of our members can be found. I am delighted to report that in the past few years, we have acquired some enthusiastic new members in South Georgia who are excited about the path that GERL now follows as a way to accomplish even more for horses in need. When we realized the importance of encouraging yearly vaccinations for all horses, especially in the southern part of our state where the largest concentration of EIA is reported, then new member, Debora Hines stepped up to organize and host a GERL sponsored Vaccination Clinic near Cairo. Long time GERL member and supporter, Judy Ricketson, who had just moved to the area, never hesitated to step up to help. Judy later organized a second vaccination clinic in Valdosta. These two remarkable horsewomen managed to put on yet another Vaccination Clinic the following year and have co-hosted two hugely successful and well attended Multi-County Meetings n behalf of GERL as well. In addition, Debora organized the first South Georgia Castration Clinic in November 2011 with Dr. Alex Greenberg of Cairo Animal Hospital. A resident of Thomas County, Debora Hines presently holds the title of GERL Area Coordinator Director for South Georgia. She was previously recognized as one of our special GERL Volunteers in 2010. Judy Ricketson has been an active GERL member since the early nineties. Always ready to volunteer, Judy now serves as GERL Education Lead and Area Coordinator for Lowndes County where she now resides. They are both what I like to call real “go getters”. Both of these task oriented ladies have proven their willingness and ability to orchestrate the planning of successful events. GERL is extremely fortunate that they are willing to bring awareness to, and encourage support of our work in the south. We are very pleased to recognize their hard work by naming them our special co-volunteers of this quarter. All attendees enjoyed learning about the work of GERL and how they might more effectively enforce Georgia’s Equine Protection Laws.
Our featured volunteer this quarter is Lynne Robinson. Although Lynne has been involved with GERL for a relatively short time, she has jumped in neck deep. Not only has she accepted the Area Coordinator position for Cobb and surrounding counties, but she is first to volunteer to help with any event with which GERL might be associated. Any time there is a need for a GERL ambassador, Lynne Robinson is there! In spite of the fact that Lynne does not own a horse, or have an opportunity to ride them any longer, she wants to be involved with making certain that horses receive the care they deserve. Therefore, INVOLVED, she IS! She has done farm inspections for potential GERL foster and/or adoptive homes, and has actually helped find a home for at least one horse. In addition, Lynne has already organized and tended more than one GERL Information Booth. Although Lynne feels that she is just beginning to learn about the organization, she is passionate about getting the word out concerning the needs of the many unwanted horses in our state. This lady is not one to sit back and wait for something to happen. She made her own “booth box” which contains everything needed to make a presentation on behalf of GERL. She has been instrumental in assembling information so that others will be able to do the same. Lynne is always willing and anxious to write for our newsletter or for any other publication which calls attention to the work of GERL. She writes beautifully and always presents GERL in the most positive terms. It was the “brain child” of Lynne Robinson to have our Area Coordinators write a short biography to be posted on the GERL Website. In this way, those who visit the site can get to know the AC in their area as well as learn more about the duties of ACs in case they may be interested in becoming one. Of course, Lynne’s bio was the first to be submitted and it can be seen on our site at www.gerlltd.org. In addition to all of this, Lynne Robinson is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Always positive, she spreads that attitude anywhere she goes. Everyone looks forward to working beside Lynne at every opportunity!
Becky, Becky, Becky! What can we say? She has never met a stranger, she laughs all the time, she just loves everybody! Never a dull moment when Becky is around! Becky lives in Good Hope, GA. with her husband, Robert, Odin and Lokie & Minnie Mouse – her three dogs and her wonderful horses, Chocolate, Harley and Curtis Lowe. She also has two laying hens – Lucy and Ethel! This past year, Becky has been very busy with GERL. She is our Foster Coordinator and there have been plenty of horses to coordinate. At the end of 2010, we had approximately 47 horses in foster homes. Becky has to make sure that we have approved foster homes available at all times. When a horse comes into our program, she contacts a foster home in the area closest to the horse, contacts the Area Coordinator and schedules the pick up and delivery to the foster home. She makes sure that all of the paperwork is in order, that ―before‖ pictures are taken and rehab control forms are filled out and maintained. She keeps up with all Coggins and vaccination schedules. Becky has a wonderful relationship with all of her Foster homes. She checks on the foster parents on a regular basis and loves to receive news and pictures on the foster horses. GERL is blessed to have such an outgoing, caring volunteer in Becky. Thank you for all that you do for the horses, Beck! We love you!
It is our custom to honor by recognition, one outstanding GERL volunteer each quarter. This quarter our special volunteer is Ruth Wilson, GERL Adoption Coordinator. Ruth lives with her new husband, Tommy, on a beautiful farm in Madison County She fills her days with teaching riding to young students, caring for her personal horses as well as the boarded horses on her farm, and working long hours in her office for the benefit of GERL. An almost extreme animal lover, Ruth finds it difficult to turn away any dog, cat, or horse needing a meal or a home. Example: She even brought a small dog home when she and Tommy returned
from their recent HONEYMOON! They spotted the little ting hanging around a restaurant where they stopped for a meal. Ruth relates that soon after they left the café, she asked Tommy to turn around so that she could get that dog. They had already been told that it had no owner. That little thing is now the boss in her yard where four other, much larger, rescue dogs reside. There are similar stories concerning several cats which share their home. Yes, Ruth Wilson is a softie. A little known fact about Ruth is that she is an author. She has actually written several books and will be helping GERL in the area of grant writing and newsletter articles in the future. Ruth is one more example of why we are continually amazed by the talents of GERL members with whom we work. The GERL Board of Directors has long been aware that we could not possibly have found a better person to be our Adoption Coordinator. It is uncanny how Ruth seems to be able to match horses with adopters. She is very good at listening to people who contact her with interest in providing a home for a rescue horse. Ruth knows well the available horses and is frequently able to correctly match them with people who possess experience and a skill set compatible with a particular animal. She is able to assess temperament and personality in both the people looking for a horse and the horses looking for a home. It is her gift and we are grateful that she continues to share her gift with GERL.
Our GERL volunteer of the quarter is most definitely a person whom we have come to rely on to get things done. Her name is Cynthia Brayton and she also happens to be our Area Coordinator for Rockdale and Henry counties. Cynthia has been instrumental in helping to make sure that any reports of equine neglect in her area are checked out and handled appropriately. She has built a relationship with the Rockdale County Animal Control employees and is always willing to help them, whenever needed. Cynthia has also been the first person to volunteer to sit on GERL booths at several locations, including the recent Georgia Arabian Horse Association Summer Classic Horse Show and the Parelli Classic Show, both held at the International Horse Park. She is always willing to volunteer her time and energy to help set up an auction, shop prices for rubber stall mats or drive to pick up donated fence posts and auction items. One thing that Cynthia is especially good at is getting donations, and she can absolutely come up with the loot after an afternoon of contacting local vendors in her area. She grew up around horses and is a very knowledgeable horsewoman. On top of all of that, she has a great sense of humor and fun to be around. Thank you, Cynthia, for all you do for GERL and the horses!
My first introduction to Greg Masey came years ago when he and his teen aged daughter, Lindsie, attended a GERL event and asked if they could help. Somehow they ended up being involved with the preparation and serving of the food. Since that time it has often been my pleasure, when arriving at a GERL function, to see that Greg is there and already hard at work making certain that none of the participants leave hungry. Even though Greg and Lindsie did not own a horse, they shared a love for them that all of us at GERL completely understand. That love of horses and Greg‘s desire for Lindsie to learn the rewards associated with helping others is what originally brought them to us and still binds us in our shared goal. Even though Lindsie has now reached those teen age years which introduce many interests beyond horses and the family, Greg continues to volunteer at the Mansfield Equine Impound as needed and to attend GERL events to offer his help. In recent times, he has even managed to procure some needed food items from his employer and from other merchants.
I personally, have a deep appreciation for people like Greg Masey. He is one of those quiet, behind the scenes, kind of guys who works deliberately and ceaselessly. He never expects recognition and is always looking for the next opportunity to be of help. Greg Masey, GERL salutes you and your volunteer spirit!
Georgia Equine Rescue League
P.O. Box 328
Bethelhem, Ga 30520
To report a case of equine abuse, call the
Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Division
Monday - Friday | 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM
404-656-3713 or 800-282-5852