Rescued from slaughter, Buddy happily explores his new home at Serendipity.

Amissville nonprofit saves a horse from slaughter

Serendipity Equine asked the community for a Christmas miracle. 

Starting on Dec. 23, they kicked off a campaign to raise $1800 in order to save a young gelding’s life. Thanks to the generosity and kind hearts of many, the funds were raised in exactly one week and just before the young horse was to be shipped for slaughter.

Buddy is a three-year-old Haflinger and Belgium cross. His sweet nature and close-cut driving haircut suggests that he was frequently handled and well cared for before falling into the slaughter pipeline. While slaughtering horses is currently illegal in the United States, transporting them across international borders to be slaughtered is a lucrative business. Many of these horses are purchased from livestock auctions specifically with the intention of shipping for this purpose. 

Sadly, Buddy was one of these horses. To save him from this fate, Serendipity was tasked with raising funds to save him from the “kill pen” before his shipment date, which was just a mere ten days away.

Jess Lanham, Serendipity’s executive director, along with the writer of this story, traveled to Louisa County to meet the young gelding before launching the fundraising campaign. 

“His calm and sweet personality, even in the scariest of situations, told me that he would be a wonderful fit for Serendipity’s mission,” said Lanham. “There is something very special about him. I was certain that if we could save his life, he would go on to touch the lives of so many of our participants.”

Serendipity Equine, a non-profit in Amissville, pairs rescued and rehabilitated horses with veterans, first-responders, youth-at-risk, and riders of all abilities and levels. In these special, equine-assisted learning programs, both horses and humans flourish from a mutual partnership and bond. Furthermore, the organization is run exclusively on the generosity of volunteers and donors. 

With Buddy’s shipment date for slaughter drawing near, Serendipity launched a Facebook marketing campaign asking for donations to purchase him from the kill pen and to assist with his necessary medical expenses. Many of the horses that are kept in these conditions, which include close contact with other equines, often have illnesses that are treatable, but highly contagious. Buddy is already showing signs of a respiratory infection. The community responded with an amazing outpouring of donations to help rescue the young gelding. 

Exactly one week later, on the evening of Dec. 30, Buddy was enthusiastically welcomed to Serendipity by many of the organization’s volunteers waving and celebrating the special homecoming. While anxiously awaiting his arrival, the volunteers had been working tirelessly to erect a fence which will keep him safely quarantined from the rest of the herd while he is nursed back to good health.

“We were so excited to meet him,” exclaimed Laura Jett, one of Serendipity’s regular volunteers. “As soon as we saw the truck’s headlights coming up the road, we all started clapping and cheering.”

Ultimately, Buddy’s rescue story had a wonderful, happy ending. However, thanks to the amazing support of so many generous people in the community, Buddy’s life story is just beginning. 

“We are so extremely grateful for everyone that donated funds and shared our post,” said Lanham. “Thanks to every single one of them, Buddy will now have a life filled with lots of love from the community that saved him.”

For more information on Serendipity’s mission and programs, visit www.serendipityequine.com 

— The writer serves as a board member for Serendipity Equine.

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