Blue Star Equiculture grew out of the ideas of working carriage drivers in Philadelphia in early 2009, to provide a retirement home for carriage horses and to educate the public about the lives of working horses, as a positive story of partnership with human beings. Indeed, working horses are partners in our shared civilization.
Blue Star Equiculture co-founder and Executive Director Pamela Rickenbach describes some of the many wonderful programs Blue Star Equiculture runs. By Supporting Working Horses at the ClipClopNYC Gala Benefit, you are helping secure the future of working horses everywhere and building a more sustainable future for horses, humans and Mother Earth.
Human History is Written in Hoofprints
What We Do: Blue Star Equiculture’s Mission
Blue Star Equiculture’s Mission
Blue Star Equiculture is a working horse rescue and sanctuary committed to helping horses, humans and Mother Earth. In concert with the community, we help working horses live out their days in comfort and dignity…and help humans connect with, care for and be better partners to horses and Mother Earth.
What We Believe: Blue Star Equiculture’s Credo
We believe that the draft horse is a national treasure.
Currently there is gross misinformation in the public about the lives and well-being of working horses. We seek to have the draft horse–which built our roads, harvested our crops, supplied our railroads, fought our wars, and carried us to our graves—recognized as a national treasure, an indispensable part of our heritage and our common history.
We believe that horses and humans fundamentally belong together.
We have journeyed the same path for the past 6000 years. We have made the horse who he is, and the horse has made us who we are. This is a bond that should not be broken. This bond is a sacred one, and with it come moral obligations to the horse.
We believe that all horses deserve loving homes where their physical and social needs will be met.
Draft horses and other “working” horses have, through their co-evolution with humans, developed a psychological need to be with people. They enjoy their work, whether that “work” is in harness pulling a carriage or a plow, under saddle, or as a companion.
We believe that “work” should not have a pejorative connotation.
When we speak of “working horses,” we are speaking of what these horses do. “Work” can and should have a positive meaning. “Work” for horses in the context of meaningful, productive partnership with humans should never be equated with “slavery.” (We find slavery to be morally repugnant, and as such, slavery should not be a term thrown around cavalierly to describe the domesticated horse.)
We believe that in these troubled economic and environmental times, working horses offer a sustainable means of equine husbandry.
We hope to create other opportunities for working horses to have meaningful jobs in addition to the carriage industry and in limited use on farms. We hope to initiate new uses for working horses in urban environments, such as watering urban gardens, collecting recycling, or making deliveries. We hope to help expand the use of horses in organic agriculture, and spread awareness of using animal traction (that is, real horsepower) instead of hydrocarbon energy to power agricultural implements.
We believe that every working horse deserves to have his needs taken care of for the duration of his natural life.
This is the moral obligation of having horses in one’s life, especially when one’s own livelihood has been provided for through the labor of the horse. We believe that the vast majority of working horses are well-taken care of so long as they are working, as they provide not only for their human partners but also fund their own care. We are concerned about the fate of horses who no longer are able to work or whose owners are unable to continue to work with them or to care for them. Blue Star Equiculture seeks to assist these horses and provide for them or find adoptive homes for them for the rest of their lives.
What We Do: Blue Star Equiculture’s Programs
Draft Horse Husbandry & Driving at the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture
BSE is going into its fifth year of teaching its Draft Horse Husbandry course at the University of Massachusetts through the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. BSE has guided and introduced dozens of students into a horse-powered way of life, creating another important contribution to our community’s commitment to sustainability for future generations.
Paradise Paddock Pasture Management
BSE has created, in partnership with UMass and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, a pasture management system designed to protect the environment and sensitive wetlands from the impact of having a large herd of horses on small acreage. BSE offers workshops and open houses for other equine farm managers to come and observe and ask questions to minimize their farms’ ecological impact. The community is welcomed to discuss these innovations for our land and herd animals. Perhaps the most important news in this regard is the creation of the Blue Star Equiculture Farm Innovation Center.
Blue Star Equiculture Compost – 100% pathogen and weed free compost!
BSE has created several different sized composting systems that process 600,000 pounds of manure produced annually by our herd of 32 horses. We have developed several inexpensive, open-source solutions to make clean rich compost in a short period of time. These systems generate a marketable, safe and useful compost to be sold in both bulk and in recycled 50 lb sacks. Proceeds go to the care of the BSE herd.
Going Green Takes Real Horsepower
BSE grows vegetables and flower in our organic farm garden, producing healthy and delicious, as well as beautiful, horse-powered food and flowers for the community. All of the proceeds from the garden go to support BSE’s herd of retired, disabled and homeless horses.
Share the Road – Horses Paved the Way
BSE has created a public awareness campaign called “Share the Road – Horses Paved the Way” in collaboration with the NYC carriage industry and the Carriage Operators of North America to educate the public about the existing laws in every state concerning riding and driving horses on public roads. Currently, the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts has agreed to post BSE signage throughout the city, reminding the community of the right that horse people have to be alongside other vehicles on public roadways.
Support Working Horses
BSE has a working horse advocacy program that speaks publicly about the gross misimformation put forth by powerful animal rights groups who sensationalize, demonize and marginalize innocent hard-working folks and their equine partners working in urban and agricultural jobs. We Support Working Horses and their human partners worldwide, recognizing them as valuable members of any community, who are contributing to future sustainability by working together to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Many are keepers of knowledge and wisdom, cultureally and historically, of a way of life we all once shared. We were a horse-powered country, and therefore our roots are in a horse-powered way of life. Horse people can help us revive our connection to what makes America great and the values it was built on . We see protecting and standing beside our fellow horse people as a very patriotic act that should be shared widely!
Find out more about Blue Star and keep up with all their events on their Facebook page!