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Redding horse rescue group seeks volunteers as it grows

November 24, 2018

REDDING — Rising Starr Horse Rescue is currently trying to find homes for several horses, including Harmony, an 8-year old large pony, and Belle, a 4-year old rescued from a kill pen.

Chances are good the organization will be able to place the horses in forever homes in the coming months — but not without help from volunteers. So far this year the organization has placed eight horses, double last year’s total.

“We’re growing like crazy,” said Kelly Stackpole, founder of Rising Starr.

Several barns have opened their stalls to Rising Starr so they can rescue and house more horses, but more adult volunteers are needed to look after the horses there before the organization can expand, Stackpole said.

“I can’t take more than I can take care of,” she said, adding recruiting volunteers will be the focus for 2019.

People know of her work and will reach out with horses they know are in need, but some remain on their list for at least a year as they gather the money and resources to care for and transport the horse.

Stackpole had wanted to rescue horses for years. She spent a lot of time in the show-horse circuit, including working at a 40-stall barn in Greenwich, and was dismayed by the practice of discarding horses when they weren’t earning money or otherwise failing to meet owners’ expectations. She started offering riding classes at her own Moonlight Farm in Redding and was able to incorporate Rising Starr 10 years later.

Volunteers began fundraising and Rising Starr was able to take in its first horse, Griffin, in September 2016, housing him at Stackpole’s stables at Moonlight Farm. Griffin found a home the following August after appearing at the Hampton Classic — one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the country.

They’ve continued to show at classic, and even had two mares lead the parade this year. It was there that they gained a sponsor — Harmony Home Concierge Service — who has been helping with costs. The company will also partner with Rising Starr on the nonprofit’s gala on Nov. 30, which serves as its biggest fundraiser.

Tickets are still available for the gala at www.risingstarrhorserescue.org and cost $150. It includes a live band, bar, dinner and silent auction. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at Le Chateau in South Salem, N.Y.

Stackpole will honor Lynn Coakley and Valerie Angeli of the EQUUS Foundation for the work they do to support and guide horse rescues, like Rising Starr, in saving America’s horses. Georgina Bloomberg will also be there.

“Without the opportunity and guidance EQUUS gave us, we wouldn’t have grown and certainly not grown as fast,” Stackpole said.

A key part of Rising Starr is raising awareness about the killing pens and working with the community. This is the third year Rising Starr will ride in the Georgetown parade in December.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of the community and give back to the community,” Stackpole said.

She encourages anyone interested in helping to join the organization because there’s a variety of jobs that accommodate all ages and skills. This includes handling the accounting books and caring for the horses themselves.

Stackpole said it’s always great to save a horse.

“It’s really satisfying to see the animals flourish and go to new homes and do well,” she said.

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