Like many shelters and animal rescues, Changing Leads Equine Rescue in Kansas City, Missouri knows a sluggish economy has a huge impact on animals.
"Unfortunately there are many more horses that need homes than we can take in," said Tina Weidmaier, President of Changing Leads, a 501(c)(3) corporation. "We operate a nine stall barn that relies entirely on volunteers, donations, grants and fundraising to power our operation, so we have to work smart and get creative in order to make a difference."
The rescue currently has seven horses in their care, ranging from a towering draft horse to a tiny foal, born April 2, 2012. All rescues receive ongoing vet and farrier care, and volunteers work with each horse under the supervision of an experienced trainer. Changing Leads' goal is for each horse to be healthy and accustomed to positive human contact before being placed into a qualified adoptive home.
To help raise funds to continue this mission, Changing Leads holds an annual winter horse show series which runs from January through April. The shows are held at Scott Pavilion within the American Royal Complex and are made possible by a number of individuals and organizations: equine companies graciously donate items to be handed out as prizes; judges kindly donate their time and the rescue's network of volunteers staff the events, from the announcer to the concession stand.
"We've had our biggest turnout to date this year," said Weidmaier. "Part of it is word of mouth. We're in our third year so the show community knows it's a great show series for competitors to gain experience during the winter and early spring months, which are considered the 'off-season' for shows."
The rescue also strives to keep the show affordable, in an effort to encourage participation and promote constructive equine activities. All riders pay a ten dollar fee to enter the show and each class costs five dollars to enter. There are opportunities for riders of all ages, who can sign up to compete in any combination of 50 classes, ranging from jumping to egg and spoon.
Changing Leads is currently preparing for their final show of the season on April 14, 2012 at Scott Pavilion. In addition to randomly drawn prizes, riders will be awarded belt buckles and bridle bags based on points accumulated throughout the series and the event is free to spectators. More information can be found at www.changingleadsequinerescue.org.
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