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Need a lesson horse?

There is a wonderful, new source of safe and broke Saddlebred lesson horses. Here’s the story:


Over the past year or two, SOS’s for Saddlebreds in need of rescue started popping up with greater frequency on the web site, a popular Saddlebred-oriented Internet discussion forum. As more and more attention was drawn to these rescue situations, it was determined that a more organized clearinghouse needed to be developed. then devoted a section of its discussion board for rescue topics, along with posting a list of equine rescue organizations that have a track record of helping Saddlebreds.


As this effort picked up steam, Christy Parker, owner/trainer at Pine Haven Stables in Brunswick, GA, created a new 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, Saddlebred Rescue, Inc. along with a corresponding web site  


At the same time, New Jersey trainer Nealia McCracken and her customer Pat Johnson began to spend their Mondays at New Holland Sales Stable in New Holland, Pennsylvania looking for Saddlebreds in need. Most of these horses are destined to go to the kill.


Many of these horses have spent a good portion of their lives going up and down the road for the Amish. They are now at a stage of their lives that this is no longer possible. However, they can and are making wonderful lesson horses.


McCracken and Johnson have brought home several of these horses and utilize them in North Wind Stables’ lesson program to see what type of riders they can carry. They start out with McCracken’s assistant trainer/son Jason riding them. If they pass the first test, McCracken’s daughter Jessie gives them another test ride. After that the lesson kids get their turn to determine just what level the horses are suited for.


All horses are handled, cleaned up, given baths, clipped etc. to give the rescuers a good idea of what the horses are really like. Then they are ready to find new homes. Some of these horses have ended up in Georgia at Parker’s Pine Haven Stables. Others have gone to a variety of new homes across the country.

                                                Two Success Stories

“Rex” – Before               "Rex” – After


“Blaze” aka Talmages Replica – Before           “Blaze” – After

McCracken and Parker are compiling a list of instructors looking for good lesson horses for their programs. All levels of horses are available depending on what goes thru the sale.


The current inventory includes:


  • Black 20 year old gelding. Will walk, trot, and canter both directions with a beginner rider. He is very thin but an attractive, high-headed horse.



  • Braveheart is a 20 year old chestnut gelding who was with the same Amish family for 18 of his 20 years. He will walk and trot, but not canter. We don’t think he ever learned how and it is kind of late now. He is extremely kind. He was ridden by a beginner rider with gaited horses flying past him, and he never took a step out of place. He will take care of your most precious cargo, the kids.


  • Socks is a handsome, sound gelding with papers – Nashville Sound – we do have a transfer for him. He is 20 and very laid back. He will walk, trot and canter both ways, but being lazy will fall out of the canter, and you have to encourage him to get him to trot. He is easy to deal with and we have had small children ride him with no problem. Though we haven’t ridden him on the trails –too cold here - he should be fine. He was good on the road for the Amish, just too lazy.


Money to purchase these horses was donated initially by Saddlebred lovers to Saddlebred Rescue at is a modest adoption fee for each horse, and a commitment is required that the horse will not be put thru an auction sale again. Once a horse is placed, the adoption fee is used to acquire the next one. The horses on hand change constantly so the above inventory is meant to provide an idea of what can be available any given day.


Donations of time, money, and stalls are always welcome. Transportation assistance from sales and rescue facilities to new homes is also needed. Donations of money, equipment, and horses to Saddlebred Rescue, Inc. are tax-deductible.


Nealia McCracken can be reached at (908) 362-7858 or Christy Parker can be reached at Pictures and other information on Saddlebred rescues can be seen at or in the “Rescue Me” forum.

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