Brandie Elam Tryban had no idea a horse rescue center existed until some serendipitous Googling led her to Changing Leads Equine Rescue, 7990 N.W. Mace Road.
“I came across this horse rescue in Kansas City and I realized it was by Zona Rosa,” Tryban says. “You could go shopping and then go rescue a horse later.”
The Overland Park resident trained as a volunteer almost immediately.
“We rescue abandoned, abused, bound for slaughter or neglected horses,” Tryban says. “After rescuing the horses, we feed, love and rehabilitate them to be adopted out to a forever home.”
Her work at the center was so fulfilling, and she found that she was able to give so much of herself, that within months she was asked to serve as one of 10 board members. Find more info about Changing Leads at changingleadsequinerescue.org.
Labor of love: “We have 30 to 40 volunteers, but only 10 to 15 that are consistent,” she says. “Our workload is heavy manual labor. It doesn’t work out for a lot of people to lift 30 pounds of hay or carry 40-pound buckets of water.”
And when volunteers aren’t available the work doesn’t go away: Board members step in to do the dirty work.
Even horse-lovers as young as 10 years old are eligible to volunteer as long as an adult accompanies them and both complete the training course.
Childhood dream: “Horses have been my passion since I was a child. I just recently started riding back in January.” Tryban has four children and felt that she had to wait until they were nearly grown to pursue her interest in all things equine. She and her daughter are riding in their first show this fall at Woodson Hill Equestrian Center, the property that adjoins the rescue center.
Draft horse Josie: Not long ago the center rescued Josie, a draft horse, from neglect. Tryban doesn’t think Josie’s owners were purposely trying to kill her. Maybe they just didn’t know what they were getting into, she suggests. But by the time Josie was removed from the situation, she was an incredible 400 pounds underweight. Every bone in her body was visible, and she could barely walk.
“I had never seen something like this in person. You see malnourishment on TV and it’s sad, but you see it in person and it pulls your heartstrings so tightly.” Fortunately the rescue center has all the right resources to rehabilitate an animal like Josie.
“We’ve been slowly able to get the weight back on her. She still has a ways to go, but she’s gained about 125 pounds.”
Josie is one of six horses at the center, but she’s not quite ready for adoption.
Contact Anne at email@example.com.