We went horseback riding at Second Wind Ranch & Rescue! Who are they? Where are they located? Let me tell you more about them and how we found this amazing place!
How did we find this ranch?
During our visit to Chiang Mai, we attended the Project World School Family Summit. While the adults were slowly getting to know each other, the kids were all playing together. After day 1 they all had new friends! One of Cosimo’s new friends happened to be living in Chiang Mai. Together with his family, they had just opened a horse rescue. Of course, they wanted to have a playdate and we all went together to visit Second Wind Ranch & Rescue.
As we walked into the property we first met King. He had just arrived a few weeks earlier. What was fascinating about him was how gentle and peaceful he was. Liam, one of the owners, was caressing him and he was truly enjoying the moment. It looked like he was about to fall asleep! It was such a touching and authentic connection to witness. The feeling I got right from the start was of being in a safe and caring environment for these animals.
About Second Wind Ranch & Rescue
Second Wind Ranch & Rescue is a charity organization whose mission is to rescue ex-racehorses and other neglected equines. Once they are rescued, they rehabilitate them with the intent of finding them new homes.
But who are the people behind Second Wind Ranch & Rescue?
Jennifer is the equine manager. She takes care of these horses, pouring all her heart and soul daily into helping them heal and finding a new way of life. You can see how connected the horses are to her and how much she loves being with them.
A whole family: Ina, Liam, Alekos, and Lucian, who believed in the importance of this project. They decided to leave behind their previous life to start this new adventure here in Chiang Mai. This lovely family is fully involved in making sure this ranch grows so they can keep on saving more and more horses. They all embrace daily this new mission 100%. You can see how important these horses are for them.
They have co-created a beautiful team that seems to fit perfectly together with the main purpose of making a difference in these horse’s lives. I’m pretty sure they are going to do wonders in the rescue of these special animals. They will also gift us, humans, with a wonderful experience in this beautiful place.
Who are the rescue horses living here?
When I asked a bit more information about the horses that live here now, I loved how they were described to me. Not only for what happened to them but mainly for their personalities. It showed me how involved they all are in their well-being and how well they know them. Right now 5 rescued horses live here.
Damon: he was the first horse to be recused and was also Jen’s best friend. He helped her get through a difficult moment in her life. Damon was 10 years old, very sweet, handsome, calm, loving, and a good listener. He was a racing star in 2016-2017. Winning over 20 races in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, this horse was pushed too hard and ended up injuring his leg. Damon was rescued just before being sent to the butcher. Unfortunately, he passed away a short time ago.
Damon’s second chance at a good life made Jen realize the importance of continuing in this mission. In order to give other horses the opportunity to live a better life.
Teddy: is 10 years old, he is very sweet, gentle, loves humans, wise, and attentive. He was dropped off at the ranch because the owners complained that he was very lame. They couldn’t afford to keep him alive. The rehabilitation was pretty tough since he was addicted to pain killers and couldn’t walk without them. The first concern was that they were not going to be able to save him. Luckily he felt the love and care that they were giving him and pulled through. Now he is their best companion horse.
Hunter: is 8 years old, he is gentle, funny, loves nature, easy-going and innocent, for sure one of the easier horses to ride. He was never really into racing and only won when he felt like it! They drugged him a lot to make him run but it never worked. Jen paid a deposit on the day of his last race and he won. He was running towards his second chance at a better life!
Leo: is 7 years old, he is self-centered, confident, dominant, headstrong, intelligent, and didn’t trust humans that much at first. He was never fast enough so he always placed second. The owner begged Jen to buy him. He didn’t want to sell him to the butcher but he needed the stall for a faster horse. Also, Leo was heavily drugged. His rehabilitation was tough but Jen and Rin never gave up on him. Now he’s the healthiest and strongest horse there.
King: is 7 years old, he is sweet, calm, gentle, confident, and well-tempered. He just arrived a few weeks ago. King was saved thanks to the donations received just a few days before being sent to the butcher. He was a champion for a couple of years and won Thailand’s big racing cups. However, he showed no interest in racing and was forced to race even though he was injured. King feels safe and relaxed here.
Frodo: is 1 1/2 years old. He was found with 3 other ponies in a parking lot near a school. His face was covered in scars. For a while, he earned the name of ‘Al Capony’. Frodo was in bad conditions, malnourished, but he was very sweet. He allowed them to clean the wounds and put medicine on him. They took all the ponies home. Rehoused 2, 1 died, and now Frodo lives happily on the ranch. Although I can say that he acts a bit like our toddler and at times he is a bit naughty! This makes me think of how similar horses can be to humans!
What you can do here
The ranch is not only about riding the horses, although of course, it is one of the main activities! There is so much more than you can see, learn, and do here. For example, meet the bunnies! Unfortunately, I think my youngest terrorized them without even realizing it! Otherwise, you can follow Lulu the pig when she decides to move a bit. She is pretty lazy!
You can hike the area. Or go on an adventure with your kids. Ours went all over the place! We have no idea what they were playing. We were happy that they were outside, enjoying this magical place, and creatively playing some amazing games. I loved seeing them follow Lucian in new explorations! It is so healthy for kids and adults to spend time outside in this type of environment. It reminds you to slow down and actually enjoy what is around you!
Our day here opened our eyes to a harsh reality that cannot be ignored. Cosimo and Emma couldn’t stop talking about the horses and what had happened to them. They were paying attention and learning about how mistreated these animals are. Unfortunately, once they are not of use anymore, people just want to “throw them away”. However today our kids learned that there can be a better life for these animals, thanks to people who truly care. Like the team here at Second Wind Ranch & Rescue. If everyone would start treating these animals with the same respect that they would want for themselves what a difference it would make in this world!
Our riding experience
The riding experience isn’t only about getting on the horse. It is about saddling him, walking him, creating a connection with him. You have to create trust by getting to know each other and showing the horse that you care. Then you can ride!
Jen and Alekos helped Cosimo and Emma as they were riding Leo and they loved it. Both were a bit nervous when they got on. In fact, racehorses are really tall so it can be a bit overwhelming at the beginning. However, once you are adjusted to the height it is perfect from up there! Neither one wanted to get down!!!
Later two ladies arrived for a lesson. This gave us a chance to see Jen and Alekos in action with someone else as well. Riding here is completely different from a regular riding school. You completely relax her, I think it is because of the place! There is no rush just pure enjoyment of the moment. No wonder the horses love it here!
After riding, you get to wash the horse! One of our kid’s favorite parts of this memorable day! I will say that riding was awesome, but washing the horses after, altogether was even more fun! I think we washed some spots more than once. But I have a feeling that the horses didn’t mind the attention!
What are the challenges in rescuing horses?
Horse owners force their racehorses to compete until they are not winning anymore or are too injured to produce results. They drug them heavily to get as much as possible out of them. Once the owner is done with them, he sells the horse to the butcher.
Ina explained that there is a lot of work behind rescuing a horse. First of all, coming up with the necessary money. In order to avoid that the owners simply send the horse to the butcher. Once they are able to save him from a sad end, they have to heal him from years of drugs and injuries. During the rehabilitation, they will go through withdrawal just like we would and it is a very difficult time for them. As soon as they overcome all this, they can work with them in trusting again.
How you can help?
Would you like to make a difference and help these horses?
If you live or visit Chiang Mai, when you join riding lessons, trail rides, or take part in their junior apprenticeship program, you help them keep the ranch running and the rescued horses fed. Second Wind Ranch & Rescue wants to grow its community. It wants to make everyone aware of the importance of saving these horses. But they also want to create a place where you can go to enjoy a special moment of connection with nature.
If you live far away but want to make a difference anyway, donations are always welcome! When they were in the process of rescuing King, they shared a post on social media. They were able to raise the necessary money for the rescue and rehabilitation. As well as allocate the rest in their new horse rescue fund for future rescues. So please follow their Facebook page, look out for any messages about new rescues, and feel free to help them from anywhere in the world!
For more information call at 06-4404-1037 (EN)/
If you are interested in donating for future rescues this is the link: PayPal.me/secondwindrnr.
If you are traveling in Thailand. Make sure to spend some time in Chiang Mai and plan a visit to this beautiful place. Come and see for yourself what an amazing job they are doing with these horses!
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