The person who began it all before she realized she had.
When horses were still in books and dreams, Dawn and her then-boyfriend bought a farm. That tale is a longer one, for the book, but it began in the fall of 2008. The first horse here was a gift, an engagement present, a huge beautiful white horse fit for a dreamer. He was unfit, however, for much else! Jack and the mare he came with, Ginger, turned out to be very valuable for the lessons they brought with them. Horse care was a huge learning curve. Just fencing was a bigger challenge then could have been imagined, and the farm wasn’t even fit for Jack and Ginger until a year later, and by then, there were 7 other horses already!
With new horse ownership came an awareness about the plight of horses in America today. Horses being dumped for pennies to be stuffed into box trailers, screaming with fear, to be slaughtered in other countries, sold for meat. Friends, athletes, trusted companions, their work de-valued to the weight of their bodies. Such horror. The horses of dreams reduced to living nightmares. As a longtime vegetarian and animal rights activist, this made an impression. With all of the space on the farm, and all of the space in their hearts, a few of these horses in need began arriving. Most were unfit for ‘use’ but needed refuge, somewhere to just be. Thus, the slogan ‘where horses get to be horses’ was born, and the seed of the sanctuary began.
It was a few years of informal saving on a ‘vertical learning curve’ (and some of the best stories) before the (HUGE) decision was made to become a registered charity. Rosemary Farm Sanctuary Inc was incorporated and granted 501c-3 status in April of 2012. The dream has sharpened, to create a lasting sanctuary for horses in need, to protect and to educate (please read the well crafted mission statement for the full outline). A huge dream, a lot of horses. During this time, Dawn married the boyfriend, and together they volunteer every day of the week, year after year, as the sanctuary continues to grow.
Over 130 horses have come through Rosemary Farm, and there are over 6o horses actively part of the sanctuary. The dream of horses is very much alive and surviving, and Dawn is the face and voice of the sanctuary efforts. Supervising the daily activities at the sanctuary in her role as Executive Director (unpaid), she currently also remains as President of the Board of Directors, while the Sanctuary matures and policies are defined. The goal of building a long term safe haven for horses burns bright, and with the help of a supportive Board and a lot of donors and volunteers, this will become a reality.
above photo credit Colin Young c.2010 Dawn with Jack
below photo credit Laurie Covino, Dawn with Molly