WEST KENNEBUNK — Native Americans believe that until a person has cared for an animal, their soul remains unawakened. Gabriela Quinn is certainly someone who is attuned to the plight of God's creatures and is striving to make a difference by educating the public about homeless horses.
This weekend, Quinn will welcome the public to two free events at her stables, BlixxHorses, in West Kennebunk, geared toward raising awareness of what is essential to the proper care of horses, understanding the needs and behavior of the horse, and the physical, emotional, time and financial constraints undertaken by those who adopt horses.
Quinn says that she believes without this knowledge, a horse’s welfare can be jeopardized instantly by poor judgment.
"According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals statistics, the average horse has eight different homes in a lifetime and every horse could be one sale away from neglect or slaughter," she said. "This is a great opportunity for kids and adults to learn what these animals need and how to properly care for them."
On Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., Quinn will host: "Unbridled," an annual fundraiser to provide education lacking in the horse communities and within the general public.
"What has evolved into Unbridled began in 2001, before the inception of BlixxHorses, to mark the first birthday celebration for the Arabian mare, Bint Ali Alexxis, known as Lexxie," Quinn said. "The day will include a Blessing of the Animals by Pastor Peter Leon, music by Treble G, a demonstration and a silent auction. Sanford-based Another Chance Animal Rescue will join BlixxHorses in bringing adoptable cats to the event."
This also will mark the 17th birthday celebration for Lexxie and will include traditional carrot cake and candles.
On Sunday, April 23, BlixxHorses will host a presentation from 1 to 3 p.m. called "Helping Horses, What You Can Do."
The Sunday activities are part of a national observance in conjunction with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals called "Help a Horse Day," a national effort on behalf of homeless horses and those who care for them to show the community how they can help.
“The goal of ASPCA's Help a Horse Day is to shine a light on the incredible work equine rescues and sanctuaries do to care for horses who have been abused or neglected to give them a new lease on life as they look for new homes,” said B.J. Rogers, vice president of ASPCA ProLearning. “Each year, we are continually impressed by the innovative ideas that rescues come up with to engage their local communities on Help a Horse Day and we are honored to help support these efforts to help maximize exposure for the many wonderful horses available for adoption at rescues across the country.”
Sunday's event at BlixxHorses is just one of several events Quinn offers throughout the year that includes the organization’s horses, Lexxie and Fritz, for guests to meet and enjoy. There will be speakers, refreshments and Kennebunk High School art students will visit the facility and perform sketches and drawings of the horses which will be on display during the weekend event.
Quinn grew up in Ohio with a profund love for horses and learned at an early age how to ride. Since moving to York County in 1996 with her husband, she has become a staunch advocate for good care and stewardship for horses.
"The biggest misconception people have about horses is that they can run endlessly and that they're safe and they're not," she said. "People are unaware of the system of horses physically and anatomically. We are similiar in the aspect that as they get older, they need more care."
She said on average, horses live 28 to 30 years and some horses end up in dire situations because their owners failed to realize the enormous challenges of making a long-term commitment to their proper care.
"We need to acknowledge their value in society beyond their use," Quinn said. "Horses need a reason to be here."
According to Quinn, she wants participants in this weekend's events at BlixxHorses to come away with a better understanding of how horses can thrive when cared for properly.
"I want them to see how well a horse can live and how healthy and unstressed horses behave," she said. "Horses roamed freely on the Earth before they were domesticated, so it's difficult for these animals in captivity."
People may adopt horses for a variety of reasons, but their care is constant and demanding.
"It's a big commitment," Quinn said. "It's not easy, but it's an animal that has no voice and no choices. All I'm saying is thast every horse is important."
Besides caring for Lexxie, a Polish Arabian mare, Quinn also has adopted Fritz, a 21-year-old Hanoverian/Thoroughbred mix.
The two horses will appear at both Saturday's and Sunday's events, which are sponsored by Keenebunk Savings Bank.
BlixxHorses is at 5 Portage Way in West Kennebunk.
For more information or directions to this weekend's free events, call 985-1994 or visit blixxhorses.org.
— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 326, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.