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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Second Chance Horses Flourish: Wilton’s Rising Starr Horse Rescue

Apr 24, 2020 07:25PM ● By Debby Stein

by Debby Stein

Kelly Stackpole is the founder and Executive Director of Rising Starr Horse Rescue, a 501c3 farm, located in Wilton, where horses are given a second chance at life.  A 30-stall barn is currently filled with 24 horses comprised mostly of rescues, six school horses and some privately owned boarded horses.  The farm includes 40 acres of land with several paddocks, an indoor arena for lessons and programs, with trails on the property.  

Rising Starr’s mission includes the rescue, rehabilitation, retraining and rehoming of abandoned, neglected or abused horses, while educating the public and all volunteer team members about at-risk horses and the importance of protecting them. This special charity offers the community a chance to experience the love, connection and compassion horses have to offer.

With more than 30 years of experience teaching riders and training horses professionally, Stackpole pursued her passion and love for horses by opening a barn to teach noncompetitive horse lessons in 2005. In the process of looking for horses to fill her first barn in Redding, Stackpole was shocked to learn that young, sound and healthy horses as well as older and sick horses were being abandoned and often sent off to slaughter.  This realization influenced Stackpole to expand her mission to rescuing horses and Rising Starr Horse Rescue was established. 

Those who visit Rising Starr Horse Rescue are given the opportunity to learn about what is involved with the responsibility of horse ownership, adoption, boarding, lessons, leasing, volunteering and team building, equine yoga, life coaching and various youth programs.  Stackpole’s passion is for teaching youth, teens and adults through various educational programs about the love and connection that can be experienced with horses, while making safety and proper care a priority. Stackpole has a special gift for relating to horses and humans alike with compassion and clear, concise communication.  The barn runs like a well-oiled machine thanks to Stackpole, her staff and all the volunteers.

On December 5, 2019, Rising Starr Horse Rescue bought the former site of Larkspur Farm in Wilton. The larger barn, ample acreage, paddocks and arena allows Stackpole to act quickly to rescue more horses in need and facilitates expanded programming.  Charitable donations help Rising Starr literally save horses’ lives and Rising Starr Horse Rescue is supported by a group of dedicated and talented veterinarians, staff and many hard-working volunteers of all ages who provide care and rehabilitation to the horses. At least 90% of the people who started with Stackpole back in 2005 are still supporting Rising Starr. 

Stackpole ensures every person working to support Rising Starr Horse Rescue is on the same page when it comes to prioritizing loving care and respect for each horse. Volunteers are comprised of children, teens, adults, a barn cat and even a dog named Apollo who belongs to Stackpole.  Apollo knows each horse and each person who supports the barn and makes sure everyone knows her! Rising Starr Horse Rescue creates a safe place for horses to heal and thrive; a mission demanding abundant patience, training, acceptance and love.

In early January 2020, Stackpole instituted a program to have one of the volunteers read to the new rescues and those horses that seemed particularly stressed for various reasons.  Reading to horses helps acclimate them to human voice while asking nothing of the horse.  You would be surprised how well this program has helped several of the horses so far.  Response to the horse reader has been relatively quick and the horses exhibit a greater sense of calm, rest, ease and balanced consumption of food. Ultimately, the horses become more open to human touch, which assists with additional rehabilitation. 

Future plans include a community picnic area and paths for walking.  Stackpole is currently working on funding a new program for veterans and their families to engage with the farm at no charge.  The goal is to offer free life coaching, trail rides led by the staff and teaching ground work with the horses.  

Rising Starr Horse Rescue is located at 93 Silver Spring Rd, Wilton. For more information, please visit RisingStarrHorseRescue.org or @RisingStarrHorseRescue. Donations can be made by using the “Donate” button on the upper right corner of the home page. Debby Stein is an energy healing practitioner based in Stamford and a frequent volunteer and horse reader at Rising Starr Horse Rescue.


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