They’re big, they’re gorgeous and some are in need of rescuing. They are draft horses, and thanks to Dr. Stacey Golub D.V.M., a Connecticut veterinarian, many of them are getting the second chance they deserve.
Golub founded what she jokingly calls her second full-time job, the "Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue," in 2010. Since then, she and an army of big-hearted, caring volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure that 15 draft horses have found their forever homes. The horses were rescued from abuse and starvation situations, slaughter houses, or from owners who are just not able to care for them any longer.
When asked why she chose draft horses, Golub jokes, “Once you go draft you never go back.”
In all honestly though, it is the gentle nature of the draft horse that pulls on Golub’s heart strings. “They are so good natured, calm, kind and they return every bit of love you give them. They are great family horses, the gently giants of the horse world,” explains Golub.
The organization is now caring for a little guy, just six weeks old, with long spindly legs, a short tale, flashy white and brown markings, and cataracts. This little ball of love and energy has been named Kai, which is Hawaiian for “bravely seeking sight”.
Kai was born with cataracts and will receive surgery at Tufts Veterinarian School this month to help correct his condition. The operation, including aftercare, will cost $4000.
“This surgery is more than to give Kai his sight, it is to make sure that he lives pain free,” explains Golub.
“Currently there is inflammation in his eyes and if he does not receive the surgery this condition will worsen, become more painful and most likely result in us having to remove one or both of his eyes,” she said.
In an effort to help pay the cost of the operation, the organization held a cut-a-thon at a barn in Haddam Neck. Haircuts were donated by Jennifer Casenza, of and Sally Lincoln, who own the . Both professionals are volunteers at the barn and draft horse lovers.
“I wanted to be part of this today because Kai is a wonderful baby,” says Casenza with a kind smile. “I know he will be fine no matter what, but this surgery will give him the extra step up he needs.”
Casenza and her husband Jim, who already have one draft horse they are caring for, will be adopting Kai’s mother Annie (a ten year-old Clysdale) once Kai is ready to be weaned.
Lincoln, who is passionate about doing all she can to help the draft horse rescue, explains she volunteered to be part of this very special fundraiser because,..."Kai is a very special little guy and whatever I can do to help I will.”
Kai and Annie enjoyed the day’s event with the colt Kai bolting around the pen, playing in the sun and moving up to the fence to make sure everyone had a chance to give him a pat.