By Abbey Cannan
Tewantin-raised Holly van Slooten has spent the past two years rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing horses that have been abused, mistreated or sent to the slaughter house.
“Horse rescue and rehabilitating is very hard work; literally blood, sweat and many tears,” Holly said.
“But it is also very rewarding and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my life.”
This unplanned journey first began in March 2017 when Holly purchased a mare named Hazel and her foal Bambi, who were very malnourished.
“Hazel was very battered and mentally scarred from previous abuse,” Holly said.
“In April 2017 I met Jinda ex-trotter extraordinaire, she was previously saved from slaughter. Jinda proved a failure as a trot racer so she became a brood mare and as a thank you from the industry she was sent to slaughter when she was deemed useless.
“These three horses inspired me to start JBH Horse Rescue, rehabilitate, re-homing program.”
Holly has had a connection with horses and loved riding ever since she was a kid.
“My parents just sat me on a horse when I was two-years-old and I was just one of those little horse freaks ever since. I would be that kid screaming when my parents would try to take me off the horse,” she said.
After continuing to rescue more horses, Holly realised that she didn’t have enough space on her five-acre property in Imbil to keep them all.
“I wanted to keep all of the horses I rescued but I just don’t have the space or money,” Holly said.
“I haven’t yet got insurance as I’m fully self-funding this horse rescue and all of my weekly wage goes towards the horses I have, and my fiancé Kyle feeds me.
“I spend over $15,000 a year just on hay and have also spent over $20,000 in the past two years since I began this journey on vet bills.”
This is why Holly decided to start looking for new homes for the rescue horses after she rehabilitated them.
“I have to be hard core and strict when deciding who the horses go to as I have to ensure they go to good homes,” she said.
“I have now re-homed 15 horses in the past two years.”
Holly said her goal with her horse rescue program is to one day own a property no smaller than 100-acres.
“This way, I will be able to rescue more horses at a time and other animals. I would also like to one day (when I have all the appropriate insurance) take on some volunteers and also some staff members, as it is a lot of hard work just being one person working with all these horses,” she said.
Holly said she finds mistreated horses in various ways.
“I have quite a few horse friends that find out about horses that aren’t wanted or mistreated and then I go and rescue them,” she said.
“They have horse sales in areas like Laidley and Gympie and a lot of them are drought horses and many of the meat traders go to the sales and bid to get the cheap ones. So, I bid against them to rescue the horses.”
“If anyone is interested in adopting a horse or helping out in any way, please contact me.”
For more information, contact Holly on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/JBHHorseRescue/.