Discarded Offspring of Famous Racehorses Bring "HoPE" to Cancer Patients in New Program

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Abandoned offspring of famous racehorses and other equines form unique healing bond with cancer patients in new program at horse sanctuary in Central California.

HoPE - Horse Passion for Everyone - at the Heaven Can Wait Equine Rescue and Sanctuary in San Miguel, California, is uniting cancer patients and survivors with the discarded offspring of famous racehorses and other equines in a successful, free program that helps both patients and horses.

"The patients and the horses, in their own way, can relate to being sick and, sometimes, feeling abandoned," states Susan Schwartz, the hands-on founder of the Sanctuary. "When the patients see these beautiful creatures that need their love, the pain of their own illness temporarily dissolves. In turn, the horses have a powerful energy they want to share and reach out to the patient."

Pair O'Docs, a grandson of Secretariat, lost 3 races and ended up a pack horse, eventually falling off a cliff - but doesn't care if the person brushing his mane has no hair. Princeton, a great grandson of Seattle Slew, was a loser as a racehorse. Discarded due to a leg injury, Princeton is now a winner in the eyes of a cancer patient who, while recuperating from chemotherapy, leads him around the ranch.

Psychotherapist Leigh Shambo, the director of H.E.A.L. (Human Equine Alliances for Learning) worked with Heaven Can Wait volunteers, providing training and developing a plan to make each session safe, inspiring, and healing for all.

The Sanctuary is an incredibly clean and peaceful environment currently housing 26 horses and donkeys. While not all of the horses in the HoPE program are ex-racehorses, all are rescues. "Many of these animals have been horribly abused," adds Schwartz, "and housing and treatment are very expensive." Yet, it is a labor of love for Schwartz who hopes that those who have racehorses, bet on them or just enjoy their own horses will make a donation to the non-profit to both help the horses find comfort and peace and to aid the cancer patients who visit them.

"All ages are welcome and no prior horse experience is required to take part in the HoPE program," notes Schwartz, "just a willingness to share your love and feelings with an animal that, somehow, knows exactly how you feel."

To make a tax-deductible donation or to find out more about the HoPE program go to: http://www.heavencanwait.us.


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