FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT TRAVELLER'S REST
Why do you focus on old horses when there are so many "ridable" horses in need?
It is our belief that horses are no less deserving of lives free from hunger or pain merely because their physical abilities are not what they used to be. Some shelter facilities will not accept "special needs" elders because they cannot provide the specialized care required or because they do not have the ability to keep horses that may be permanent residents. Though TREES has limited space, we provide a safe haven for horses who have nowhere else to go.
Does the sanctuary's name have anything to do with General Lee's horse in the Civil War?
You bet! Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary's current home is on Robert E Lee Drive. In fact, in 1864, the very fields in which our residents graze saw combat during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, as Federal troops tried to push across the Po River (our northern boundary) and on to Richmond. As far as we know, the General himself was not actually on our humble farm, having established his command post several miles to the west. Read more (Note: What was then called Shady Grove Church Road is now Robert E Lee Drive.)
How much does it cost to take care of a senior horse at TREES?
TREES spend an average of $1800 per horse per year. Some of the "easy keepers" cost a little less, some of those that require more senior feed or medications cost a little more.
Does the sanctuary receive government funding?
No. Traveller's Rest is in no way affiliated with any government agency. The sanctuary is a non-profit organization supported entirely by private donations and grants provided by other charitable organizations. How you can help
Can I volunteer if I haven't worked with horses in the past?
Absolutely! You are welcome to help the senior horses in whatever ways are comfortable for you. You can begin your volunteer efforts doing chores that do not deal directly with the horses, such as cleaning stalls or maintaining water tanks. If you like, you can then begin learning to work with the horses themselves, grooming, feeding, or helping during vet visits, for example. You can also help with jobs, like fundraising or writing educational handouts, that don't require a visit to the farm. You will never be asked to do anything you are uncomfortable doing. TREES strives to maintain a stress-free environment for our equine residents and our human volunteers and visitors. Volunteer
As a volunteer, will I be asked to commit to a certain number of hours?
No. How often you volunteer, and for how long, is entirely up to you. Some volunteers come regularly once a week, twice a week, or every other weekend. Some can help only during special events. Others are available to help with sporadic needs like trailering horses to the vet clinic. All we ask is that you let us know before you come so we have someone here to get you started and so we can schedule the day's work based on the number of people available. Of course, if you are doing a job you can do from your own home, your time is your own, as long as we are not on a deadline (one example of a job with a deadline might be to meet a closing date for filing a grant proposal.)
What are your business hours?
We do not have formal "business hours." TREES welcomes visitors by appointment as work schedules and weather allow.
In terms of breeds, we've hosted several Thoroughbreds (one a grandson of Secretariat,) a few Quarter Horses (to include Impressive and Poco Bueno descendants,) a Standardbred, two or three Arabians, a Friesian mare (Els B, the first mare to grace the cover of the Stud Book,) two Tennessee Walkers, a mule, two Shetland Pony crosses, a couple of draft crosses, and a plethora of wonderful grade horses (in other words, we don't know their breeding and don't care!) We've cared for an eventer, a "big lick" Walker, a steeplechaser, several (former) brood mares, Western Pleasure mounts, dressage horses, a cow "pony," camp horses, trail horses, a harness racer, an endurance horse, a barrel racer, and some horses whose pasts are complete mysteries.
Where do the horses at the sanctuary come from?
Several of the residents at TREES were abandoned at boarding stables. A few were left behind when owners sold property and moved away. Some were brought to the sanctuary by owners who realized they could not provide the special care required. On occasion, if space and resources are available, the sanctuary accepts horses due to owner hardships such as a change in financial situation or physical capability. For the most part, the criteria used to accept horses focus on whether or not that horse will suffer pain or hunger if left where it is at the time of the call. If, at that time, TREES cannot accept another horse, efforts will be made to place the horse in a new home or with another equine welfare organization as quickly as possible.
Do you buy horses from auctions?
No. With so many horses in need of shelter, whether they've been abandoned or are still with owners who can no longer care for them, it would be a very inefficient use of donated funds to buy horses. In addition, TREES does not spend funds on having horses hauled to VA from great distances when there are so many in need in the immediate region.
Does the sanctuary have horses available for adoption?
All of our residents are available for adoption. Take note, however, that almost all of our horses have special needs to some degree. Potential adopters will be screened thoroughly to determine their ability to provide specialized care when needed, and post-adoption follow-ups will be performed to ensure proper care is being given. For those reasons, adopters must live with in a two hour drive of Spotsylvania, VA, 22553.
How much do you charge for boarding retirees?
TREES is not a boarding facility.
Do you need any barn cats?
Thank you, but no. There is a feral colony in the community.
What is the small pen at the far end of the front field for?
That little pen is our Groundhog Paddock. When the front field was first fenced for horses, we tried to encourage out little friend to move on, filling the holes with everything from plain rocks and dirt to used cat litter (which we were assured would be a foolproof deterrent.) Time after time, though, Madame Groundhog re-dug and meticulously cleaned her home and stayed put. After months of battling, we agreed to a compromise. We would fence off her hole so it would not be a danger to the horses, and she could stay as long as no new holes appeared outside of her paddock. So far, no new holes.
Unless you live in the immediate area, we probably can't answer that question. You can enter our zip code, 22553, into MapQuest or Google Maps to find that information.