Each quarter the staff chooses one outstanding volunteer to highlight.  Here are some of our amazing volunteers.

 

Meet Dr. Yvonne Robinson-Buss and Don Buss

yvonne-and-donWe salute a very special couple, Dr. Yvonne Robinson-Buss and her husband Don Buss who fly to California from Pennsylvania twice a year to visit Takoda, an Appaloosa at Redwings with whom they’ve formed a strong bond and attachment. When the couple arrives at Redwings it’s not just to visit Takoda. For a week at time they’re at-the-ready helping with chores and upkeep at the Lockwood Ranch. We wanted to share this special story of one couple’s unfailing support of Redwings for the past 12 years. We asked Dr. Robinson to tell her story in her own words:

“Why we love Redwings, and return at least 2 times a year. As a child my extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins all had horses. I spent so many hours walking them and riding whenever possible. However as a small child of 6 years I was already training extensively in piano. My parents knew that I had an advanced talent so being careful with my hands was paramount in my life. When I repeatedly asked my dad if we could get our own horse, he said that we could but if we did I’d have to give up my piano work. My mom asked my piano instructor about the idea. She felt I was going to have a large career ahead so I gave up the horse idea, but never forgot my love. I did go on to Juilliard where I eventually received my doctorate, traveled the world in my career and vowed in my heart to get my own horse someday.

When we found Redwings to support almost 12 years ago, we traveled to California, met our “special boy” Takoda, and fell in love with Redwings. Sooo, our traveling to the west coast several times a year allows me to have my horse, as well as sharing time with my husband in volunteering to paint around the ranch. And I still continue my active teaching and concert career with my hands in tact! My husband Don is a real supporter of me and Redwings, and he is the head of Redwings east coast painting volunteers!”

 

Meet Jenifer Soto

Jenifer-SotoLike so many other little girls I always dreamed of having a horse of my own, but it was never a possibility.   Eleven years ago when I moved to the Bryson-Hesperia area I came upon Redwings!   I was working full time then, so I would occasionally stop by to admire the beauty and playfulness of the horses in the herd.  Then I got laid off from my job, and I finally had my chance to help out by volunteering at Redwings on a weekly basis; something I’ve done for the last four and one-half years.

While I’ve grown close to some of the horses and burros over the years, I always admired the gorgeous palomino draft on the hill called Lover Boy.   He seemed so magnificent to me that I wanted to get closer to him, but I’d heard that he was very shy.  After I completed my Level-2 training and had more experience, I went into his pasture to groom his herd mates.   He always stayed on the hill, peeking at me from behind a tree.   After a few weeks he moved closer, and finally one day he let me touch him! With patience, I had won his trust.

Now, Lover Boy “cuddles” with me by putting his nose against my chest and nuzzling my neck.  A couple of weeks ago he even played a trick on me by stealing the straw from my water bottle.  Then, running away with it he’d look at me over his shoulder, toss his head up and down, and then toss the straw in the air.   Oh, how I love that gorgeous palomino draft horse on the hill.

 

Meet Marie McGuire

 

Marie-McGuireMy name is Marie McGuire and I have been a volunteer at Redwings Horse Sanctuary for about a year now. As a child I was drawn to horses, but my love for horses truly started after owning my own horse and riding while I lived in Canada. After moving to the Fort Hunter-Liggett area, I heard about Redwings from another volunteer. I told him I wasn’t sure that I could help because I didn’t really have any experience with horses. He told me many of these horses had been neglected, abandoned, or abused. He told me “just love on them” and I do. Big Mac is my main horse and the one that I sponsor. Many of the others probably recognize me as “the carrot lady” because with each visit I bring a 25 pound bag of carrots to share with all of Redwings equines. I hope to try to encourage positive human interaction with the horses and help prepare them for a loving forever home.

 

Meet Stacey Iverson

 

Stacey-IversonShe comes all the way from Santa Cruz area to volunteer with us. It is a three-hour drive and we cannot thank her enough for making the long trek to Redwings. She even went one-step further and set up a donation tub at her local feed shop! We were overwhelmed by all of the generous donations from the patrons of Scotts Valley Feed. It was all thanks to Stacy’s hard work and dedication. We recently asked Stacy to say a few words about why she makes the trek to Redwings and what she likes most about her experience here.

“One of the best things about being a volunteer at Redwings Horse Sanctuary is knowing that I am making a difference. When I started volunteering, I wasn’t sure exactly how I could contribute or be most useful. I have a lifetime of horse experience, but I wanted to directly help horses in a sanctuary situation and learn hands-on. Volunteers are the heart of Redwings – even small efforts make a big difference. Redwings staff welcomes everyone, and anyone can help horses in need.

I love to spend time grooming the horses, especially those that are shy or need extra care or understanding. Sometimes just sitting or standing with the horses, talking to them, or not saying anything at all is what they ask for. Other days, it’s quite busy brushing dusty bodies and long tangled tails. There is always something fun to do and the horses thrive on the personal attention. Every time I volunteer, I leave feeling lighter, happier and fulfilled, and trying to think of more ways I can help. I always feel that I have received much more than I have given. Every horse deserves a safe, loving home for life – thanks to Redwings for being there.”

-Stacey Iverson

Meet Cassandra Hannahs

cassandra-hannahs“This photo was taken last January, the day I met Butch, a pony Redwings saved from slaughter. With his head held high and his neck hard with tension, Butch was practically rigid with fear. Something in his past had made him so afraid of people that he ran away when anyone approached him, he trembled when he was touched, and he flinched at quick movements, especially if there was a rope involved. And so, although he looks so cute in this photo, this moment was actually pretty hard on Butch. Not only did I have my left arm over his neck, I was also standing way too close in his opinion, and I was on the wrong side! But, my goal was just to show him that all this human contact was really okay. We took a long walk that first day, very slowly and he never let his guard down for a moment.

It’s now been four months since that first walk. Today, when I entered Butch’s pen to halter him, he stepped toward me rather than away. On our walk, he was relaxed, even when I swung the end of the lead rope. He was also curious, taking an interest in the scenery and the other horses that he’d been too frightened to notice back in January. The scared little pony from last January has an entirely new outlook on life. He even nuzzled my daughter’s hair a couple times – a playful gesture she managed to catch laughingly on video that was just plain heart-warming!”

-Cassandra Hannahs