Volunteer Work at Equine Advocates "Safe Home", Chatham, NY 

Equine Advocates is a national non profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the rescue and protection of horses, ponies,donkeys and mules. 

 The horses can't speak for themselves.  That is why there are people like Susan and Karen Wagner who speak for them.  We all need to give back or as I call it..."pay it forward".  Although many of us are experiencing difficult times, our universe is an abundant universe. 

Every day I am sure you are bombarded by what you call "junk" mail solicitating for donations of one form or another.  Since we as humans have domesticated the horse, we as a species have an obligation to take care of these magnificent creatures.  Yes, an obligation!  So many people use them for financial gain and then dispose of them with less consideration than they'd dispose of a used garment or worn out pair of sneakers that they'd shared miles of memories and pavement with. 

Look into your heart and reach into your pocket.  Any donation is considered worthy.  It doesn't necessarily have to be in the form of a financial donation, however, those are always appreciated and put to great use.  As all horse owners know, the cost of hay, feed and bedding has skyrocketed this year due to the short harvesting season the farmers have experienced.

Please go to their website and see what they are in desperate need of....the list is endless. Anything you can spare will be greatly appreciated.  And when we give from our hearts....the universe gives us back ten-fold what we've given!


On behalf of all their "Residents" I sincerely thank you.

Deb Crane- Equine Sports Therapies



Miss Elinor- Rescued Amish Work Horse - Photo credit : K. F. Wagner

 Elinor is a beautiful Morgan that had been rescued from a life of servitude with the Amish.  Elinor has a history of gastric ulcers. She had been under the watchful eyes of both Susan and her staff over the past several days. She'd been having liquid bowel movements and was showing signs of dehydration. Before I began my session with her, I spent a few minutes observing her behavior in an attempt to let her have a few minutes to adjust to a stranger in her "safety zone" and also so that I sould see if she'd demonstrate any thing that might help me understand what was   going on in her body.

After she allowed me to introduce myself to her, I noticed that she was very sensitive to being touched anywhere on her body and when ever I'd attempt a gentle pat on the neck, she'd bite at her left shoulder.  I thought this to be a bit unusual, however, she was not trying to be agressive towards me.  Susan and her staff were concerned that there was some underlying medical condition going on with her at the time but held off on having her transported to the hospital for observation / treatment until I'd had a chance to look at her. 

My first observation was that she appeared quite bloated and filled with gas. Since she was very sensitive to physical touch, I began our session by balancing her Chakras, only to find that her stomach Chakra was completely closed and she became quiet reactive as I got near it; again biting at her left shoulder. In an effort to not upset her, I worked on several Ting Points (specifically her Spleen and Stomach points) which caused her to start sneezing and flaring her nostrils and taking in huge breathes of air. As she setttled into the releases, she began to lick and chew and started to exhibit uncontrolable yawns. 

I didn't feel as if we were out of the "woods" yet.  Although she appeared much more comfortable and had a relaxed demeanor, I felt she needed Infrasound therapy to help relax her stomach muscles.  As I was sweeping her body with the Alpha waves from the CHI Machine, we had an unexpected visitor. A tiny field mouse poked his head up out of the far corner of the stall floor where I was standing and stayed with us the entire time I used the CHI machine on her.  I guess he was enjoying the relaxing effects of the energy waves as much as she was. 

After she finally passed gas, Susan decided that it was still a good idea to call the vet in to make an accessment of her condition. Now that she seemed more comfortable the decision was made to transport her to Cornell, several hours away, for observation and treatment.

I am happy to report that her trip was uneventful and she got off the trailer quite relaxed.  "Miss ELinor" remained at Cornell for several days until they were able to diagnose what was causing her stomach issues.  She is now feeling much better and back home at "Safe Home"  with the rest of her "resident" companions.

      " The phrase, " Paying it Forward"...is very personal to me.  I can only "Pay it Forward" through my volunteer work. 

     This is my way of giving thanks to the universe for all the skills and opportunities it has seen fit to bestow upon me in this lifetime and all those special animals that have taught me what I know today.  

   When you are given experiences that alter your life's journey and enable you to see through the eyes of the horse, you have truly been given rare gifts from the Universe that should be held close to one's heart."

Deb Crane





 "Bobby II"

How my Journey began.....

I believe that nothing in life happens by chance. I had been having dreams of a horse with a disfigured face for the past few nights and couldn't place it as a horse that I knew or had ever done any work on. I tried to dismiss it, but couldn't knowing that there was a reason why I was seeing this horse night after night.

Then, while on my computer, the Equine Advocates "Safe Home" website came up and their resident, "Bobby II", immediately drew my attention. Then there he was! Staring back at me on my computer screeen. I couldn't believe my eyes!

As I read the profiles of "Safe Home's" residents I knew that I was being called to volunteer my services to them and their horses. All I had to do was find a way to convince both Susan Wagner, Equine Advocates President and her sister, Karen Wagner, Vice President that although what I do is a bit "out of the box" it is not "hocus pocus". 

Finally, after several weeks of emailing back and forth, it was decided that I would come for a few days and work on their "residents" that they felt would benefit most from what I do. 

I was so excited! I was like a little kid in a candy store...80 residents all in need of "some form of healing".  Little did I know what a difficult journey I was embarking on and how this visit would change my life forever.

As I droveup "Safe Home's" driveway, all I could see to the left and the right were beautiful fields with imaculate board fencing and many contented horses grazing.  The grounds were lovely, even in the middle of winter. 

Susan and Karen very gratiously invited me to stay in their home at the sanctuary while  working I was on the residents.  I felt like I had stepped into another dimension in time.  There were horses of all breeds everywhere, however, unlike what I'd expect to see at a rescue sanctuary, there was plenty of room in each pasture for every group without any overcrowding, or displays of agression within the groups.  The facility was obviously very well designed and thought out down to the smallest detail.  Each pasture area had a shed row of stalls and shelter from the elements. 

As I drove up into the compound, the main house was to my left with what appeared to be the "main barn" in the center with sprawling fields in all directions off the main barn.  The barn was immaculate with deeply bedded stalls and great ventelation with dutch style doors opening to the outside paddocks and pastures. 

This was truly a Sanctuary - a "Safe Home" in every sense of the word. Reflecting back on my first impressions, I guess I was expecting to see everything looking pristine on the surface, but once I turned the corner, I would see crowded conditions and under nourished horses...your typical under-funded horse rescue facility working on a shoestring. This was definately not the case.

What I came to learn is that all of the horses had special needs as a result of the lack of proper care or outright abuse. The majority of the people I saw working with the horses, cleaning paddocks, grooming or having human interaction were volunteers. What makes this facility so special is that they depend on people like you and me, who care about the humane treatment of horses, for financial contributions and through volunteering.  The domesticated horse of today is not the "beast of burdeon" of years ago. Most horses today are either used in some form of "sport" or are pets. Granted, there are still some that are subjected in some cultures to being work machines, therefore considered disposable when their use is compromised. Most of the horses at "Safe Home" receive special diets. 

Susan Wagner has gone to great lengths to be sure that any horse, pony, donkey or mule that comes to her for care gets the very best available, even when it requires expensive medical procedures.  Some how, some way Susan and Karen find a way to get the monies needed to help these horses in such dire need. Before I was to begin my work and to be introduced to my first "resident", I spent a few minutes discussing with Susan and Karen what exactly I do and what a "typical" session would involve. Since many of these horses most likely had never had any "body work" done before, I wanted to make sure that they felt comfortable with the different techniques I was planning to use.

When I work on a horse, my watch comes off. The horse tells me how long a session is going to be and what's working and what is not.  I knew that my skills were going to be challenged since I hadn't worked on horses that had been so horribly abused that wore their "badges of courage" so boldly on their bodies as the horses that were here did. 

I was first taken to meet "Bobby II", the horse who called me to come.  When we first met I could hear him say with a wonderful sense of humor, "So, What took you so long?  I've been waiting for you and I told everyone you were coming! Did you get lost along the way"? 

I had to laugh so I wouldn't cry.  This was the first time that I could really see how deeply imbedded the scars were all over his face and around his neck. 

I am a Reiki Master Practitioner and try not to internalize what is going on in the animals that I work with, However, when I work with abused animals I make an exception.  I need to feel what they've gone through so I can figure out how best to help them release the memories that they hold on the cellular level.

When I laid my hands on him, my stomache began to churn; I could feel his pain and how stoic and brave he had been in order to have survived.  Tears were running down my face as I looked into his soft eyes.

I then explained to "Bobby" that I was very glad he'd contacted me and that my intent while there was to offer healing to all those that Susan felt were in most need and not to try to "fix" anyone. In my opinion, everyone was just perfect as they were no matter what they'd had to endure in the past.

He looked at me with soft eyes as if to say he agreed and approved of my approach.  Then he nudged me softly as if to say..."well, let's get started!  Me first!"

Susan relayed as much as she knew about "Bobby's" history.  He'd been a former New York City carriage horse rescued from one of the New Holland kill pens.  The only reason he was recognized was because someone had forgotten to file off his "license plate numbers" carved into his hoof wall.  Had it not been for that oversight by some horrible handler, June 25th most likely would have been his last day. 

I began our session by balancing his energy centers, known as chakras, throughout his body.  Then I performed Essential Oil Aromatherapy to help assist him to release any trauma or negative thought patterns held within his body on a cellular level, often referred to as a SomatoEmotional Release. Once we had completed that portion of the session, I gave him a few minutes to process the releases before I began my body work.

From working on the hard streets for so many years with ill fitting tack, he had many muscular restrictions in his body that were causing structural mis-alignment. 

I did a combination of Sports Massage and The Masterson Method of Integrated Equine Bodywork for the Perfomance Horse.  Even though "Bobby II" and the other horses I was going to be working on weren't doing any sort of "performance" at this point in their lives, I decided to use Jim's method of bodywork because it lets you to get under the horse's "flight " radar with using a very soft and gentle touch.  And, after all the mishandling these horses had already experienced I felt that "the less is more" approach would be the way to go. ANd just as important is the fact that unlike other methods of bodywork, Jim's method allows the horse to participate in the process and tell you exactly where he or she is having issues. 

By the end of our session, "Bobby II" appeared much more comfortable and relaxed.  He seemed "energized".  It was as if he'd been rejuvenated and was ready to resume his role as "Equine Advocates Ambasador" again.