Howard and Jennifer Beckman landed in Ocala, Florida, nicknamed “The Horse Capital of the World” in 2009, trading their ranch and mountain lifestyle in Pecos, New Mexico for a 40 acre farm there. They brought with them their own three horses, some geese and ducks they’d rescued, and their four dogs (all rescues, as well). “Ocala was the perfect place for us. We were tiring of the difficult harsh winters in New Mexico, and Ocala’s beautiful rolling hills and green pastures probably made our horses think they had died and gone to heaven”, says Jennifer. ”The landscape reminds me of England, where I grew up.”
They moved at a time when many in the US were facing unexpected hardships and difficult financial times, and this soon began to show among the equestrian community in Ocala. “Many horses were being abandoned and left to starve, so we would take hay to them until the authorities could find out who owned them, or talk to owners that were known, to see what could be done to remedy the situation, (if anything)”, said Howard.
After an extreme case where their efforts resulted in saving 4 buffalo and 7 horses left to starve (several of the young buffalo had simply dropped dead due to starvation, and the last is what alerted them when they saw from a distance vultures picking over its dead body), they decided to add their voices to the cause of equine rescue. That was when they decided to use their own farm to rescue abused, forgotten and frightened horses. At that instant “Ocala Equine Rescue” was born. They have rescued old, tired and worn out racehorses that have given their lives to owners who have profited handsomely from them during their best years. Unfortunately their loyalty and service to those owners was repaid with a decision to send them to the slaughterhouse when they were no longer profitable for them.
Howard and Jennifer have rescued foals just before they were to be “put down”, simply because they were not perfect or simply didn’t fit their owners’ or trainers’ expectations. Bloodlines are of no importance when horses finally cross the gate into the Beckman’s farm. Not only are they are all treated with the same care and respect, but most importantly of all, with love.
The gentle and loving manner they possess seems to have a way with all animals. Both tell of always having been able to “communicate” with them, developing relationships with many, especially during their years living in New Mexico. Jennifer is a yoga teacher and practitioner of the natural healing science of Ayurveda. Howard is a writer and expert in the sciences of Vedic astronomy and astrology, as well as healing with sound and color. He has authored several books on these subjects, and both are prolific writers in the form of articles on these and other related subjects.
Their universal philosophy that all sentient living beings are connected, are conscious, aware of themselves and others, and are capable of forming strong bonds and relationships, has inspired them to found and develop Ocala Equine Rescue. “Horses feel emotional and physical pain, as well as have the ability to give and receive love”, say Howard & Jennifer.
All animals have special, unique ways of communicating, but a horse’s ability to do so far surpasses most others. They have an innate emotional nature that has been proven to have phenomenal healing effects on both adults and children, touching them on a deep, emotional and “psychological” level. Horses are so extremely sensitive that they perceive our very “vibrations”.
Seeing that such regal, noble and truly “conscious” beings were being abused, tortured and finally slaughtered was a reality too stark for Howard and Jennifer to simply stand by without trying to do something to save at least some of them from such a fate. Their lives and those of the horses they rescue are now inextricably entwined, for when a horse enters Ocala Equine Rescue, they have truly found their “forever home”.
For more information or to find out how you can help our mission to save these most vulnerable of our equine friends, please call 352-789-7914 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org