The SWS is a non-profit equine rescue located in Hartly, Delaware, dedicated to the rescue of abused, neglected, abandoned and “off the track” horses. Our organization offers sanctuary, medical care, rehabilitative services and training to these horses and then places them in carefully screened, loving and permanent homes. We receive our horses from many different sources – private owners, veterinarian recommendations, the SPCA, racetracks and boarding facilities.
The SWS has a track record of success. Since its incorporation in 2001, the SWS has grown from a small rescue facility to a multi-faceted rescue, educational and outreach organization. In 2003, the SWS established an Equine-Assisted Learning Program (EAL) at our facility. The EAL pairs at-risk children from local schools, Scout groups, and mental health and substance abuse programs with horses in our rescue. Our EAL program has proven successful in assisting children who have not been helped in other therapeutic or social service programs. Underprivileged, emotionally and physically challenged children have found safe haven at the SWS, a place to reflect upon themselves and others and a place in which to heal. In many cases, they have learned a sense of purpose and witnessed the benefits of teamwork for the first time in their lives.
The SWS believes in full accountability to the horses and community we serve. To this end, the SWS established its Community Outreach Program in 2003. Outreach Program members assist with feeding the horses, cleaning stalls, washing tack as well as grooming and exercising our horses. The experience gained in the Outreach Program has a profound effect on the lives of many adults, children and horses alike.
In 2006, the SWS implemented a week-long, day camp, utilizing EAL, that helped teenage girls from residential treatment facilities in Dover, Delaware overcome emotional and behavioral problems. The results were outstanding to include improved creative problem solving skills, better inter-personal communication between participants, and an application of leadership skills. A primary benefit of the EAL program is that both children and horses learn, some for the first time, how to trust.
The SWS has a long waiting list of horses that need the sanctuary. There is a special need to create a safe home for horses that are abused and/or homeless. Horses from our rescue participate in the EAL. Most of these horses would have gone to the slaughterhouse long ago had it not been for the sanctuary the SWS provides. Today, because of the efforts of our volunteers and the programs our horses participate in, they find a purpose and a reason to live.