Changing Fates Equine Rescue: Providing Horses With New Homes and New Hope

 Down a long, winding dirt road in Laurel, Delaware, you’ll find what appears to be a typical rural horse farm. Upon first look, people passing by will catch a glance of the handful of horses eating, or playing or grazing in the fields. All of the horses are healthy, happy and well-cared for. You would never know that these horses were abused, neglected or forgotten — that’s why they were brought to Changing Fates Equine Rescue. 
Karen Speake started the Rescue in 2005, after previously working with another animal rescue. She said she first recognized there was a problem with neglected horses in the area when people started showing up at her home with horses who weren’t being properly cared for.
Changing Fates became a reality on Old Cabin Road in Laurel, and not a moment too soon for the animals in need in the area. The Rescue’s mission is to rehabilitate, retrain and re-home abused and neglected horses. For horses who can’t be re-homed, Changing Fates provides sanctuary to them for the rest of their lives — a horse’s lifespan can extend past 40 years.
 All of the horses at Changing Fates are well taken care of, but that wasn’t always the story for these animals. “We had one that came in that was so skinny, he had holes where his hip bones had protruded through the skin,” said Robin Weinkam, who helps Speake run the Rescue day-to-day with the help of fellow volunteer, Brenda Jordan.
Robin’s personal horse, a Belgian Haley, was rehabilitated at Changing Fates. “She was so malnourished and skinny and weak that when we put her in a trailer to take her back to the rescue, she couldn’t get back on her feet. We had to use a backhoe to get her back up.” Haley has since made a full recovery, along with all the other animals at Changing Fates.
Karen, Robin and Brenda are passionate about their work and care deeply for the animals. “No matter how badly they were treated or how starved they’ve been, you see how kind their eyes are,” said Karen while talking about the horses. Karen is happy to show visitors around the farm, naming each horse, explaining their situation and gently petting each one. All of the horses are extremely calm and friendly, despite how bad some of them had been treated in the past.
Horses aren’t the only animals who benefit from the dedication of Karen and her volunteers. Clark, an older goat who’s missing a horn, wanders the farm, ducking under fences and greeting any guests with a friendly nudge. Towards the back of the farm, one pen holds two mini potbellied pigs named Lulu and Waddles. Another holds a big, friendly steer that spends his days relaxing and playing with his stuffed panda bear toy. 
The three women can’t do all of the work on the farm on their own, and have several dedicated volunteers who help out. Still, the Rescue is constantly looking for volunteers to assist with simple tasks like grooming the horses, cutting the grass, and filling in the holes in the pastures. The Rescue is open to volunteers on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and regularly holds events complete with food, games and door prizes. 
Donations and volunteers are always welcomed — and needed  — at Changing Fates. Karen encourages people to come out and volunteer, and said working at the Rescue can teach visitors a lot about the beautiful creatures. “You don’t train a horse. A horse trains you.” Speake said. “Just watching this field right here can teach you more about horses than anyone can ever tell you.” 

Changing Fates Equine Rescue Images
Karen, Brenda, Robin