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Red Bucket Becomes Safe Haven for Abused Horses

Nearly seven years ago, horse lover, Susan Peirce of Chino Hills, California found a starving thoroughbred filly at a run down and dilapidated farm. Although it was clear that the horse had been beaten and abandoned, the barn manager did not feed her since he wasn’t being paid. Instead, he was planning on sending her to the slaughterhouse.

Unable to turn her back, Peirce went to the local feed store and bought 50 pounds of carrots and a “Red Bucket.” It took Susan six and a half hours to catch the emaciated filly. Peirce named her Harlow, nursed her back to health and found her a forever home.

The next year, Peirce returned to same farm where she found nine additional abandoned horses. Again, the barn manager was not feeding them, and they were clearly starving. One horse in particular was endangered, so Peirce, along with a friend, spent the next 36 hours trying to save her.

Unfortunately, she was so sick the vet recommended they euthanize her. Peirce named her Gracie, and that was the defining moment that changed her life. Looking around at the eight remaining horses that were also suffering, Peirce decided she had to do something and Red Bucket Equine Rescue was born. Eight more Red Buckets were purchased, and eight additional promises of second chances were made.

In a very short time, Red Bucket developed a very strong track record of rehabilitating and training their horses. As their reputation grew, they also began to re-home many of the horses, finding forever homes. Adopters came from Colorado, Wyoming, and Oklahoma in addition to local Southern California communities.

“The Red Bucket mission is unique in that we serve slaughter bound, starved, abused and abandoned horses,” says Red Bucket Founder and President, Susan Peirce. “We restore their shattered trust, rehab them, and completely train them prior to them being placed in their forever homes. Once placed, the horses and their adopters benefit by receiving field support which provides ongoing support after the horse is placed. Our unique program is not only responsible for saving over 242 horses to date, and placing 100, but we also have a very low return rate.”
One of Red Bucket’s success stories is an Irish Thoroughbred named, Finbar. His sire, Desert Secret was sold for $800,000 as a yearling. In 2009, Finbar and 42 of his siblings were caught up in a breeding scandal that left them all malnourished and abandoned. (Before Picture of rescue, Finbar shown above)
Peirce still owns Finbar today and plans to keep him. “When Finbar came to our place, he weighed around 828 pounds at 16.2 hands–now he weighs around 1174 pounds. He was still a stallion and was quite dominant, tense, and dangerous. He had a lot of baggage but with the help of his companion donkey, Mr Rogers, he is now a happy well balanced horse. They are inseparable.”
The amazing transformations of hundreds of abused horses are only possible through the generosity of others who wish to help. The Red Bucket Team and the horses that they serve are deeply grateful for the donations that make their meaningful work possible.  (After rehab picture shown of Finbar jumping (left)–Yes–that is the same horse. We checked twice!)
AQHA competitor Pamela Bilek of Chino Hills, California is one of the major donors that has given her time and money to help this organization. On the AQHA show circuit, Bilek is known for owning such legendary horses as, Huntin For Chocolate and Huntin Big Dreams as well as her new horse, Aint Gota Lot is currently making a name for himself in the show arena.
“Susan is such an organized and determined lady,” Bilek told GoHorseShow. “She is committed one hundred percent to helping horses and the passion she has for helping them is what convinced me to get involved. There are several volunteers and trainers that give their time in helping with the rehabilitation and they do an amazing job helping them get back to being just a horse.”
So how can you help?

According to Peirce, “Every five minutes an American horse of all breeds ends up at slaughter. Ninety-two point three percent (92.3%) of these horses are healthy horses in good condition, including former family pets, show horses, donkeys, foals and pregnant mares,” Peirce states. “We hope that your readers will consider adopting a horse through Red Bucket or they can also make a much needed donation to Red Bucket to help rescue, rehabilitate and care for these horses while they are waiting for their forever home.”

Red Bucket is currently running a campaign called, “A Drop In The Bucket”, which is designed to get 5,000 people to donate a reoccurring $5 monthly gift.
CLICK HERE to donate.
For more information about this rescue group, please visit their website at