Wednesday, February 18, 2009

a person making a difference: Kristin Chambers

Here's a happy story worth noting that was in the the Farm Ranch Guide:

Now that's rural: Kristin Chambers — Winding Road Equine Rescue and Retirement

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 3:45 PM CST

Let's go to Lexington, Ky. Here's the Christmas edition of the local newspaper. On the front page is the remarkable story of a racehorse who had been a Kentucky Derby contender but was headed to slaughter in his old age — and was rescued at the last minute by a woman in rural Kansas. She's founded a nationally recognized rescue and retirement program for horses.

Meet Kristin Chambers, executive director of Winding Road Equine Rescue and Retirement near Waverly, Kan.

Kristin says, “I'm an extreme animal lover.” In 2005, Kristin was looking for goats and visited some people who also had a small, underweight mare. Kristin took pity on the old mare and bought her.

Then, Kristin says, “Word got around that I had a soft spot for old horses.” Other people started bringing her unused or unwanted horses.

Kristin went to a horse sale to buy a horse for her son, but when she saw the high quality horses that were being auctioned for slaughter, she bought 10 of them. At the time she was trying to work on a teaching degree plus helping these horses. A professor told her that she should choose one or the other. Kristin says, “I was so mad at him for telling me what to do — but I was mad because he was right.”

She chose horses, because her long-term goal is to incorporate youth involvement into the rescue. Kristin organized an effort called Winding Road Equine Rescue and Retirement, which is now a 501c3 charitable organization.

The purpose of Winding Road Equine Rescue and Retirement is the rescue, rehabilitation and what is called re-homing of abused, neglected and unwanted horses. It also provides a safe sanctuary for horses that are too old, infirm or injured to be re-homed.

Today, Winding Road cares for more than 50 horses, plus more have been adopted or placed in carefully screened foster or adoptive homes. The horses range from little miniature horses 34 inches tall to a giant Belgian 17 hands high.

In December 2008, Kristin was called to look at a horse in a broker's lot in Emporia where some horses are at risk of being sent to slaughter. The broker asked if she could do anything for another horse, an aged thoroughbred stallion with a bad eye and depressed look.

Kristin found that the horse was named Clever Allemont. As a young racehorse, he won his first six consecutive starts and earned more than a quarter million dollars. He had been trained by D. Wayne Lukas, raced at Churchill Downs, and ridden by jockeys such as Pat Day and Angel Cordero. As a stud, he sired 72 winners out of 125 starters. But by the time he was 26, no one wanted him.

Kristin was determined to save this horse. She posted information about the horse on-line, and within 30 minutes someone donated the funds to save him. Then within 24 hours, an exclusive thoroughbred retirement home in Kentucky agreed to take him in. Kristin says, “It was just such a chain of miracles.”

His story made the front page of the Lexington newspaper on Christmas Day and the USA Today website.

Winding Road is situated on 40 acres near the rural community of Waverly, population 581 people.

Now, that's rural.

The facility includes a barn and stables and an arena under construction. Winding Road is supported by charitable donations and lots of volunteers.

Kristin says, “We have wonderful volunteers who help with construction, cleaning stalls and brushing horses. These people range from eclectic artists to girl scouts to old-time cowboys. We are always in need of more donations and volunteer help.” She says, “I don't run on faith alone, but I have a lot of faith. God didn't get me this far to turn his back on us.”

For more information, go to

It's time to close this newspaper from Kentucky, which featured the amazing story of a racehorse rescued from slaughter by a woman in rural Kansas. Kristin Chambers has made a difference by saving horses in need, and helping many of them to beat the odds.

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