Colleen grew up in Hunterdon County, the heart of New Jersey Horse Country! From a very early age she quickly grew to love every aspect of horses in her own backyard. She started riding at the age of 4 and finally got her own pony when she was 7! 'Little Bit' was an aged Pinto pony. This was the start of her education on proper equine care,feeding, stable managment and riding!
As Colleen's skills blossomed it was clear that a larger and more challenging pony was needed. J.Commando-Ho, a Reg. 3 y/o Pinto pony was purchased.
The two were inseparable!
She began to train with professionals; learning Basic Dressage and then Western Pleasure. They showed the Open Circuit and then the Pinto Breed Shows where they earned many High Point Awards including Pony of the Year and Top 10 in the Nation in 7 events! They were the winner of the Sharp Memorial Trophy and Leading her division in New Jersey for 2 years.
During Colleen and Commando's successful Show Career, she was introduced to a Paint Breeder who had a mare bred to the late, Hank-a-Chief, one of the leading Sires in the Nation at the time. Skip a Hi Time was born! He had a calm temperament and natural Western Pleasure gaits! Colleen and Skip were a natural fit so her parents purchased him for her. The pair Showed in Halter and they were successful in Western Pleasure! Skip earned many awards including his Register of Merit in Halter! When he retired from the Show Ring, he enjoyed Trail Rides, Hunter Paces and swimming in the reservoir. At this point in his career Skip learned how to jump and showed great athleticism over natural obstacles which provided many more years of fun and enjoyment for the pair!
Throughout Colleen's Show Career with Skip and Commando she continued to train with Professionals in a variety of disciplines including Horsemanship, Pleasure, Hunt Seat, Jumping and Dressage.
Enjoying their retirement!
When Colleen's horses went into semi-retirement she purchased a picturesque farm in Warren County, NJ. This provided a haven for the horses and allowed Colleen to continue building the strong bond that the three had developed over the years. In Warren County, Colleen had access to miles of state trails to continue to enjoy her 'boys' as well as the peace of mind that she could continue to provide the horses with a safe, secure and quiet environment to enjoy their retirement in.
While volunteering at a Horse Rescue, Colleen met an Equine Massage Therapist there. Colleen hired the therapist to give her horses regular massages and was AMAZED at the results! Massage Therapy allowed her to continue riding Skip who was in his 20's at that time and provided Commando with tremendous relief from some of his old age related ailments. Both horses had increased mobility. Skip was able to reach around and 'scratch' his left side; something he was not able to do prior to massage! Commando, who use to lay down frequently, became more active and even started walking around more!! Their overall attitudes and demeanor improved!
After retiring from a career in Law Enforcement, Colleen received her Certification from Advantassage and began massaging dozens of horses around central & northern NJ as well as eastern PA. Her clients include a wide range of horse types from high level show horses to recently rescued horses in dire need of Customized and Personal Massage Therapy. Colleen's combined Horse Experience, Passion for improving the lives of animals, Education, Teaching & Experience provided a unique skill to start Equine Kneads, LLC.
Colleen has dedicated the last 12 years exclusively to Massage and developing the Program for Equine Kneads, LLC. Her goal is to teach Massage using different styles of learning; visual, audio and "hands-on". These styles will assist all levels of students to easily learn the skills to be a Massage Therapist!
She continues to enjoy riding her 3 horses; Jae Bar Page who was shown Western Pleasure and finished Res in his Division their first year out! He is used for trails now and loving life! Raps Sonny Mr was raised by her since the age of 10 months, he was started using Natural Horsemanship Methods. She became the proud owner of At Long Last Nifty. He is a magnificant Registered Quarter Horse and Palomino who has competed at the World Show in OK, two times! She will continue her education with him and Show the Quarter Horse Circuit!
Colleen believes in maintaining the highest quality of life for horses. She continues her education by attending Seminars, Reading and speaking with Professionals on Nutrition, Diet Management, Horse Health, Injuries/Illnesses(avoiding injuries/illnesses). The insights that Colleen learns through this continued education is shared in the Program. For example, she provides a 16 Question Survey "How Healthy is your Horse's Lifestyle?" (Equus 296)
She also believes if horses are balanced Physically & Mentally, they are a better Athletes and Happier Horses!
Susankelly Thompson - Hero to Animals
Mylestone Equine Rescue's President and Founder Susankelly Thompson was honored with the 2010 "Hero to Animals" award from the Animal Welfare Federation of NJ on Sunday March 21st.
At right, NJSPCA Agent Phil Amato with Mylestone Board Member Kelly Conklin, who accepted the award on behalf of Susankelly, who was unable to attend.
Susankelly was nominated for her work by the NJ State SPCA for her work in which she was given 30 days to place 8 horses from a cruelty case in Warren County. "Ensuring the horses got good home was a collaborative effort," says Thompson, “and included the invaluable help of Dr. Christina Watson of Califon Animal Hospital, professional trainer Joe Williams from Gillette, Colleen McDonald of Oxford, Susan Chruico from PA and many others who stepped in to help these horses and give them a second chance.” Mylestone is currently caring for one of the mares in offsite foster care with hopes of adopting her out.
This was Susankelly Thompson's second time receiving the "Hero to Animals" award from the AWFNJ. She received this honor back in 2002 for her dedication in helping Madeline, the pony with a broken leg, who was being offered for sale on the internet. Madeline is a current resident at Mylestone today, along with over 30 other rescue horses.
Susankelly recently worked with Agent Phil Amato from NJ State SPCA regarding an animal hoarder in Hunterdon County. Mylestone was able to place one of the mares directly into a new home, while the other mare has a long road to recovery. This mare, currently residing on the farm, is starved and has deformities to her hooves due to lack of farrier care for many years. Mylestone relies on public donations to care for the horses it takes in from these cruelty cases, and costs can accumulate very quickly in cases of severe neglect such as these. Thompson said "it was a real honor to receive this award, especially when you are doing work you love to do."
She also wished to thank her husband Bruce, her family, and all the dedicated board members, volunteers and supporters of Mylestone. Mylestone is NJ's oldest all breed horse rescue and has been helping horses for over 16 years. If you are new to our site, please read about us, learn more, and help out if you can - your help through donations and sponsorships is always appreciated.
Clyde was pulled from the kill pen days before heading to a slaughter plant, thanks to the help Of Colleen McDonald of Equine Kneads. Clyde is an old hack horse that wears the hardships of his life on his face. He is about 25 years old, black with an almost completely gray face. He is swaybacked with scars and cysts on his back, having spent years of his life with a heavy saddle on his back.
We do not think Clyde has known much kindness in his life. We were told he was nasty and dangerous, so we decided to pull him from the kill pen and put him down humanely if he was truly that bad. So when he first arrived, we simply hoped that whatever time he had left, he would at least leave this world knowing people cared about him. He will gets lots of TLC here. But Clyde is not nasty, just a bit grumpy and skittish. His behavior indicated that he was most likely never turned out, but kept tacked and tied in his barn. Not surprisingly, when he arrived, Clyde did not want to come out of his shed.
Clyde has made good progress in a short amount of time, and soon was being turned out for longer periods. His initial running along the fence became pacing, and he has ventured more out of the shed to eat hay and accept treats. He has also befriended another new horse, Josie.
We hope that you will befriend Clyde by sponsoring him or donating to his care , indicating it is for Clyde. With only days left in the kill pen before an agonizing trip to slaughter, Mylestone reached out a hand to Clyde to save his life from a horrible end. Now we hope that you'll be his friend, too, and make his last years his best.
Read more about Clyde and how he came to Mylestone.
For Jingle - A Miracle When He Needed It Most
With all this snow it seems appropriate to let you know about our recent rescue, Jingle. He is about 12 years old and a grey paint. I purchased him out of a feed lot at an auction house in NJ on Christmas Eve. It was late afternoon and many of the other horses had been purchased. He was quite lame and there didn't seem to be much interest in him. I purchased him over the phone and honestly, it made my Christmas to know we had saved another life.
On 12/26, my friend Colleen and I went down to the auction house to get Jingle. It took over 2 hours each way and it was pouring rain. Jingle was afraid, especially of the worker who went to catch him in the pen. But he was a good boy, and loaded. He was very lame, which concerned Colleen and me. We boarded Jingle at a local stable to quarantine him, as we didn't have the quarantine space at the farm. We unloaded in the pouring rain by the light of my headlights. We had a small flash light to find our way to the barn.
Jingle was nervous but was a good boy about the whole situation. Our vet came out to examine Jingle a few days later, and was concerned with his lameness issues. We ended up X-raying his knees. He has significant arthritis in his knees, especially his right front knee. His hooves were very long so on New Year's day, our farrier, Gil, picked me up and we went out and trimmed his hooves.
On January 12th, Jingle came to the farm. He was very nervous at first. He made friends quickly with Patty and Lucy. He really liked Apache but the feeling wasn't mutual for very long. We tried Jingle in with Apache and Apache went after him, so we moved Jingle back to being by himself but having contact with the others through the fence.
Despite his being very afraid of certain things ... a dark stall, the hose, some men ... Jingle had clearly been cared for. His weight was good and someone cared about him. He is very friendly and loves attention. His lameness problems have perplexed us because some days he is worse than others. Once he is moving around more he seems better but he has difficulty turning. His injuries are older from the X-ray results.
You don't look into Jingle's cute brown eyes and think he is in pain. He really enjoys life. He loves the other horses. He goes out in a small area with a shed by my house so I can keep and eye on him. We have started turning him out in a bigger paddock next to Linus. He adores Linus, our miniature stallion, which is so interesting because only one other horse really likes Linus here.
We are debating what to do next with Jingle, whether to inject his knee and X-ray his coffin joints. For now we are seeing how he does with more turn out space for part of the day.
Jen Wenzel, the photographer whose photos have graced our calendars, was recently at the farm to take winter photos of the horses for our next one. I wanted her to take some shots of Jingle. Once he realized she had cookies, he just followed her around like a big puppy, making it impossible to get shots. I went in and helped her so she could get some pictures. Jingle is just so sweet and hopefully we can make him more comfortable with his lameness issues. You get the sense he knew how bad his situation was at the auction. Jingle seems to realize he is safe now and well loved.
Your support of Jingle would add to the miracle he's grateful for every day - the chance at a new life. Please sponsor him or donate to his care and help out with his vet care. More photos of Jingle can be found on his profile page.
Our Helping Hearts Spa Day was a Great Success for our Rescues!!
Several wonderful equine massage therapists, headed by Colleen McDonald of Equine Kneads, LLC, donated their time and talents to massage our rescues as well as several lesson horses and boarders' horses at Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center. HHER received a donation for every horse massaged. In addition, we held a used tack sale and sold mums and pumpkins. Several Gift Baskets were also raffled off. Over $2,500 was raised for the horses. IN Addition, the next day HHER received an extremely generous donation of $1,000.00 from Carol Stillwell, CEO of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc. Thank you so much every one for sharing our day and making it such a great success for the horses.
MER and SPCA Work on Cruelty Cases - Part 1
In early December of 2009, I was contacted for help by Agent Phil Amato from the NJ State SPCA. The owner of a hack stable in Warren County had pleaded guilty to cruelty and had to place many of his horses. Dr. Christina Watson and I went in freezing rain to evaluate the horses and draw coggins tests so they could be transported. The SPCA was not able to take in the horses, and relied on the help from Mylestone in placing them. We wanted to make sure that the horses would not end up back at an auction where many of them had originally come from.
Meet Red Ruby ... she is coming along nicely with her trust issues and has recently started back in training.
Once the process of placing the horses began, Agent Amato and I spent hours and hours over the next 30 days ensuring the horses would be placed in the most suitable homes. One of the horses, deemed extremely dangerous by the barn staff, was going to be a challenge to place. I contacted natural horsemanship trainer, Joe Williams from Gillette, and asked if he would evaluate the horse. He went out and worked with the gelding and within an hour saw great progress. This gelding was later placed in PA with another natural horsemanship trainer instead of facing euthanasia.
A couple of people who had known the horses expressed interest in wanting to adopt them. One of the other geldings was not in good shape, and was fortunate in going to a very devoted home close by. Another gelding succumbed to colic and had to be put down. A crippled mare ended up finding a wonderful home through COLLEEN, a friend of Mylestone’s. The mare is now treated like a queen in her new home with Jo Ann.
Mylestone assisted Phil in placing two of the other horses. One younger mare's home fell through and she was left without a place to go. Mylestone stepped in and took Red Ruby; she is currently being boarded in PA in our foster home. She is very timid, but is coming around slowly. In time, we hope to have her adopted out .
This was truly a heroic effort with wonderful results thanks to everyone involved.
Note: We are not adding Red Ruby to the horses available for sponsorship at this time, as we are hoping to find her a new home. However, your helping out in the expenses of her care would be greatly appreciated, so please donate today and help our lovely and lucky Red Ruby. If interested in adopting Red Ruby, please contact us.
Read about the Hero to Animals Award given to MER President and Founder, Susankelly Thompson, by the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey.
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant but has forgotten the gift.
Just a Horse
If you're not a "horse person", maybe this will help you understand me...If you are a "horse person" pass this on.
From time to time, people tell me,"lighten up, it's just a horse", or "that's a lot of money for "just a horse".
They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a horse". Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a horse".
Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a horse", but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a horse",and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a horse" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it's "just a horse" then you will probably understand phrases like "just a friend", "just a sunrise" or "just a promise".
"Just a horse" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.
"Just a horse" brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person.
Because of "just a horse" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly into the future.
So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a horse" but and embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.
"Just a horse" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand thats it's not "just a horse",but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a woman".
So the next time you hear the phrase "just a horse", just smile, because they "just" don't understand.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right.. Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)