The Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards Program is designed to recognize the accomplishments of specific breeds in dressage, with awards presented to horses declared for a participating registry/organization (PO) with USDF. One of these organizations is extra special – instead of being dedicated to a specific breed, it is devoted to rescue horses of all breeds. As part of our celebration of Rescue Horse Month on YourDressage, we interviewed Anna Schriebl to learn about the International Rescue Horse Registry and find out what it’s doing to promote these amazing equines.
What first drew you to rescue horses?
I’ve loved horses and animals since I was a child, and have always been drawn to the ones that needed extra help – the downtrodden and neglected ones. A friend of mine started a horse rescue and I saw so many nice horses that just needed a chance to show what they could do and the kind training needed for them to show exactly that.
Tell us about how you decided to start the International Rescue Horse Registry?
I was brainstorming with my hubby on our front porch one day and was trying to think of how we could get people to consider a rescue horse as a sport and show partner. Since many people like a breed registry to belong to, I decided to create one for rescues.
Describe the International Rescue Horse Registry, what it does, its goals, etc?
We give rescue horses a registry “home”. We also have a year-end awards program that includes pretty much every discipline from dressage to western pleasure to trail, and many others. We even have a “pasture pal” category for horses that are adopted as companions. We register the horses and provide support as needed to our membership. When our membership is large enough, we give scholarships ($100-$200); we’ve been able to do that twice. All of the membership fees go back into year end awards, scholarships, the USDF All Breeds Participating Organization fees, or grants to rescues. There are no paid positions; everything is volunteer and mainly my husband and I do the work. All of the membership fees go back to member programs.
Approximately many horses per year are registered with the International Rescue Horse Registry (or total number currently registered, whichever you prefer to share)?
Our membership changes from year to year. We usually have 50-100 horses.
What are the benefits of registering a horse with the International Rescue Horse Registry?
The USDF All Breeds Awards is a big one! Our registry gives owners a chance to campaign their rescues for IRHR year end awards and a sense of pride. So many of our members take in horses that are challenges, and they do such loving and wonderful work with them to progress their training!
Tell us a little about your history with horses. When did you start riding, what disciplines, etc?
I’ve been riding since before I could walk, from what my family has told me. As a kid, I started bareback with the horses no one else wanted and when I got to Germany (I was in the Army), I had my first real riding lesson. We always worked our horses in dressage – no matter their actual discipline. I competed in dressage and showjumping there, and earned my German FN Bronze Riding Medal. I was incredibly blessed to have trained regularly with a trainer from the Spanish Riding School while I was in Germany as well. I’m continuing my education with classical trainers here in America, and have two personal horses at home that I’m training, and my hubby’s quarter horse who is retired.
What would you most want people to know about rescue horses? Any myths you feel need busted?
Rescue horses are not “broken” or “crazy”. They are let down by the people who didn’t care for them along the way. I’ve seen cases where a former Grand Prix dressage horse and another upper-level dressage horse were what I call “Mercy Buys” to get them out of a bad situation. These horses were highly trained but ended up getting neglected when they needed the maintenance and special care that comes with aging and the demands of high-level support.
What resources would you recommend for someone looking to adopt a rescue horse?
Look to reputable rescues. Definitely ask around for information – your equine vet can be an excellent resource, as can local trainers. Equine online chat groups can help steer you as well. The main thing is to do thorough research and know what you want. Many reputable rescues will allow you to ride and get to know the horse at the rescue, and will allow you to return the horse if he or she is not the right match since they want to ensure the safety of the horse.
Why was it important to you that the International Rescue Horse Registry became a participating organization in the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards Program?
It was so important to erase the stigma of the rescue horses. The USDF has been so supportive in letting people know we exist and that means the world to my hubby and I. This is truly a labor of love, and we are so excited and proud when we see an IRHR member win a USDF award! It also gives our members a way to showcase the hard work and love they’ve poured into their beloved rescue. We have such wonderful members and IRHR horses!
Are there other equestrian sports, aside from dressage, that horses registered with your organizations can participate in to earn awards?
Our list right now is: Competitive Trail, Dressage, Hunter , English Pleasure, Jumper, Eventing, Driving, Western Pleasure, Saddleseat , Team Roping, Reining, Western Dressage, Team Penning/Cutting/Cattle Horse Events, Barrel Racing, Para-Equestrian, Showing In-Hand/Halter, Therapy Horse, Pasture Pal/Companion Animal
We also accept requests from our membership for other categories.
Tell us about Patriot Farm LLC and how it ties into the International Rescue Horse Registry?
Patriot Farm LLC is the main sponsor of the IRHR. When the IRHR fees don’t cover IRHR programs, Patriot Farm LLC (owned by Marty and I) steps in to cover costs.
Tell us anything else this questionnaire didn’t cover that you’d like to share with our readers.
The IRHR also offers membership for rescue workers, and reduced fees for a second horse registration. We are so proud of the work we do, and the horses and members we serve!
The IRHR membership letter and our IRHR brochure