When thoroughbred racehorses are retired, most people assume they spend the rest of their lives enjoying quiet green pastures.
But each year thousands are shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico to be sold for meat.
In August, Warwick residents Barbara Fontaine and Jane Gyulavary joined Goshen farm owner Kay O’Hanlon Myruski to help address that issue and shelter horses, mules and other animals from acts of cruelty and abuse.
Today, Iron Horse Sanctuary Inc. is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit home to six mules, 20 horses, five goats, three pigs, eight cats and one calf.
Fontaine, co-founder and chief financial officer, has 26-year agricultural background in sales operations, supply chain management, balanced scorecards and strategic management.
Gyulavary, a widow of 9/11, said she knows tragedy, abandonment and survival. She, too, is an animal advocate, a passion she shares with Fontaine, her business associate.
They have been working together for the better part of five years on various marketing and public relations projects.
As Iron Horse Sanctuary director of donor and public relations, Gyulavary brings more than 30 years of experience as a New York public relations executive and fashion editor to the new venture.
Co-founder O’Hanlon Myruski, a native of England, is the Iron Horse Sanctuary's farm owner and resident animal caretaker.
She reported that her family home was always a safe haven to many unwanted and forgotten animals. After moving to the United States, she continued that tradition.
“We plan to take this to another level,” Gyulavary said. “By not only helping these animals have a better life, but by helping homeless children come and experience compassion and hands-on (experience) with the animals. This is all about compassion and giving back.”
Iron Horse Sanctuary also will host events for children, families and seniors to bond and heal alongside the animals.
“Our goal,” said Fontaine, “is to provide a long-term, consistent, safe and loving space for our animals and the people within our community of Orange County.”
In the new year, they plan to welcome Cornell Extension's Relatives as Parents Program, the Tabernacle Church of Middletown youth program and Honors of Middletown family and youth shelters.
“We are looking for donors to help us reach our $50,000 farm improvements initiative by Jan. 15," she said. “Funds will go directly toward new run-in sheds and a six-stall row barn.”
Companies, foundations and individuals interested in donating either money or resources or both may contact Fontaine at 917-647-0520 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.