Local sanctuary helps horses and 4H kids
By Taylor Kaser –
Rescuing a half ton animal is hard work, and rescuing over 15 of those animals over the last few years is even harder.
Cathy Shomber has been operating Horse Bottom Acres 4H Horse Sanctuary since 2010 and adopting horses on her own since 2003. Her farm is located on St. Rt. 95 about 5 miles east of Mt. Gilead.
Shomber adopts mostly thoroughbreds, race horses who after a few years stopped winning and then were sent to auction, usually to be bought by a horse meat company.
A 4H advisor, Shomber allows kids to “earn a horse” by working at the farm. The kids first help with cleaning then start working with horses and riding. Two of her five 4H kids will be showing at the fair this year.
Shomber began riding as kidin Morrow County, she grew up around Columbus. Her grandfather lived in Morrow County, and she used to visit and learned to ride. She thanks Forest Porter, a Mt. Gilead local, for first getting her involved with horses.
“I want to save them all.” said Shomber. Thoroughbreds are the most over bred and endangered horses, said Shomber, because after they’ve made money for their owners, they’re discarded and sent to be butchered.
Horse meat is a delicacy in many countries. But Shomber explained that many people don’t realize that horse meat is full of worm medication that stays in the body and can cause serious damage to the liver and kidneys.
Shomber saved her first horse, Tracy, after seeing an ad in a Columbus newspaper. Later her daughter worked at race track where trainers would let her know what horses were about to be auctioned.
Cathy expressed her dream of having a separate property that would serve solely as a sanctuary.
“I want them to know that this is their forever home.” said Shomber. The love and care for these horses that Shomber has is evident, and they feel the same about her, even giving her “kisses”. All of her horses are very people-friendly and come right up to you to say hi.
Shomber explained that this summer’s drought has hit hay and food prices hard. Right now 13 horses live on her farm with another being fostered at another farm. Four of her horses cannot be ridden, due to injuries they sustained while racing. Shomber calls them pasture pets.
She says she’d love to have more people become involved with the sanctuary. Though not a riding stable, people are always welcome to check out the horses and try riding.
Shomber is not a certified instructor, but says she can teach basic horse 101, including basic riding, care, and safety. Anyone interested in becoming involved with the sanctuary or just wants to come visit the horses can contact Cathy at 614–266-2294. There’s no charge or fee, but donations are greatly appreciated.