Questions for the Media

Why should you care about horses? Here are some Questions and Answers that might inspire you to write about our valuable and treasured horses and why they are important.

1. What is the name and purpose of the this organization?
The Santana Center for Equine Education and Outreach. The purpose is to provide information about the horse/horse industry and educational opportunities for the public interested in horses. We also work with rescue horses to rehabilitate them and place them into new homes.

2. Why "Santana Center"?
If you are truly lucky in your lifetime, you will meet a horse that changes your life. Through that horse, you learn that you have to leave the safety of the "This is how" book and use your inner instinct to guide you. This horse - Santana - did this for me. He taught me about communication and partnership that came from the heart - not a book or a trainer you send your horse to. With him, it all boiled down to just being me and figuring out how to ask - in a million different ways - what I wanted him to do. The bond that developed was so strong and powerful that he took me into parts of myself that I had never even known were there. When he died, the grief was overwhelming, but like all pain, rechanneling it to the positive instead of the loss, became the most important lesson.

3. What are your short and long term goals?
Short term we are trying to see where we fit in the horse world, especially in Rhode Island and in the non-profit community. There are many other organizations out there that work with rescue horses, provide information and teach about riding and horse therapy. We are discovering the unique niche we can play - conducting the horse survey for RI, developing a solutions oriented horse community.

Long term, we would like to be part of an equine center in RI, hopefully associated with a major university or extension service. The goal of information and education is front and center for the well being of the horses and the horse community.

4. What makes horses different from other pets?
Horses in our not so distant past were used strictly as farm animals-they plowed the fields, pulled the carriages and provided us with a means of faster transportation. In some cases, they still serve this role. But now, horses are a symbol of a yearning for partnership and freedom. There is an emphasis on communication, whether through riding or just being with horses. Since they are prey animals, rather than predators (like our dogs and cats), they possess strong flight responses if they sense trouble. Trust must be won through our consistent and kind actions towards the horse otherwise they barely tolerate our presence. They are great teachers about our inner and outer motives and attitudes towards life.

The primary issue associated with a horse pet is the long term commitment to the animal. Horse can live more than 30 years, often not in a ride-able state. They require specific feed and veterinary care. Many owners buy their first horse without fully understanding the financial and emotional price.

5. How are horses used?
As mentioned previously, there are still work and farm horses, however, the cost to maintain them makes them expensive alternatives to tractors. Most work horses fall under the racing and showing categories. There are professional levels, but mostly amateur and fun shows are common today. Horses are used for physical and emotional therapy centers.

Most horses in the USA today are pets. They are found in backyards, small and large stables. These are usually purchased for our kids although more and more adults are returning to their childhood dream of owning a horse.

6. What are the major horse industries in RI?
The equestrian industry really includes much more then the horses themselves. The actual activities involved with owning a horse include breeding, showing, clubs, web sites, training, veterinarian, farrier, chiropractor and many other support areas (fencing, pastures, manure removal, feed stores, etc.)

7. What are the biggest challenges for horses and horse owners in the state of RI? How do we address these obstacles?
The biggest obstacle for horses and horse owners in RI is to have a platform in which to discuss the problems that we are facing. For instance, the scarcity of local quality hay, hence, the cost of bringing it in from out of state. If we can talk about the issues together with some of the agencies, institutions and groups that can work to provide solutions, then we will make progress.

Contact Info

Kathleen Castro, President
The Santana Center
1459 Boston Neck Road
Saunderstown, RI 02874
Email: Santana Center

Phone: (401) 644-2127