Saunders, Real Estate, Hamptons

Hamptons Life

Nov 9, 2010 5:23 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Animals Blessed At Amaryllis

Nov 9, 2010 5:23 PM

In what was described as a recognition of the role horses have played in the East End Community, the Amaryllis Farm Learning Center Sanctuary in Sagaponack held a Blessing of the Animals Harvest Festival on Saturday.

The Reverend Tim Lewis of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Bridgehampton arrived shortly before noon for the first event of its kind at the farm and walked the sanctuary grounds, greeting festival attendees and delivering a message of peace. Reverend Lewis bestowed benedictions on the farm’s rescued horses, chickens, ducks, pigs, a bevy of rabbits and even one rotund goat named “Clarabelle.”

“It isn’t just wishing them well,” he said in explaining the ceremony, “but, also to bring awareness to horse welfare.” Reverend Lewis stopped to pet most of the farm’s animals and spoke about working animals’ service to mankind. “These animals have given so much, many of these horses have helped to save lives working with the police department, and most have, at one point, made their owners money whether through farming or racing. It is important to recognize that.”

As with many nonprofit organizations, Amaryllis experienced remarkable financial challenges in 2010, and although the sanctuary hosted two high-profile fundraisers this year, neither was successful. With food, medical care and general maintenance needed for more than 50 horses and no money in the coffers, Amaryllis’s owner Christine Distefano is worried.

“We needed a blessing of not just our animals, but for the organization,” she said. “This is a crucial time for us going into the winter. Right now, it is a day-to-day operation. Horse rescue is the most under-supported animal charity on the East End, and right now we need a lot of help.”

The equine rescue’s mission is to intercept former service horses, ponies and mules that are bound for the slaughterhouse and find them loving homes, while offering a permanent sanctuary to those animals that cannot be placed in adoptive homes because they are too old, infirm or have behavioral problems. Animals are now kept at seven different East End locations, but Ms. Distefano hopes the organization will soon find one central location for her brood.

Ms. Distefano said her situation is dire because of a lack of donations. The last benefit reaped $38,000 in contributions, but cost $40,000 to host. Celebrity benefits, although glamorous for the couture-clad guests, often yield little to no profit for the charity they are organized to help, she said, with a large portion of the benefit’s take absorbed by event planners, celebrity guest appearances, rental fees and catering costs.

According to Ms. Distefano, the horses and other animals at Amaryllis consume $10,000 a month in hay and $7,000 in grain. The organization budgets about $500 per horse monthly, but that does not cover medical expenses, which, with many older and injured horses being cared for, can run into the thousands of dollars.

Hoping for better results this time around, the sanctuary will hold the Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue Benefit on Monday at the SoHo Grand, hosted by Calvin Klein’s muse, Carolyn Murphy. It will feature an auction of luxury items by Hermes, Marchesa and others.

For more event details, contact Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue at www.forrascal.com or at 631-537-7335.

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I have an Amaryllis rescue brought in July with severe lung disorder. after many months of extra feedings, many medicines and a lot of love this horse is now doing very well. I had to put down a 27 year old horse and happily found Christine who had the above mentioned COPD horse, living on dirt while I have grass and we had a match. it took a lot of time and energy lots of additional lunch feedings lots of medictions and especially a love for the horse and (we meaning me and christine who was ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Nov 11, 10 6:26 PM