Friday, January 7, 2022

Reins for Rescues: An Interview with Christina Hannan

 


Reins for Rescues: An Interview with Christina Hannan
by Gina McKnight
Archived from the December 2021 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission.

We all have an opportunity to help the equine community. There are thousands of rescues in the United States. Most rely on our donations to operate. There are desperate horses at the kill pens, abandoned horses in lonely country fields, and horses that have outlived their owner’s usefulness. As horse owners, we know that the cost of keeping a horse can be extreme; water, hay, grain, pasture, vet bills, farrier services, and more. To see a horse transformed from near death to its original beauty is amazing.

Like most horse lovers, I follow a lot of rescues on social media. My favorite is Reins for Rescues, a non-profit that creates a way to help horses. The proprietor, Christina Hannan, creates beautiful, braided reins and sells them to generate revenue for her rescue. I have a pair of Christina’s reins in my tack room and recommend them to everyone. I had the opportunity to connect with Christina and ask her about her horses, reins, and her rescue…

Welcome, Christina!

GM: Rescuing horses is hard work but must be very rewarding! Where do you find the horses' you rescue?
CH: When I first started rescuing horses, I would get them from the kill pen. I realized there is a lot of varying opinions on that. Once people started seeing the success stories we had, I would be contacted by word of mouth. Generally, now I am just contacted through social media when there is a horse in need! Word of mouth and local people will also contact us. We really try to help anywhere and anyhow we can!

GM: What is the process to rehome your rescues?
CH: I require an application process like most rescues, the general stuff like references etc. I also ask things like fencing, general horsekeeping questions to make sure the individual is educated on properly caring for the horse. They also need to have an adequate place to keep the horse. I also ask they send photos of where the horse will be kept. If approved, they are required to sign a contract that states no auction/kill, we get first rights and we will take the horse back no questions asked. Right now, we have a few older horses that will just live out their lives with us. I like to think we can be a sanctuary as well!

GM: I follow you on Instagram and love seeing the amazing transformations. Can you share a success story?
CH: We have had quite a few great success stories. One of my favorites would have to be an older Percheron we took on named winter. Winter was so thin, matted with manure and had a coat that was almost green! Several people mad comments that he should have been put down. I said why because he's old and skinny? He had no health issues and just was malnourished. He deserved a chance to try and to know love before dying. He lived several years with us. Gaining back full weight! Had a gorgeous white coat. He only had a few teeth and was estimated to be well over 30. He is now buried on the farm on the hill overlooking the barn! He was one of my favorites for sure. I’m glad he was able to be loved and spoiled before crossing the rainbow bridge!

GM: You are the proprietor of Reins for Rescues, with proceeds from the products you sell going to the rescue. Tell us about Reins for Rescue and how it came about.
CH: Over seven years ago I was facing back surgery. At the time I had about 14 rescues, I was working several jobs to rescue on my own. I was worried about the future of rescuing for us, so I decided why not add some fun and bright colors to the horse world! I originally rode hunter jumper, so I designed "basic reins" which is based off the English rein. That way when schooling we could have something different and fun! I never expected it to take off like it did! We have grown, improved and added so many other products as well.

GM: Your reins are soft and pretty! What is your favorite product?
CH: I really enjoy making reins, since that is my original product, it's very relaxing and almost like a therapy to me as well to help calm my mind after working my nursing job! My kids now help me design color combinations and it’s basically a family affair in our house. I also enjoy working with other small equine businesses to create matching tack sets!

GM: What is your bestseller? 
CH: Adjustable Reins! It was our first original product and the combinations that people can choose are endless! Over 400 colors plus ombres, reflective and glow in the dark make designing so much fun!

GM: What materials do you use to create your reins? How long does it take to make a pair of reins?
CH: We use paracord made in the US! I also do three things to seal the ends of our reins so they never should fray or unravel. It usually takes me about 30 minutes. Depends as long as I don't get distracted! I can do it with my eyes closed now.

GM: What horses do you personally stable? 
CH: Personally, I have a paint horse named Porter, he was a rescue from Tennessee facing auction. I use him for trails but mostly he is retired. I also have Tango, he is a TB that basically saved me after my riding accident. He does riding lessons for my timid beginners and does great with them.

GM: Where can we find your products?
CH: We are on Etsy and Reinsforrescues.com 

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
CH: Horsemanship, I believe to me it means doing what’s best for the horse. It's more than just riding and caring for the horse. The horse is a teammate, we should learn to work well alongside with them. Being a student, always learning about them and this is a lifelong process. Never stop learning from professionals and from the horse himself. Spread the joy and knowledge of horses to the younger generations as well! 

Connect with Christina…

 








 

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