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Tigertap and Gil are two of the resident horses living at Lucky Orhpans Horse Rescue in Dover Plains. Photo submitted

Horse shelter gets ‘Lucky’ in Dover Plains

DOVER PLAINS — Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue (LOHR) in Dover Plains is fundraising for a new and improved communications hub.

Founded in 2008, Lucky Orphans is a not-for-profit organization that gives a second life to retired horses as therapy horses, offering programs such as school visits, equine-assisted psychotherapy and equine-assisted Reiki. It is also certified by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to care for retired thoroughbred racehorses.

LOHR currently relies on a network of text messages, walkie talkies, white boards and face-to-face conversations to convey information about the horses. Founder and Executive Director Deanna Mancuso explained why this system is impractical.

“[White boards] forget to be looked at, or accidentally get wiped off,” Mancuso wrote in an email to The Millerton News. “We have [an] app on our phones, but some volunteers don’t like to keep their phones on them, or don’t have service at the farm. We send messages, and hold meetings, but not everyone can make every meeting.”

The organization is hoping to transition to a centralized system of touch screen tablets installed in “pertinent areas of the farm.” These tablets would run the software Hippovibe, a communications platform specifically designed for horse management.

“This new system would keep all communication in a central location, accessible at all times, by all staff/volunteers,” Mancuso shared. “It would also be live, so once something gets added to the app, it becomes instantly accessible at each hub.”

She gave an example of how it works.

“If the vet sees a horse in the main barn, and puts him on a medication, the staff member assisting the vet would immediately put it in the app from the hub in the main barn. Instantly, the staff member in the feed room can see the update in the hub in the feed room.”

Lucky Orphans has set a fundraising goal of $5,000 to finance the project. The fundraiser has been shared via the organization’s email list and social media and sent to board members to forward to their personal contacts.

Mancuso emphasized the importance of updating the system to ensuring a smoother operation of the facility.

“As technology becomes more of our daily lives, horse management apps have become popular. We want to give access to all the staff and volunteers that take care of our horses… Having this valuable tool will help us manage the farm, tasks and horses in a more time efficient way with better communication and better care for the horses,” she said.

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