About Us

careen-catcherHi there and welcome to our rescue website. I appreciate you taking the time to find out more about our dedication and love for the horses we have in our care.  The volunteers and myself strive to make sure our horses feel safe, loved and content. I want them as excited to see me as I am to see them ~whether it’s feeding time, play time or time for more serious training. May they never again feel the pangs of hunger, the  pain from abuse, or the fear of the unknown. They become cherished members of our family, always treated with the utmost of respect and consideration for their individual needs.  Whether blind as a bat and needing special dietary feeds and environmental considerations or young and energetic with the playfulness of a 2 year old, they have our commitment to enjoy a comfortable home in our sanctuary program, or  to receive training to go on to become that special riding horse for a person of their own.

As a mother of 4 adult children, I am also a therapist and social worker for the school district and am thankful for the many volunteers and board members who have joined me in helping to make the demands of  24/7 work of the rescue an ongoing possibility.  It happened quite by chance as you can read below, but it has become my life and my passion. And although I may be referred to as a rescuer of horses, it is they who rescued me in some strange and inexplicable way understood by those who have also been “rescued”.

Please feel free to e-mail or call with any questions or thoughts you may have about the rescue or about personal experiences you might like to share.  We always have horses available for placements, however, those sound, well broke, been there, done that, fit for the grandkids kind of horse–is rare to come by and easily placed.  I am happy to help network with people desiring a certain kind of horse to fit their need, and many times can connect them with someone looking to place a horse into a good home.


And I always encourage people to educate themselves about the harsh realities of horses still  being slaughtered in MX and Canada for human consumption overseas. If you are willing to take some risk, you may find just the horse you are looking for at a local auction who desperately needs a home.

And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew his breath upon it, and created the horse. ~ Bedouin legend

Thank you for visiting our site~Careen

Located on 40 acres of rolling hills overlooking the Wakarusa Valley in NE KS, Shooting Star provides a safe haven for 15-20 equines. Shooting Star began operating in 2001 as “Rock’n Horse Rescue”, a private rescue operated by Careen Cain,  who lives on the farm with her husband and numerous pets. “Rock’n Horse” evolved by chance after a student of Careen’s asked for her help with her family’s horses, as she was concerned. Upon visiting, Careen found 50 reg. QH from a large breeding operation that had been badly starved and without water. One had recently died and other remains were observed. After many phone calls to authorities, legal folks and anyone who would listen, 23 in the worst shape were initially surrendered by the owner upon pressure from animal conrol. (The remainer were provided “free” to his local community within a month.)Another 50 had already been shipped to slaughter.

The catch??? The county had no place to put them, no money to care for them and was convinced they shouldn’t pursue it criminally for he may get them back. So……all 23 were officially surrendered through the sheriff’s dept. to Careen and calls to all of her horse buddies insured horses went to homes willing to work on rehabilitation and eventual adoption if desired. Careen, who had been peacefully living with just one trail horse as an adult, now was faced with this overwhelming responsibility and did a crash course on educating herself about the care and rehab of the rescue horse, as well as began learning about the horrors of slaughter. The rescue formally incorporated in Aug. 2008 as Buckshot’s Legacy, Shooting Star Equine Rescue, Inc. to honor Buckshot, Careen’s first horse as a child. She was able to purchase Buckshot, an overworked cowboy’s horse, after earning $150 painting street numbers for neighbors at $ 1.00 each when she was 12.

As an IRS designated  501 (c)(3)public charity , all donations are tax deductable. Our mission is to offer rescue, rehabilitation and adoption to abused or neglected equines through owner surrender or seizure through animal control. Slaughter bound equines are also rescued through auction or directly from the KB when possible. Many equines come to us in need of intensive care both physically and mentally, requiring many months of loving care & training to rebuild strength, trust,and skills which will help them become more adoptable. Daily contact to encourage a healthy body, mind and spirit involves many nurturing and stimulating activities. Safety and a high standard of care (medical, farrier, proper nutrition, vaccinations, worming, etc.) are essential. Rescue horses and donkeys are given the same love, attention, and quality care that Careen’s 2 personal horses receive. All have access to pasture(hay when necessary), a barn or shelter, and are grained daily. Several smaller paddocks and a large foaling stall are available for special situations. Several orphan foals, including a NMF, have called Shooting Star their home. Catcher(a NMF), now one of Careen’s personal horses, was transported from KY when he was only a week old in 2003. Due to blindness, medical issues, or geriatric needs, a few horses will remain at Shooting Star as sanctuary horses. Otherwise, a strict  placement contract with references, a home check, and thorough assessment process is required for all placements. All horses will return to SS if unable to remain with their placement family, unless other arrangements are approved.There is a NO BREEDING policy and gelding is required on all colts. Owner education for horse care including safety and nutritional guidelines are also provided.

Our mission also includes community education and advocacy of equine issues which support healty equine care and humane treatment. Shooting Star Equine Rescue, Inc. is against the slaughter of equines under any circumstance. Owner responsibility and accountability is expected in situations when equines must be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian. We are also strong advocates to insure prosecution in animal abandonment/cruelty cases as well supporting any legislation creating harsher penalties for offenders.

We believe anyone having knowledge of cruelty or neglect to an animal has an obligation to report it to the proper authorities.

Volunteers are encouraged to participate in many capacities, and visitors are always welcome. There are 2 foster facilities for emergency overflow situations, but it is preferred for all rescue equines to reside at the Wakarusa location when possible.

Shooting Star is proud to have been verified through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries in 2012, meaning we have completed a thorough verification process including a site visit, approval of paperwork and documentation that we are in compliance with and adhering to expected standards of quality equine care as identified by the GFAS.  http://www.sanctuaryfederation.org/gfas/about-gfas/