Pamela Rickenbach co-founded Blue Star Equiculture in 2009 with friends in Philadelphia wanting to create a permanent home for retired carriage horses. With many years experience working alongside first nations people in sharing their messages to the world with National Geographic senior editor and author Harvey Arden, Pamela wanted to include indigenous native people’s wisdom in developing a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to restoring our connection to our “working” equine friends. From the beginning of operating our farm native peoples and traditional horse people from all over the world have contributed their thoughts about how to go about reconnecting a community whether local, national or global to their horses with pride, respect and compassion. Pamela has lived on the farm from the beginning in 2009 and will always be available to help build and share this amazing mission with whoever feels drawn to be involved and help care for it.
Dr. Steve Purdy, DVM
Steve Purdy received his DVM degree in 1981 from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. He has been engaged in large animal clinical practice since that time. He is the President of Nunoa Project Peru, a non-profit organization committed to the improvement of health and well-being of animals and people in the southern Peruvian highlands. He works in Peru with improving camelid production and providing education programs for producers. He is also Director of the North American Camelid Studies Program in the US, and is very interested in the preventive medicine aspects of the management of camelids. His special interests include reproduction and infectious diseases of farm animal species. He is a board member and strong advocate for two equine rescues: Blue Star Equiculture in MA and Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue in NH. Dr. Purdy is committed to teaching practical large animal subjects to farmers, students, and veterinarians. He is involved in practical educational projects which promote improvement of camelid and equine health.
Suzanne Strempek Shea
Suzanne Strempek Shea grew up across the river from Blue Star and now lives right up the road, which makes travel for a session of volunteering very easy. A former newspaper reporter, she’s written five novels and six nonfiction books, plus numerous freelance pieces for newspapers and magazines including The Boston Globe, The Irish Times, Yankee, Down East and Bark. She’s currently at work on A Year at Blue Star, a book that will feature her essays paired with paintings by acclaimed local artist and Blue Star volunteer, Susan Tilton Pecora. Suzanne also is writer in residence and director of the writing program at Bay Path University, and a member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing. Her website is www.suzannestrempekshea.com
Ariel is owner of NYC Carriage Trade in New York. His horses are NYC carriage horses and beloved members of his family. BSE began working with Ariel during our hosting of Chief Arvol Looking Horse’s prayer for the carriage horses in March 2013. Ariel was raised and lived on a Kibbutz in Israel before coming to settle in America with his wife Tilda. Ariel has lived and worked in NYC for over 25yrs, raising his children, sending them to college and helping along countless other family and friends through the years with the help of his horses. Ariel has been involved in work cultivating peace around the world. BSE and Ariel have since partnered in bringing elders like Phillip Whitman Jr and his wife Lynette Two Bulls to share their “Medicine Wheel Model,” a workshop that helps develop balance and clarity and clear communication with horses and humans. Ariel is an adviser and helper with urban horses, middle eastern horse culture, peacekeeping and community building workshops that use the horse as teacher and partners in building a better future for all.
Felicia is a long-time horse lover and has found fulfillment in volunteering her time at Blue Star. A former federal bank examiner for over 26 years, Felicia has a strong financial background combined with a Master of Science in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University. Her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, is from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Upon having the idea to create a sanctuary Pamela reached out to her “boss” at the time, Linda Kramer, the manager of 76 Carriage Co. in Philadelphia.
Pamela respected Linda’s knowledge and experience of the working horse world and wanted to know if what we wanted to create was something that could or should be done. Linda agreed and has been working and consulting with BSE ever since. Her wisdom and sensitivity to the kind of issues that arise from publicly handling working horses and running one of the most successful urban stables in the country inspires us all and the many young up and coming teamsters on our farm. Linda is former President of CONA, Carriage Operators of North America (http://cona.org), a collective of horse powered businesses all over the country and into Canada.
We have learned a lot from Linda and are sure to learn more and more as we carry on working together creating a sanctuary with a very important purpose, to be there for our working horses in need.
In 2014, Linda and Mike Slocum of 76 Carriage Co. sent a brand new carriage for Josie, Mario and Pam, so that we could compete in the carriage class at the World Percheron Congress in West Springfield. We finished third in the world! A perfect outcome for the hard work we have done together through the early years of growing our new organization and the strength BSE has with it’s horse community behind it.
Tommy Doyle is a long time friend of Blue Star Equiculture, he is also a long time herd member. He is always available for consultation and is always doing his best to help represent working horses everywhere. Tommy has the kind of life style and business that many young people we meet are interested in pursuing and like so many of the NYC drivers, he makes himself available to help mentor in any way he can.
Tommy is a former President of CONA (Carriage Operators of America) and very active member of the South Carolina Horse Council. Tommy runs one of the most successful urban stables in America. Established in 1972, Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage company in historic Charleston, S.C. Still family-owned and operated by the Doyle’s, the company offers guided horse and mule-drawn tours of Charleston’s downtown and residential historic district for the thousands of visitors hoping to take in the charm and history of the city in a more authentic way.
The Palmetto Carriage “herd” is made up of 35 mules, 20 horses, two goats, and six chickens. The “Big Red Barn” in downtown Charleston comfortably holds up to 28 animals in large box stalls. The barn is also a historical landmark, the Doyle family remains steadfast in keeping their barn and animals in the place where they are woven into so much of early American history.
If you are ever in Charlestown please stop by for a visit and tell them Blue Star sent you! You will be treated like the honored guest they believe all are! Another proud and happy horse people, living and working with their horses and mules and providing inspiration and joy while sharing their beloved city and it’s amazing history.
For more information visit www.palmettocarriage.com.