THE REAL QUESTION, when you gently approach a horse you're meeting for the first time, is whether you'll long to pat his flank or stroke his mane or offer a carrot or simply do some cooing or speak gentle words, the better to set the beauty at ease. What's not a question is whether you'll interact in a present and emotional way, because our equine pals, even the brand-new ones we're just getting to know, have a way of puddling an animal aficionado right on the spot. Maybe it is the flick of a tail or the turn of an ear, or the pony's expressive eyes, but many people become puddles in a pony's presence. But where will you next meet a horse? And how can you become more engaged in the equine world, even if you yourself don't often ride? The Golden State boasts several farms and sanctuaries that care for and protect ponies, some that have been mistreated, others injured, all with a complicated back story and, very often, a complicated heart because of the experience. Enter places like Red Bucket Equine Rescue, of Chino Hills, and founder Susan Peirce, who has cared for hundreds of horses, and untangled their stories and paved their brighter futures, since 2008. The non-profit hosts a fundraiser every year, as it will again on Saturday, Oct. 24, complete with an early-in-the-evening Ranch Tour for VIP ticket holders.
DENIM AND DIAMONDS... is the dress code -- that's pretty sartorially spunky, we say -- and attendees at the Ruby Red Gala will get a chance to bid on auction items, dance to the live music, and nosh on a tasty supper from King's Seafood Company. A special sneak peek at an upcoming horse rescue film is also promised, in addition to other nice touches. The funds raised go to supporting the mission to "rescue desperate and deserving horses," and to caring for those beautiful beings once they trot into the Chino Hills preserve. If you can't make the Oct. 24 party, but you'd like to visit the ranch and gaze into a pony's expressive eyes -- make that the expressive eyes of many ponies -- there are visiting hours on Sunday afternoons. Have you been polishing your horse-ese? You don't have to full-on neigh, in greeting, but a little soft cooing in their presence does wonders, both for the animal and the cooer.