Co-Founder: Joy Aten
Joy Aten, one of the co-founders of Saving Baby Equine Charity, has had horses as part of her family for over 20 years, but her love for them has been life-long. Shortly after the creation of CANTER in 1997, she became a volunteer and executive board member. Her responsibilities as chair of the rescue's Track Committee at Great Lakes Downs in Michigan took her to the barn area "backside" weekly for six months of the year. In the shedrows, she became aware of the dark side of racing and of what happens too often to the noble creature that is the very heart of the racing industry.
Aten devoted nine years of service to CANTER Michigan, working with the owners and trainers, encouraging them to sell or donate their "used-up" horses to CANTER as opposed to sending them to slaughter, then rehabilitating and retraining the off-the-track Thoroughbreds. She remains active through personal and group efforts in the rescue and placement of retired racehorses, and in the rescue and placement of horses of all breeds from negligent owners and from the direct-to-slaughter pens at auctions. She is an active member of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition and is on the advisory board of the documentary, Saving America's Horses – A Nation Betrayed.
In addition to her equine work, Aten has practiced 20-plus years as a health-care professional, previously providing direct patient care as a specialized oncology registered nurse at Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and currently as a nursing shift administrator at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, Michigan.
Along with her human family of four children and 10 grandchildren, her immediate "relatives" include five horses, three of which were racing Thoroughbreds. Says Aten: "Greenwish, Saucon Creek, and Jugamoney came off the track injured, worn-out, and used-up. Sharing their lives – looking at them every day – is a constant reminder that there are thousands of horses just like them. Daily across this country, Thoroughbred racehorses are giving of their very bodies for the financial gain of their owners and trainers. As if that is not enough, thousands give their lives on the slaughterhouse floors."
Joy lives by the credo: "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."
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