Kay O'Hanlon Myruski
As a teenager growing up in the seventies my life was filled with animals. Dogs, cats, horses, chickens, the occasional fox. We didn’t use the catch words of today like ‘Save’ or ‘Rescue’, we just ‘helped’ and we ‘just did it’. My father was my mentor, his reputation for helping horses preceded him. He was a mighty letter writer with a mantra of ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. A mantra that proved to be effective. Beginning in the nineteen sixties, when I was a child, he helped stop the live shipment of horses from Ireland to Europe. He brought public awareness of the attacks by soccer hooligans on many police horses at soccer matches, this in turn led to the development of riot gear to protect those police horses. He did numerous acts of untold kindness, events that weren’t shared publicly as the advent of the internet came much later in his life. He was a letter writer and campaigner for the rights of all animals.
That need to make a difference was instilled in me and I grew up knowing about the cruelty that horses endured in foreign countries and was horrified that those same cruelties were being carried out in my home country of England. I made it my mission to continue to follow my father’s lead and continue down this path. Our family home was a safe haven to many unwanted and forgotten animals. Even after I moved to the USA in 1990 I continued to help animals and that brings me to the present.
It’s in my blood. Generations of horsemen and women run through my veins. It’s inherent, it can’t be taught, it just is. I liken it to inheriting the family business, it’s just part of what I do. Someone once asked me how many animals I have rescued. My reply is “I don’t know, I don’t count. All I know is I can never help enough”.
Iron Horse Sanctuary has been formed to continue my mission of helping animals and giving them the very best gift I can, the gift of a peaceful life, free of cruelty, abuse and fear.
Our strength is reflected in our name.
Dr. Julia Martin
Dr. Martin attended veterinary school at St. George’s University in Grenada. She originally hails from Massachusetts.
Dr Martin spent a year practicing at Kendall Road Equine Clinic in Elgin, IL furthering her education after graduation.
Dr. Martin enjoys the diversity of equine disciplines at Pine Bush Equine Services. “I can perform a lameness exam on a top-level dressage horse and go straight to a beloved pet donkey for vaccinations and routine health care.” Various breeds and disciplines keep her on her toes and keeps practice interesting.
Dr. Martin enjoys all aspects of ambulatory practice including pre-purchase exams, reproduction work, and wellness care especially with geriatric horses.
Growing up in the confines of suburbia, horses and farm animals are very few and far between. Much to the dismay of many I never played with dolls, only my toy horses. I learned by the age of 13 all of the public transportation routes and traveled for hours on the weekends and during summer vacations to a riding school several towns away. It was there that I traded work for lessons. Spending every minute possible in the saddle as a trail guide, eventually teaching when I was older.
What my family tried to convince me was a passing phase was instead a lifelong passion.
Saving animals was never a question when growing up. From stray dogs, to injured wildlife, it all came home with me. To this day, it remains the same. Stopping on roadways to save injured animals or move turtles to the correct side of the road, and many a long journey to the auctions houses and kill pens with Kay to save as many lives as possible. It is our combined strength that holds us together during these heart wrenching times, through the long drives crossing many states lines, in blinding rain and perilous blizzards to ensure the safety of our precious cargo.
Still an avid rider, with many a good story, I pass my love of animals and knowledge to others through 4H. I spent many years as an active member of Pony Club and currently serve as Vice President of the Orange County Horse Council where I continue to advise, advocate, assist and educate the equestrian community.