February 2017 Team Member Highlight: Alexandra and Felicia Stears

Like Mother Like Daughter

A shared passion for animal welfare led this mother/daughter team to Red Bucket, a

day we are all grateful for!

It’s one thing to dedicate yourself to a cause; it’s another to completely immerse

yourself in its mission. Meet Alexandra and Felicia Stears, a charismatic

mother/daughter team who have made quite a splash at Red Bucket!

According to the duo, mom Alexandra was searching online for an animal rescue group

to volunteer with when she came across Red Bucket Equine Rescue in nearby Chino

Hills. “My mother was the one who found Red Bucket, and we immediately set up a

Sunday tour to check the place out and fell in love pretty quickly,” Felicia recalls. “I

remember two horses in particular who really stuck in my head, Baldwin and Callum.

Although I never had the pleasure of getting to know either, hearing their stories

touched me and I wanted to be a part of the organization that had given them their

second chance. I was very impressed to see how dedicated, hard working and kind the

team members were to these wonderful animals.”

Alexandra explains how her endeavor to serve with her daughter began. “A love of

animals and in particular horses is something my daughter Felicia and I have in

common. When I found Red Bucket online and read how well the rescue is run, we

decided to check it out. Susanna Woeste was our tour guide and I was impressed with

how passionate she was about Red Bucket and their horses. Hearing about the lives of

many of the horses prior to coming to Red Bucket was heartbreaking. I was impressed

with how clean the Ranch was and how friendly many of the horses were, in spite of

their prior lives. I knew that the hard working team members were a key factor to the

horses’ physical and emotional well-being. I wanted to be a part of that; to help horses,

and to feel the honor and privilege of being a part of this organization whose sole

purpose is to nurture the horses.”

And so began a great adventure for this dynamic team! As they grew within the group,

a set-back occurred at the Ranch. Diana Harper had an unexpected leave of absence

and Alexandra and Felicia stepped up to fill her boots. “This mother and daughter team

are just the BEST!!” Diana shares. “Here are two gals who came in with no knowledge

of horses. They stepped right in and filled in for any days that needed to be filled. I can

count on them for anything and everything! They never make decisions based on

guessing, and they are always concerned that everything is done well. They are

wonderful, caring ladies that will do what is required of them, they are dedicated to

serving us AND the horses.”

Nadia Bridges also sings praises: “Alexandra Stears does night feeding a couple times

a week. She is very good at making sure all the buckets have the right ingredients

inside for each horse. She is great about asking questions if she doesn’t know for sure,

and she is very sweet and loving to the horses. Felicia is excellent at asking very good

questions and soaks up everything we teach her each day. Her personality is sweet,

observant, and caring-towards both the horses and other team members. She helps

with grooming and turnouts a couple times a week. They are both outstanding and

amazing women that help make things perfect at the Ranch the horses own.”

Felicia takes her duties very seriously. “I help with turnouts, grooming, blanketing and

am learning how to dispense medicine. It’s wonderful to see how happy and playful

some of the horses are when they are turned out for a bit. Watching them race around

the corrals, kicking and jumping, is very gratifying to watch. Grooming is also very

enjoyable. It’s allowed me to get to know individual horses better and to experience a

whole new level of intimacy. Some really enjoy it and don’t want you to stop, while

others not so much. But these horses always end up teaching me a lesson either about

myself or how to handle them or just about their behavior and how I should act.”

Alexandra is equally enthralled with her role at the Ranch: “I am part of the evening feed

crew three nights a week. Depending which night, I work with Andrea, Diana, Tracy,

Bob, Lisa, Erin and Janelle. Being part of the feed crew is fulfilling for me because the

horses, mules and donkeys are excited to see me since I am giving them their feed

buckets. It always puts a smile on my face to see the horses pop their heads out of

their stalls or paddocks when we approach with our stacks of feed buckets. You cannot

beat the reception when we head to the winter barn and Mr. Rodgers announces our

arrival with his very loud, musical hee-haw…..it’s priceless! The feed crew duties are

fulfilling for me because it gives me an opportunity to interact with almost each and

every equine on the Ranch. I am able to get to know each horse/donkey/mule and start

to understand their unique personalities.”

Andrea Velarde enthusiastically explains why this twosome is indispensable. ”This

mother daughter team is the most efficient and dependable duo, always eager to help

and always bringing a sunny, positive disposition to the Ranch. They really stepped up

to help on the feed crew when Diana was sidelined; they’ve become essential team

members since then.”

It’s not just the horses that impact and motivate the Stears. “There is so much about our

mission that I admire,” Felicia confides to me. “But what I respect the most is how truly

dedicated we are to these animals. Once a Red Bucket horse, always a Red Bucket

horse. If Red Bucket commits to take one in then it is guaranteed safety and love for the

rest of its life. We take the time and care needed to rehabilitate them and to find them

that perfect forever home. The adoptive process is thorough and rigorous so that when

a horse is adopted, we are confident they will be loved and cared for properly and

forever. We don’t just give horses away to the first person who walks in just to get them

off our property. I also love that even horses that are very old, sick or injured are

promised a home. If they cannot be adopted out then we will keep and cherish them for

as long as they are with us and that means a lot to me.”

Susan Peirce is grateful for the Stears’ hard work and dedication to our organization.

“They are right as rain; they really stepped up and helped out when we lost Diana

Harper temporarily. This just goes to show you how our team members forge their own

path, as they came to us with no horse experience and now are integral to the feed

crew! Their commitment is awe inspiring, and they are both very detail oriented. For

them it’s all about the horses, they serve with no grandiosity and no expectations.”

Jenon Mathes recalls chatting with Felicia one day shortly after she started. “She struck

me as a very intuitive young lady,” Jenon recounts. “She made a comment about how

she had always wanted a horse and her parents had deterred her due to the amount of

responsibility and work that was involved in caring for them. She told me on that day

she was very glad they had….she said she had no idea of the work involved and she

was grateful to learn about them. She seemed to have a genuine desire to learn-the

exact type of person I tend to latch on to! She listens intently to every detail about safe

handling and horse behavior, proper grooming, the ‘why’s’ behind the ‘Red Bucket

Way’. Even more impressive were the questions she asked. Felicia’s desire to gain

knowledge, her ability to retain it and her attention to detail are truly an asset and it is

not wasted. She is no doubt proving to be a very valuable part of the Red Bucket Team

and we are grateful to have her.”

For both women, working with the horses at Red Bucket is a sort of a

therapy. According to Alexandra, “They are soothing creatures I feel lucky to be

around. Especially with some of the negative things going on in the world today which

we have little control over, I feel with all that Red Bucket does and the nights I help with

feed-crew, that even though it is a drop in the bucket (no pun intended!), it does make a

difference in each equine’s life that I contribute to them living a better life, which they

well deserve.”

Everyone at Red Bucket agrees that WE are the ones that are lucky to have these

lovely ladies on our team! Thank you Alexandra and Felicia, for your dedication, your

passion, and your love for our horses.