October 2016 Team Member Highlight: Jill Clarke

THE HORSE SINGER – From singing to sewing, this team member does it all!
Have you ever seen The Sound of Music? Imagine Maria von Trapp gracefully wandering
through Red Bucket, singing soothing melodies to our four legged guests. Now open your eyes
and meet team member extraordinaire Jill Clarke!
According to Cathy Hessman, Jill Clarke is one of the sweetest people you could know. “She
truly loves and cares deeply about our horses,” Cathy explains. “Jill helps in so many ways at the
Ranch. She turns out horses, meticulously grooms them and lovingly tends to their first aid
needs. Oh, and she sings to the horses while she grooms them….they love it! We also benefit
from Jill’s special talent at sewing. She sews everything from hand towels to sell in the Visitors
Center to hock covers for Olaf. We so appreciate all that Jill does for Red Bucket.”
Jill came to Red Bucket in the early days when there were just 8 rescue horses at Huntington
Central Park Equestrian Center. Although she had no equine background, she has always been
fond of horses. “I am in awe of the grand and magnificent horse!” she shares with me. “I love
Western genres and it was always my dream to one day work with horses. That dream came true
when a friend told me about Red Bucket Equine Rescue in Huntington Beach, where I signed up
to help volunteer with fundraisers and washing buckets, since I had no horse experience. At first
there were 8 buckets; then one Saturday there were 50! After washing buckets, I would visit our
horses and feed them carrots. One day Susan Peirce asked if I would like a grooming tutorial on
Jack. Well, I was over the moon! Susan and all the team members graciously led me through
Red Bucket’s procedures for grooming, hand walking, and turnouts. Jack was also a fabulous
teacher, and I treasure every minute I spent with him at Red Bucket.”
“My duties today include grooming, hand walking, turnouts, first aid, treats and kisses,” Jill
continues, “serving in whatever capacity needed. It is my pleasure to care for Olaf’s hocks, to
administer first aid to Autumn, to rub liniment on Deaglan’s joints, and to visit Buffy and Joey
because we shared a love for Jack. I could fill volumes with all of our horses who make my time
at the Ranch heaven on earth. I thank Susan Peirce for trusting me with their care and teaching
me so much. I thank my fellow team members and friends that have been so incredible with
sharing their knowledge and lending their support. I am very grateful to be just a small part of
Red Bucket’s amazing journey.”
Team member Sandy Brimer elaborates on Jill’s special skills: “She is such an asset to Red
Bucket and is so dedicated to our horses. She dotes on Olaf and Autumn who both require
special care. Jill has a lovely singing voice and you’ll always hear her singing to our special
residents while caring for them. She is so warm and friendly and always willing to lend a
helping hand when you need one. It’s a pleasure to volunteer beside her!”
Susan elaborates on Jill’s dedication to our cause: “Jill is one of those extraordinary team
members who created her own niche at the Ranch; we just LOVE her! She was one of the
original team members in Huntington Beach; she knew nothing about horses but wanted to help
so she started cleaning buckets every Saturday morning. She spent HOURS cleaning those
buckets! We went from 8 buckets to 77 within about 5 months, and she would always find time
to feed carrots after cleaning the buckets. She is very mature and serious, yet she has the most
delightful wonderment when working with the horses, an almost childlike fascination and awe of
our magnificent residents. When I convinced her to start working hands on with the horses, she
took to grooming like a fish to water. She has such a passion for our mission, she even
embroiders towels for the horses!”
Although Jill cares for ALL of our horses, she has a soft spot for two in particular. Team
member Carol DeMott explains: “Jill is so dedicated to the horses, especially Olaf and Autumn!
She is a talented seamstress and makes Olaf’s hock covers herself so they fit him better than
those you could purchase.”
“Autumn is also a recipient of Jill’s gentle loving care,” Carol continues. “You will often hear her
singing or humming a tune for the horse as she’s grooming, followed by the occasional treat.
Besides her obvious horse skills, Jill is quite creative and talented with a sewing machine! I have
purchased kitchen towels which she designs and embroiders herself, and she makes earrings and
a host of other items, all to raise money for Red Bucket! Jill is a dear person who gives so much
to the horses and shares so much with other team members like me!”
Jill explains why she is so committed to our cause: “I have been around for most of our rescue
stories and will never understand how any human can ever abuse, mistreat, abandon, or starve a
horse or a donkey. It is an honor to be a Red Bucket team member and play a small part in
rescuing, building trust, and rehabilitating our wonderful equines. It warms my heart when a
horse finds a forever loving home. I believe the horse is an incredible gift to mankind and
should be cherished and treated with respect.”
And this is why we cherish Jill!! For her endless empathy and constant kindness, Jill exudes and
exemplifies the Red Bucket mission both on and off the Ranch! Thank you Jill for your
impactful contribution to our cause.