Our director, Valerie Buck, has had a passion for animals that dates back to sneaking orphaned kittens into her closet as a child as well as raising mallard ducklings, robins, and baby squirrels with her compassionate parents. Valerie’s parents nurtured her love for horses and surprised her with a pony on Christmas eve when she was 12 years old.
While many girls’ love for horses fades through time, Valerie spent 28 years after high school working in some the top thoroughbred racing stables in the country, guiding many of the best equine athletes of her lifetime through their morning workouts on the track.
In 2011 Valerie said goodbye to the racing industry and with some dedicated friends, started a non-profit organization to retrain and re-home thoroughbreds for new careers, called ACTT Naturally. Within the organization the thoroughbreds participate in Equine Facilitated Learning Programs designed to help Women,Veterans, and Teens deal with PTSD, Trauma, and other life altering struggles.
On her humble little farm in Upstate New York started a dream come true, rescuing horses, dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, rabbits, and even chickens.
Valerie and Gunbir Sethi Gauba met and found themselves kindred spirits, on the same mission, and joined forces to create the H.E.A.L. Sanctuary.
“Everyday I draw from my experience of having worked for elite trainers in the thoroughbred racing industry, they taught me more than just great horsemanship. I saw firsthand the discipline, drive and passion it takes to reach the top of the game. I carry those ethics with me.”