Recycling efforts help horses and veterans

Rachael Tanzer gathers recyclables to help fund the Pegasus Rising organization that partners horses with military veterans as therapy.

Recycling efforts help horses and veterans

Thanks to an idea for a school community service project, recycling can help a local organization that focuses on horse or equine therapy and military veterans.

“We are required to do a community service project at my school,” explained 11-year old Rachael Tanzer. “Since I own a horse and come from a military family, I thought this was the perfect project for me.”

The horse therapy is part of the Pegasus Rising organization whose website notes one of its primary efforts is “Partnering horses with humans to heal our U.S. military personnel who are reintegrating back into their civilian lives.”

“The recyclables pay for the feed for the horses and any extra help to pay for vet bills,” Tanzer said. “The horses are then used for therapy whereby veterans and military personnel can pet and comb them or give them treats. These are veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

The project is a win-win for everyone.

“Every can and bottle counts,” said Rachael’s mother, Wendy Tanzer, who served six-years in the military (her husband served 23-years). “They provide food and care for the horses who in turn help our veterans heal.”

Rachael began riding horses at an early age and sees that passion as possibly leading to a career. She is a regular competitor in the Poway Rodeo in junior barrel racing.

“I have been riding horses for over half my life,” she said. “One day I would like to be an equine veterinarian and if that doesn’t work out, then perhaps a medical doctor.”

While the project is intended to last the entire school year, Rachael is planning to keep it going into the summer months and possibly beyond.

“Our goal this year is to break last year’s dollar amount which was $3,000 and I think we are going to do it,” she said. “I also plan to get my dad more involved by crushing cans.”

Local residents can help. Only those recyclables that have a California CRV label can be accepted. Typically, this means soda and beer cans along with bottles which held water.

“Lots of people want to give us wine bottles, but they cannot be redeemed for cash,” Wendy said. “We are not a recycling center ourselves so we do not accept items like cardboard, paper and other materials that people may associate with recycling itself.”

Recycling is labor intensive, and this project is no exception. At the moment, the primary collection point is the Tanzer family garage. However, they also do pickups and have people in the Scripps Ranch community who help with the collection process, too.

When enough recycled items have been received, they are loaded into the Tanzer Dodge Ram pickup and taken to Pegasus Rising where the Director, President and CEO Gary Adler takes them to a recycling center and redeems them for cash.

“Sometimes people feel guilty because they may only have a few soda cans to donate but again, every can and bottle helps and makes a difference,” Wendy explained.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or help with the effort may email Wendy Tanzer, For more information on Pegasus Rising, visit

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