Rescue Horses Thrive Thanks to Grant Money
Story by Ashleigh Ranero
Nestled away in the open fields of Boulder County lives the Colorado Horse Rescue. A truly unique nonprofit organization, the Colorado Horse Rescue is home to dozens of unwanted, neglected, and abused horses. Some are old, and some are young, but all help make the Horse Rescue a place that The Community Foundation happily offers grant money.
Judy Smetana, the executive director at the Horse Rescue, runs the organization with the help of a handful of volunteer trainers. Together, they work to rehabilitate the animals and help find them adoptive homes. “There are 6,000 unwanted horses in Colorado,” explained Smetana. “Horse rescues only help 1600. That’s why our push to rehabilitate and get new horses is so big.”
Each horse residing at the facility has its own special story. Taking a tour of the Colorado Horse Rescue gives one an up-close and personal take on their journeys. Jesse, for example, is a 6-year-old horse at the organization. He has a genetic disorder causing him to go blind.
Annie, another horse living there, is only a mere 20 months old, and was brought in after someone found her wandering around Alamosa. The silver lining behind the stories of these horses comes when one is adopted. Norman, a chestnut colored, rambunctious horse, had an upcoming adoption appointment. On the day of our tour, Norman was in high spirits, running around and galloping with glee.
Horses spend time playing and grazing in open space.
Seeing the horses with this new energy is an energizing experience for Smetana. “Training is so important because it helps,” she said. “For me, it’s exciting to see all of this activity. Horses, they’re like people. They need to be around other horses. They need to move. So to see them like this, I just love it.”
Last year, the Colorado Horse Rescue adopted 24 horses out of the facility, and 19 were adopted the year before that. A new training program was also just put in place on January 9, 2011, and the organization brought in three new trainers and nine new horses. With those growing numbers comes the motivation to expand the programs that the Horse Rescue can offer to Boulder County.
Smetana describes a burgeoning idea to create an equine assistance program for autistic children. “We’re in the process of getting approved to build a hay barn, and we’re also trying to get a herd of new companion horses,” she said. “I would like get more equine training going too.”
Companion horses are not for riding, but for being a presence in someone’s life. They are typically older, and many live at the Colorado Horse Rescue until the end of their lives. Fiesty and Lily are two of the Horse Rescue’s current companion horses. “Lily is already 35-years-old, and she will be here until she dies,” said Smetana.
One of the Rescue's trainers enjoys her time with the horses.
This year marks the first time the Colorado Horse Rescue has received a grant from The Community Foundation. The money will help take of one horse for one year. “It costs $2300 to take care of a horse for a year. So, that grant from The Community Foundation will more than likely take care of Lily,” Smetana explained. “It’s been a really good experience working with the Foundation so far.”
Upcoming events for the Colorado Horse Rescue include their main event in September, where Temple Grandin will be present as an honoree. Anyone can volunteer to help out at the Horse Rescue, and a volunteer application can be found on their website.
Photos by Michelle Malloy Dillon