LONGMONT, Colorado — The Colorado Horse Rescue is nearly full to capacity. The shelter can care for up to 60 horses at any one time, and there are currently 55 at the facility. That's 55 horses that might still be suffering from neglect or sent to slaughter if this organization hadn't been started 30 years ago by friends Sharon Jackson and Jill Pratt.
Back then, local area stables and farms donated vacancies at their facilities to help shelter the horses. The year 1988 saw the group found a stable home in Arvada, before moving to the bigger, 50-acre operation in Longmont in 2001 where they've been ever since.
CHR Director Carol Brice has been working there for six years and is passionate about her work, as is director of development Shawna English who has been there for two years and has adopted a horse, Lil' Bit. Both previously volunteered at the shelter.
A handful of the 55 volunteers that work at the shelter were working on various tasks on a recent chilly morning, tackling tasks such as feeding the horses and scraping manure off of the icy grass.
Operations manager Rachel Corbman was mixing beet pulp with water to create feed that the older horses can easily chew while still getting the required fiber and nutrition.
There is a full-time trainer on staff, which Brice said makes a big difference when trying to get the horses adopted. There are also highly skilled volunteer riders on hand who, Brice said, "keep the horses tuned up."
"There are 6,000 disadvantaged, starving and neglected horses in Colorado," English said.
"It's important to educate people about horse ownership. We're very picky before we re-home a horse. Horses are living to be 35-40, so that's quite a commitment. We get people in their 60's wanting to adopt a six-year-old horse, and we have to have a conversation."
About 70-to-75 percent of the horses at the shelter are there as a result of a crisis, be it the previous owners losing a job, getting divorced or even dying. The other 25-to-30 percent came in because animal control officials had to remove the horse from a dangerous situation — including cases of physical cruelty.
Colorado Horse Shelter relies on donations, with 60 percent of the funding coming from individual donors, 20 percent from grants and the rest provided through funds raised by the staff.
Those wanting to contribute to the Colorado Horse Rescue can go to chr.org.
Information from: Daily Times-Call, http://timescall.com/