Rescuing Horses in the 'Greatland' Up North
In the beautiful state of Alaska, horses from bad situations will hopefully be saved by the Alaska Equine Rescue located in the town of Wasilla. There, President Heather Robb and a team of volunteers work to rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome horses of all ages, sizes, and breeds.
Heather shared the story of the organization's beginning. "In 1990, a small group of concerned horse owners in Fairbanks, Alaska created Alaska Equine Rescue (AER) after trying to help a group of emaciated and neglected horses. Frustrated by their long and unsuccessful efforts to get assistance for the more than twenty badly malnourished animals, they created the AER."
Horse lovers from the lower 48 states may not appreciate the special challenges of living in the "Greatland" up North. Heather explained, "Rescuing horses in Alaska is expensive and the unique features that Alaska has to offer with its severe weather and size making running the organization a challenge." She continued, "Our biggest need, or course, is money, but second to that is the challenge of having reliable volunteers across our vast state."
AER has a well structured retraining plan that uses the expertise of horse professionals to evaluate, and train the horses once they are in good health. A few of the horses have even participated in shows for the International Performance Horse Development Association, an online horse show program that allows owners to participate through video 'classes.'
Any horseman hoping to adopt from AER must complete an application, site approval, and provide references. Heather said, "Once approved, the new owner signs a Humane Care Contract, agreeing to the AER Standard of Care for the life of the horse. We pride ourselves in remaining a supportive figure even after the adoption is final, resulting in a very small return rate on horses being adopted."
Heather shared one unique feature of her rescue. "Two of our volunteer board members are certified equine cruelty investigators through Colorado State University and Code 3 Associates. AER also has a scholarship program allowing law enforcement and equine professionals to get their own certifications."
AER is proof that horses in all corners of our great nation deserve our help and nurturing. We salute the efforts of AER and wish them all the best with their worthy work!
Alaska Equine Rescue
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
Donations: PO Box 875276, Wasilla, AK 99687