Founded in Acton, California, Fahnestock Ranch is situated in the ideal location for the horses that it strives to help. “Acton is dedicated to preserving the old western lifestyle,” says Michael, lead trainer at Fahnestock. “To this day we can still ride our horses to the local stores, post office, library, etc as all businesses and governmental public offices cater to horseback riding as a primary means of transportation,” he explains.
Initially formed as a horse boarding facility, the needs of the community changed drastically in 2007 with the change in the economy. Many horse owners were losing their property and the horses were being turned out into the desert, in an attempt to keep them out of the kill buyer’s trailers. “Good Samaritans trying to do the right thing would take loads of hay and dump them for them to eat, only to come back a few days later to find dead horses from colic, mostly eating too fast with no water,” remembers Michael. Knowing that they couldn’t stand by and let this continue, Fahnestock Ranch transformed into the horse rescue that remains today.
Equines of all breeds and backgrounds are accepted at Fahnestock Ranch. “We have become known as the place to take horses that no one else will take due to training or behavioral issues,” says Michael. This includes ex-rodeo bucking horses, horses that have never been saddled, wild mustangs and horses that suffered trauma at the hands of humans.
New arrivals find safety and comfort as soon as they step onto the property. “We work with every single veterinary group within a 60 mile radius to give any sick horse the most appropriate care available for its ailment,” Michael states. This level of dedication is carried on throughout the rehabilitation process for each and every horse at Fahnestock.
Training at the ranch is focused solely on the needs of the horse, following natural horsemanship techniques. They specialize in horses that have had little to no training, or have been abused or poorly handled in the past. “We let the horse speak to us individually,” Michael explains. “We listen to the exact needs that each particular horse is requesting, in order to push through the past hurdles the horse has had communicating with humans, due to the lack of humans listening.”
This simple act of listening works wonders for the horses at Fahnestock. “It can be an impressive and quick transition for some horses that suddenly feel they finally have a voice and someone who cares enough to listen,” states Michael.
Compassion and respect for the horses is what drives the work at Fahnestock Ranch each day. As Michael says, “humans would not be where they are today without this magnificent creature, there is no other animal you can say that about. We have long forgotten the history and past that has brought us into this new age where we discard them so easily.”
Use the information below to learn more, donate, and help the family at Fahnestock Ranch continue to build their community.
If you are interested in loaning or donating your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: