Healing Horses and Horses Helping Humans
Rescuing and rehabbing neglected horses was something that always came naturally to Cheri White Owl of Guthrie, Oklahoma. After taking time off for three years to travel and then moving to Oklahoma in 2005, she saw an emaciated horse at an auction in early 2006 and felt drawn back into working with horses. Horse Feathers Equine Center was established in 2006, formerly known as Horse Feathers Equine Rescue.
What sets this rescue apart from many others is the extensive amount of work they do to help the human population around their farm. “Horse Feathers has many programs that we offer. We help with not only the horses here but helping people too. We work with Veterans or others who suffer from PTSD, Trauma and other issues. We assist when needed with Disasters and have had Large Equine Rescue Trainings here. We offer when funding is available, Owner Assistance for those who have lost their jobs, become ill or suffered from disasters in order to help keep their beloved horses in their homes."
In addition, Cheri talked about educational programs. “We focus on educating the public on proper equine care. We do not charge for this, we hold clinics at Oakridge Equine Hospital free to the public so that they may learn to be better horse owners or new owners.”
When not educating the public, the volunteer staff at Horse Feathers Equine Center provides a very high standard of care for their horses. “We have all breeds that come to our barn. From miniature to draft size. Most of what we get are emaciated, injured, and blind. Currently we get most of our cases from owner surrenders who no longer can care for them or law enforcement where a horse is neglected.”
Horses are immediately vetted upon intake and receive ongoing medical attention as needed. “My ability to do 90% of the vet work here helps the center save on funds procuring them in other areas such as feeds, hay, farrier.”
Once the horse has regained health, it is time to work on their training. “We utilize a tailored training program specific to each horse to help them realize their full potential, work within its limitations and work to address the issues that cruelty or neglect has left on their lives. We focus on strengthening their backs through lunging and exercises. We prepare them for saddle training or continue the training they have.” Potential adopters must fill out an application and "return to facility” contract with strict a "no breeding" clause.
If you’ve ever visited Oklahoma, then you know that the winds can be quite powerful over the plains. “We are in need of a covered riding arena in order to keep training. Due to the high winds here in Oklahoma this will allow us to work during those times and year round.” In addition, the rescue is always in need of supplies like Purina grain, farrier funds, and vet funds.
Cheri lists their greatest successes as, “Rehabilitating severely emaciated horses returning them to their best capacity. Adoptions into good forever homes. A very low return rate—only when adopter has become ill or injured and unable to care for their horse.” We salute the work of the Horse Feathers Equine Center. To learn more, check out their website.