Rescue Uses Social Media to Showcase Rehabilitation Efforts
Nicki Branch formed the Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue of Valley Center, CA in 2002 after viewing an Animal Planet documentary on the slaughter of horses. “In shock, I searched the web and found out approximately 150,000 American horses are slaughtered each year and their meat exported to countries like Japan, France, and Belgium,” she said. Today, the rescue helps horses of all breeds including deaf or maimed animals. Sadly, half of the incoming horses are severely emaciated. They are put on a carefully planned rehabilitation program that gradually increasing their feed and exercise. Horses are often returned to a healthy weight in about three months.
Once the horses are at a healthy weight, Falcon Ridge uses four offsite trainers to start the horses back under saddle. Many adopters find the organization through their website, Facebook, or even Craig’s List. It is obvious that Nicki and her staff care greatly for their animals. Nicki explained, “Horses do not have to be rideable to enjoy them…Horses improve your health and well being just by being around them, grooming them or taking them for walks…They deserve our commitment and devotion as family members.”
At the Falcon Ridge Equine Rescue, workers use a well-maintained Facebook account to show off their efforts. Nicki explains, “The general public gets to watch horses get rescued, then watch as they gain weight and feel better, then get trained, then get to see them adopted.” She is proud of the approximately 50 horses that they rehabilitate and adopt out each year. “We take horses who have been at risk or in horrible situations and put them in nice homes with people who love and pamper them.”