Equine Therapy and Equine Rescue Going Hand-in-Hand
Located in a small rural mountain community in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is a special place with special people. We spoke with Shana Devins, the executive director, to learn about the operation.
"Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is one of the only rescues that serves the Central Mountain areas of Colorado. We also support horse needs as far away as the Western Slope and Front Range as our resources allow," she shared. MVHR was formed in 2004 when a group of local horse enthusiasts worked together to save a couple of horses who had been abandoned in a nearby wilderness area. By 2011, they had expanded to a leased facility where they are able to care for an average of 30 horses each year.
Shana shared, "Horses come to MVHR from all types of situations. When horses first arrive, they are fully evaluated by volunteers, trainers, farrier, and veterinarians to identify their most immediate needs." Next, they progress to the retraining and rehoming stages of the operation. MVHR recognizes that not all horses are attractive to potential adopters so a limited number of horses are offered permanent sanctuary at the farm. Many of these horses are sponsored and participate in the Equine Therapy program.
Besides their rescue work, MVHR also has some wonderful programs to education the local community and youth. They sponsor equine-assisted therapy including energy work, experiential learning, and hippotherapy with local practitioners. In 2015 alone, they helped to educate 1,000 youth through local school districts and youth development organizations like the Girl Scouts, SOS Outreach, and the Ute Springs Experimental Learning Center.
Shana explained that their greatest successes often come in small moments every day - "When a previously crippled horse runs and plays, when a horse never before touched by human hands finds comformt in the touch of a person; when a child finds comfort in the company of a horse that they cannot find in challenging childhood social situations."
MVHR's biggest goal is to raise enough money to purchase their own 40-acre farm in Eagle County by the Fall of 2017. They are currently running a "40-Acre Fund" where public donors are able to contribute funds towards this worthy cause. So far, they are half way to their $2 million goal!
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue
Location: Eagle, Colorado
Donate: PO Box 1681, Eagle, CO 81631