Keeping a Promise to Save Horses in Oregon
In 1989, Chuck and Nadine Hoy saw a horrible case of animal abuse that they were powerless to stop. The poor suffering horse, “Spirit” did not survive, and they vowed to never let it happen again. The Project Spirit Equine Rescue and Rehab in Klamath County Oregon was formed and continues to help horses in honor of this promise.
Today, Connie Willard spearheads the program and talked to us about some of the challenges Project Spirit encounters during its work. “Equines of all types have passed through the rescue. We take each case on based on circumstances,” she explained. “That could include owner surrenders where the animal is in poor shape and the owner cannot take the necessary actions to bring them to health, law enforcement activities, abandonment, and strays."
Each horse that enters the facility is carefully evaluated and veterinary services are arranged as needed. The new horses are kept in quarantine for a period of time and given a custom diet based on their needs. Retraining starts immediately with the simple act of daily and loving contact from the rescue workers.
Once the animals are in better health, Connie explained that they start more serious retraining work. “Horses are worked on the premises, entered into a TIP training program, or sent out to our annual event, The Pegasus Project Rescue Horse Event, where they receive 90 days of professional training, then are exhibited and included in an auction style adoption event.”
Adoptable horses are listed on their webpage and Facebook page, where potential adopters can submit applications and references. “Our biggest challenge is fund raising,” Connie explained. “Our operation is donation based. We have a strong network of supporters that carry our current activities, but we have dreams of our own facility with room to help even more horses.”
Connie is proud of the work that they’ve done over the years. She shared, “Every animal that becomes healthy and happy as the result of our rescue is a success story. We not only "rescue" horses, but we provide information to the public, counseling animal owners on how to improve their properties or animal husbandry. Our focus is on the horse. We will do anything we can do to prevent animal abuse or neglect and to stop that cycle.”
When times get tough, Connie and her volunteers simply look at the orphan foal shown on their logo. “He was named "Chase" after the district attorney that paved the way for his rescue. He is now a strong healthy horse with a wonderful home. Every time we see the logo we stop and think about the little baby that needed our help, got it, and is now thriving because of us. It inspires us to continue our work, to help the next horse that needs us, to rescue, rehabilitation, refresh, rehome - to complete the circle of ‘rescue.’”
Project Spirit Equine Rescue & Rehab
Location: Klamath County, Oregon
Donations: PO Box 580 Chiloquin, OR 97624
Trailer: NEEDED (4 horse warmblood slant)