A Western Montana Equine Rescue Operates Without Permanent Facilities
The Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation (WMERR) is like many horse rescues across the nation in that they have limited supplies, limited funds, and overflowing hearts. Although they do not have their own permanent property, they manage to do some excellent retraining and re-homing using foster homes and the founder’s private barn located in Corvallis, Montana.
WMERR was founded by Shannon Alexander back in 2008 when a local woman emailed her desperate to find a safe home for her horse. A WMERR representative, Barb Harriott explained, “Shannon realized her personal efforts at rescuing and re-homing horses needed to be organized in order to save horses in Western Montana on a larger scale.”
The organization helps a variety of horses and donkeys whose owners have become ill, died, or are financially stressed. Once with the workers, each horse undergoes an evaluation. “Some have been abused and require medical attention and significant care to return to health. Some have been neglected and require health care and nurturing to learn to trust again.” Luckily, several local veterinarians, farriers, and massage therapists in the area are willing to provide services at discounted rates or allow for long-term payment plans. They rely on volunteers to transport their horses, but would ideally like to have a stock bumper pull horse trailer with a center divider.
Volunteers at WMERR work with horses that need socialization, basic manners, and trust exercises. “Once we understand the horse better and understand its physical condition, we can evaluate how much they have learned under saddle,” Barb shared. “Based on a horse’s potential and their personality, we identify a professional trainer best suited for them.” Potential adopters can learn about WMERR through their vibrant Facebook page and website. Or, if you live in the area, check out some of the free horse care and massage therapy classes held regularly by the workers.
“We truly celebrate every good placement,” said Barb. “We recently placed a horse that was bound for slaughter with a teenager who is now winning ribbons with her.” Although Barb described WMERR as a “small organization with a small board and a small budget,” they stay creative in the way they can help the horses. The organization is 100% volunteer run and every dollar they raise is used as efficiently as possible. Despite the absence of a permanent facility, WMERR is making a difference in Western Montana.