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Equine Spirit Sanctuary Located in Taos, New Mexico

Contact Phone: 575-751-4589

Hours of Operation: 24/7

Equine Spirit Sanctuary
283 Cuchilla Road
Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico 87557

Located in: Taos County


Group Background:
The Equine Spirit Sanctuary (ESS) was the vision of a small group of horse persons who believe in the value of horses and want to do something to help both horses and people. ESS was formed in 2005 and has helped 11 horses and a miniature donkey, some by direct care and/or rehabilitation and some by placing in new homes. ESS is not just a horse rescue. ESS is dedicated to the safety and welfare of all equines and through a program of rescue, rehabilitation, relocation or permanent retirement, and education, serves to establish a connection between equines and humans.

How are Horses Acquired?
ESS has been able to provide care and homes for some horses whose owners could no longer care for them, due to finances or health issues. ESS was given some starving horses also. These horses all came from the local area, except for one whose owner brought him to Taos from Wyoming, so he could be placed with ESS. Until recently, ESS did not have a facility and so we were very limited in the number of horses we could foster. With our new facility, we will be able to have up to an additional 6 horses at any time. We get calls and emails from people in the northern part of New Mexico.

Group Specialties:
A primary concern of ESS is the problem of the unwanted horse. This is a huge problem, as the cost of keeping horses continually rises and there are way more horses than there are good homes for them. Horses deserve a quality life just as much as any other living creature. It may not seem like a big thing to save the life of, or contribute to the well being of one animal, but it is. Working together, we can all help to reduce the plight of the unwanted horse. ESS believes in saving horses - one at a time if necessary - and working to promote responsible horse ownership. Some people are better off not owning a horse. But ESS provides a place for anyone who wants to spend time with a horse, to experience all that horses bring to our lives, and opportunities to learn more about these wonderful animals.

How the Horses Rehabilitated:
Every horse that comes to ESS is assessed by a veterinarian and any health issues are taken care of (such as dental, deworming, vaccinations). Each horse is evaluated and placed on the appropriate diet and exercise program for its needs. All horses are handled regularly, worked with on the basics so that they are safe and comfortable with people, using gentle methods. The horses are handled with kindness and respect and love. Horses of riding age and soundness are ridden, in preparation for adoption. Volunteers may assist with the horses' care and handling, under the supervision of the ESS horse manager and director.

Group Qualifications and Award:
ESS volunteers have also been active with helping with the Eagle Nest (NM) elementary and middle school's horse program. This small school took in some rescues and a couple older horses were donated to them. The kids have helped build fences and shelters for their horses, and they feed and take care of them. This unique program is perhaps the only one of its kind for a public elementary school, and there have been articles about the program's progress in the local papers.

ESS took part in a Pet Fair in May 2007, and was featured in an article by The Taos News.

ESS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Typical Day at the Facility:
We are looking forward to spring of 2008, when our therapeutic riding program will begin under the direction of Karen Evans, NARHA instructor. Volunteer training days will be held prior to the start of the program.

We will also be working with volunteers who wish to help with horse care. The ESS horses get plenty of attention, including regular grooming and hoof care, T-touch and energy work as needed, and lots of high quality meals.

Horses Available:
To date, we have usually had one to two horses at a time available for adoption. These have all been adopted out.

Adoption Procedures:
If someone is interested in adopting a horse from ESS, we ask that they sponsor the horse for a minimum of 2 months, paying the horse's expenses and helping with the horse's day to day care. They have to spend time with the horse as well as show a financial commitment. Adoption fees vary, depending on the circumstances. We require potential adopters to prove that they will provide a safe, adequate environment for the horse and they must agree to return the horse if it does not work out for any reason, and that they will not take the horse to a sale barn.

We have been very fortunate to have been able to place several horses in wonderful homes, where they are all thriving and are well cared for. We have provided ongoing assistance as needed with these horses.

Donations & Local Volunteers:
We welcome anyone who wishes to assist with the ESS mission. Now that we have a nice facility, we will be expanding our programs, developing new programs, and providing many opportunities for volunteers and anyone who wishes to take part in the vision of ESS. Volunteers who wish to work with the horses or therapeutic riding program do not need to be experienced horse people, but must complete the volunteer training provided. There are many ways in which a person can help out - everything from maintenence of the facility, to horse care, to office work, grant writing, fundraising, working at special events.

Donations are appreciated. See the How You Can Help page on the ESS web site for on-line donations, items needed, etc.

As with all animal welfare issues, one of the most important things that a person can do is to learn all they can about the problem. If you own a horse, take responsibility for that animal and do everything you possibly can to ensure that it is properly cared for from the time it is born (or you acquire it), throughout its lifetime.

Think long and hard before you breed your mare or stand a stallion at stud. Unless you have a superior quality individual, and have good reason to breed that horse, don’t do it. If you want another horse, there are countless horses out there that need a home.

Learn how to handle and care for your horse, providing the best nutrition, health care and training possible. The goal should be to have a healthy horse that will give you many years of enjoyment. With careful training and handling, your horse will be a pleasure to own and to be around. It is much more likely that a well mannered, well trained, sound, healthy horse will not end up as an unwanted horse if the time comes when you can no longer keep him.
Speak out about the plight of the unwanted horse. Help educate others about this problem. Encourage horse owners to be responsible also.

If you do not own a horse, consider volunteering your time and talents and making financial contributions to horse rescues in your area.

At ESS, we do not seek to just try to deal with today's equine emergencies. We want to make a difference long-term. At this sanctuary which is based on horse rescue, education, and healing with horses, we are striving to create a model that others may come to visit, be inspired by, and take back to their own homes ideas on how they too can help horses. Taos is known for being a healing center. ESS is working to become a significant part of this healing community, and to reach out to all who come to visit us.
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