By David Leland | 0 comments
Plucked from a certain death in tragic kill lots of the Midwest, the eight horses corralled at Pregnant Mare Rescue off Glenwood Drive north of Scotts Valley owe their lives to the struggling non-profit organization.
Pregnant Mare Rescue, based in Aptos, has saved 235 equine lives and over 30 foals since being founded almost 11 years ago.
For a variety of reasons, horses can find themselves standing in a barn or pasture one day and purchased by a “kill buyer” at a livestock auction the next. The often-healthy horses are transported in crowded trailers to Mexico or Canada. The remains are used for anything from meat to gloves.
“It’s very sad, they use every little piece they can,” said Julia Hyde, who owns Canham Farm, a satellite of Pregnant Mare Rescue. “After a kill lot you look in the horse’s eyes and there is nothing there, they’re blank. Slowly they become more alert.”
Hyde patiently tends to the new arrivals, riding them daily, understanding their traumas, and providing much-needed love and affection.
“You have to interact with them like you are another horse,” she said, adding that leadership and body language are required. “You become a leader that’s not aggressive. Then they realize they can trust you.”
Hyde, who is assisted by nine volunteers, is a life-long horse lover. Born in the United Kingdom, she worked at stables and visited various European race tracks with her father, who traveled with the military.
She and husband Brian live in the Manana Woods neighborhood of Scotts Valley. He is vice president of marketing at WorldCom. With her four kids now grown, Hyde has dived into her altruistic pursuit.
“Horses are smart animals. People don’t think they are,” said Hyde, rubbing the muzzle of one of her fortunate ponies. “You just have to be gentle and firm.”
Hyde said that she doesn’t train the horses, she “handles” them. The result: she becomes leader of the pack. “None of them will go through a gate before me,” she said. “They wait for me to go through first.”
The goal is to rehab the horses back to mental and physical health and then find them a good home.
Two horses have been adopted during the past year, although Hyde monitors the new owners to make sure the horses are safe.
But the non-profit has expenses. A bale of hay costs $20, and only lasts three days. Hooves must be trimmed by-monthly at $70 a horse. This winter’s rains toppled fences and ruined roads. It’s a lot, considering the annual budget for the three Pregnant Mare Rescue sites in Scotts Valley, Aptos and Gilroy is only $70,000.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Del Mar Theatre in Santa Cruz, Pregnant Mare Rescue is hosting a benefit private screening of “Harry & Snowman.”
The film is about a Dutch immigrant and his transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse that he rescued from a slaughter truck. Harry paid $80 for the horse and named him Snowman. In less than two years, Harry and Snowman went on to win the triple crown of show jumping.
Donations are $25 for adults and $15 for juniors.
More information email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 831-588-5198 or Canham Farm Horse Rescue on Facebook.