Sound Equine Options (SEO) is proud to announce it received a $4,000 grant from the ASPCA Equine Fund to expand its VEEP (Volunteer Equine Education Program) training program.
"This innovative program has dramatically reduced our training costs while successfully training more horses to a higher level--including walk, trot and canter under saddle--more quickly," said Elisabeth Wolff, SEO president. "It is a life insurance policy for the horses we rescue."
To help ensure stronger matches with potential adopters, SEO has provided training for all adoptable horses since 2011. Training included ground manners, desensitizing, and whenever possible, riding. Training costs $400 per month per horse and SEO worked with 9 different professional trainers. It took anywhere from 90 days to more than a year, depending on the horse and trainer.
"Saving a horse and refeeding it is the easy part," said Kim Mosiman, SEO executive director. "Good training makes our horses much more desirable and reliable partners, which leads to more successful adoptions."
In June 2014, SEO began a pilot program called VEEP (Volunteer Equine Education Program) to teach select volunteers natural horsemanship techniques under the guidance of Stacey Riggs of Riggs Training, an award-winning trainer. VEEP horses are also boarded at her facility, Eagle Creek Equestrian Center, LLC. Volunteers attend 2-hour group lessons every other week and commit to working with their assigned horse a minimum of 3 days a week for a total of 6 hours per week.
"Natural horsemanship focuses on creating a bond of respect and communication," said Stacey Riggs, SEO Director of Training. "The result is a solid partnership and connection between horse and rider. It builds a horse's confidence and is the fairest way to communicate with your horse."
The training program has also resulted in several unforeseen benefits. Having SEO's horses at a professional trainer's facility allows volunteers access to one-on-one assistance when necessary. SEO horses are now getting handled and desensitized by a greater number of people, and volunteers assist and support each other.
"Having several adoptable horses at one facility makes it easier to arrange meetings with potential adopters," said Kelly Burke, SEO vice president and head of SEO's adoption program. "We want people to see that well trained rescue horses can be just as successful in the ring and on the trail as any other horse."
"We are deeply grateful for this generous grant from ASPCA, said Elisabeth Wolff. "It will allow us to give health and purpose to more horses in need."
“The ASPCA Equine Fund awards life-saving grants and resources to nonprofit equine welfare organizations across the country,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “We are pleased to award this grant to Sound Equine Options to assist their horse training efforts and increase adoptions so more horses can find homes.”
Mister came from one of those situations we have a really hard time understanding. We want answers to why a well-trained, mild mannered, seemingly healthy, (besides the obvious starvation), aged horse gets tossed to the curb. Those answers usually never come.
The reality is, he probably spent years doing as he was told and packing someone around on his back. Then, at some point: his owner wanted a younger horse or they came upon some tough times, and could no longer afford to care for him. So they sold or gave him away.
Selling or giving away an older horse is not always a bad thing. However, not thoroughly checking into the person your horse goes to is totally irresponsible. When you want to get rid of an older 1000 + pound animal, it’s easier to think their life will be filled with butterflies and rainbows instead of actually being responsible and doing your homework.
We don’t know Misters full story. We do know he was given away to a new owner about a year ago. That new owner thought he would be fine on a pasture without any other food supplementation. This new owner did not ask how to feed a horse when he saw Mister visibly losing hundreds of pounds.
We hope by reminding others of Misters Story, they will help spread the word to friends and family that are parting with their horses. Check carefully into who your horse goes to. Ask for references from perspective owner’s veterinarian, farrier or other horsemen friends. Do a site check of their new home.
They give us their hearts, let’s make sure they always get their meals.
Our new “Volunteer & Equine Education Program” is off to a strong start! This program was designed to help speed up the process of training horses we have rehabilitated so they can be adopted. At the same time we are training some key volunteers to help us train horses!
The volunteers commit to attending 4 hours of training class a month & 4 hours of working with their assigned horses each week. This allows us to work with more horses at a time during the busy adoption season and stretch our precious finances.
We have been thrilled with the results. The horses are learning fast & volunteers are having fun. We currently have 4 adoptions in various stages on horses in this program. Although it will be hard for some of the volunteers to see the horses they have put so much time & energy into leave, they know that a great adoptive home is the best gift they could give.
None of this would be possible without such wonderful donors & volunteers.
A Letter From The President
As I sit and reflect on this last year, I realize how far we have come from where we began. Overall, it has been a very good year.2013 started with 41 horses in our care. Of these horses, 23 had been involved in a court case since 2012 and were not released into our ownership until June of 2013. As the year progressed we took in an additional 66 horses. Of these horses, 24 were financially supported by the Oregon Humane Society. A total of 43 hors-es came to us though complaints made to law enforcement or seizures. The remainder of the horses came from owner surrenders and other rescues. Through a new collaboration with The Pongo Fund we were able to help a group of once domesticated but now abandoned horses in Wheeler County.Along with our on-going relationships with the Oregon Humane Society and law enforcement in the following counties: , Klickitat, Clackamas, Multnomah & Columbia, in 2013 we added new working relationships with the following groups: Wasco County Sheriff Curry County Sheriff The Pongo Fund City of Damascus Code Enforcement All Animal Care & Rescue FundDuring the course of the year we successfully adopted out 34 horses and only 2 returns. We believe strongly that our training program is directly responsible for such a high adoption success rate. We are gratified to see how this investment in the horses’ training helps them become solid, trusting, loving horses that good owners will take care of and cherish forever.In order to maintain the quality of care for the horses as well as improve our communication with our volun-teers, foster homes and donors we now use Paddock Pro. This online horse management system allows us to track horse locations, information, photos and medical histories. We also implemented the use of Donor Perfect to better track gifts and donors.Our largest fundraising projects in 2013 included a Ride to Provide Horse Show in May; a Ride to Provide Trail Ride in July; two used tack sales; and a Poker for Ponies dinner, silent auction and poker tournament in November. We will be continuing and growing each of these events in 2014.SEO initiated a Barn Volunteer Program at Eagle Creek Equestrian Center, where at least 7 of our horses are housed at any given time. These horses are in various stages of training and the volunteers learn how to safely work around the horses and help teach each horse ground manners, as well as groom them and clean stalls. Having the horses exposed to several different people’s handling and teaching proves extremely beneficial to the horses.Sound Equine Options’ growth has been matched by the need for our resources. Fortunately for all, more people are becoming aware of what we do and are joining in as volunteers and donors. We have become a strong, respected organization in the community, providing services that no other local organization offers. This is a huge cooperative effort that I hope in which each of our supporters takes pride. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of horses!Elisabeth Wolff - President
Rudy came to us in December along with 5 other surving herdmates, from Wasco County. At 10 months of age he was not only severly malnorished but also loaded with internal parasites and ticks. All of these things contributed to his stunted size & development.
He has now been gelded, dewormed & is living at a ranch where a trainer can touch him daily. We are pretty sure he had never been touched by a human prior to coming to SEO.
He comes from what appear to be working quarter horse stock but we will not know for several months if he will ever reach a size large enough to be ridden. Its is hard to adopt out young rescue horses and even more difficult if we are unsure of their adult size.
Hopefully, with quality food & deworming Rudy will continue to grow and make up for his rough start in life. We estimate that he will be in our program for 12 - 24 months due to his age & current condition. We estimate the total cost for getting Rudy healthy and ready for adoptions will be around $3000.
Today only during Global Givings matching bonus day, all donations up to $1000 will be matched 30% until the $75,000 runs out. That means that we can raise the $3000 that Rudy needs with only $2300 in donations.
Together we can give Rudy a chance to become a useful, wanted horse in our community.
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