With the price of feed skyrocketing, some horse owners may have trouble providing the care and nutrition their horses deserve. As recent headlines prove, this problem can turn tragic very quickly.
Fortunately, struggling horse owners have an alternative to letting their horses starve. Since 2004, Our Guardian Angels Horse Rescue Ranch in Lehr, N.D., has been rescuing neglected horses and adopting them out to loving homes.
David Reinhardt, a retired Marine, started the 501(c)3 non-profit organization because he had a passion for horses, and though the ranch receives a few donations, the operation is almost entirely funded out of Reinhardt's pockets.
Reinhardt charges no fee to rescue a horse, but he does ask that current owners deliver their horses to the ranch. He said that almost all the horses are starving when they arrive at the ranch. Once a horse is on-site Reinhardt and horse trainer Tim Wynne check it out for any obvious problems, and a vet is called if they see anything suspicious. Every horse is dewormed and given a tetanus shot, and a farrier from South Dakota visits the ranch to care for the horses' hooves.
Horses are given high-quality hay and, this time of year, sweet feed to nurse them back to health. All fences on the ranch are wooden as Reinhardt believes wire fences are bad for the horses.
Wynne works with the horses to make sure they are safe to ride, and once they are healthy, they are adopted. While the ranch currently charges no fee to adopting families, the ranch must be certain each horse is going to a good home.
The rescue ranch currently has eight horses, but at one time it had as many as 22. Reinhardt said that he estimates it costs between $1,400 and $2,000 per year to care for a horse before it can be adopted by a good home.
Reinhardt said in the future he would like the ranch to provide children who have no other opportunity with a chance to ride the horses before they are adopted.
Individuals interested in delivering a horse, adopting a horse, or making a donation to Our Guardian Angels Horse Rescue Ranch should call (701) 378-2309. To learn more about the ranch, visit its website at http://www.gahorserescueranch.com.
- Stan Wise, Farm Forum News Assistant