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Volunteers rescue horses

Sound Equine Options has strong community network


by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Sound Equine Options board member Kim Mosiman gives Ginger Snap a scratch. Ginger Snap is one of 'The Christmas Six,' a group of neglected horses from the Dalles that were rescued around Christmas.Around Christmas, a group of Sound Equine Options volunteers headed for The Dalles.

Six scrawny, under-sized quarter horses were in need.

After pressure from law enforcement, the owner surrendered “the Christmas Six” to Sound Equine Options, a nonprofit organization that strives to reduce the number of suffering and starving horses in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.

As the Christmas Six had never been halter trained, it took patience and creativity for the Sound Equine Options volunteers to even get the horses into a trailer to transport them to Eagle Fern Equine hospital.

The horses arrived under-sized for their age due to malnourishment.

Their bellies were filled with worms.

One horse has since moved on to Riggs Training in Eagle Creek.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Jolly, another one of the Christmas Six, has trouble getting to his feet after a medical procedure. Prior to his rescue, Jolly had not been halter trained. Veterinarian David Asmar enlists the help of vet technician Ashley Dunn and veterinarian Flynn Magorian to handle the new gelding. Trainer Stacey Riggs will work with the mare to get her used to a halter and basic ground manners before the horse will move on to a foster home.

The other horses remain at Eagle Fern Equine Hospital gaining weight and being treated for parasites.

The male horses will be gelded.

“That’s kind of a typical situation for us,” said Kim Mosiman, Sound Equine Options board member.

Mosiman estimated that Sound Equine Options has more than 60 horses in foster care or training in the Portland metro area.

“There is a horse neglect issue,” she said.

Mosiman explained how the process usually works: in cases of chronic neglect, law enforcement will nudge a horse owner into surrendering the livestock as an alternative to facing criminal charges.

Sound Equine Options volunteers then take the horses to an equine hospital for medical care and behavioral assessment.

When the horses are healthy enough Sound Equine usually places the horses in a foster home.

The stint in an equine hospital is important, Mosiman explained, because it gives Sound Equine a chance to assess the horse’s personality and behavior.

That assessment helps Sound Equine place the horses in suitable foster homes.

Sound Equine usually pays for the food and medical care for the fostered horse.

The foster is often responsible for the space and day-to-day care of the horse for a period of at least three months.

Fosters must apply and are “vetted” before being allowed to foster a Sound Equine Options horse.

Once they are healthy enough, the horses usually enter training.

“Training is their life insurance,” Mosiman said.

She explained that it’s much easier to find a new home for a horse that may be handled easily and has the potential to be ridden than it is to find a new home for a feral horse.

The goal is to get the rescued horses adopted into new, permanent homes.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Rudolph may look like a foal, but Mosiman suspects he is much older than he looks and is undersized due to malnourishment.Mosiman explained that the tight-knit horse community has helped to make the Sound Equine Option’s efforts successful.

Relationships with law enforcement, trainers like Riggs and the veterinarians of Eagle Fern Equine are very important to the organization.

“The horse community is really involved in it,” Mosiman said. “And that’s how we get such great foster homes.”

Sound Equine Options survives on donations and fundraisers.

“We’ve never been financially reimbursed by any county,” Mosiman said.

The work they do is fairly expensive.

Since most horses are not gelded in neglect situations, the organization usually gets groups of horses at a time.

Feed and medical care do not come cheap.

Neither does euthanasia, which the organization will pay for when veterinarians agree that a horse’s health is too poor to recover, and the horse owner can’t foot the several-hundred dollar bill.

Sound Equine will even help out horse-owners who are not neglecting their horses but are struggling to feed them.

Horse owners must apply for both of these assistance programs.

Mosiman said that cold weather brings Sound Equine Option’s busiest intake time.

Sound Equine Options has about 60 volunteers, many living in the Estacada/Eagle Creek area.

For more information on Sound Equine Options, their rescued horses, how to become a foster or volunteer, visit www.soundequineoptions.org or find Sound Equine Options on Facebook.




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