Mountain Valley Horse Rescue brunches for its equine friends |

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue brunches for its equine friends

When horses come into the rescue, oftentimes they have health issues. Volunteers and trainers work with each horse individually and help rehabilitate them to the point where they can find a new home.
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When guests attend Mountain Valley Horse Rescue’s annual Barn Brunch on Sunday, July 28, they’ll get to see two of the non-profit’s success stories. The brunch will be hosted at a Mountain Valley Horse Rescue supporter’s Lake Creek home – she adopted a horse in December 2018 and is fostering one this summer: Woodrow and Bonita respectively.

The Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, based in McCoy, takes in a handful of unwanted or stray horses at a time. While at the farm, the horses, which often come in with health issues, receive rehabilitative medical attention while the organization searches for a new home for the horses. That process usually takes about a year, but it depends on the horse.

Sometimes it only takes a couple of months to find a new home, and there are also several horses with special needs that will likely spend the rest of their lives on the farm. The Barn Brunch, one of the non-profit’s biggest fundraisers of the year, usually raises enough money to provide for a year of medical care and housing for 5-6 horses, which costs about $5,000.

“It takes a good deal of resources to support them, to rehabilitate them, to find new homes,” Murphy-Pettee said. “Come and learn about the issues, come hear the stories, and then support us in the degree that you can,” said Cookie Murhpy-Pettee, the Vice President of the Board of Directors.

The organization, when it started in 2004, relied on neighbor’s backyards to care for horses. It acquired its current pasture space in 2016.
Nate Day | Daily file photo

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue has been active in Eagle County since 2004, and it became an incorporated 501(c)3 in 2005. With more than 6,000 unwanted horses in the state of Colorado, and more than 120,000 nationally, the small number of horses that Mountain Valley Horse Rescue takes care of can only really make a small dent in those numbers. They usually have up to 40 horses on the waitlist at any given time. But the difference they make for the horses they do take in is astounding.

“The day that I went up to hold a horse while Sylvia Stalker, our vet, did teeth floating, that was pretty amazing,” Murhpy-Pettee said. “That was an amazing process to watch. She has to bring him in the barn, anesthetize him, but not so much that he lays down. She puts a brace over his mouth, and takes a drill and attaches a dental tool to it, and gets up inside their mouths.”

Teeth floating is a yearly dental procedure for horses that not only cleans the teeth, but also whittles them down as they get edgy and grow.

Volunteers also play a large role in ensuring the horses that come to Mountain Valley Horse Rescue find well-needed care in a stress-free environment. When Murphy-Pettee moved from California 6 years ago, she started as a volunteer. Her daughter, who has since adopted two horses from the rescue, introduced her to Shana Devins, who’s been the executive director since 2011. Now she holds the volunteer position on the board.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue has had a burgeoning group of volunteers for years, and with first-Saturday open volunteer days that don’t require any pre-scheduled orientations, more individuals are able to get involved. They also started a new volunteer program called the Horse Heroes team, where six volunteers studied videos and worked on specific tasks with horses in-depth. They just graduated the first class after a 60-day training.

“We have lots more of those challenges coming up, and lots more opportunities for other people to get involved and move through the whole process,” Devins said.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue’s volunteer programs help kids and adults alike give back to equine friends.
Special to the Daily

The Barn Brunch, of course, aims to raise money for the horses at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. But beyond that, the organization just wants to further their mission.

“A lot of people don’t even realize that there’s a need for horse rescue,” Devins said. “We’re trying to make a life of difference in each of the horses that we do interact with. And the amazing thing is that the horses can make an amazing impact on the life of the people who interact with them while they’re at the rescue as well.”

To attend the brunch, which is on Sunday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., RSVP on the website. Since the event will be taking place at a private home, the address to the Lake Creek home will be provided after reservation confirmation.

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