Mountain Valley Horse Rescue’s Barn Brunch fundraiser is Sunday, July 29, in Cordillera | VailDaily.com

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue’s Barn Brunch fundraiser is Sunday, July 29, in Cordillera

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Dr. Silvia Stocker is being honored at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue's Annual Barn Brunch in Cordillera this Sunday.

Equine veterinarian Dr. Silvia Stocker is being honored at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue's annual Barn Brunch in Cordillera on Sunday, July 29, for her years of service to the rescue. Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is a local nonprofit organization that rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes abused, neglected, abandoned and unwanted horses. MVHR also works to reduce cases of horse abuse and neglect through education and outreach.

Q: How long have you been an equine veterinarian, and how long have you worked with Mountain Valley Horse Rescue?

A: I graduated from (Colorado State University) with my (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) degree in May of 2005, completed an internship at an equine hospital in Florida for a year, came back to Colorado and started providing mobile veterinary services out of Eagle in October of 2006. I then helped out the rescue for some time but really started working with them on a more regular basis around 2012.

Q: What inspired you to become an equine vet?

A: I was fascinated by horses as long as I can think. I ended up completing the training and passed the exams to receive a Swiss Federal Certificate of Proficiency as a horse trainer and worked as a horse trainer for several years during which the idea of becoming a veterinarian became more and more pronounced in my head, so I decided to go back to school and study veterinary medicine.

I was trying to keep an open mind in terms of what animals I would be working with eventually but realized pretty soon that my heart was with the horses.

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Q: Can you explain how you help the horses that come under MVHR's care?

A: We perform an initial intake exam to evaluate the current health status of each horse, and this includes a physical exam, a fecal exam, often bloodwork, a Coggins test (blood testing for equine infectious anemia), and we check for a microchip. According to those results and findings, as well as the known previous history of the horse, we decide what will have to be done next. If at all possible, we like to give the newly arrived horses some time to adjust and get used to their new environment before we vaccinate them and float their teeth, if needed.

We follow good biosecurity procedure and quarantine the new horses to avoid diseases being introduced to the horses already living at the rescue. If a horse has some medical issues that need to be addressed immediately, we, of course, provide them with the care they need right away. We help those horses to be able to lead a healthy and happy and comfortable life.

Q: What are some of the most common issues you treat at MVHR?

A: For the new arrivals, it is very often vaccinations, deworming and teeth floating, as well as correcting malnutrition. Horses that have been living at the horse rescue for a while have all kinds of veterinary medical needs from regular care to injuries to lamenesses to metabolic issues to colics (belly aches) to old-age challenges, all being problems that horses anywhere might have to deal with, as well.

Q: Can you explain the type of care a horse that comes to MVHR will need?

A: All the horses get a wellness exam (physical exam) at least twice yearly before they get vaccinated, they get fecal exams (to determine if they have internal parasites) and deworming treatments according to those results. They also get their teeth floated and other dental care, if indicated, as often as they need it. Additional care is provided if they get injured or have any other medical needs.

Q: Can you tell us more about the birth of MVHR's youngest resident, Woodrow?

A: I was not present during the foaling: his mom, Stardust, did an excellent job and did not need any help. Mares often wait until nobody is around to be able to foal (give birth to their foal) undisturbed. In addition, we did not know exactly how far along the pregnancy was and the mom was not used to being handled yet, so we stepped back and watched very carefully from a distance but ready to jump in, if needed.

Q: What advice do you give people who want to own, or help, a horse?

A: Get as much information and learn as much as possible, before you get an animal. The Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is definitely a great place to learn about horses and participate in horse activities and can point you toward other places to learn more if you are interested and want to follow through with owning a horse.

Providing the care and giving the attention the horses need and deserve. This includes providing food, water, exercise, farrier and veterinary care, among others. This, of course, takes time and money to start with.

Q: Can you share a favorite horse or favorite memory from your time at MVHR?

A: If you get to work with those horses, every single one grows on you, some a little bit more than others, but you like, love and respect them for who they are. If you spend more time with one, then often you develop a special relationship with them and they grow a little closer to your heart.

There were definitely a few I needed to remind myself that I better don't look too deep into their eyes, that I cannot get another horse, that we will find a good place for them, and I do not need to adopt them all. Nevertheless, I would say that Sparky, the miniature donkey, is definitely one of my favorites, and I am very glad that he has a home at the rescue and will stay there and I will be able to see him whenever I go up there.

Memories are made every time I get to work with any horses, as well as with their people. It means a lot to me that we can provide those rescue horses with the care they need and deserve and that I can work with people who care a lot about those horses and, at the same time, have realistic expectations about what can be done and should be done. All those people deserve to be honored, too, by the way.

IF YOU GO …

What: Mountain Valley Horse Rescue’s annual Barn Brunch Fundraiser.

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday July 29.

Where: Judy LaSpada’s residence in Cordillera.

Cost: $50; proceeds benefit Mountain Valley Horse Rescue.

More information: Go to mountainvalleyhorserescue.com/new-events.