Mountain Valley Horse Rescue lands $1M donation |

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue lands $1M donation

Nacona, right, and her life partner Sinclair take a morning stroll at the Mountain Vailley Horse rescue in Eagle on sunday. Nacona, 31, spends every waking moment with Sinclair who is now 41 years of age.
Townsend Bessent | |

How To help

Call Shana Devins at 970-376-1743, or go to

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue rehabilitates and re-homes abused, neglected, and abandoned horses. MVHR works with local law enforcement agencies, veterinarians, and citizens and private horse owners to find horses new, forever, homes. Currently there are 6,000 unwanted horses in Colorado, and over 170,000 are nationally shipped to slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada every year, where they are processed for human consumption.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue has been quietly running a capital campaign since spring 2014.

That “yee haw!” you heard was the joyful noise of them busting out of the silent phase after they got word that the Shaw Foundation was granting them $1 million. Their goal is to raise $2 million by 2017, said Shana Devins, of Mountain Valley Horse Rescue.

With that money the group wants to buy a horse property where it can keep the horses it rescues until the animals can be adopted by new owners.

“We want to create a place for horses and the programs for the horses and the people who work with them,” Devins said. “With $2 million, we can get a facility and make it everything it needs to be.”

Shaw Ranch

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For its $1 million donation, the Shaw Foundation gets naming rights, sort of the same way Sports Authority gets its name on Mile High Stadium. It’s exactly the same as the naming of the Shaw Regional Cancer Center.

“We believe in the work they’re doing, not only with the horses but also the collaboration with other nonprofits and youth organizations,” said Kelly Veitch, of the Shaw Foundation. “It’s a great circle of love, and we’re excited to help them.”

If you want your name on something, hand Mountain Valley Horse Rescue a donation and it will emblazon your name on barns, arena and anything else you can hang a nametag on.

“There are all kinds of other naming rights still available,” Devins said.

Some Shaw Foundation members live in the valley and have worked with Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, so they know exactly where they money is going, Devins said.

Horses and kids

A decade after its inception, Mountain Valley Horse Rescue has helped more than 100 rescue horses find homes with loving owners. The organization’s horse capacity has swelled from its original five horses to more than 23 at its highest. They have 14 horses right now, Devins said.

Along with the horses, more than 1,000 kids a year find their way out to the rescue ranch for school field trips, Scouting excursions and other youth service events.

Here’s why — training horses is like training children, and you should probably be required to do the former before you’re allowed to do the latter. Local rancher Bud Gates said that, and his horses and kids all turned out great. For example, with both horses and children you’ll get further with a carrot than a whip. And usually, when you want to go to the whip, it’s because you haven’t made your expectations clear.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue works its magic through Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center.

“Their spirit and love for these horses is amazing,” Veitch said. “They may be healing these horses, but the horses are healing the people who work with them.”

Last summer, they reached 139 campers, said Amy Ben-Horin, co-founder and executive director of the Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center.

Each week of the summer, a different group of campers stays overnight at the rescue, pitching their teepees and learning how to haul water, scoop equine byproduct and feed horses. Leaders use this time to teach the kids about sensitivity and caring.

“The kids naturally love hiking and swimming and boating, but there is something about the time they spend in the pasture or corral with the rescue horses that touches their souls,” Ben-Horin said. “They quickly learn the names of the horses and their temperaments, and relish the one-on-one time they spend with the animals.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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