CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Dove Creek Equine Rescue has been around for nearly ten years, working as a non-profit to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome horses in the Texas Panhandle.
This year, they’re joining NBC’s Clear the Shelters initiative.
Ali McEwen, Dove Creek’s operations director and volunteer coordinator, said while they are not a “normal” animal shelter, they are working to save the lives of horses.
“Our goal is to bring them in, bring them back to good health, and see if they can enter a training program, and then possibly be rehabbed for a working or companion horse.”
After nearly ten years, McEwen said they have been able to adopt out more than 75% of the horses they have taken in. But right now, their herd is at capacity.
“We can only keep 30. So when one goes out, we can bring one in that’s on our waiting list, and we do have a waiting list,” she said. “The next 10 years with our growth, I think we’re going to be able to adopt out so many more and educate a lot more on the importance of rescuing them and how desperately it’s needed here in the Texas panhandle.”
With inflation, supply chain issues, and drought, McEwen said they are receiving many calls for horses whose owners cannot afford to take care of them.
“Hay is at an all-time high. Feed is at an all time high. So that is where our greatest need is right now is a lot of people just cannot afford to care for them,” she said. “So we need to open our doors and make sure that we can do that for them.”
McEwen said they also need resources. They recently ran a campaign to help feed horses with less pasture for them to graze on.
She said they also still need volunteer help.
“We need volunteers to help us check the herd, check their feet, groom them daily so that we know that their care’s good,” McEwen said. “Just a second pair of eyes on them, and then helping us feed all of the ones that need to be fed three to four times a day when you get them in.”
For extremely malnourished horses, she said some need to be fed four times a day for six months to get back to health.
McEwen said their greatest need is finding new homes for older horses who are no longer ridable. She said when they are adopting out a horse, they have taken plenty of time to get to know the horse, and learn their quirks.
“A lot of people think that rescue horses are just completely damaged and they’re not. They just need a second chance and our companion [horses], it is very hard. Sometimes they have an injury that we just feel they no longer need to be rideable, but they are still lovable for humans and they are great companions for other horses.”
Click here for adoption forms.
She said adopting a companion horse comes with plenty of benefits.
“It’s a very calming effect. You get home from a busy day at work and you get to just come out and love on them. And once they become your companion, they’re gonna meet you, they’re gonna greet you, they’re gonna love on you,” McEwen added. “And a horse is a mirror image of you. So sometimes when you’ve had a bad day, their reaction may be the same and you’re gonna see what you’re going through. And when you get to see that in the mirror, you kind of let it go a little bit easier. And for other horses, if you’ve got working horses or anything when they come in, to not be alone.”