CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Dove Creek Equine Rescue rehabilitates horses around the high plains so they can find a forever home. The rescue’s rehab process is lengthy but is crucial to make sure the horse recovers in the healthiest manner.

Ali McEwen, the rescue’s director of operations and volunteers, said that after a horse is brought to Dove Creek, they complete an arrival protocol.

“We see where they are at as far as body score, one being the worst then we go to two then three,” said McEwen. “Then from there, we take their body weight and average up what they need to be eating so we can take them on a slow process back to gaining weight and being healthy. We get their vaccinations and they stay in quarantine for two weeks. And then after the two weeks, we decide if they still need more time to stay in a little area to be fed about four times a day.”

But McEwen said the process doesn’t end there.

“Once they have rehabilitated in that area, then we start them in our training program. Our trainer takes them in, evaluates them, sees if they have ever had a saddle, and just all the things. So then we take it step by step from wherever they need to start and we get them to a point where we feel like they are safe to adopt out to a home. Some are really experienced riders and some of them need that. People can still finish the training as well,” she said.

According to McEwen, the rescue is only allotted a certain amount of horses per grazing land to keep the horses healthy and sustained.

“We have our healing herd that they stay here. Then we have a section that is our bring in, rehabilitate, and bring home. So every horse that leaves that opens up a spot for a new horse so it’s very important that our flow of adoption keeps going so that we can keep saving horses,” she noted.

McEwen’s advice for those looking to adopt a horse is to be prepared for the cost of feed and healthcare.

“Always be prepared that any vet visit and the feed can be covered financially. It’s very costly. And then the time that adopting a horse really puts in. You can’t just adopt a horse and turn them out to pasture and expect them to work well for you, especially a rescue. Our rescues really need a lot of that one-on-one attention and to know they are taken care of and that they have their forever home,” she said.

McEwen said a list of adoptable horses, along with the horse’s stories, can be found on Dove Creek Equine Rescue’s website. She recommends meeting the horses in person before turning in an adoption application.

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