Tehama - The Magazine

Fall 2013

Tehama - The Magazine - Red Bluff Daily News

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"About 30 years ago, the price was better and we used our own personal resources to acquire land before it was lost to the horses," Nelson said. "Some of the land has been sold four times over and the horses are still on it. That in itself is a miracle. It felt right because it feels isolated (for the horses). It's 5,000 acres and it's rugged, which is good for the horses, and has cover with the trees. The grazing is not as lush as we wish it were here to keep them alive, but we're going to be cross fencing and seeding it in hope to double our capacity." While it feels isolated, the sanctuary is still close enough to nearby cities to be accessible to the public and much-needed volunteers, she said. "Volunteers are critical to what we do as a non-profit," Nelson said. They have helped with developing barns and facilities to accommodate the needs of the non-profit and the horses and the program has developed an internship program that has allowed for trail rides, something that is the "heart and soul" of the foundation, she said. "It raises about 50% of the budget, but with the economy we've struggle with that as well," Nelson said of the two, three and four day trail rides. Anyone ages 14 and older is welcome to attend. 6 Nelson, co-founder of The Wild Horse Sanctuary, pets one of several burros on the 5,000 acre property. Tehama - the Magazine, October, 2013 Trail rides, which are rain or shine from May to midOctober, include comfortable overnight accommodations and safety will dictate what happens on the trip. Nelson has only had to give a rain check once or twice in all the years, she said. During the year, there are other opportunities for the public to visit including the annual open house, which is always the third Saturday in August. Horse demonstrations, a wild horse walk, live entertainment and free rides for children 10 and under are part of the fun. There is also a barbecue and a raffle ticket drawing, both of which are a fundraiser. "If one young kid got to touch or feel a horse and it gave them direction (for a career) it'd be worth it," Nelson said. "I hope we can touch a life by being here. It's a sanctuary for people as well as horses and we're grateful for the volunteers that help us keep it going. It's limitless what needs to be done." Needs include the ability to maintain fences, money to feed the horses, but somehow things always work out, she said. "If you go back to the beginning, we had 80 horses and we knew it was going to be a shot in the dark," Nelson said. "We didn't know where we'd put them and the doors opened. Now living off the graces of caring people they have a home and equipment to feed them."

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