Story by Callie Monte Photos by Amanda Palko
Located in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains in Tubac, Arizona, Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary is home to about 60 horses and a handful of burros when operating at full capacity. They provide a safe haven and rehabilitative care for abused and discarded horses in an environment free from the cruelty and neglect they have previously endured. The horses at Equine Voices have come from inhumane conditions and are often destined for slaughter; the sanctuary gives them a second chance. Young horses lucky enough to find their way to the rescue are rehabilitated and adopted into a loving home while older and infirm horses stay and live out the rest of their lives in a sanctuary setting.
Recently Equine Voices celebrated it’s 15th year of operation with their annual fundraising event that included dinner, live music, and an auction. The fundraiser held at Tubac Golf Resort & Spa brought together locals, horse enthusiasts, artists, and businesses and raised over $60,000. The success of this year’s fundraiser will allow Equine Voices to break ground on a new visitor’s center in early 2020 and they have big plans to go along with the new center.
If you are new to Equine Voices you might be surprised how much they have to offer their horses and humans- it’s not just a ranch where retired horses graze. Karen Pomroy, founder and owner, considers Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary a safe place for horses as well as a sanctum for people. She explains, “I always considered this a place of healing for the horses and a sanctuary for people as well. Horses can bring healing to people”.
Educating the public and raising awareness is a key part of Equine Voices’ mission. Equine Voices currently offers a variety of classes and training programs such as Minimum Standards of Horse Care and Bioenergetic educational classes and lectures. They have nutritional feeding classes, healing and hoof care informative sessions and a host of other training programs geared toward natural homeopathic care. They teach people about equine acupuncture, low level light therapy, and reiki as well.
Equine Voices has also brought awareness to the conditions of horses used in the pharmaceutical industry to make the drug Premarin. To manufacture Ppremarine, urine is needed from pregnant mares. These horses are repeatedly impregnated so their urine can be harvested and used for the hormone replacement drug. The conditions the mares are kept in are deplorable and the resulting foal from their pregnancies are sold off or sent to slaughter. Once the mares are no longer useful, they are slaughtered or abandoned. While the practice has mostly been eliminated in the United States farms, in other countries continue to make a profit from this practice. Equine Voices has always been a safe haven for these abused mares and their foals, and they continue to advocate for the elimination of this practice. Additionally, Equine Voices sponsors mares in Canada to keep them from slaughter.
Building a new visitor’s center will allow Equine Voices to expand on it’s current offerings and add an additional component- Equine Therapy for humans. Equine Voices is working with an organization called Animals with Heart that provides Equine Therapy for patients in a hospital setting. Animals With Heart (AWH) is the only animal-assisted therapy program being used in psychiatric hospitals in AZ. AWH provides healing for those recovering from trauma or other mental health issues. Teaming up with AWH makes sense for Equine Voices; utilizing AWH’s proven methods means they can roll out the program to people at the new visitor facility quickly and efficiently and Equine Voices can further the bond between humans and animals.
Pomroy elaborates: “It’s exciting to be able to offer more treatment programs for humans alongside animals. These are turbulent times and equine therapy can help people heal and grow.”
Fostering the human-animal bond isn’t a new concept to Equine Voices but it’s something they’ve always wanted to include more of. “Horses are sentient beings that open up people’s hearts. If people can learn to communicate with animals and treat them humanely the world would be a better place,” says Karen. The new center will allow them to continue to grow and incorporate more of the human healing aspect of the organization.
Equine Voices has gained praise from reputable licensing and review boards and in 2018 was awarded an EQUUS foundation award for being one of the most -effective equine charities in the US. They were also voted “Best Non-Profit Organization” by Green Valley News and the Sahuarita Sun. To date they have saved nearly 1,200 equines including the nine most recent additions- Mustangs coming from Devil’s Garden in Northern California where wild horses were being sold off irresponsibly. Knowing these horses might be destined for slaughter, Equine Voices managed to rescue nine Mustangs that have settled in nicely at the sanctuary.
If you missed this year’s fundraising event and are interested in how you can help, you can sponsor a horse with a monthly gift starting at $10. There is also a boutique on the premises with unique donated items along with t-shirts and other treasures. Visitors are welcome at the sanctuary but please contact ahead of time to secure your space on a tour. Email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a tour and get directions.
For more information about Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary visit equinevoices.org.