Horse Rescues Prepare for Long Winter Ahead

Tawnee Preisner doesn’t need a calendar to know that winter is approaching–all she has to do is count the number of inquiries she receives from horse owners wanting to place their animals at her California equine rescue. Calls from financially strapped horse owners in need of help spike every fall, she said. But this year, the number of inquiries is exceptionally high. And Preisner wonders how
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Tawnee Preisner doesn’t need a calendar to know that winter is approaching–all she has to do is count the number of inquiries she receives from horse owners wanting to place their animals at her California equine rescue. Calls from financially strapped horse owners in need of help spike every fall, she said. But this year, the number of inquiries is exceptionally high. And Preisner wonders how she and other rescuers will avoid becoming overwhelmed by the influx of horses in need of help this winter.

“Winter is always a tough time for rescues because people who have horses but don’t feel like feeding them want to turn their horses over to rescues,” said Preisner, co-founder of NorCal Equine Rescue in Oroville, Calif. “But this year, I’m getting 10 phone calls a day. People are panicking, and I know it‘s going to get worse.”

Preisner’s dire prediction comes at an already challenging time for rescue operators. Many facilities are filled to capacity with horses from previous rescues. At the same time, a recession-driven decline in donor financial support has reduced the operating budgets of some by as much as 50%. With no drop in the cost to maintain a horse, rescue operators are doing whatever they can to keep their organizations financially solvent this winter and beyond.

Day’s End Equine Rescue Executive Director Kathy Howe began preparing for the anticipated surge in winter horse rescues early this year when she decided to make deep cuts in her organization’s spending

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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