Humanity for Horses Protecting our Four-Legged Friends
By Paul Boerger
Humanity for HorsesJanuary 2015
Story and photos by Paul Boerger
There are people who like animals, care about them and even delight in their company. And then there are the folks at Humanity for Horses, who truly love animals, especially horses. Founded in 2012 in response to the practice of putting down abused, sick or otherwise discarded horses, the Humanity for Horses Sanctuary in Siskiyou County offers medical treatment, rehabilitation, a home for life and above all, extraordinary caring that goes beyond what even the most ardent animals lovers feel.
Humanity for Horses was founded by Denali Jordan when she became aware of horse abuse and a federal law was passed, since repealed, that allowed horses to be put down. She met with the Sheriff ’s Department and Animal Control, and Humanity for Horses for was born. “It was a calling,” Jordan says. “Horses are divine messengers. Gandhi said a nation is judged by how it treats animals. We’re at 151 acres and we’re not going to stop.”
Sanctuary supervisor Dylan Coleman has a deep and profound respect for horses.
“Why the horse?” Coleman asks. "They are pure love, graceful, beautiful, loyal, soulful. We owe them for what they have given and continue to give humanity. They make the world a better place. Spend some time with a horse and you will feel calm, happy and loved. If that is not worth fighting for and protecting, then I do not know what is.”
The sprawling sanctuary has rescued 200 horses and 163 other animals, including goats, rabbits, alpacas, llamas, donkeys and mules. The horses are housed in large pasture-like corrals with a size-appropriate shelter. Rescued wild Mustangs, for example, have 200-by-400- foot corrals. The smallest corral is 50 by 50 feet. The senior section provides heating for older horses. Every care that can be taken is applied at the sanctuary. For a horse that came in with injured hooves, for example, the staff softened the corral’s ground to ease the healing process.
Laura Maddy is on the horse care team and has spent her entire life around horses. Her family owned 1,000 horses and she owns 30.
“I’m really the horse happiness supervisor,” Maddy says with a laugh.
As Maddy walks past the corrals, she knows every horse’s name, when it came in, its medical history, what treatments it is getting and its personality. She even knows which horses are boyfriend and girlfriend. Maddy says a big part of the rehabilitation is getting the animals to trust again. She talks to the animals like best friends and they respond by sauntering over for a nuzzle or a kiss.
“Some of the horses will choose to be at peace and just live here,” Maddy says. “Some will want to give back and be with humans again. I can see the change take place.”
Maddy explains that the nonprofit sanctuary has a special thoroughbred program for racehorses that are no longer able to perform.
“We have some very expensive horses,” Maddy says. “If the race horses are injured or aren’t fast enough, they become disposable. We work with the California Retirement Management Account for Thoroughbreds to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
In addition to that group, the sanctuary liaisons with the Sheriff ’s Department, Animal Control, the Humane Society and takes individual referrals. The organization is accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
A new program in the works will bring seniors and special needs children to the sanctuary to interact with the horses.
“Children are empowered by being with large animals. It builds selfesteem and self-worth,” Maddy says. “We’ve had some seniors here and they love the place.”
Humanity for Horses, Mount Shasta