Show to aid ranch that rescues horses
When people think of neglected animals, horses might not immediately come to mind. However, in Texas where farm and ranches are plentiful, cases of abuse and abandonment occur regularly.
As the executive director of Habitat for Horses, a nonprofit rescue-and-rehabilitation outfit in Alvin, Rebecca Williams knows the plight of suffering horses all too well.
“Unfortunately it’s more common than people think, and the problem mostly stems from people falling on hard times and not asking for help, or people not understanding what it takes to take good care of horses,” she said.
For 20 years Habitat for Horses has been rescuing, rehabilitating and finding new homes for horses that were discovered sick, starving or living in squalor.
“Our commitment to the horse is they’ll never end up in the position in which we found them,” Williams said. “We want them to have a good second life.”
However, she and her team need help to do it.
On Sept. 26, the organization will host its seventh annual Greener Pastures concert in Brenham to raise funds to feed, house and offer general care to the horses under its protection. Scheduled from 6-10 p.m. at 4 Star Concert Hall & Sidebar at 209 S. Market St., the show will feature Jack Ingram, the 2018 Academy of Country Music Song of the Year winner, and Texas country singer-songwriter Julia Hatfield. Tickets start at $125 and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/2CL1Wcj.
Habitat for Horses vice president Ginger Barber said the concert, which has raised upwards of $100,000 in previous years, features auction items such as custom cowboy boots, collectible artwork and photography and trips to Nantucket, Massachusetts and to Mexico.
Barber said the group’s donors have always been generous and she doesn’t always want to call on the same people to give each year. That was part of the reason to hold this year’s concert event in Brenham.
“We’re going to be reaching out to new people this year,” Barber said.
350 horses and donkeys
Much of the proceeds will be put toward purchasing hay to feed the animals through the winter, Williams said.
“We need about 800-900 hay bales to get us through the winter; so our goal for that is about $54,000,” she said.
The group, which houses and cares for approximately 350 horses and donkeys and employs 14 people, is also looking to add buildings on its new ranch in Alvin.
“This property basically has nothing on it, and we need to build an office and we’re looking at barn options right now, as well,” Williams said.
Previously, Habitat for Horses worked out of four ranches spread out over 200 miles in Texas. Circumstances changed early this year when it became difficult to properly run the organization from four locations.
“It was really hard to visit every ranch in a timely fashion, and it was very expensive because we had to have four of everything,” Williams said. “In January we bought this ranch in Alvin, which is 417 acres, and, so far, we’ve sold three of the other four ranches. Now that we’re under one roof things are running much more effectively.”
The work to rehabilitate the horses requires patience and care.
“We find the horses, evaluate them, get whatever they need done medically, get them back to a proper weight. Then we adopt them out,” Williams said.
Once the horses are healthy, Williams and her team start looking to find good homes for the animals.
“We look for people who have a little bit of property, although it’s not a requirement if they can board them somewhere,” she said. “We’re also looking for someone who wants to add to their family, to spend quality time with the horses and to make them part of the family.”
To ensure a good match, potential adopters are screened through background checks and are required to spend time with an animal before making final arrangements to bring it home with them.
Williams said Habitat for Horses is grateful to everyone who supports the organization whether through animal adoption, coming to the fundraiser or donating online. She encouraged those who are interested in helping the horses but don’t have a place to shelter them to consider “virtual adoption.”
“If somebody wants to support us but doesn’t have a place to put a horse, they can virtually adopt,” Williams said. “We send them pictures and updates of their horse and they can come out to visit as much as they want, and if that horse gets adopted out then they can simply choose another horse to sponsor.”
For more information about Habitat for Horses or the Greener Pastures concert, visit www.habitatforhorses.org or call 409-935-0277.