Mountain Valley Horse Rescue (MVHR) is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that rescued its first horses in 2004, and became a 501(c)(3) in 2005 with the mission of rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming abused, neglected, abandoned, and unwanted horses. MVHR also works to reduce cases of horse abuse and neglect through education and outreach.
As one of the only horse rescue organizations on the Western Slope, we cover a lot of territory. Though we are making a small dent in the need, we make an everlasting difference for those horses we can save. And with help, we know we can save many more.
Today, there are an estimated 170,000 unwanted horses across the nation, with 6,000 in Colorado alone. Of these, 120,000–130,000 horses are shipped to slaughter in Mexico and Canada every year, where they are processed for human consumption. In addition, each year the BLM rounds up 9,400 wild horses off of public lands, but only 1 in 3 find homes.
We help reduce horse abuse and neglect through education and outreach and through relationships with local law enforcement concerned citizens and private horse owners.
When necessary, horses are taken in and cared for by us at the Rescue with the ultimate goal of returning them to full health and adoption into a loving, forever home.
We network to find horses foster homes and forever homes.
To meet these goal(s), each horse is provided with food, shelter, care, medical treatment, and training to help them become adoptable. As space and funding allow, a limited number of horses are provided sanctuary care at the Rescue for the rest of their lives.
Support hopeful hearts... helping horses!
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue relies on the support and direction of a passionate Board of Directors in order to further its mission.
Shana took her first horseback riding lesson in second grade. She began leasing her first horse in seventh grade, and showing at small local shows. As her interest grew, her parents purchased her first horse when she was a freshman in high school, a green broke 5 year old American Holsteiner. They grew and learned together, showing dressage extensively throughout the Midwest until Shana lost her to colic during senior year of college. The devastation of losing her became the catalyst for her move to Colorado.
Shana was lucky enough to meet a wonderful horse mentor here, Willard Forman, who helped her re-find horses, and get to know them in a more Western setting - trail riding, pack trips, and even horse drawn sleigh rides. Thanks to Willard, Shana soon found herself part owner of Indian Summer Outfitters at Bearcat Stables, offering daily trail rides, Vail to Aspen horseback rides, hunt camps, and horse drawn wagon, carriage, and sleigh rides. Dozens of horses and hundreds of miles on trails helped heal her heart and find a way forward.
After marrying fellow horse and mountain lover Mike Devins in 2005, and welcoming their first child Grady in 2006, Shana sold her half of Indian Summer Outfitters and spent the next four years helping friends develop horseback riding and other recreation on their ranch in Garfield County. In 2010, now with Grady and 2 year old Leila, she scaled back, keeping just a small herd of ten horses and basing a small outfitting business out of her home while focusing on being Mom.
It was during this time that Shana started fostering horses for MVHR and offering rides as MVHR fundraisers. In 2011, she joined MVHR officially and has been thrilled to be a part of the organization’s growth. Horses have meant so much to Shana throughout her life, and it is meaningful everyday to help them in return. With little Zoe now rounding out her family, any time Shana doesn't spend with horses is spent supporting the kids or working around the ranch!
Amy joined the MVHR team earlier in 2017, to help elevate our education programs and opportunities while building advocacy around why our rescue is important, and how our horses and the community can benefit one another.
Amy holds a Master’s degree in Education, with a focus on Environmental and Adventure Education, and has worked with preschool-aged children through college, helping foster relationships between parent and child, and horse and child.
This fall, Amy launched MVHR’s Mini Horse Heroes program, and will continue this program in the spring with 3 to 5 year-olds. Mini Horse Hero students help out around the ranch, while also learning language arts, math, social studies and PE/movement skills. They’ll learn to write and recognize horse names and symbols, sort brushes and groom, and walk the horses. The sessions are all part of a curriculum based on Colorado Department of Education standards and kindergarten readiness, and parents and students both love the interaction with our horses!
Other programs Amy has launched and will continue to host this spring include service and educational days with several schools and homeschoolers throughout the region, Rescue Club (High school students meet once a month at MVHR and are responsible for creating an advocacy project to raise awareness or funds about the rescue) and Horse Heroes (programs that create connections between students and horses, with a focus on perseverance, communications and other related skills).
Amy is thrilled to continue building MVHR’s education offerings in the spring, along with a variety of summer programs that will pick back up in 2018, and encourages parents, teachers and other educators to contact her directly to learn more.
Greta discovered Mountain Valley Horse Rescue several years ago when searching for an organization nearby that could introduce her daughter Stella to horses, horse care, riding instruction and general equine education. Since she didn’t have any horse experience or background and worked in the non-profit realm for many years, she thought a good place to begin would be to reach out to the local rescue that helped horses in need.
Since then, Stella and Greta have been hooked. They began with volunteer orientation, doing chores, and connecting with horse folks who offered riding lessons. Soon they learned together how to do regular feedings, and Gretta offered her non-profit development experience to assist MVHR with fundraising.
During the last few years volunteering for the rescue, Greta has become grateful to MVHR for the opportunity to help Stella, and her other children, connect with the beloved horses and learn from interacting with these beautiful creatures. She will always be thankful for the chance to spend precious time working with her daughter to help her dream come true. She's come to love her weekly treks out to the ranch to muck and feed and get to know the horses and their life stories. The Rescue is Greta's ranch time and fulfills the longing to work with her hands, in fresh air, and on the open land with majestic animals.
In 2013, Cookie moved to Gypsum from her home state of California (mostly the Bay Area), to live nearer to her daughter. During her career in local government service, Cookie served on the board of the International Association of Facilitators, started her continuing joy of creative non-fiction writing and, after retiring, studied Feldenkrais somatic education, and consulted in strategic planning and organizational improvement. As part of her move to Colorado, Cookie made the explicit commitment to be directly involved in animal welfare – always a passion. Her daughter (now owner of MVHR adoptee, Buffalo; and her son-in-law owns another, Indie) introduced Cookie to Shana at an MVHR event. Cookie started volunteering right away and joined the Board in 2015; hoping that her organizational, budget, facilitation and administrative skills would be helpful resources, as she learns more each day about MVHR’s equine charges and their needs.
Larry has been in the Vail Valley since 1997 when he moved from Pittsburgh, PA. He is a Senior Vice President at Citywide Banks.
His extensive banking and financial background serve him well as the current President of the MVHR board providing insight from a financial perspective. Larry also feels his 25 years of experience in the hardware business prior to banking allows him to better serve the organization from a facilities management perspective.
Larry joins the other board members with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm about the direction of MVHR’s mission. Larry lives in Edwards with his wife Janet. They have five children, the youngest of whom is a senior at CSU. His hobbies include hiking, skiing, hunting and fishing.
Joanne has always loved horses!!
On her 50th birthday, she started taking riding lessons and soon had her own horse. Life was good! Her interest in Mountain Valley Horse Rescue was fueled by two horses named Sunny and Willow, who were saved by MVHR in the winter of 2004-2005. After that she was hooked.
Joanne adopted her first rescue horse in May 2010: MVHR’s Bombay, a solid black Mustang. He was her heart horse, or so she thought. While Bombay lived at the rescue Joanne became totally consumed with the horses - daily chores, grooming, riding and just wallowing in the energy that these equines were willing to share with her.
The unthinkable occurred in August 2012, her beautiful Bombay was humanely euthanized after a bout of colic. Joanne felt the need to seek out another horse immediately and was led to Convict, another Mustang. They locked eyes and Joanne knew that the bond would be forever.
In late spring 2014, Joanne was privileged with the opportunity to to live at the rescue with the horses. For Joanne, it is an incredible honor to spend her days and nights with these equines, who come in all shapes, sizes and mindsets. They have been down some nasty roads of their own. Joanne does not consider myself to be the rescuer, but that she has been rescued by the horses.
Marleen was born and raised in The Netherlands before moving to Colorado in 2008 to be with her husband Warner, who is from Carbondale, CO. They live in Miller Ranch in Edwards with their 1 year old daughter Penelope and a cute little Corgi mix, Jax.
Riding horses at an early age at the local horseback riding school, Marleen got the horse virus and it never went away. She learned to ride on a pony named Dinky, a small Palomino Welsh Pony. The horses became more and more important and every free minute was spent at the stables. Helping with pony camps, day events and later on teaching dressage and jumping to children from 4 to 16 years old is how she spent her evenings and weekends. It was sad to say goodbye to this amazing hobby when moving to Colorado. Thankfully a few years later Marleen found a similar community at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. Coming on a cold December evening to check out a horse that was up for adoption resulted in continuing to volunteer, becoming a board member and eventually adopting Grace, who still resides at MVHR. Most recently a Palomino Pony, Sassy came to the rescue and early childhood memories came back resulting in Marleen & her family adopting Sassy, so that Penelope can learn to ride on a Palomino Pony as well. Besides that Sassy is really awesome!
Marleen has a Bachelor degree in Economics & International Business from Inholland University in The Netherlands. Currently Marleen works as the Assistant Director of Finance at The Ritz Carlton-Bachelor Gulch, and previously has held jobs as Director of Rooms at The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera and Director of Revenue at The Sebastian-Vail. Her experience in finance and revenue has made her the perfect person to be the Treasurer of Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, keeping us in line financially and making sure the bills are paid.