2017 Annual Report
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On behalf of our Board and Staff we thank you for your support of Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. 2017 was an exciting and monumental year for the Rescue and our horses. It marked the first full year at our beautiful forever home along the banks of the Colorado River. It saw the expansion of corrals and the installation of additional shelters that allowed us to increase the number of horses in our care. A total of 31 equines were cared for during the year. At year end MVHR had 19 on property and 3 in training at off-site locations. Most importantly we were able to re-home 8 horses through the adoption process.
In addition to the equines directly cared for on property, MVHR assists in dozens of direct placements each year where we help coordinate the transfer of ownership between private parties. Through these efforts and our connections in the horse community, we save numerous equines from unnecessary slaughter or euthanasia.
In 2017 the board and staff held its first strategic planning retreat (at the ranch) to lay the foundation for the future operation of the Rescue. At the heart of our discussions was the desire to remain focused on the mission of MVHR: 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.
The board recognized the need to professionally enhance many of the Rescue’s efforts including marketing and public relations, events, fundraising, board development, and compliance with non-profit regulations. In March, a contract was signed with CFC Collective to address these issues. This collaborative effort resulted in increased donations for operations, a newly designed and more functional website, an improved social media presence, and expanded outreach events.
As part of our outreach program, the board contracted with Amy Ben-Horin to create summer programming for children and adults. The programs utilize the Rescue horses and privately-owned horses boarding at the Rescue to educate people and develop horsemanship skills. In its first year the program was wildly successful. The fees and donations collected outpaced the program expenses resulting in additional funds for the horses. This prompted the Board to hire Amy as the Rescue’s Director of Community Programs. She will be tasked with expanding the outreach programs in 2018 and coordination of all volunteers’ efforts.
Speaking of volunteers, 2017 saw a 68% increase in the number of volunteer days logged at the ranch and an 82% increase in the number of volunteer hours over the prior year. In addition to these volunteers, we had 232 people from various service groups log approximately 700 hours helping to muck the stalls, groom the horses, and perform general facility repairs. We established Community Volunteer Days on the first Saturday of each month as a day when family and friends can join Veterans at the ranch to complete work on a list of chores. It is wonderful that so many people choose to make the short trek to MVHR and donate their time and effort –and get a little horse time in return.
Our collaboration with CFC Collective also resulted in our first ever volunteer survey. We received valuable feedback from our volunteers on assorted topics. This feedback is being incorporated into our volunteer program initiatives and overall ranch operating policies. This inaugural Annual Report is a direct result of the survey.
When our Executive Director, Shana Devins, was not caring for the horses, she was busy formalizing the various policies and procedures for the board to approve and include in a comprehensive operational guide. Her efforts resulted in Mountain Valley Horse Rescue receiving full accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Back to the horses. On April 24th, one of the four mustangs we rescued from the South Dakota sanctuary debacle gave birth to a handsome foal. He was the first foal to be born on the new property and was named Woodrow in honor of Dick and Marcy Woodrow – the former owners of the ranch. We are proud to report that our efforts in rescuing these mustangs have resulted in one of them being adopted, three others are in formal training, and all (including Woodrow) have been under saddle. It should be noted that these successes and others at the Rescue are a direct result of the generous direct sponsorships from our supporters.
With the celebration of life and daily successes at the Rescue, we are cognizant and mindful of the reality of death. Sadly in 2017 we said our goodbyes to Monk and DeBask. We invite you to visit our website www.mvhr.net to learn more about these and other horses whose care has been entrusted to MVHR.
In 2017, we continued our partnership with the Beaver Creek Rodeo in providing equine educational information to attendees as well as pony rides for the kids. We also continued our partnership with the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo by managing the horse stalls available for visiting participants.
The first of many planned capital improvements to the property began in 2017 with the excavation and pouring of footers for a stack yard to keep the hay out of the weather. We hope to have it completed in the spring of 2018. If you would like to donate to this or any other capital project, please let Shana or any of the board members know.
It is only with your support that we were able to accomplish these milestones and provide such an elevated level of care for the horses in our charge. For that we are truly grateful.
With Sincere Thanks,
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue Board of Directors