Each Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we’re recognizing Front Range Equine Rescue.
Front Range Equine Rescue or FRER has most recently made headlines for the lawsuit it has filed against the BLM in an attempt to stop the agency’s planned sterilization experiments on mustang mares. In addition, FRER is a horse rescue, education service and advocacy force for the continued protection of wild horses and the prevention of horse slaughter. We spoke with FRER to learn more about their various good works.
HN: How did Front Range get started and how has the program changed over time?
FRER: Front Range’s founder Hilary Wood started the organization in 1997 after being inspired by the story of her first horse Dancer. The rescue began in Colorado and grew over the years, becoming a leader in rescue and rehabilitation of horses bound for slaughter or from other abusive situations.
As the program developed, efforts widened to include an education component: Front Range hosts camps for children and educational programs for adults to teach all about humane equine care and management. We also discuss legal issues facing the horse world with our wild horses and slaughter-bound equines. Education is critical to raise up the next generation of responsible horse owners!
Additionally, Front Range Equine Rescue has become a leader in advocacy for ending horse slaughter as well as protecting America’s wild horses.
In the past two years, FRER expanded its efforts to Hilary’s home state of Virginia and relocated the headquarters to Ocala, Florida while continuing its efforts in Colorado.
HN: Tell us more about the advocacy work that FRER has done in recent years.
FRER: Our advocacy work and lawsuits have come under two fronts: the mustangs and horse slaughter.
We’ve challenged the BLM on many cases, concerning what we determined to be illegal gathers, as well as what amounted to a selective breeding and inflated sales process with the Kiger mustang herd. We also filed suit about a BLM plan to eliminate horses from the West Douglas area. Our most recent case is the lawsuit regarding experimental mare sterilization in Oregon.
Front Range was the leader in discovering the first slaughter plant in the United States applying for USDA horse meat inspectors when slaughter was briefly legalized again in 2011; the summary lawsuit helped keep horse slaughter at bay until 2014 when horse slaughter was outlawed again. FRER also provides support to other advocacy groups fighting both for the wild horses and against horse slaughter.
We try to take a “big picture” look at advocacy — we pick our battles and get involved where we are needed the most.
HN: What’s one thing you wish people knew about FRER?
FRER: People need to know that we are providing creative, yet practical solutions for issues involving equine abuse, whether it’s regarding the brutal and unnecessary horse slaughter industry to the protection of wild horses to educating on being a responsible horse owner.
If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.