Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse industry. Today, we recognize Kidznhorses Outreach of Selah, Washington.
Kidznhorses Outreach is a multi-faceted horse rescue and outreach program based in Selah, Washington. We spoke with founder Kerrie Regimbal to learn more about the good work she and Kidnzhorses are achieving in the surrounding community.
HN: How did you get started at Kidznhorses, and who are you serving?
KR: We began in 2005 with a feedlot rescue; we’ve always had three or four different projects going at any one time. By 2009, we had become a registerd non-profit organization providing a safe environment for both kids and horses — a place for health, hope and trust.
Our horses come to us in a few different ways — we take owner surrenders from people who can’t care for their horses any more; we also take horses seized by law enforcement. When we can, we offer help to owners directly — sometimes that means hay, assistance rehoming, and sometimes that means helping to pay for euthanasia. Times are very hard for horse owners in our area; when we can, we temporarily take a horse on when the owner relinquishes it until they can take it back again. We take on more horses on our own property only as a last resort.
Our kids often come to us with anxiety, stress or depression. There’s a high rate of suicide in this area and a lot of social pressures. People learn about us through word of mouth or the media; we work with some foster kids as well. We’re trying to model ourselves after Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, which is a great program but it’s located in a community that’s a bit better off. We’re in a lower income community.
We build trust, self-esteem and confidence — in both the kids and the horses. We take those who have been bullied and we take the bullies too.
HN: How are you funded?
KR: We encourage donations whenever possible, as well as a few local fundraisers. Even though we don’t ask for any fees from the population we’re serving, a lot of our families will donate what they can spare to help keep us going because they’ve seen the good work that we can do for their child.
HN: We first heard about Kidznhorses through a press release from a feed company — you were feeding their milk replacer to foals. Where do those foals come from?
KR: They come to us off the Yakima Indian Reservation — there are around 15,000 horses roaming the reservation, and every year they’re rounded up and some are sent to the feedlots. They tend to do this roundup in February or March, sometimes right when the mares are foaling — so sometimes there are babies only two or three days old. The foals are not wanted on the feedlot, so we save as many as we can and get them started here.
We do adopt out those foals, to homes trained in their care. Adopters have to take at least two foals so they’re not going alone. We are pretty serious about where those horses go — we do follow-up visits, and sometimes horses do have to come back, but we’re happy to take them back here instead of them ending up at sales or worse.
HN: What horses are used for your youth outreach program?
KR: Any horse that comes through is used in our outreach! Every horse has a place and something to offer to the right person, whether it’s a troubled horse that needs careful rehabilitation or an aged horse that just wants to stand quietly with someone. Some of our horses will stay here permanently for our youth programs, but others are rehabilitated and adopted out to the perfect home.
HN: What is one thing you wish people knew about the work that you’re doing?
KR: I wish people knew how much work goes into rescue, if you’re doing it right. It’s such a commitment — it’s not just putting weight back on a thin horse. Our volunteers’ hearts and souls go into these horses.
Finding the right fit between a horse and an adopter is also a challenge. We want everyone to be safe — both horses and people. It’s not fair to anyone if we make a bad match and someone gets hurt. We want to be transparent and accountable, and do what is right for both horses and people.
We salute Kidznhorses Outreach for its good work in the horse world and its outreach to the surrounding community. If you’d like to learn more about Kidznhorses, we encourage readers to check out the website as well as follow the organization on Facebook.
Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. 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.