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What makes the Equine Spirit Sanctuary (ESS) different from other horse rescues?

ESS is not just a horse rescue. It is a sanctuary for healing, for both horses and humans, where people and horses connect. Horse rescue is one of the purposes of ESS, but of equal importance is the interaction between people and horses and other animals. People are a necessary and important part of ESS. Volunteers are given opportunities to participate in the care of the horses and to assist with and take part in educational clinics and lessons through the ESS programs. The public is invited to come learn about the world of horses and what a positive impact horses can have on our lives as we help horses that need help, and interact with horses that become our teachers and friends.

What does horse rescue consist of?

ESS is licensed with the State of New Mexico as an approved horse rescue. ESS is available to work with local law enforcement agencies, including the livestock brand inspector, to assist with the care of horses that are found to be neglected, abandoned, abused or otherwise in need of help, in accordance with the State of New Mexico Animal Welfare laws. Horses that are confiscated by authorities by law enforcement authorities may be brought to ESS for rescue and rehabilitation. ESS does not act on its own to take horses from their owners.

What happens to horses that come to ESS?

First, they are assessed by our staff and veterinarian. Serious injuries or wounds will be treated by the veterinarian. A program of rehabilitation for the horse will be set to meet the animal’s nutritional and physical needs. Rehabilitation also includes gentle handling and retraining, if necessary, based on the animal’s background, condition, and future intended use. Eventually the horse may be offered for adoption, or will be placed in a new home as a companion horse, used as a program horse for ESS, or simply given retirement.

What types of programs are offered?

ESS offers programs on basic horse care and handling, from how to approach a horse and halter and lead, to riding lessons. Therapeutic riding and equine-assisted therapy and learning programs development are offered also.

How much does it cost to participate in the programs?

There are standard fees set for the equine therapy programs to help cover the costs, which include insurance, equipment and instructors. There are options available for anyone who wishes to participate. We seek sponsors and apply for grants for these programs so that anyone who wishes to participate can do so.

All educational programs will be priced according to the type of program it is, who the instructor is (staff or outside trainer/clinician) and length (2 hours, half day, full day, etc.). Prices will be as reasonable as possible and many of the programs will be offered on a “donation to the sanctuary” basis.

Why are you doing this?

Our purpose is to help horses and people. By helping horses, we also help people to learn more about horses and their care and to improve the quality of life for all involved. When we help heal horses, we heal ourselves. By providing ways for people to learn, we reach out to many, many more horses than just taking in horses as a rescue affords. And because, quite simply, we love horses. And ponies. And donkeys. Come meet the equines of ESS. You'll fall in love, too!

Where is ESS located?

We are pleased to announce that in May 2015 ESS purchased the property that we had been renting for 8 years, the former Thal Equine Veterinary Hospital and Clinic, located just a few miles outside of Taos, NM. For directions go to our Contact page. We hope to see you soon! 

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