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Archive for March, 2010

3-30-10

Thanks to your generosity the well fund is currently at $935. The pump should be ordered tomorrow, so please keep it in your thoughts!
There is a YouTube video of the well being drilled. Watching this video you will feel like you were right there with Jason, Tawnee and the volunteers, watching the well being drilled. To watch it, click here.

This morning we had another load of hay delivered. We are so thankful that the rain held off and they were able to sneak the load out between rain showers.

They got right to work unloading the hay truck and soon it was all neatly stacked inside the temporary hay storage. Our realtor/hay guy sure is happy that he hopefully won’t have to make the bumpy road to this rescue location anymore. Hopefully the next hay load will be taken to the new facility.

While the hay was being unloaded Tawnee was hard at work loading a couple horses to go out to the vet for their pre-adoption exam. First of all was Paula, she is such a gorgeous girl! Sierra also went to the vet for her pre-adoption exam, but didn’t make it in the pictures.

Next it was Dolly’s turn to be loaded into the rescue rig. We had some real concerns about Dolly’s quality of life and wanted her to be examined by our vet.

It was such a beautiful morning with a crisp blue sky.

We have a new face that came into our organization today. This is Phoenix, a 2-3 year old stallion that came to us from Animal Control. He is now waiting for his gelding operation so he can come back to the rescue so he can find his loving forever home.

Jason meanwhile had picked up volunteer Alex then rented a flatbed trailer. We would like to thank Surplus City Fun Center for reducing the rental cost by 30%. We really appreciated it! From there they met up with Tawnee at the vet so they could all go get an item that is in short supply at the new rescue facility…

…shelters. This one had been blown over so the roof was on the ground, but we got it for a good deal. With no trees at the new facility, shelters are very needed.

Jason, Alex and the owner of the shelter worked quite busily on the shelter, taking it apart one piece at a time.

Soon it was all on the flatbed trailer and the ropes were being tied down.

Back at the vet Paula was waiting to be loaded up to head back. The vet declares her a wonderful horse with a good potential at dressage and trails. She came to us with injuries from the racetrack. She showed signs of left front stress fractures of the dorsal surface of MCII and left hind fibula fracture. She is just fine now, and she needs a little time to sit back, be a horse and forget those racing days. She is in adoption pending. Many of our horses don’t make it up on the adoption available page, as shortly after they are shown on the blog people put an adoption hold on them. If you see a horse you like on the blog, contact us right away!

Soon she was loaded up along with Sierra. The vet says Sierra will be fine for a pasture pet with occasional light riding. Sadly Molly had far more complications and health problems than we realized. Dolly had severe dental problems, hardly any front teethe were left, and what teethe were left were constantly biting her tongue. She had a waved mouth and other dental complications as well. Her major problem was, however, she was experiencing liver failure and there was nothing that could be done for sweet Molly. She was a very sweet girl, but we are comforted to know that her suffering is over.

From the vet they headed out to the new facility to unload the new shelter.

In no time at all they were at the new property ready to unload the trailer. The first item to arrive at the new facility.

Jason and Alex got right to work and soon the trailer was all empty once again.

And now for the long awaited sunset photo. Not the greatest Tawnee says, but it is pretty!

It was quite dark when they were all heading back to the rescue. We would like to thank Butte County Public works for grading half of Dunstone, hopefully they finish the other half tomorrow!

But the horses needed to be unloaded and tucked into waiting stalls.

And then, as if working until 8:00 pm isn’t late enough, Jason and Alex had the ‘bright’ idea of getting the 3,000 gallon water tank loaded onto the rental trailer.

First it was tipped over on its side.

Then it was rolled down the hill ever so carefully and slowly. Jason and Alex did not want to be pancakes underneath a runaway water tank!

Then it was loaded onto the trailer were it is sitting, waiting to be hauled out to the new facility tomorrow.

Many thanks to Emily P. – Gail G. – Heather R. – Pamela N. – Judy A. for their extremely generous donations today. You are the vital lifeblood of the rescue!

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3-29-10

We received a very exciting phone call first thing this morning: the well driller was on the way! No, the fundraiser has not been finished for the well, but we are hoping that the funds will come in before the bill arrives in the mail. The total amount raised so far is $810, out of $7,000 needed. Jason and Tawnee headed off to watch the well be drilled, while April and Larry, and a couple others, did the morning chores.

When they arrived, they were greeted by some new sights at the new facility: purple flowers. There were thousands of them blanketing the entire property! So beautiful.

The drilling rig was sitting there but no operator was to be found. Jason and Tawnee had waited years for a good well for the horses, so a few more minutes wouldn’t hurt.

Soon the support rig came rumbling in through the entry.

Within moments the boom was being raised to drill the well. What exciting times!

Soon the boom was vertical, all the equipment was checked one last time, and the big moment came.

The bit touched the ground, a hiss of air and water came out, and down it went.

If flowers can look, they would have been watching the well being drilled too.

On and on they worked, drilling, casing, doing what they do to put a good well in the ground. Jason documented it on video and there will be a video on YouTube within a couple days.

At about 60′ down water started coming out of the hole from the groundwater. It’s always a great sign when water starts coming up and out the top of the ground around the drill bit.

After the chores were done at the rescue, the faithful volunteers came out to watch the excitement.

As the bit went deeper, the amount of water coming out the top kept getting more and more. Soon it was a small river coming up and out, gushing everywhere!

All this water was coming up and out of the well! There were even little waves appearing from all the water.

The men on the well drilling crew kept at their job, making sure that a very good well was put in place.

The well was a huge success: the well driller says it is between 50 – 60 gallons a minute, maybe more, he just can’t test that much. He says it’s the best well in the neighborhood. Just for reference, the most the well puts out at our old rescue location is 3 gallons a minute. Water will not be an issue at the new rescue location! We can give a bath to every horse every day all summer long if we want.
From the new property, Jason, Larry, Tawnee, Amee and April went to the California Animals Response Emergency System meeting in Oroville. They had been invited by the director of public health. The meeting is designed to provide an overview of the CARES (California Animal Response Emergency System) program and provide information regarding CARES strategic planning, goals and objectives. The planning is in support of the National Response Framework, Emergency Support Functions (ESF) 6, 8, and 11 that allow for the emergency assistance, shelter, and care for animals in all classifications. Butte County is one of 5 counties in California that have been chosen to participate in the pilot program.

The head of equine medicine at UC Davis was there to present the information on how UC Davis is working with Cal-EMA to work on a plan for animals in emergencies (fires, floods, earthquakes, etc.)

After the lectures and discussion they had a short quiz gathering information on local resources. We are so excited to be a part of disaster planning, we hope soon to have all of our volunteers trained to the level they need so each and every one of us can be called upon in a state of emergency to assist with animal evacuation and sheltering. Jason and Tawnee are already trained on a national level, it’s time to catch all the other volunteers up.

It was also a great time for networking, which Larry and Jason were great at.

North Valley Animal Disaster Group had their disaster trailers there.

Inside is stocked full of things that are needed during times of crisis.

Butte County also has a trailer dedicated to animal emergency response.

From the meeting Tawnee headed back out to the property to measure the static water level.

Tawnee discovered some wonderful arena sand. It looked like it was mud while the well drilling rig was there, but once it had dried up, it was beautiful sand. Too bad it’s so far under the ground. The water level is about 20′ down. There’s water water water, what an amazing blessing.

Tawnee says the sunset photos will be absolutely gorgeous out there. This is the closest we have gotten, even though the sun is not setting in this picture. No doubt there will be long days put in setting up the new facility, and the sunset pictures will surely come.

What an exciting day, and we would like to thank you all for your support! Emily P., Cindy M., Anonymous, all donated today, thank you so much! Please remember that we have a well bill coming in the mail soon, and desperately need the funds to pay this bill. To help out, and see your name here tomorrow, click here.

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3-28-10

The well fundraiser is well underway but still needs some fluid to fill the thermometer up to the top! Thanks to the generosity of many donors, it is currently at $510 with a goal of $7,000 to have the well drilled and a renewable energy solar pump put in. If anyone would like to start a matching donation fund, that would be absolutely lovely! The well driller believes we will have 20-30 gallons a minute, and with the solar pump rated at 25 gallons a minute or so, can you imagine the beautiful green pasture this can provide? Free water with no dependence on the electric company! Please help out if you can, click here.

We received a great update on Jake recently that we would like to share with you. “Hello dear friends. Just sharing a pic of Jake and the woman in his life, Miss KoKo. They are so fond of each other! Jake is a gentleman when I go out to seperate them, however. What a sweet boy he is and he is settling in nicely. Snce getting his teeth worked on he has filled out alot! What a joy to have him. Thank you, again, for making my life better with him.” Thank you so much for giving Jake such a great home!

It was a beautiful morning at the rescue, with just the right amount of sun. One of Paula’s racing plates had fallen off, so she needed some hoof care.
Susan, one of our supporters, came out this morning to volunteer her expertise. She is a barefoot trimmer and is so happy to volunteer. It was so great to have her help today. She was very happy to tend to Paula right away.
The regular crew of volunteers showed up like clockwork to get the stalls sparkling clean. Last Sunday Jason and Tawnee had the stalls done before they came, and they weren’t too happy about that. Today they showed up a bit early to get a jump on it.
Some of the first physical preparations for the move started today. It’s really happening! The shelters that Jason and all the volunteers put up were taken down.
Alex worked and worked to get it done today. Hopefully soon Alex will be the part time or full time ranch hand at the new facility.
Susan enjoyed trimming Emma. She’s needed a few people to encourage her that everything is OK, but she quickly got the idea.
She kind of had the look of “Oh, why me?” She is definitely the kind of girl that doesn’t want to hang out at the salon all day long.
Alex continued taking down shelters and moving all the parts to a central location so it will be easier to load up and haul over to the new facility.
Dottie and Macho Man got their first baths of the year. They were pretty good for their baths and seemed to enjoy it.
After her bath, Dottie ran around like a dog that had just had a bath. Running, jumping, bucking, around and around she went. Her bath sure was the highlight of her week! Of course she rolled and got dirty right away.
Some potential adopters came out to visit the horses. They didn’t find the perfect match today, but said they would keep an eye on the blog, hoping to find that perfect horse.
Strider has been inching his way into the heart of one of the volunteers. She decided today that life cannot go on without Strider in her pasture, and she has adopted him. Way to go Strider!
After all the visitors left, Tawnee loaded Strider up into the trailer for his trip to his new home. He had the look of “Where are we going now?”
Little did he know on the way that a nice green pasture was waiting for him. He has a very pretty pasture to roam around in, and he seemed truly happy. He just couldn’t believe his eyes, what a lucky boy!
We would like to thank everyone that fills the mailbox up with delightful surprises. Recently we received an envelope that was packed full of goodies. Two of our self addressed stamped envelopes had been returned so we could reuse them, and some Simpson stamps so we could send out more Thank-You cards. There was a whole bunch of other neat stuff in there too. Thank you so much Eileen!
This blogs eBay giving works item is a Cowboy Hardware Vest for the little guy in your life. It is sized 18 months. Such a cute outfit this could make! To view this item, click here.
Many thanks to Eileen G., Yvonne W., Sara H., Stanley M., Lance A., Constance W., Natlie K., Mary G., Irene C., Judy H. for their very generous donations over the weekend! We couldn’t do it without your support, thank you thank you thank!!!

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3-25-10

Jason is unable to write the blog due to a surgery he want through today. He will be fine thankfully! Blog posts will return on Sunday, please enjoy the below cover story from Chico News & Review that came out today.


Of horses and heartbreak
How one organization is saving equines from financially strapped and desperate owners who are literally starving the animals to death.

By Melissa Daugherty
This article was published on 03.25.10.

Tawnee Preisner has failed to take possession of Spring Bo.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NORCAL EQUINE RESCUE


Sometimes it’s a wonder that Tawnee Preisner doesn’t succumb to a broken heart. Last week was a rough one for her—the kind that’s a real kick in the gut, that would make most people want to crawl into bed and pull up the covers for days on end.

Preisner, founder of NorCal Equine Rescue, was getting nowhere in her effort to take possession of a very old and very neglected horse, a gelding whose owner had let the poor creature wither away to skin and bones. She had recently traveled all the way to Nevada County, to Penn Valley, based on a phone call from a concerned citizen.

Getting a tip like this is not unusual for Preisner, who, along with her husband, Jason, is well respected in the world of horses and has worked hard over the past seven years to establish one of the state’s most successful nonprofit animal-welfare organizations for equines. The caller had not exaggerated the animal’s condition. She found the old palomino in exceedingly bad shape—matted hair stretched over a sharply sloped spine, protruding hip and rib bones, conjunctivitis and a tail matted with diarrhea.

Skinny is an understatement. He was emaciated and needed help. So Preisner mustered up the courage and went to talk with his owner. “It’s hard to do, because you don’t know what they’re going to think,” she said last week during an interview at an Oroville restaurant.

She and a volunteer named April ended up waiting for hours in her oversized Chevy truck for the owner to return home. When he did, she asked the man, an older gentleman and self-described cowboy, if he needed help with the horse and whether a veterinarian had checked him out. The man said he couldn’t afford all that and stated he was feeding the horse sufficiently. She then asked if he would surrender the horse to her. When he turned her down she offered to pay him $200 for the animal. He refused that, too, along with her offer of a blanket to keep the horse protected from the elements.

“He’s a pretty tough hombre. He’s got a barn over there that he goes underneath … he’s cowboying up,” the man said of the 28-year-old gelding named Spring Bo. “That’s what he is; he’s a cowboy horse.”

The man explained that the gelding’s condition was due simply to his age and there would be an occasion—when the horse could no longer stand—that he would shoot the animal. Preisner says the man told her that is what he’d done to two of his other horses when they got old and decrepit. She persisted in trying to convince him to give up Spring Bo, but to no avail.

Next up, she sent out a flurry of calls to the Animal Control Division at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and anyone else who might be able to help the frail horse, which she imagined could be just days from going down. (Nevada County Animal Control did not respond to a CN&R request for an interview.) She captured several of the exchanges between her and the horse’s owner on the audio setting of a video recorder; at a certain point he threatens to call the sheriff if she doesn’t leave.

Eventually, Preisner, who came pulling a trailer, drove home, disappointed and dejected. Without the intervention of animal control, she had no legal way to help the horse, no matter how sickly and mistreated it may have been.

The nonprofit organization NorCal Equine Rescue recently purchased property near Palermo and will be moving the rescue there.

PHOTO BY MELISSA DAUGHTERTY

“It’s not legal to starve your horse down to shoot it,” she said, reflecting on that day.

The financial meltdown of the past couple of years that has seeped its way into businesses and households the nation over is just as ruinous in the fields and farms and pastured back yards, where similar stories of neglect and abuse are more and more common.

“The economy is killing horses in droves, is what it’s coming down to,” Preisner said.

This crisis in the horse community started in earnest two years ago, as the price of fuel skyrocketed, more than doubling the cost of hay. Last year, in this age of unemployment and foreclosure, Preisner rescued a record 414 horses—about a third of the approximately 1,230 horses the organization has taken in since its inception in 2003.

Meanwhile, the number of adoptive homes from 2008 to 2009 dropped significantly, from an 87 percent placement rate to 56 percent.

Preisner and NorCal’s volunteers travel to auctions to purchase unwanted horses, many of them perfectly healthy. They were regulars at the now-defunct Roseville Auction, where Preisner would sit behind “killer buyers,” outbidding them on horses that would otherwise be bound for out-of-county slaughterhouses. In California, the sale and consumption of horse meat has been illegal for more than a decade, but the law doesn’t stop people from transporting the animals across state lines and into Mexico or Canada.

For a while, Preisner was bringing in 20 horses a month from the auction.

Now she travels farther, to Petaluma, to compete with these buyers. She cannot save all of the horses at bid, but thanks to donations from devoted sponsors, hundreds of animals have been spared from the tremendous anxiety and fear endured during a long, cramped ride and then a painful death from a bolt gun or worse.

“The most important factor to me is that they don’t go to auction and end up on the slaughter truck,” she said.

NorCal Equine Rescue is located on the outskirts of Oroville near Bangor. Many of the horses that end up there these days are owner surrenders that might otherwise end up at auction. Some are placed there by animal-control officials who have seized the creatures.

Tawnee Preisner

PHOTO COURTESY OF NORCAL EQUINE RESCUE

And still others manage to find their way to the organization from out of nowhere.

That’s what occurred a year ago last January, when Preisner was driving one evening in the cold darkness. She was en route to her home tucked miles down a winding county road when she came upon something she’d been on the lookout for and pictured many times in her mind.

Around a bend, on the side of a remote stretch of poorly maintained gravel roadway not far from the rescue facility, a bewildered and unfamiliar horse stood behind a rusted metal gate in an empty pasture, its eyes glowing against Preisner’s headlights.

Wet, cold and underweight, the old bay mare with a white blaze looked in desperate need of some good feed. In her gut, Preisner could tell immediately that the horse was abandoned. A call to the owner of the property neighboring the pasture confirmed that. Preisner tossed the horse some hay and headed home. In the morning, she returned to find the pitiful little mare in the same spot. On the ground she saw the fresh imprints from a trailer that had backed up to the gate for a quick getaway.

The scene she encountered reeks of desperation and cruelty. Unfortunately, similar stories of abandonment continue today.

“When people are losing their houses, the horses are the first thing to go,” she said. “When it comes to the electric bill or feeding the horse, you know, they want to have showers, lights and heat to keep the kids warm.”

NorCal works in partnership with a Yankee Hill-based organization called Home at Last Equine Rescue and Sanctuary, a nonprofit at the home of Donna and Jim Kyle, a saintly retired couple who are caring for dozens of hard-to-adopt, neglected and injured equines.

Encountering increasing numbers of horses, many of them unadoptable, and operating the rescue well beyond capacity led Preisner to make the very difficult decision to organize euthanasia clinics at Look Ahead Veterinary Services in nearby Butte Valley. NorCal raises the funds through donations to pay for all or most of the cost—for both euthanasia and the rendering plant that disposes of the animals.

“People don’t start an organization to euthanize, but it’s had to happen because of the economy,” she said.

The first clinic was held in November 2008, and it has continued on a monthly basis due to demand. Preisner realizes some people have a hard time letting go, but she insists it’s the very best option when the other choice is an auction yard. She filmed a video of a horse being put down to give owners an idea of what the process is like—that it really is painless and quiet.

Preisner has helped rescue more than 1,200 horses since founding NorCal Equine Rescue, including the bay gelding pictured above.

PHOTO BY MELISSA DAUGHERTY

Uploaded to NorCal’s Web site, www.savethehorse.com, and Youtube, the video, simply titled “Horse Euthanasia,” shows a white horse standing calmly in a grassy area. A script accompanying the piece explains that Sugar, an old appaloosa, was living in constant fear and anxiety after having gone completely blind. Two women are tending to the old horse, each holding a rope attached to either side of the mare’s halter. When the horse starts to wobble, one of the women tenderly pulls the rope to one side and Sugar’s body goes down softly. The women gently lower her head to the ground.

The script pleads with owners to keep their animals from the slaughterhouses: “Euthanasia is a hard choice, but it’s a choice of love. Please, make the right choice when it is time to say goodbye.”

Dr. Michele Weaver, one of the women in the video and owner of Look Ahead Veterinary Services, evaluates each horse brought to the clinic. Those considered adoptable are taken to the rescue, and the remaining horses are placed in a stall where their owners are allowed to spend as much time as they want to say their farewells. The animals spend the night at the facility and are given hay and grain. Weaver sedates the horses prior to euthanizing them.

Many of the horses that end up at the clinic are crippled or very old. On occasion, the clinic will see a wild and dangerous animal. In nearly all of the cases, Weaver said the choice to put the horse down is completely justifiable. On average, the clinic handles about 20 horses a month. That’s a lot of death in a short couple of days, but the veterinarian says knowing it’s the right thing to do helps her overcome the emotional aspects of her task.

“Most of the time it’s a job, so I want to do the best job I can,” she said. “I want the horses to have no anxiety—no pain.”

Weaver also takes part in many of the success stories out of NorCal Equine Rescue. There are hundreds of them, though some are more memorable—and miraculous—than others. One of the greats is the rehabilitation of Phoenix, a 7-year-old thoroughbred-cross (an appendix quarter horse and former race horse) that was picked up near Modesto last spring after complaints from a concerned and persistent passerby. In this case, the owner agreed to surrender the gelding.

Phoenix was anemic and required immediate plasma transfusions. His mouth was ulcerous from having only toxic weeds as feed, and he had no muscle. Weaver said it was touch and go whether he would survive, but the gelding pulled through.

“He’s the thinnest horse that survived that I’ve ever seen,” she said. “He could have died the first two months he was here. He was just all bones—just amazing.”

After six months of constant care at the veterinary facility, he went to his new permanent home at the rescue. A horse lover paid for all of the life-saving vet care and is sponsoring Phoenix for the rest of his days.

The combination of so many people desperate to find homes for their animals and a dearth of buyers is a bad one. Horses considered average quality are frequently listed as giveaways on Craigslist and other Web sites, and the prices of higher-quality equines are about half the going rate found several years ago.

Phoenix, an appendix quarter horse, went through an incredible transformation with constant care at Look Ahead Veterinary Services as seen in these before and after (below)photos.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NORCAL EQUINE RESCUE

Weaver also consults with Butte County Animal Control on potential cases of cruelty, including increasing numbers of malnourished horses.

“I think people don’t have the means to support them and don’t know how to get rid of them, or don’t want to get rid of them,” she said.

Butte County Animal Control Officer Debra Trew echoed Weaver. Some people simply cannot afford the care the animals require, she said.

Trew, a 14-year veteran BCAC officer, said there are times when an equine is so neglected or injured that it needs to be seized immediately, but that the agency’s response varies case by case. “We do try to work with the owner,” she said. “We don’t want to have to take the animal.”

Lyndia Wade, a longtime successful local horse breeder, gets three or four calls a month from people who want to give her their animals. She’s taken in a few at her 80-acre Escamilla Farms, but the recently widowed horsewoman has all she can handle.

“I’m struggling, too, just like everyone else,” said Wade, who has been around horses for more than 50 years.

Wade is expecting only four foals this year. During a typical spring she would be preparing for the birth of 20 at her Butte Valley farm. She started cutting back on her breeding program as soon as real estate started tanking, having noted over the years that there’s a direct correlation between the two markets.

She’s also seen a huge decline in interest from outside horse breeders. So far this year, she’s booked only two broodmares for her operation that houses three stallions at stud—a paint, a quarter horse and a thoroughbred. In an average year, 15 to 20 is the norm.

“People can’t afford it,” she said. “It’s dropped. It’s bad, really, really bad.”

In the meantime, she won’t be lowering the price of the horses she has for sale, for fear that they might end up in the wrong hands.

Dr. Michele Weaver (pictured at right) brought the starving horse back from the verge of death.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NORCAL EQUINE RESCUE

“If somebody is willing to pay [full price] for a horse, they’re going to have the means to take care of it,” she said.

Like Weaver, Wade too has seen the evidence of people cutting back on feeding their animals. Just recently she noticed some extremely thin horses in Glenn County, on her way into Orland. Her hope is that the animals are rescues and getting the care they need. In a lot of cases of neglect, she thinks people are sort of blinded by their desperation.

“For the most part, horse people are great people,” she said. “They love their animals.”

She has heard horror stories, such as people turning their horses loose in Nevada. For domesticated animals that have no idea how to live in the wild, it’s a move that is certain to lead to a painful starvation death. Wade said she would rather see California reinstitute the legal slaughter of horses than have the animals go hungry.

Preisner thinks differently, and would rather euthanize healthy horses than see them trucked off. Investigations by organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, have uncovered horrifying conditions—horses jammed into trailers with no food or water for days on end as they are carted to those Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses.

A national movement for an all-out ban on the shipment and sale of horses to be slaughtered for consumption, and other uses, has been waged in the halls of Congress for years. The latest version of legislation—the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2009—is supported by animal-welfare organizations, including In Defense of Animals and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and by celebrities such as Morgan Freeman, Jeff Bridges and Shasta County’s own Merle Haggard.

Of course, the best-case scenario is to find unwanted animals stable homes with responsible owners. Responsibility is a key word with Preisner, who is always on the lookout for animals in need. During a recent interview, she drove by a house where horses are frequently tied up for long periods of time without water. Preisner keeps a small digital camera next to her in the cab, and she isn’t shy about posting photos on the rescue’s Web site.

Jason, her husband, who “married into horse life,” takes care of the intensive labor at the rescue in addition to maintaining the Web site and its near-daily blog on the happenings. They also rely on some very dedicated volunteers. The Preisners are an impressive twosome. Tawnee Preisner has a maturity level well beyond her 26 years. The couple have a life that revolves around caring for animals—not just equines, either—and they’re constantly on the go. If that wasn’t enough, they do it all while rearing four children.

NorCal outgrew its current home at the couple’s 16-acre ranch in the foothills sometime ago, so the organization had been on the lookout for a new property. Preisner kept tabs on a 20-acre parcel for sale for several months and, thanks to an impressive fundraising campaign a few weeks back, was able match funding of an $8,500 single donation in less than 24 hours. Added to the $13,000 already in the coffers, the money helped to close escrow on the $69,000 purchase price.

Flatter and more usable, the site is located about 11 miles away and not far down a gravel road off of a main thoroughfare south of Palermo. The Sutter Buttes serve as an amazing backdrop to what is lush green property this time of year. Preisner envisions NorCal’s future home with a covered adoption center with stalled areas for the equines and on-site modular housing for staff. That vision is a long way off, though, since the property, fenced pastureland, is now completely bare—no electricity, no well, nothing.

Veterinarian Michele Weaver (left) examines Love Bug, a horse that was abandoned in Colusa County. NorCal Equine Rescue chose to euthanize the young horse when it was determined rehabilitating her would be difficult and costly.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NORCAL EQUINE RESCUE

“It has a lot of potential,” said Preisner, who wants to construct a drop-off pen near the entrance for unwanted animals. “Kind of like how you can take a baby to the hospital, no questions asked.”

If anyone can accomplish this monumental project, it would be Preisner. Weaver, the veterinarian, noted her knack for finding a solution when there’s a need, like purchasing a tranquilizer gun for the veterinary staff to sedate unruly equines brought to the euthanasia clinic.

“She’s quite amazing. She’s easygoing and she walks the walk,” said Weaver, pointing out Preisner is a vegan.

For her part, Preisner says she takes things one day at a time. She kind of has to, because she never knows what will happen from day to day. It was hard last week to see Spring Bo stay in his home, though there was a bright spot when another animal-welfare organization agreed to pay for special feed for the old horse. That offer came after Preisner organized a protest in front of the animal’s Penn Valley home. Part of her thinks that the help enables an abuser, while the other part is glad to see the horse get some care.

Weaver, who has examined photos of the horse, said the gelding would be better in the hands of animal control. She said the horse is without a doubt a body score of one based on a scale of one to 10 called the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System, which law enforcement officials widely use to determine cases of cruelty. Essentially, that means the horse is as skinny as possible for a living equine.

“It’s definitely neglect,” she said.

Preisner still hopes there’s a chance NorCal can aid the horse. The same anonymous sponsor who paid to rehabilitate Phoenix has offered the same chance to the old palomino.

Another letdown last week was the death of a recent rescue, a 3-year-old emaciated filly that Colusa County Animal Control officers found early last month wandering loose, dumped on a gravel road in an area where other stray horses have been picked up. NorCal paid for extensive dental work for Love Bug, who had a pretty severe jaw deformity. The young horse seemed to be recovering nicely, but began bleeding from the mouth. Turns out she also had a separate problem, a disease that would require another surgery. Even then, there would be no guarantees.

After talking with volunteers, the vet and other rescuers, Preisner chose to have Love Bug euthanized.

“It broke my heart … but it’s the kindest thing we could do for her at that point,” she said. “For me, it’s nice knowing that she had a few days where she felt good.”

There’s also the practical reality that the money used to pay for Love Bug’s surgery could pay to rescue many other animals. Preisner said she keeps going on by looking at the bigger picture.

“It’s a hard life, but you make a difference in so many animals’ lives,” she said. “I would encourage people who are financially able to adopt a horse to go to a rescue. Whatever you’re able to do makes a difference, whether it’s in the life of a horse, or a dog or cat at a shelter.

“If an animal needs help and you can prevent the suffering of that animal, you should.”

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A new YouTube video was posted today it is called “Spring Bo – Behind the Scenes” Click here to watch it.


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3-24-10

We cannot possibly express our gratitude for your continued support and dedication to getting the new property set up for the horses. The well fund is currently at $355! Thank you so much!
The three little babies managed to find their way out today and were enjoying the green grass.

They definitely thought they were something else and enjoyed racing around like wild mustangs on the open range. How cute they are! Emily, Ethan and Emma are all waiting for their forever home. They are brother and sisters, all had the same daddy.

It seems that they figured out how to open their gate, knock it down and off they went.

We got a call this morning from some folks who were no longer able to care for their horse. They knew they no longer had the financial ability to properly care for their beloved horse, and instead of waiting too long, they made the hard call for help. The truck and trailer were hooked up and ready to go.

While Tawnee grabbed the paperwork in the office Parcy looked on with wonder. He looked like he wanted to come in and scrounge around for some snacks.

Speaking of cows, the cows that were wandering around yesterday are still loose, making it farther and farther down the road, ever seeking the greener blade of grass.

Tawnee wondered what the horse’s condition would be. You never know what to expect when you head out on a rescue.

Soon she arrived to find Dolly waiting patiently for her. Dolly is a very sweet girl.

Apparently it took them a couple hours of chasing her around her 15 acre pasture to finally catch her. They wanted to have her ready to go by the time Tawnee got there, and sure enough, she was tied up. Guess no halter was to be found as she was tied up with a makeshift halter.

Dolly reminds us a lot of Spring Bo, but she is far from the condition of Spring Bo. The difference between Dolly and Spring Bo is Spring Bo’s owner said “That’s how life is, horses get old, they get skinny, they go down and you shoot them.” Dolly’s owners made the right choice, no matter how hard, to keep her from suffering an agonizing death.

Dolly was a little reluctant to get into the trailer. Tawnee coaxed and coaxed her.

Finally with a little encouragement she loaded up.

On the way back to the rescue Tawnee spotted some beautiful flowers: California Poppy’s.

She just had to stop to smell the flowers and to take a picture to share with you.

Tawnee arrived back at the rescue. A truck was waiting at the gate. Who could it be? They were the folks who were looking for the last strays that we picked up. It seems that some hunters cut their fence and let the horses out. We’re not sure how the horses managed to make it a couple miles to where we picked them up, but they did!

First things first, Dolly had to be unloaded. She took a big look at her new surroundings.

They were quite happy to see their horse and pony safe and sound.

In no time at all they were loaded up in the trailer so Jason could take them back where they belong.

The pony seemed quite happy to be back with folks he knew. We are hoping that the stray horse episode will stop. We are so glad we were able to find the owners for these two.

Dolly settled right in and is quite a cute girl. She will be checked out by our vet, we are hoping she needs a dental to help her gain weight. A dental will cost about $200, please consider donating to help get Dolly on her way to recovery. The people who owned Dolly were unable to donate any funds to help care for her, we are counting on you! To donate, click here. Any funds above what Dolly directly needs will go in the Helping Horses fund to help horses just like Dolly.

This blogs eBay Giving Works item is a VSmile Vmotion learning system that will put a huge smile on your kids face and some huge IQ’s in their minds. It is currently only $19.99 and 10% of the sale price goes to help the horses! To bid on the VSmile system, click here.

Many thanks to everyone that donated today! Donna A – Sheri B. – Joy G. – Diane P. – Lari K. – Jennifer H. – Norma C. – Margaret D. all donated today, thank you so much!

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3-23-10

Well the first fundraiser since the property was purchased has been kicked off. This fundraiser is vitally important as we cannot put a single horse on the new facility without having water. At this new facility we are going to be as environmentally conscious and eco-friendly as possible. One of the big ways we can do this, without incurring any more cost, is to install a solar water pump. We currently have use of 2 solar panels, so all we need is to get the well drilled and a solar water pump. The rescue already has a 3,000 gallon reserve water tank. And to top it all off, we have the backup generator donated by Honda, in case more water needs to be pumped. We are very excited to have free water without the recurring monthly expense of a PG&E bill. In the long run, more money for the horses.
We need $7,000 to get the well drilled and the pump put in. Without the manufactured home mortgage we are having to pay cash for everything, and we really need your help to get it set up and going. Please click here.
We haven’t had some updates about adopted horses posted in awhile, so we will be sharing some with you tonight. They have been coming in regularly, but due to the hectic schedule they just haven’t made it into the blog.
First off, Jake is doing great in his new home. Just look at that handsome boy!

Jake’s mommy says that some day she will show all her friends that just because a horse is rescued doesn’t mean anything. They can run with the best of them.

Next is a group of 4 lovely horses. Twirl was the most recent one added to this family. She came into one of our euthanasia clinics, came into our adoption program and quickly found a home. She really fits right in with the NER alumni.

These two, also seen in the picture above, were adopted prior to Twirl joining their family. This photo was taken last year. As you can see, Twirl joins a very lovely family.

You can tell this boy knows he is a looker!

Lastly, here is three of the horses from the picture above on a trail ride together. Comet and Paaso were adopted March 2009 and River (in the middle) adopted Daniel in October 2008. They were riding on the Olmstead Trail in Cool, CA. Thanks for giving these horses such a wonderful home!

After the morning chores were done it was off to the new property as Jason and Tawnee had an appointment.

The property was still there, it seemed even greener and more inviting, minus all the wire.

But wait, what is that? Yes, 20 acres is a large area to comb looking for bits of fencing, and Jason and Tawnee missed some yesterday.

Tawnee rolled it up and set it off to the side ready to be picked up for the dump. No doubt staff and volunteers will find bits of wire here and there, but they will make sure it is all picked up before the horses set hoof on the place.

Jason and Tawnee met with the well drillers to discuss placement and pricing. We were very encouraged by the words that water was only 110′ down and there is lots of it. If we wanted to get a piece of property with plenty of water, we picked the right one they said.

Jason and Dave went over the contract.

They graciously waived the $1,000 deposit, but now we have to do our part and fundraise fundraise fundraise for the well! As soon as the well is drilled they need their money right then and there. And they are going to start drilling in a day or two…

Finally everything was signed and in order, so Jason headed out to the next step of getting water on the property.

Butte County Environmental Health is more than happy to take $328 for the well permit.

We received a wonderful package, what could be in it?

Inside was some very lovely hand crafted jewelry to put up on Ebay. We’ve had a lot of items donated recently to be put up on Ebay. The problem is, Jason and Tawnee are far to busy to list the items on Ebay, so they have found someone that is willing to post items on Ebay for a small commission. If you would like to sell items on Ebay and donate a percentage, just click the link and press the sell button. Click here.

On the way back to the rescue from getting the well permit, Jason came around the corner and saw some creatures in the road. This wave has got to stop, these can’t be more stray horses!

Thankfully they were just some cows wandering around the road looking for greener grass on the other side of the fence. This wave of stray horses has been really crazy, we have been able to identify one of the owners for one of the horses that came into the rescue Sunday.

This blogs Ebay Giving Works item is a 13 piece lot of Hollister Ambercrombie American Eagle. 10% of the sale price goes to the rescue! Click here.

Please, if you have a few extra dollars, please consider donating to get fresh clean cool water to the horses at the new property. We all saw how everyone coming together got the property down payment raised in less than 24 hours. We can do it for the well too! We all just need to come together and donate what we can, every dollar really does help! Click here. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Many thanks to Gail G. for her generous donation and to the two different people who put Paula and Sierra on hold today. Let’s hope that Paula and Sierra can go home soon! They are both going to the vet on Friday to get checked out, hopefully everything is as good on the inside as they are beautiful on the outside.

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3-22-10

A couple people at the rescue have braces on to keep the pain down. Tawnee is wearing the wrist brace and a volunteer, Amee, is wearing the knee brace. Pain doesn’t keep the spirits down, and everyone was ready for a big day. They are both old injuries that were simply causing discomfort and of course, they were injuries due to horses.

Emily unfortunately could not stay at her adoptive home and needed to be picked up. April and Larry volunteered to go get her, and soon the trailer had some panels on and was ready to go. Cathy and Amee also went with to help.

Jason and Tawnee met with the Realtor first thing after the chores were done to make sure that everything was on schedule for the closing. It was going to be the big day, and everyone wanted to make sure everyone else was still happy with the process.
From the property Jason and Tawnee went to Chase to get the Cashiers check to close escrow.
Soon the big check was in hand. It seems like a huge amount of money to Jason and Tawnee, and every dollar was made possible by your generosity for the new rescue facility. We cannot thank you enough for doing what you could, skipping out on your Odwalla drinks, etc, to make this possible. Jason and Tawnee were trying to use their good credit to get a all-inclusive manufactured home loan to purchase the property, but it came down to where time was running out. There was an assumable first note on the property, so with the down payment of $33,718.14, the rescue now owes right about $35,000 on the property, with payments of $350 per month. It will be a little rougher starting out this way, and we will be launching some initial fundraisers to get the property up and going, but in the end it will be much much cheaper.
From the Bank the next stop was the title company.
After reviewing all of the paperwork, Jason and Tawnee signed the paperwork and NorCal Equine Rescue is the new owner of 20 acres of land. The property is 100% in NorCal Equine Rescue’s name. This is such an exciting day! Since our founding in 2003, the rescue has begged, borrowed and leased its facilities. Today, that has all changed.
From the Title company Jason and Tawnee went back out to the property. It is located at 86 Four Junes Way, Oroville. Jason just couldn’t wait to pull the “for sale” sign.
There was some nominal rubbish on the land, some barbed wire and other miscellaneous metal on the ground they wanted to clean up.
Thankfully the ground is quite solid and they were able to drive the trailer to where the little bits of junk was. It was just old fencing remnants from years past.
Even though she is wearing a wrist brace today, Tawnee still helped load metal into the trailer.
Jason put the bigger pieces of metal into the trailer.
On and on they cleaned for a few hours…
…until the trailer was almost full and the ground was clean.
From the property Jason and Tawnee headed to the dump to take care of the junk.
Barbed wire is no fun unloading, but it needed to be done.
Pile after pile of junk came out of the horse trailer. Soon though, it was clean and now the new property is completely free of metal rubbish.

Emily made it back to the rescue safely just about the time that Jason and Tawnee made it back. She is such a cute little girl and now she needs a home.

It seems that everything comes in waves. And we are in the abandoned horse wave. Yet another couple horses were dumped on someones property. Tawnee and a group of volunteers headed out to pick them up.

That makes a total of 5 abandoned horses that have been picked up recently. It is quite interesting how things go in waves.
The abandoned horses are tucked in nicely. Brenda enjoyed leading one of them to its pen. By now you’re used to the blurred out photos. We are hoping it will change very soon!
Thank you all for your support both emotional and financial. Without your generosity, the new property would never be a shelter for the horses. We cannot possibly thank you enough!

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