Vel Moore passes, Equine Rescue Association holds June 28 memorial fundraiser

Dr. Vel Moore - Courtesy photo
Dr. Vel Moore
— image credit: Courtesy photo

MARYSVILLE — Dr. Vel Moore, founder of the local Equine Rescue Association, passed away in her sleep May 28, at the age of 77, but the organization that she started has no plans to quit.

To carry on Moore's legacy, though, they'll need support from the community, which is why the Equine Rescue Association is staging a memorial fundraiser, June 28 from 1-5 p.m. at 2415 116th St. NE in Marysville.

Moore founded the Equine Rescue Association in Smokey Point in 1997, and Sara Losey, who's since become the barn director and one of the instructors at the Equine Rescue Association, has volunteered there, "off and on," since 1999, until she became more committed to it starting in 2006. In Moore's absence, Losey finds herself in charge of the Equine Rescue Association, and she wants to assure the community that it's here to stay.

"I'm stepping into her shoes the best that I can," Losey said. "I owe it to her, and I'm good at what I know here. I'll go on with this until I die, and it's continued by someone else."

Moore died of breast cancer. According to Losey, it was Moore's second bout with cancer, and she didn't want to take the time off from caring for the horses for medical treatments. Eventually, the cancer spread to Moore's bones and blood. Losey explained that Moore had started an earlier branch of the Equine Rescue Association in California, but she'd returned to the Puget Sound region, where her parents were from, to continue her work where she'd grown up.

"She was a person you could go to for anything," Losey said of Moore. "She was very intelligent and honest."

"She was almost painfully honest," said Jacqui Bayne, a barn manager and fellow instructor at the Equine Rescue Association. "She was also selfless. She gave of herself wholeheartedly. She was always willing to lend a helping hand. When we made mistakes, she'd show us how to fix them. She was a very good teacher."

Moore leaves behind a staff of close to 25 volunteer workers, who are faced with the task of coming up with the $5,000 a month that it costs to operate the Equine Rescue Association. They're looking for sponsors, and in the meantime, their instructors are available for $20 an hour, to teach prospective horse handlers how to tack, ride and play with horses. At their memorial fundraiser June 28, they'll be offering $5 pony rides, raffles and a tack sale.

"It'll be different with Vel gone, but we can still use all the support we can get," said Losey, who's already planning a "poker ride" for July.

"She still has a presence here, though," Bayne said. "We can hear her voice in the back of our heads," she laughed.

For more information, call the Equine Rescue Association at 360-658-5494, or log onto their Web site.

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