MARYSVILLE – They save horses, don’t they?
Yes, they do. But they need help.
The All Breed Equine Rez-Q needs to round up some volunteers, reign in some donations and find a home on the range for some of its horses.
The nonprofit’s president, Dale Squeglia, said it’s been a tough summer.
“This is the worst year I’ve had in the eight I’ve been here,” she said.
One reason is a lack of volunteers. Little girls love horses so they enjoy working on the farm, but they they get older and get boyfriends and cars so they no longer volunteer.
Two of the “diehards,” she said are recent Marysville-Pilchuck High School graduate Juleah Peters, 18, and Marysville Getchell student Claire Matthewson, 15.
Juleah has a simple reason why she got involved.
“I love horses and don’t have any,” she said.
Squeglia interjected, “You have one here, Sara.”
Sara is actually Squeglia’s horse that she plans to give to Juleah some day.
Claire has been a volunteer there since she was 11. She got involved because she “loves animals, and it’s a good cause.”
Squeglia said Claire was a “little, bitty quiet thing” when she started. She’s also been given a horse to take care of personally at the ranch.
“We earn the privilege to ride after building a relationship with the horses,” Claire said.
When they bond with a horse, they become its caretaker, and “we own the horse while we’re here,” Juleah said.
With only a handful of volunteers, there are only enough to take care of the 22 horses and do minimal upkeep on the farm. With more volunteers they could have more events to help raise much needed money. In the past they have had horse-riding lessons, pony rides, rented out the riding arena and boarded horses to raise funds.
“We don’t even have enough people to have a fund-raiser,” Squeglia said.
When the economy went bad a few years ago, many people could no longer afford to keep their horses. So the Rez-Q ended up with them. That was also the time there were more demands on the facility, but less money to care for the animals.
“We are lucky we are here,” Squeglia said. “We go everywhere to try to get help. If people would just give up a coffee a week” and donate that to us that would help, she added.
The nonprofit, started in 1999, cares for abandoned, abused and neglected horses. Some have been saved from the slaughterhouse. All tax-deductible donations go to care and feed the horses.
Squeglia would love to adopt out some of the healthier horses to make room for some that need to be there.
“They would be great with kids,” she said. “We don’t charge anything.” They just want to make sure they can be taken care of properly.
Some of the horses need veterinarian care, but it’s expensive so they have to wait. Bills for food also add up. The nonprofit has trouble affording food, so Squeglia sometimes does.
“I can’t keep doing it neither,” she said, adding she has other personal problems. Her brother in New Hampshire has brain cancer so she’s been flying back there every month.
There are well-known horses at the Rez-Q.
One is the grandson of Affirm, a Triple Crown winner. Kit is the great-great grandson of Seabiscuit. He likes mochas. Sunny Knight came there because his caretakers got into drugs. Sarah can smile, shake hands and even kiss on demand. Mammie was one a big-time racer, but was bred too much. One of her offspring, Friskie, is also at Rez-Q. A pony, Blackie, has been there the longest while Demon, who is in his early 30s, blind and has no teeth. There’s even a draft horse, Otto.
“They’re strange. They have their own personalities,” Claire said.
Squeglia said some people leave their horses at the ranch because they can’t take the hurt.
“They couldn’t take the heartache of watching them go downhill” as they age, she said. “Here they can die when they’re ready.”
To donate money or time or if you’re interesting in adopting a horse, contact Squeglia at 425-263-6390.