Joining local organizations meeting needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary — a Solvang-based horse and animal rescue founded in 2007 — is leading the charge in the Santa Ynez Valley, offering vital equine resources to keep horses happy and healthy.
Happy Endings grant writer and COVID-19 equine program manager Bonita Sargeant confirmed the need exists, and now she and nonprofit founder and president C.C. Beaudette-Wellman are trying to get the message out to the community that help has arrived.
"We started this program because we know that people are hurting financially because of the pandemic," Sargeant said. "And we don't want horses to fall through the cracks. They are very expensive to care for, and we want to help out."
Sargeant, each week for the past six Thursdays, has joined People Helping People and C.A.R.E.4Paws from 12 to 2 p.m. at Old Mission Santa Inés — a designated Foodbank of Santa Barbara County emergency distribution site, which offers groceries and pet food to those community members in need at no charge.
"We're going to be there every Thursday for the foreseeable future, right beside C.A.R.E.4Paws, until employment stabilizes in the community," Sargeant explained. "We don't have a setup yet since we're kind of just getting off the ground. But I'm parked there."
To those who have been out of work for awhile, Happy Endings also is offering to cover the cost of nonemergency equine medical services such as hoof trimming and teeth floating — a procedure that involves gently filing away sharp edges or hooks to present a firm, flat surface for more efficient chewing.
Members of the community with an expressed need for equine assistance are asked to contact the nonprofit directly or connect with Sargeant on Thursdays at the mission.
To ensure that grant funds received last September to launch the program go far, Sargeant said either she or Beaudette-Wellman will conduct a site visit as part of the nonprofit's vetting protocols, which require verification that recipients are truly in need.
"We also want to visit to make sure there isn't a larger problem that needs to be addressed," said Sargeant, noting that a call to the owner's veterinarian also will be conducted as a means of checking references.
Joining the cause are other local businesses, each providing Happy Endings with necessary supplies to serve more horses and for a greater length of time.
According to Sargeant, Santa Ynez Feed and Milling owner Quinn Spaulding also has mobilized his resources, calling upon feed manufacturers who she says are slowly responding with donated bags of feed.
"And Jacobsen's farm donated a bunch of hay," Sargeant said. "We have some good resources right now that will help the program grow."
To donate to the COVID-19 equine program or to request assistance, contact Happy Endings at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-448-7138.
GALLERY: Equine performers in the Cavalia Odysseo equestrian extravaganza rest up in Los Alamos
In late October, 65 show horses arrived at a ranch several miles north of the Central Coast town of Los Alamos. (Cavalia’s management requested the ranch not be disclosed in the interest of protecting the horses from onlookers and stressful distractions.) Odysseo is best described as an equestrian extravaganza that “combines stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects” with the mysteries of water. The show — which travels the globe from Brussels to Dubai and Chicago to China — makes its Camarillo debut on Nov. 11.Suffice it to state, the Los Alamos ranch is a perfect location, with plenty of land, top-notch facilities and relatively close proximity to Ventura County, where the stars will soon perform.Get a glimpse at the weary travelers as they rest up, in an undisclosed location, near Los Alamos.
Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.
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