Absorbine likes to recognize people doing good work when we see it, like those operating America's horse rescues. This time the Absorbine Spotlight is on Equine Harmony Rescue & Rehab in Watsonville, CA. Equine Harmony is a newer rescue on the scene helping rescue horses get new jobs on the beach. We are in the process of connecting them with our partners A Home For Every Horse program which offers horse rescues and horse adopters additional resources. The program brings broad exposure for the adoptable horses.
We interviewed Bianca Carn, who runs the rescue with the help of her husband. Equine Harmony works closely with Costanoa Lodge where Bianca also runs their equine program. Costanoa is "an eco-adventure resort where our guests can simply retreat from the chaos of everyday life and discover the pace of nature." They offer horseback riding as one of their activities for guests. She gets many of her horses jobs as trail horses there. We think that's a great example of how horses can find a second career, and a happy life.
Thank you for taking some time to tell us about your program Bianca! You started in 2018 right? Tell us how it all came together and about escaping the wildfires.
Yes I started in April of 2018. I run a horse program at Costanoa and the man that used to run the program was going to send a horse back to where he purchased him from due to the horse being lame. I really loved this horse, Maverick, and I knew he would probably be given back and the outcome wouldn’t be good. He would either be sold again or he would end up with a kill buyer and then end up at slaughter. I decided then I was going to start a non profit and Maverick would be the first rescue. I then decided to focus my attention on slaughter bound equines.
The fires were absolutely devastating for so many people and during covid times. I have 15 rescues and they are in a couple locations. Pescadero, 2 places in Felton and Scotts Valley. I knew the fires were happening and I called Costanoa first to see how close the fires were to their location. Costanoa is located in Pescadero, about 45 minutes from where I live. They said it was all good at the time. I then received a call about 10:00 pm saying I should come get them. I had a mule and a donkey there at the time. I had to go pick up a trailer and head out. Due to Covid Costanoa didn’t have a riding season so I didn’t have many down there. On the way down to pick them up the fire was all the way to the highway. Very scary. I was able to pick them up and take them to the Felton location. The next day I had to start evacuating that location. One of the rescues I picked up had to be moved 4 different times due to everywhere I took him they then had to be evacuated. I finally found places they could go and wait out the fires and the after math until they could all go home.
A: You’ve brought some of your “clients” today, introduce us and tell us a little about their stories and your program with Costanoa!
B: Most of the rescues I help will get a chance to go to Costanoa to do a pony ride program for kids and a meet and greet session at Costanoa. The dundalino is McCloud, the chestnut is Meadow, and the blue roan is Rascal.
I bailed Rascal from a kill pen in Texas. He was about a year at the time. I had quarantined him in Texas at a different facility but he still came in with a severe case of strangles. It took about 2 months to get over. He’s doing really well now and has been started by a young lady who is very involved with the rescue. She’s doing an excellent job.
Rascal after some love and care
McCloud came from an auction in Texas. I was bidding for him online against kill buyers. I was able to get him probably because the kill buyers weren’t interested due to he was a bag of bones. When he showed up I couldn’t believe how skinny he was and that he even made the trip from Texas to California. He was skin wrapped on bones. He’s very healthy now and getting ready to be started in the spring.
McCloud having just arrived from Texas, emaciated and weak
McCloud after some love and care, and a good roll!
Meadow was a local rescue. It was during the fires. She was in poor health and had really bad feet. She was lame, dreadlocks in her mane and very thin. She was a thoroughbred that raced in the past, the great great grand daughter of Secretariat, but was then used as a brood mare. Her owner lost his job due to Covid and tried to sell her but was going to try and give her away if he couldn’t find her a home. He didn’t have a lot of experience with horses. The problem is when people sell their horses for very little money or give away for free the odds are pretty high a kill buyer might get their hands on the horse and then take it to slaughter. There are a lot of thoroughbreds at the kill pens. If they aren’t making money on the track a lot of them are tossed away. She is still in the process of rehabbing.
Meadow when she first arrived, thin and not able to move very well
Meadow clearly looking and moving much better - on her way to recovery
A: Is there a specific horse’s rehab or adoption you’ve completed that sticks with you the most?
B: I had a large pony I named Tiger Lilly. A beautiful palomino. She was in the first group of rescues that came through. She needed major dental work and a bit of training but she was a great pony. She was one of the first ones adopted out. She started showing and winning lots of ribbons and getting quite the reputation at the shows as the one to beat. She still shows today.
A: What are the horse care issues you run into most often with your rescue horses?
B: Most of the time these rescues come in really sick, have bad feet and need dental work. By the time you bail the horse, transport, quarantine, have vet care, dental work and hoof care you can easily be in $2000 plus for that rescue. That’s why donations are so important for rescues. During Covid it was hard for me to ask for donations with so many people dealing with the loss of their jobs or family members due to the virus. Normally I put my pay check into the rescue but not having a season last year due to Covid financially affected the rescue. I would love to be able to save them all but it just isn’t possible. I will only take on so many rescues at a time. I want to make sure that they all have proper care and training so they can be adopted out at some point.
A: Thank you Bianca for telling your story and especially for the very important and charitable work you do for well deserving down-and-out horses!
If you'd like to donate to this rescue visit the Equine Harmony Rescue & Rehab page on Facebook and click "Learn More."