Our goal this December was to raise $20,000 to help cover hay costs for the winter. We are happy to announce that we exceeded our goal, raising a total of $21,702!! Thank you to all our donors and supporters for making this such a successful campaign. We feed the equivalent of 5 large round bales every day. That's a LOT of hay, but it's important, especially during the cold (and this year, very, very cold!) winter weather, to feed enough hay so that the animals to stay warm and well-fed. We've had extremely frigid temperatures through most of December so it has been quite a challenge to keep on top of the feeding and to make sure everything stays working order. Fortunately, as of today, January 1, 2018, the cold is supposed to let up and hopefully that's it for -35C temperatures for a while!
Thank you to everyone who attended and to all our wonderful volunteers who worked so hard both before and during the event to make it such a success. We raised almost $4,800 through the various sales, 50/50 draw, and generous donations, which will buy hay and feed for the horses.
I figured I had better update from when I wrote February's blog to today, just to try and catch up a bit.
The day to day care of the animals is taking all our time, but finally spring is in the air! Good thing, as one of our automatic waterers that waters 3 different areas decided to freeze up when the melting snow got down into the pipes. Glad it didn't happen sooner as having to fill troughs with a hose is a lot of extra work!
Thank you Marcel for donating some lovely alfalfa/grass bales, the horses love them!
We had a bit of a run on intakes despite our best efforts to keep intakes to absolute emergencies. Dolly the pony and Beau the palomino gelding were surrendered at the end of February, and we took in 10 surrenders (9 Arab/Arab crosses and 1 Morgan mare) at the end of March from another desperate situation. Dallas and Mirage both were returned from foster and Queenie has come back temporarily as well. On the plus side, Nyx, Jet and Shalamar (one of the new Arabs) were gelded and Nyx and Jet both have been adopted. Two of the new intakes, Dolly, Misty (#3) and Raven (#2) have already been adopted and lovely Rose Red was adopted too. Norma, and Dennis the goat, were dropped off today at their new foster home. Thank you Jordan (and Charlene!) for hauling Dallas and Queenie back for us. We delivered Nyx to his new home today. Thank you Becki from Bold Equine for working with Nyx to get him to where he could be gelded and for preparing him for his new home. Pinkerton, Lua, and Red will be going out on foster, and PInkerton and Lua to be worked with as well, at the end of April - thank you Erin and Mike for taking them on.
I have been very remiss in adding the new intakes to the website and my excuse is the sloooowwww speed of our internet. It is unbelievably tedious having to wait for things to upload at a snail's pace but unfortunately we are located just so that we can't get wireless and have to rely on satellite and there seems to be only the one provider we can access. Just about the ONLY downside to being located in the boonies!
For the first time, our farrier Pat is here for 4 days to do trimming. Up til now we were able to fit all the horses into 3 days but with an increase in the number of 'able to pick up and trim' horses we've had to add a day, doing close to 100 horses in total! We have Denis and his tipping table booked for the end of April to get the less handle-able horses trimmed before they go out to pasture.
Thank you to more new sponsors, and welcome to the new volunteers - we've had some great people joining us over the years and we appreciate your help very much!
We lost lovely Fly suddenly last week. Thank you once again to Greg from Just Passing for being so prompt and sympathetic. Our heartfelt condolences to the adopters of Rouge and Trump who lost their dear horses recently, and tragically as we just heard this evening, on the passing of Esperanza who only yesterday we'd receiving just a nice update and photos of. They seem to go too quickly, never with us long enough.
It has been months since my last update. We’ve been so busy! This winter has been very cold and already way too long. Thankfully we’ve had a few breaks in the cold but not often enough. Purchasing all the hay we need for winter, hauling it in, and getting all the horses home from pasture is a HUGE undertaking every year. It was unfortunately not a good year for hay in our area. With all the rain many farmers could not get their crops off the fields or had to wait to hay until it was more mature than ideal. We were able to find very nice hay from farther away, but of course then one has to pay more to get it home. Also disappointingly we were sold some hay that was not very good, but I guess it is ‘buyer beware’ as with most anything. We certainly won’t be buying hay from THAT supplier again.
Our Christmas fundraiser was a wonderful success, thank you to everyone who supported us! We raised about $25,000, which far exceeded our expectations and went a long way to helping cover our winter hay bill. Our Valentine’s Day fundraiser brought in another $800. Thanks as well to everyone who volunteered for our AGLC casino which also funds our hay.
We have had quite a few adoptions, with many lovely horses going to new homes, including some who had been here for a long time awaiting their perfect home, and a few others that weren’t here long enough to even name – Tonka, Parson, Pepper, several weanlings, Fury, Alice, Hershey, Trixie, Marco, Hans, Roche, and Highway, and foster-fails Smudge and Simba. Bailey and Bella, 2 mares that came in this winter, were fostered right away and ended up staying on permanently at their new home. Several more horses found foster homes, including Dallas (who went with Queenie who was here temporarily while her owner was undergoing cancer treatment), Arizona, Talon, Wanda, Mirage, and Silhouette (who went with Fury when he was adopted). We’d also like to thank and welcome the new sponsors who have joined us – sponsoring is a great way to help the horses!
In addition to horses leaving for new homes, we of course had several intakes. Topper, who was adopted about 4 years ago, came back, as did Karma who was adopted a couple of years ago, and Plume who was adopted a year ago. With Karma we also took in 6 sheep, which have since found new homes, with 1 going to one home and the other 5 going to another. Norma, who was a foster, came back after 4 or 5 years away. Coincidentally we took in a rabbit from Calgary Humane Society also named Norma. Apparently Norma the rabbit could be grumpy with humans, but we found her a good home right away that actually finds her moods quite endearing. A group of 5 weanlings, 1 yearling and a Thoroughbred gelding came in, with the Thoroughbred (Hans) and 2 of the weanlings being adopted right away. Two senior horses, Lola and Luke, came in from a feedlot. Sadly Luke was only with us for a short time before he had to be euthanized due to illness, but he was such a sweet ‘grandpa’ to the weanlings before he passed.
In the fall we were contacted by someone who was referred to us by Alberta SPCA with regard to 2 donkeys that they had that were in bad shape. We picked up the donkeys and brought them back to the Rescue. Miss Kitty and Festus had feet that were in terrible shape. Miss Kitty also has issues with her back, possibly relating to her feet. Both have been adopted by a very kind neighbour who is doing everything she can to correct their problems, including regular farrier work, massages, and supplements!
Our most recent intakes are Hondo and Champ, with Hondo being an old rodeo horse, now lame, and Champ being a pony and Hondo’s faithful companion. Hondo has been receiving joint injections to help with his lameness. Plume was xrayed to identify the cause of her lameness (an injury to the bones in her foot) and is receiving joint injections for that. Glory#2, a weanling filly that came to us with a swollen hock, was xrayed and diagnosed with a fracture of her hock. Unfortunately surgery is not an option for her so instead she also will get regular injections into her hock to help with the injury.
We also just took in 18 chickens that were from a large cull at a chicken farm. They are settling in and learning to be chickens. After another week or two of quarantine they will be able to join the other chickens in the coop.
As is inevitable, we lost some dearly loved members of the Bear Valley family over the past few months. Mugsy, a lovely old pony well into her 30s or possibly even 40s, had to be euthanized due to illness, as did Snips, an old Arab gelding. Copper passed away suddenly from severe colic. Two of our fosters had to be euthanized at their foster homes. Both Pal and Penny had been fostered for many years at their respective homes. We are so thankful for caring foster homes that are there for the horses right through to the end. Wonderful Boyd, the tom turkey, passed at 3 ½ years of age. He is very much missed as he was the ‘greeter’, meeting everyone who came into the yard, and following us everywhere. Isabel, our lovely old goat, passed away at the incredibly old age of 18 years after a short illness.
Thank you to the following for their much appreciated donations and support over the last few months!
Alberta Equestrian Federation
Donner Canadian Foundation
Dr. Colleen Kramer – Beaver Valley Animal Clinic, Fruitvale, BC
Cochrane Townhall Public
Fountain Tire Sundre – 4 excellent new tires for the truck!
Nickle Family Foundation
Calgary Gymnastics Centre
Sherling Animal Welfare Foundation
Summer is over and fall is here - my favourite season, and also our busiest.! In spite of all the rain this summer (EVERY day!) it was still warm and as always we're glad to be able to be doing what we do. We had quite a few intakes this summer, mostly surrenders, a few returns, and some youngsters purchased from a feedlot. We had some adoptions too, which almost balanced out the intakes with the outgoings.
We have some big thank-yous - $1000 grant from Dr. & Mrs. Andrew Van Niekerk via Giftfunds Canada;
$500 grant from Gordon R McLeod Fund at the Calgary Foundation; anonymous donation in honour of Mr. & Mrs Barratt; $500 donation from the Don Cherry Pet Rescue Foundation; $6250 raised through our Heartland raffle; over $2300 raised through our on-line auction; $1000 donation from HandsOn Gloves; and several kind donations in memory of friends, family, and pets, in addition to all our wonderful regular donors and sponsors.
Thank you once again to Spruce Meadows, both for providing us a free booth at the Masters in the Pet Expo pavilion, and for once again donating the leftover feed to us.
Thank you to Stantec employees for volunteering at the Rescue for Stantec In The Community Day. We had 45 volunteers out for the day and a lot got done!
A huge thank you to Mr. Harold Roozen for donating 76 round bales of hay. We'd also like to thank all the wonderful people who donated hundreds of square bales and dozens of round bales over this past spring and summer. It is so amazing the great support we receive from the community, allowing us to care for the horses and help more of them every day.
Speaking of hay, Mike has started hauling this coming winter's hay home, which will take at least 3 weeks of almost solid driving. Once all the hay is here we will start hauling home the horses from about 15 different locations where they've spent the summer. When that is done I don't think we'll want to see the inside of the truck for quite a while!
I've updated the website with the new additions, adoptions, and sadly a few passings as well. As once again I've left too many weeks between blogs I'm sure I've forgotten some important events and bits of news, but rest assured that we appreciate each and every one of you and everyone's hard work on behalf of the horses.
We are so excited to announce our latest fundraiser! We have been given the opportunity to raffle off an on-location visit for 4 people to the set of the TV show Heartland, filmed here in Alberta! Tickets can be ordered through our website - http://bearvalleyab.org/heartland-raffle.html
Heartland is a very popular show that is now filming its 10th season. I have to admit I watch it too! A huge, heartfelt thank-you to the people at Heartland for selecting Bear Valley Rescue as one of 4 Canadian equine charities given this opportunity. The money raised by the raffle will go toward this coming winter's hay bill.
It seems every post starts the same way - wondering where the time has gone, and how busy we've been!
There's been so much happening, I'm not sure where to start. We'd like to thank the Telus employees who came out for Telus Day of Giving; they worked hard all day here at the Rescue, and also built a new climbing structure for the goats. Thank you to Kittyhawk Foundation for the grant, and to Linda for doing a press release for us (about the need for hay and donations) and to everyone who responded to the press release by donating.
We had some very sad events over the last few weeks, including the loss of Gimper the pig, Shamrock the orphan foal, and Tinsel the mare, all three of which were very difficult to deal with. With the added stress of having horses go missing from 2 different pastures a week apart (not to worry though, they were all found safe and sound and returned to their proper places!), and dealing with a bad adoption & foster situation (again, thankfully we were able to get the horses back, though not without one being injured prior to us getting it back), and having to cover many miles picking up horses and dealing with intakes from difficult situations, we are really in need of a break!
The weather lately has been less than ideal. After a mild winter and beautiful spring (for which we are eternally grateful for) I suppose it was inevitable that we were in for a change, and though the temperatures have been good, the amount of rain and storms we've had lately is incredible. At least the pastures are doing well with all the rain we've had! Last Saturday, I and two of our dedicated volunteers spent the afternoon in a torrential thunderstorm slogging through a bog looking for one of the groups of missing horses. We didn't find the horses but at least we didn't get hit by lightening though there were some pretty close calls! What a relief that Mike found the horses today, fat and happy in a neighbouring quarter.
We would like to thank those who made donations in memory of Pamela Thomas; Christine Lo's sponsorship of our horse Sylvia in memory of her mom Sylvia; and in memory of Terry Forrest.
There have been quite a few adoptions of late, including America, Chloe & her foal Cricket, foster-fail Davey, Denali, Primula, Amulet, Shadow#3 (with Delphi fostered), Roche and Stoney. Dallas, who was adopted out, came back with a minor injury. Chaplain and Simba came back, with Simba having a serious injury. Charger, Finn and Rose Red are still out for handling. Rose Red is progressing really well. Finn has his good days but he is still having days where he is more reactive.
Merlin, Sylvia, Monkey, Wynn, Slinky, Terry, Tuffy and Missy have new sponsors! Our sponsorship program is a great way to support the Rescue and the horses. Thank you to everyone who sponsors one of our animals.
We have had a few interesting intake situations over the past month. One intake involved 3 young, untouched Morgan horses, along with an old grey gelding with huge melanomas, and a draft-cross gelding. The location was several hours away and the horses were pretty well feral (except the old grey gelding), and they were getting out onto the roads and into neighbours' fields. We were able to corral and load all the horses though it took several hours. The mosquitoes were horrendous and the place the horses were located was filled with LOTS of junk that made for quite an obstacle course, on top of there being missing gates and poor fences.
Another intake was a couple of hours away and involved the temporary surrender of a horse whose owner is battling cancer. Unbeknownst to the owner, he had entrusted the care of his horse to a person who is well know in this area as an unscrupulous horse dealer. After havng the horse for a while, the horse dealer told the owner he had to pay a large amount of money for board and unsubstantiated vet costs in order to get his horse back or the horse would be sold at auction. The horse did get sold at auction but fortunately the owner was able to buy his horse back at the last minute before it went to the slaughterplant, so we had to rush up to the auctionhouse to pick up the horse for him. We have agreed to look after the horse for the owner until he has completed his cancer treatment. The same day we picked up this horse, we also picked up a surrendered little mini mare that has fear issues. The mini mare has gone to a great foster home where they will work with her to help her overcome her fear issues.
We also took in 6 rabbits from the Red Deer SPCA. They have an overabundance of rabbits as they took in over 150 of them from a feral situation. If you are looking for a bunny companion please contact them! All the rabbits are fixed and vetted, and many of them are very young.
Warrior, a paint gelding we took in a couple of months ago, had hooves that were in very bad shape. He had an active abscess in one front hoof that had also broken off very short, and he had long, overgrown back feet. Unfortunately due to his background Warrior had never had his feet handled, making working with his feet quite a challenge. With our vet and our farrier, we had Warrior sedated so that his feet could be trimmed and the abscess treated. We were dismayed to find that his feet were is worse shape than we'd expected. HIs soles crumbled apart and his back feet had huge holes in the bottoms from old abscesses (we assume). Neither our vet nor our farrier could understand how he had be standing, let alone moving around, without obvious pain or distress. We had to seriously consider euthanizing Warrior on the spot as no one felt that he would be able to stand once he came out of the sedation since his soles had disintegrated for the most part and the holes in his feet were so severe. However we decided to give him a chance, based on the fact that prior to sedation he had been moving just fine. We packed his hooves with antibiotic cream and wrapped them up. Both our vet and our farrier were amazed when Warrior was then able to get up and walk and trot without any discomfort. He is a medical miracle.! He has continued to stand and move without trouble. We will be sedating him for another look at his feet at the next visit with the farrier.
We received an update on Rene, the very thin thoroughbred mare we took in last year from her foster home. She looks fantastic! Rene had been discarded by her owner because she was thin and had lost her foal and they decided she was not worth looking after any longer.
Most of the horses have been moved to pasture (they are so happy to be on grass!) and with only about 50 left to move we thought things would slow down a bit and give us a break. It was not to be. We became aware of some animals at a feedlot and ended up purchasing them. With the help of some wonderful people who hauled them for us (a good 6 hour trip one way) they arrived on Sunday, May 22nd. We've already found a foster home for Midas, the palomino gelding, and for Robin, the pony mare!
After agreeing to take in the above horses, we found out about a bunch of young horses at the same feedlot (sadly there's no shortage as every day he has more pregnant mares and yearlings and you name it, all heading to slaughter usually within a week). I hoped we could take in the 10 yearlings and within a few hours of posting about it on facebook we'd managed to raise enough funds to do so! A huge thanks to everyone who donated and to Four Feet Companion Foundation for the emergency grant of $1250 to cover half the purchase price of the horses. Once again people stepped up to help with the hauling which was sincerely appreciated.
In order to make room for the new arrivals we moved our other yearlings, that have been here since last year, down to pasture next to the main herd. Comparing these youngsters to the sorry horses that arrived from the feedlot, you can see what neglect and poor nutrition does to them. And of course with the moving around of the horses, the main herd had to come in to see what was up, which resulted in lots of running around and excitement.
This coming week we will be very busy with our farrier who will be here for 3 days. We'll also be taking Robin, Nosey and Warrior to their summer foster home.
Spring has been here for a while, which is SO appreciated as we can often have snow into May. The grass is growing and we are moving the horses out to pasture as we are able. We've had quite a few intakes, adoptions and a couple of foals born at the Rescue, which has kept us very busy.
Adopted since February were Preston, Aero, Zendaya, Idle Promises, Renegade (who was adopted out about 5 years ago and just came back), Bullet, Trigger, Charger (who was adoption pending but that fell through but he was adopted by someone else), Lido, Savannah, Chloe and her foal, Checkers and her foal-to-be, Nicker and her foal, Moritz, Augin, Dallas, Fuji, Mercy and Safftron (to The Alice Sanctuary, along with Lilly and Logan, 2 of the cows), Roche, Simba, and Chaplain! Highway, Cider, and Stoney are going out to be worked with and if they are suitable will also be adopted.
We had some intakes in addition to the 2 foals that were born. New additions include Nosey, Warrior, Presto, Honey, Shantique, and Pogo. Several of them were in bad shape but all are now doing well.
We had some extremely sad events in April and May. Pet, our oldest resident horse, was euthanized quietly 12 days before her 40th birthday. Pet was here for nine years, years we will forever be grateful for. She was such a kind old spirit and her passing has left a huge void. Silver Wishes had to be euthanized due to a severe colic episode that she could not recover from. She came to us in such bad shape in December but she captured everyone's heart. Our heartfelt thanks to Barrie and Karen for fostering her and giving her a wonderful few months. Yola, our female turkey, passed suddenly one night. She was such a lovely bird, and she is also missed. Very tragically, Wilbur the steer passed suddenly in May. Our hearts go out to Krystle, his foster mom. She was rushing him to the vet because he was sick, but he died in the trailer before he could be helped.
We had an online auction this spring and raised over $2,800! Thanks also go out to: Lisa Cameron for your donation from your 7th birthday; Kathy Hetherington from Wild Ridge Stables for coming out and working with some of the youngsters; Pets for Life Society for the grants toward our vet bills; Community Natural Foods in Calgary for the donation of $1,069.75 (!) from their bag program in April; Shelby Hirsch for creating some nice posters for us; Hands of Hope-School of Hope for the donation of hay and for coming out for a tour; Donna for the donation of a trailer to sell, what a big donation!; Courier Equine Park in Androssan for the $50 donation from Christmas; and Sarah Walters and Sonny for the $200 donation from Sonny's 30th birthday party! We had a good bit of support at The Mane Event, we raised $775 through 'Donate A Bale' (thanks Leane and Tracy!).
Thank you once again to Denis and Ted from Denis Gobet Hoof Trimming for coming down with your tipping table and trimming all the 'unhandled' horses. We did 70 horses over 2 days. So good to see everyone with nicely trimmed feet!
We have been offered 40 acres of hay in the Okotoks area and are looking for someone to hay it for us. If you can help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We started doing freeze branding again (we did 12 horses this week) and hope to be able to get all our horses done this year. Freeze branding them with our brand will help us to ensure that they never end up at auction or at the slaughterhouse. We hope to offer previous adopters the option of bringing their Bear Valley horses to the Rescue for branding in the near future. We'll keep everyone posted about that through this blog. We had several of the horses' teeth floated in May and have more to do later this week. Spirit, Denali, Zebity and Simon were gelded. Denali also managed to get a nasty cut on his front leg but at least he did that about 5 minutes before the vet arrived to float teeth, so he got stitched right up and it is healing nicely.
I have collected some figures from 2015, a busy and successful year! -
Intakes - 2 foals born, 1 calf born; 2 mules, 5 donkeys, 8 rabbits, 294 poultry, 1 goat, and 71 horses (includes 19 returns)
In foster homes - 45 horses (including 2 mules and 2 donkeys) and 4 cows
Adopted to new homes - 53 horses (including 2 donkeys) and 245 poultry
Raised funds through: used tack sales - $8,513; online auction sales - $7,178; donated through The Tack Collector - $3,251!! Thank you so much to Mary Ellen Lickfold for your hard work and to Kathleen from The Tack Collector for your support.
We've been enjoying an unusually mild February, which we are especially thankful for as we're going through a LOT less hay with the milder temperatures.
The final total for our Christmas fundraiser was an amazing $17,093! We had our second annual Valentine's fundraiser that ran Feb 1st to Feb 14th and raised over $700. Thank you everyone who bought a valentine for their favourite Bear Valley resident!
A 'shout out' to Pets for Life Society for their ongoing support by helping pay for our vet bills. You've been a godsend! Thank you to Alberta Morgan Horse Youth Club for the donation of $300 from the Beaumont Youth Show 2015. Thank you Robin Baril for selecting Bear Valley Rescue as your charity of choice for The Centre for Learning@Home 'casual Friday' pool. Thank you to Big Country Midstream Projects for donating over 50 LARGE square bales of straw from a past Atco project and for hauling it all the way out to us. It has and will come in very handy as bedding! Thank you to Lori Hoppe of Soul Equine Performance Massage for the $200 donation from your workshop. Thank you once again to Spruce Meadows for donating feed from their warehouse. Thank you Tammy Badry for donating $122 that was collected for the Rescue at your wedding - what a nice idea! Thank you Deanna from AARCS for bringing out about 15 bags of feed. Thank you Paige for bringing us 20 bales of lovely hay.
We had a busy few days at the beginning of February with hoof trimming and deworming. Thank you to everyone who lent a hand, we got a lot done.
We have had a couple of intakes so far this year. From the Alberta SPCA we took in a thin, older, Thoroughbred mare we've named Delphi, along with her companion, am unhandled grey mare whom one of our volunteers has named Shadow. Our second intake was Big Bucks, a gentle old guy and yet another thin Thoroughbred. This seems to have been the winter of Thoroughbreds!
Some good news on new homes! Charger is adopted and will be leaving for his new home shortly. Salsa was adopted and left for her new home a couple of weeks ago, along with foster Davey. Little mini-Panda was adopted and went to her new home along with foster Silver Wishes. Flower has been fostered, joining Moritz, Timber, Scoops, and Taylor! Augin is adoption pending, and Pokey was adopted and left for his new home back in January. Fuji, one of the mini foals, has been fostered and is doing great at his foster home. Lido is also adoption pending though he may not be leaving for a month or two. Deva is adopted and will be leaving in March or April. Thank you to the wonderful people who have stepped up to take these horses; whether adopting or fostering, we're happy for the horses and happy for you!
The Mane Event, in Red Deer, is coming up April 21 - 24, 2016. It's 4 days long this year and we're looking for volunteers to help man the booth. Also coming up, August 28 - 29, 2016, is our fundraising casino, also in Red Deer. If you can volunteer at either event please send us an email at email@example.com. Paid overnight accommodation is available for the casino.