Carly Marchand-Jones said BlackJack is one of her all-time favourites! He'll be in the care of the rescue for a few more weeks but has been adopted and will be going to his new home soon! (Freedom's Gate Equine Rescue/Facebook)

Horse rescue expands to Clearwater area

Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue was created in Salmon Arm

A Salmon Arm horse rescue has set up shop in the North Thompson Valley, and they plan to do more than rescue horses from slaughter.

Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue typically homes anywhere from 70 to 100 horses at any given time, mostly through purchasing horses at auction, with the goal of rehabilitation and finding them a new home. But, as they rehabilitate the horses, they create a space for people with disabilities, seniors and at-risk youth to connect, as well.

The rescue partnered with the Shuswap Association for Community Living, and had two groups visit the land once a week, hang out with the horses and perform regular tasks such as cleaning up after the horses and giving them a brush, said Carly Marchand-Jones, who operates Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue.

She noted the work they did with at-risk youth was “really amazing” and beneficial to the kids when they saw that wild horses can be guarded and abused and how they come out of it.

“They’ll watch a wild horse go from being completely wild to liking to be with people and being loved,” said Marchand-Jones.

it’s activities and programs like these that she would love to bring to Clearwater once the new location has been established and organized.

Freedom’s Gate is a non-profit run by volunteer work and donations. The ultimate goal is to save horses that otherwise would’ve been sold at auction to slaughter for human consumption and rehabilitate them for adoption.

“Our goal is to bring them in, whatever happens to be their issue, if they’re underweight or they need handling,” said Carly Marchand, owner of Freedom’s Gate. “We do what it takes to get them to be adopted.”

The majority of horses that go to auction are completely healthy, said Marchand-Jones. They are being sent to slaughter simply for the money or the seller is unaware of who might be purchasing their horse. The chances of seeing a dilapidated horse going through the slaughter chain is minimal, she added. Most of the time it’s someone’s pet or a feral wild horse (a horse that is owned but untrained).

Freedom’s Gate also has rescued horses that have been abused or neglected and reported to the SPCA. Right now, they currently have a horse named Nikoa who came to them through an SPCA file. He had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his right hip and was very underweight.

They picked him up and immediately sent him to the veterinarian where he stayed for a week.

“We’re at about $4,000 in expenses for a horse like that, going through the surgeries that he needs, where most people would’ve just put him down,” said Marchand-Jones. “The person that had him couldn’t be bothered doing anything for him, which was unfortunate, so (Nikoa) suffered there for about a year before he got proper medical care.”

Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue is located between Vavenby and Birch Island. They are always looking for volunteers and donations. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page for contact and adoption information.

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