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People Helping Horses Help Wild Horses in Rockport, Washington

It’s not every day that you get the chance to round up wild horses. Most having gone the way of the buffalo, wild horses no longer roam our proud nation with the exception of Mustangs that live on BLM lands.

And, it turns out, eight horses who’ve called Rockport, Washington home for several years. Consisting of three stallions, three mares, and two yearlings, the patchwork band has managed to eek out an existence in the small town just off SR530, fending for themselves in good times and bad with very little human intervention.

A plan was discussed to round up the horses once the weather allowed for it.The Skagit County Sheriff’s department enlisted the help of Gretchen Salstrom, Founder and Executive Director of People Helping Horses, an Arlington, Washington based horse rescue organization. Salstrom and her team, including Ken McNabb Master Apprentice Kyle Churchill, struck out for Rockport in the early morning hours of February 26, 2009, prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.

Rounding the bend towards the dilapidated property, they were surprised to see the entire band standing behind aged barbed wire fencing, watching the approaching trucks and trailers wearily. The team parked their vehicles and slowly approached. The rusted wire fence was clipped and the team proceeded to set up the panel pen that would be used to round up the horses in preparation for loading. The activity clearly alarmed some members of the herd, the stallions in particular, though the smell of hay and grain that lined the interior of the pen won the thin horses over, all but one entering the pen without incident. Trainer Kyle Churchill doubled back and was able to bring the final stallion in and within a short amount of time all eight horses were loaded safely onto the trailers and heading out for their new homes.

The stallions will be fostered nearby where Churchill will work with them until they’re deemed safe enough to be kept at the PHH barn. The mares, two of which are confirmed in foal, and the two yearlings will live at People Helping Horses, where they will undergo extensive training before they are eligible for adoption. “We’re proud to have been involved in the rescue of the eight horses,” Gretchen Salstrom stated when asked about the experience. “Without our help and that of the Sheriff’s department, these beautiful animals would have, in all likelihood, died. They have a second chance at life, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for them.”

About People Helping Horses:

People Helping Horses is a locally-based, nationally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving human-horse relationships through education, rehabilitation, and support for both horse owners and professionals.


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