Feature Story: Horsey Holiday Giving

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This Holiday Season, Give Back to the Industry You Love Locally to Support Horses and Horse-Related Charities

During the next couple months, you’ll probably encounter many ways to give back in your local area, and your horse community could use your generosity. Whether it’s for Giving Tuesday (November 29, 2022), Colorado Gives Day (December 6, 2022), year-end giving (must be done before December 31, 2022, to claim on your 2022 taxes), or in recognition of someone else or as a gift in someone’s name, the Colorado horse community has ample opportunities to support it through donations.

Here are eight horse-centric organizations in our Colorado horse community to consider supporting with your gift-giving this holiday season.

Charitable Group: Harmony Equine Center

Basic Details: Horse rescue affiliated with the Denver Dumb Friends League located in Franktown, Colorado.

Their Mission: This private rehabilitation and adoption facility serves abused and neglected horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules removed from homes by law enforcement. Donations support the care of the equines, as well as maintaining the 168-acre facility, which houses three large barns, 26 pastures and turnouts, two indoor arenas, and an education center.

Fun Fact: Since 2021, more than 2,030 horses have been helped by Harmony Equine Center.

Contact Information: (720) 626-2203; ddfl.org/locations/harmony-equine-center


Charitable Group: Hearts & Horses

Basic Details: Nonprofit therapeutic riding facility located in Loveland, Colorado.

Their Mission: Hearts & Horses aims to enhance physical, cognitive, and emotional wellbeing through equine interactions. Their instructors are all certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), and the facility itself is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center—the highest level of accreditation possible.

Fun Fact: Hearts & Horses keeps a herd of around 27 horses for therapeutic needs. Adults are welcome to volunteer individually or as groups, and youths age 8 to 14 can volunteer with adult supervision. 

Contact Information: (970) 663-4200; heartsandhorses.org


Charitable Group: Valhalla Ranch

Basic Details: Veterans’ camp and horsemanship program located in Kiowa, Colorado.

Their Mission: Matt Littrell, a Marine veteran, and his wife, Kristen, offer veterans the chance to work with horses to heal their own pain on a fully working ranch. Program participants take part in all aspects of ranch life, from feeding to grooming horses to riding and doing chores. 

Fun Fact: Matt completed “The Long Trail Home,” an eight-month, coast-to-coast ride from North Carolina to California. In the process, he raised more than $140,000 for the Semper Fi Fund.  

Contact Information: (303) 483-3898; valhallaranchcolorado.com


Charitable Group: Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center

Basic Details: CTRC started humbly in 1980 and today offers a premier facility to serve the community, based in Longmont, Colorado.

Their Mission: A PATH Intl. Premier Accredited facility, CTRC has served children with disabilities for more than 40 years. It’s one of the oldest therapeutic riding facilities in the country and offers therapeutic horsemanship, equine-assisted therapies, and equine-assisted mental health services.

Fun Fact: More than 25 horses and 15 employees join with countless volunteers to provide equine-based therapeutic services.

Contact Information: (303) 652-9131; ctrcinc.org

Horsey Holiday Giving
Before you make a charitable donation, ensure that the organization has 501(c)3 status if you plan for a tax deduction.

Charitable Group: Mile High Rescue

Basic Details: A hybrid boarding facility and rescue/adoption center in Centennial, Colorado. 

Their Mission: The visionaries behind MHR are horsewomen who’ve shown competitively and trained horses, which allows them to lend their expertise when rehabilitating horses and finding their perfect forever homes. New owners have the opportunity to take lessons with their new horse, as well as continue to board their rescue at the facility, which includes indoor and outdoor riding arenas and access to riding trails.

Fun Fact: As a way to build affinity for horses and riding, MHR offers three months of “pony camps” for youth riders of all ages. These four-day camps pair riders of all ability levels with farm horses and ponies and teach campers many of the responsibilities that come with horse ownership.

Contact Information: (720) 773-2647; milehighrescue.org


Charitable Group: Zuma’s Rescue Ranch

Basic Details: Combines rescuing horses with providing animal-assisted learning and therapy in Littleton, Colorado.

Their Mission: Zuma’s rescues horses from all corners of the state—and outside Colorado—to provide the animals with proper care and rehabilitation. They provide comprehensive English riding lessons, boarding and leasing programs, and wellness services. Additionally, Zuma’s offers assisted equine learning to help those who have depression, anxiety, and emotional instability.

Fun Fact: Zuma’s estimates it’s saved hundreds of horses and touched the lives of far more humans through its programs, adoptions, leases, and volunteer opportunities.

Contact Information: (303) 346-7493; zumasrescueranch.com


Charitable Group: Drifter’s Hearts of Hope

Basic Details: This rescue is named for a Quarter Horse that was a champion roping horse, left as a stray following injury. He went from being found on the side of the road to being the heart behind this Franktown, Colorado, rescue.

Their Mission: One unique aspect of DHOH involves its connections to guest ranches to provide a second career after a horse isn’t suitable for that role. Through the Annie Project, DHOH works with the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association to transition horses from ranch life to a lower-key level of existence.

Fun Fact: DHOH can house up to 50 horses, but partnerships with the Colorado Horse Rescue and other similarly minded groups allow them to positively influence the lives of hundreds of horses annually.

Contact Information: (303) 521-5726; driftersheartsofhope.org


Charitable Group: Steadfast Steeds

Basic Details: On the Western Slope in Grand Junction, this mustang sanctuary gives the horses a familiar setting and herd style.

Their Mission: In addition to providing sanctuary to mustangs, the formerly wild horses are enlisted to help humans via coaching sessions involving the horse. The activities help the mustangs and the humans in a variety of ways, no matter the person’s experience level with horses. Steadfast Steeds calls this “Mentoring by Mustangs.”

Fun Fact: The mustangs at the sanctuary remain in surroundings to which they’re accustomed—including high altitude, harder ground, mountain air, and familial groups. Contact Information: (970) 241-0939; steadfaststeeds.org


Tips for Giving

You can easily donate to any of these organizations by visiting their websites. Most have direct links to make donations online, or you can contact them for other means. Keep in mind these other ways to give this holiday season.

  • Ask about donating used tack, gear, and equipment.
  • Consider a feed donation of hay, grain, or supplements.
  • Give a gift card to a local feed store so the group can use it as needed.
  • If you work in the horse industry, see if donating your services could help the cause.

If you’re looking for a tax write-off, be sure each organization you support has 501(c)3 status and can provide you with a receipt for your paperwork. Watch for matching opportunities to increase the bang the cause gets for your buck, and consider ongoing gifts for long-term support.

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November/December 2022

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