Residents should be able to start adopting by June from Yavapai Humane Society
By Briana Lonas, Chino Valley Review


Nearly every cat and dog has a shot at getting adopted at the Yavapai Humane Society and soon, rescued horses will receive the same chance at finding a forever home.

The new YHS equine adoption center situated in Chino Valley incorporates rescue rehabilitation and adoption protocols and could see a June grand opening.

The equine adoption center is located at 3731 N. Road 1 West.

Chino Valley Councilwoman Susan Cuka said she supports the center and, “Chino Valley has always embraced the equestrian community.

“This is a huge step in the right direction.”

YHS Executive Director Edward Boks said he’s excited and for the past five years, has worked to expand the adoption provision to include horses.

Currently, workers on the site are building fencing and making property improvements for the animals that will see adoption.

“We’re getting the property up to code for the electricity and reconfiguring the barns,” Boks said and explained that the County Board of Supervisors donated a mobile home for the caretaker who will live on the premises.

YHS owns the 7.3-acre property, made possible by a donation.

“We bought the property two years ago and have our business plan. All the pieces have come together. We didn’t rush into it,” he said.

YHS Director of Equine Initiative Nina Ekholm Fry explained that the facility is not a place for horses to live out their lives.


“The purpose is to find the horses that have been neglected, abused or abandoned that have quality of life and the potential to be somebody’s horse.”

She explained that the center’s design focuses around welfare enhancement and includes an arena, barns and plenty of space for the horses to live.

The horses can meet their basic needs without constant human interference. For example, the animals may enjoy unrestricted movement while interacting with other horses. Several feeding stations will satisfy the horses’ need to graze with low-calorie feed in between meals.

“They are healthier when they can move freely,” Fry said.

The facility also features an intake area for medical treatment and evaluations.

Equine behaviorists will rehabilitate and re-train the rescued horses with a focus on environmental and behavioral rehabilitation.

The program will work to medically rehabilitate the animal, if needed.

“We are not a sanctuary. We focus on the horses that have quality of life and those not in a chronic pain state. The idea is to help the horses come back into human society in a good way.

“A lot of times, that (rescued) horse ran into folks who didn’t know how to interact with them, or they were inconsistent,” Fry said. In some cases, the animal suffered intentional abuse.

At the new center, the horses will learn, or relearn, safety basics such as how to respond to traffic, trailer loading and how to interact with other horses.

The trail horses will learn how to navigate water and logs – obstacles that may prove challenging for the untrained.

“They will come with the basics,” Fry said.


One of the buildings at the Yavapai Humane Society's new equine center in Chino Valley that will house horses starting in June. (Courtesy photo)

One of the buildings at the Yavapai Humane Society’s new equine center in Chino Valley that will house horses starting in June.

YHS contracts with law enforcement and this connection, along with other agencies, may bring in horse rescues in addition to owner surrenders.

“We would like to, when possible, evaluate the horse on site to determine if it’s right for the program,” Fry said.

The horses ready for adoption will also come with medical records.

YHS staff is currently working out the horse adoption details that will resemble the successful cat and dog adoption program complete with new owner education and resources.

Volunteer opportunities also will be available in the future. For information on cat and dog adoptions, volunteer or donation opportunities, visit


Article originally published in The Chino Valley Review on January 20, 2016.