The Yavapai Humane Society’s (YHS) grand opening of its Equine Center will take place on Saturday, June 4, at 1 p.m. Be sure to save the date and let us know if you are coming by calling 928-445-2666, ext. 104. The YHS Equine Center is located at 3731 North Road 1 West in Chino Valley. The ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 1 p.m. and the center will be open to the public until 4 p.m. There will be educational stations designed to explain the program as well as children’s activities and raffles with valuable prizes.

Since December 2014, when this property was purchased, the YHS Board of Directors, management team and many volunteers have been busy developing a business plan and budget while renovating the facilities.

Starting an adoption-focused program for horses in need of rehabilitation is a big step. It certainly was not something we wanted to rush into. Over the course of the past year and a half, YHS recruited a knowledgeable equine professional to lead the initiative, upgraded the equine facilities to meet code and redesigned the property to provide an environment that meets all the essential needs of these animals.

At the grand opening, YHS will unveil an innovative design, part of the overall facility function, referred to as a “track system.” This design helps meet the needs of equine including: unrestricted movement; constant access to fiber (hay); social housing and interaction; comfortable resting areas; shelter from sun and inclement weather; and choice and variation in the environment.

This pioneering approach provides equines more opportunity and motivation to move because resources are spread along a track. The enriched environment becomes part of a rehabilitative setting, which includes effective and ethical behavioral modification (training).

More information on the YHS Equine Initiative, including a slideshow to help explain the program more fully, can be found at www.yavapaihumane.org/equineinitiative.

The community has been very gracious and supportive of the YHS Equine Initiative during the development phase. But the real needs will begin on June 4 when the center opens. If you would like to help support the YHS Equine Initiative financially, visit www.yavapaihumane.org/donateequine to make a lifesaving donation. Once there you will find instructions on how to direct your gift to this Initiative.

You can also mail your donation to YHS at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott, AZ 86301. Be sure to designate your donation to the “Equine Initiative” on the memo line.

In addition to cash, the YHS Equine Center still needs a lot of materials, equipment and supplies before the grand opening. Do you have any equine- or ranch-related equipment that is just gathering dust in the back? If you have horse-related items in good and usable condition, consider donating them to the YHS Equine Initiative. Call me to make arrangement for these “in-kind” donations.

All cash and in-kind donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. For a list of items needed at the YHS Equine Center, visit www.yavapaihumane.org/equinewishlist.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@d2f.e36.myftpupload.com or by calling 928-445-2666, ext. 101.