Yavapai Humane Society’s Equine Center is the home of our adoption program for horses in need of rehabilitation. Every horse we work with receives health care and training prior to being made available for adoption. Located in Chino Valley, Arizona, the Center launched in June 2016. Equipped for caring for ten horses on site at any given time, the equine team of staff and volunteers are involved in a constant process of preparing these horses for adoption and a healthy life.
Equine Center Director, Dr. Lucy Berg, personally owns two horses that are both kept at the facility. These two certainly earn their keep! Working in some capacity every day of the year, her horses enjoy the experience and are a key part of the healthy and productive progress of the horses being prepared for adoption.
Seventeen years ago, Dr. Berg (Lucy) adopted a six-year-old Arabian gelding named Norm. Immediately, Lucy loved his trot and long stride. She was told this horse was “untrainable”. Of course, Lucy took care of that. She knew this would be a project horse. She patiently worked with him on his manners and ground training. Horses are mighty and it takes time, a special talent and heart to bring out the best in a horse–our equine director has this ability.
One month after bringing Norm into her life, she adopted Rose, a just-weaned six month old Arabian mare. Lucy trained Rose in dressage–an advanced form of horse performance. Both horses lived with Lucy in Utah, Louisiana and Arizona. Also, both have had endurance training, developing the ability to comfortably travel 25, 50 and even 100 miles.
With many duties, sometimes working alone and sometimes together, Norm and Rose are the animal ambassadors of the Equine Center system. When a new horse comes in they serve as a greeter, basically hanging out with the new arrival for a couple weeks, keeping them calm and beginning their socialization work at the intake barn or in the paddock.
As the newcomer moves into the herd, one of Lucy’s horses will go with them, easing this new experience. When bathing new horses, Norm and Rose will be bathed as well, being an example of peace and composure. One of Lucy’s horses will work on ponying (riding a horse and leading another horse) so Lucy can ride her horse while leading the new horse. As you can gather, horse adoption success, as with dogs and cats, a great deal of focus is given to preparing the animal for adoption so that their transition into a forever home is successful. This attitude respects all animals as individuals and ensures they are treated properly.
Norm and Rose are also ridden by prospective adopters (even experienced riders), for Lucy to evaluate the potential adopter’s comfort and ability level. Since Lucy has had these two horses in her family so long, she is in tune with their responses in every possible condition. This serves well for the handler assessment. Finally, if a potential adopter is interested in a horse that has been through training and now rideable, Lucy will take Norm or Rose out for a ride on property along with the potential adopter and the prospective horse. We are fortunate to have these hard working, helpful horses as key members of our Equine Program.
Want to get involved with our program? Equitation Science (horse welfare methodology) classes will be available in early 2017. To volunteer or donate, visit https://yavapaihumane.org/animal-welfare-programs/equines/. Tours and visits to the Equine Center are by appointment only. Please set up an appointment by calling 928-350-8688 or emailing our Equine Director, Dr. Lucy Berg, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Public tours are scheduled for the first and third Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.