With the help of some longtime riders, a group of children are still looking for a home for endangered horses.

The Grand Valley Horse Rescue (GVHR) was founded by elementary school students with a love for horses and a desire to help those in need. The GVHR has grown since one of its first fundraisers around Halloween 2020, looking for a new home while continuing to raise funds. A former horse breeder answered her call.

“I was aware of this for a while, but not enough until I got this opportunity to place their horses in,” said Don West, a retired horse breeder and author who owns the West Gait Equine Learning Center on 1760 Broadway. “Why shouldn’t I help you? I have the facility here, a place for them, and I love to see these children enjoy horses. “

Horse Rescue and Memaw’s Stable, owned by Shelle deVergie, who is the de facto mentor of the organization, primarily rescue lame horses, which means they have an anomaly or disability that prevents them from running.

Take Maxi, for example. He is a large horse with chocolate brown fur and a dignified black mane. “We got him when he was emotionally and physically damaged,” said Maxis Princess (deVergie gave the children code names to avoid their identity being revealed on social media because of their age).

“It is very fast and its old owners would often run it for barrels. His knees finally broke, ”she said.

Under the care of the horse rescue, Maxi relaxed. He is no longer frightened by passing trucks and spends a lot of time with his princess. The children worked hard to build that trust. They come to West Gait after school to ride the horses, take care of them, and hang out with them while they eat or do their homework.

West Gait is a great place for them, said deVergie. It’s near the Fruita side of the Colorado National Monument. West’s herd of horses has its own field for galloping and grazing, while the children look after their horses in a separate area.

It was difficult to find a home for the horses, but horse rescue is getting creative with sources of income.

West has written several books, including Have Saddle Will Travel, which describe how hikers and campers can have little impact on the environment.

He has many additional copies of this book and others that he will liquidate for the children to sell at the nearest Mesa County Sheriff Posse Gymkhana on March 20th. By selling these and custom made shirts, they hope to raise enough money to buy their own property.

GVHR also recently received a scholarship from the University of Colorado – Boulder. The organization’s president, called Princess Hammer Time, is advised by an expert from the school on how to run a successful nonprofit organization.