A Shuswap horse rescue is hoping for a “hay day,” asking for support from the community to capitalize on a generous hay offer from a local farmer.
The farmer contacted Freedom’s Gate Equine Rescue earlier this month, offering 120 bundles of hay at less than half price. Each bundle has 21 regular square bales of hay in it and would normally cost about $12 per bale. The farmer is offering the bundles at $5.50 per bale and Freedom’s Gate wants to be able to buy as much of the discounted hay as possible.
Operator Carly Marchand said the farmer has already visited the rescue and donated one bundle for the horses to make sure they like the product. The farmer also had testing done on the hay to ensure it is safety after nitrate poisoning scares affected the horse community last year.
“It would be a huge benefit for us to be able to take them up on that offer,” said Marchand. “We pay more than that on a regular basis, so we have funds, but to buy in mass quantities would be phenomenal.”
Freedom’s Gate has two ways to collect donations. Donors can send an etransfer to email@example.com, or donate through the website, freedomsgateequinerescue.com. The rescue is a registered non-profit so fundraising through their website doesn’t cost them.
As of Monday, Jan. 23, the rescue had purchased 14 bundles of hay with nine bundles already delivered. Marchand said they’d like to fundraise enough to buy the rest of the discounted hay.
Freedom’s Gate was founded in 2015 and has been rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming horses since. They take care of horses that come from the SPCA and from owner surrender situations, sometimes also rescuing horses from meat buyers and saving them from slaughter. The goal is to assess what the horses need to be able to be rehomed and live full lives. Marchand said they deal with varying needs, from behavioural issues to mobility and health concerns and problems being handled by humans.
There are currently 15 horses in care at Freedom’s Gate, 12 of which are living on the rescue’s property and will directly benefit from the hay.
Marchand emphasized that Freedom’s Gate’s mission is to help people with their horses, no matter the problem. They help in a vast geographical area outside of the Shuswap, even as far as Vancouver if needed.
“We want people to reach out for anything,” she said. “If you want to keep your horse but don’t know how to help it, or if you have a problem feeding; if they need to be rehomed that’s okay, we’re here for that as well.”
Freedom’s Gate received a $5,000 donation from the Horsey Ladies Okanagan group at their fundraising event in November.The rescue will keep tha money aside for future use, helping horses in whatever situations may come up.
While the rescue isn’t hosting any upcoming events, keep an eye out for its frequent online tack auction fundraisers and keep it in mind if you have used tack, horse supplies or other gift ideas in good condition you’d like to donate.