Horse rescuers get anonymous $3,000 donation

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - An anonymous donor helped a horse rescue organization with a big donation because of a story that aired on WEAU 13 News.

Rock man is a healthy 29-year-old quarter horse with no eyes.

He along with many others, may not have survived to trot through the snow if it wasn't for Sandy Gilbert and Refuge Farms of Spring Valley.

“The owner was about to euthanize him because she had no practical use for him anymore,” Refuge Farms executive director Sandy Gilbert said. “We absolutely love this horse. He's very easy going, he's excellent with kids.”

The group took on a major rescue when a Cadott farm owner had dozens of horses she couldn't care for. Refuge farms rescued 17 horses, but Gilbert said caring for the growing herd hasn't been cheap.

“Rescuing horses is an expensive business. There's transportation, there's shots, there's food, there's supplements, there's Coggins, there's vet reports, and there's also just hay to keep them alive.”

But Sandy said after WEAU reported on the group’s efforts, help came pouring in.

“It opened the awareness of people about the plight of the unwanted horse. That's huge for us.”

She said of those 17 horses, ten have been adopted.

On Tuesday, her mission got a major boost. An anonymous donor dropped off a $3,000 check at WEAU.

“This is not just (saving) a horse. We can save herd with this.”

But for Rock man and more than 100 others, with a shortage of hay and still no grass for feed, the need remains.

“Ten years ago, if we rescued 20 horses in a year, we were doing really well. In Jan. of 2013, we rescued 73, in one month.” “There are still thousands of horses out there that need help. All the rescues I'm affiliated with, we're over full, because the crisis was so severe this year."

For information on how to adopt a horse or donate, go to or call (715) 772-3379.

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