GUARDIAN PROFILE - Last Updated: 04/30/2017
I. GOVERNANCE, MANAGEMENT & CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Chief Staff Officer:  Sandra L. Gilbert
Employees: Full-Time: 0 Part-Time: 0 Volunteers: 37
Does your organization utilize a management company for management and administration? No
Describe your training process for employees and volunteers and the types of human resource documents used in your organization including job descriptions, evaluations, etc. Potential new volunteers submit an application via online (through our website) or by personal contact. Once an interest is expressed, orientation is the first step for a new volunteer. This is a classroom review of the Missions of Refuge Farms, the volunteer job description, and a video that illustrates our beliefs and values. There is discussion of the many opportunities at Refuge Farms and a review of the Volunteer Application. Then the class is taken on a tour of Refuge Farms grounds to meet the horses, view the Memory Beds, meet the Executive Director, and to partake in a task such as cleaning stock tanks or cleaning barns. Each attendee is given a full volunteer application and a compliance agreement and asked to contemplate their next step in the process.
An existing volunteer contacts each potential volunteer to answer any questions and ask for their intentions on pursuing the full volunteer training. For those who decide to continue, a walk-thru is scheduled where the job description is once again reviewed. Also reviewed are the Personnel Policies and Procedures relative to discrimination, harassment, and grievance, etc. Finally, a full reading of The Ways of THE FARM is completed which outlines the expectations of volunteers relative to behavior, availability, horse handling safety, and dress.
Each new volunteer is then assigned to a mentor who will work side-by-side with that person until Horse Handling training is completed and the volunteer has tested and passed the Basic Horse Handling Skills test required to allow that volunteer free access to the horses in the pastures.
This program was developed in conjunction with the Business Masters Program at Stout University of Menomonie, Wisconsin and is tailor made for Refuge Farms from the best parts of all volunteer programs as evaluated from other rescues of all sorts all across the country.
In addition, as contained in the Personnel Policies and Procedures document, the Executive Director receives a written and oral performance review by the Board of Directors. This is completed as part of the Annual Board Meeting held in March of each calendar year.
Board meetings per year: 4
Number of Board Members: 5 Number of Voting Board Members: 5
Is Board Chair compensated? No Is Treasurer compensated? No
Are there any other Voting Board Members that are compensated? No
Are any members of the Board or Staff related to each other through family or business relationships? Yes
If yes, provide the name, title, responsibility and family/business relationship of each Board and/or Staff member. Mary Hetzel, Board Member and William Hetzel, Board Member, are husband and wife. They jointly own and operated the St. Francis Horse Rescue near Stevens Point, WI. Throughout the years, I have come to know and respect the Hetzels and have found their values and belief systems to be very similar to those of Refuge Farms.
It is not customary or common to have other horse rescue owners on another horse rescue Board of Directors, however I have had private discussions with Mary and Bill and believe their perspective is a valuable addition to our Board. I respect them and their dedication to the world of horse rescue. And, of course, they represent the perspective from "in the trenches".
Are any Board members or Staff associated with and/or compensated by another organization with a relationship or business affiliation to your organization? Yes
If yes, provide the name, title, responsibility and family/business relationship of each Board and/or Staff member, and the name of the related organization. Sandra Gilbert owns the facility where operations are conducted. The annual lease is for the use of all buildings, equipment, land, and horses for the total of $1 plus 80% of all maintenance expenses.
One of our long-standing policies and procedures is our Conflict of Interest policy. The policy is composed of elements from The Minnesota State Non-Profit Alliance example as well as key portions of other non-profit agencies similar policies. Our Conflict of Interest policy is reviewed each year by the Board of Directors at the Annual Board Meeting and also, annually, a Conflict of Interest policy is signed by each Board Member.
Also required to annually sign a Conflict of Interest policy is the volunteer directing the Horses Helping program. This equine based mental health therapy program was formalized in 2012 and requires a Program Director. Although this position is a volunteer position, we require the Conflict of Interest policy be signed by this Director in January of each calendar year to insure both confidentiality and continued commitment to the program.
Conflict of Interest:
Does your organization have a written conflict of interest policy and regularly and consistently monitor and enforce compliance with the policy, including requiring officers, directors or trustees, and key employees to disclose annually interests that could give rise to conflicts? Yes
1. What percent of your total programs and services are horse-related? 100
2. Describe your specific horse-related programs services or activities:
The originating and long-term program of Refuge Farms is the rescue, rehab, re-homing or retirement of the "dier" horses or horses that the other rescues refuse. These are the crippled, the dying, the diseased, the horses considered killers or mean, as well as blind horses, horses with tumors or broken legs, and those that are starving from neglect, abandonment, etc. These are the horses our Declaration of Purpose identifies as our specialty.
In the winter of 2012-2013, Refuge Farms was called upon to find a way to sustain life of over 130 horses where the owners simply could not locate hay. Refuge Farms did not take ownership of the horses however we were asked to help to sustain them until grass once again appeared in the spring.
Working with the Cattle Ranchers Association, Refuge Farms was able to find winter housing for all 130 horses and the horses were fostered by the cattle ranchers. This brought no revenue to Refuge Farms however finding a way to sustain the lives of these horses truly fed our Missions of rescuing the "diers".
This example is used to illustrate how Refuge Farms has remained focused on saving the life - always, always working to save the life - of the horse currently in our doorway and in doing so to always consider the quality of the life for each horse.
In 2012, a pilot of the Horses Helping program was conducted and confirmed that our Sanctuary Horses are, indeed, great givers of healing. This program is intended for people of all ages that are suffering from mental health issues or emotional issues as a result of abuse, neglect, death or disease, divorce, or mental illness.
Our program is not a riding program. Horses Helping is a ground based program where horse activities are used to generate responses which are then discussed and lead to self-learning and awareness. Therapy may be individual or group style and may be from one hour to an entire half-day.
In each of the five classes of a typical program, Refuge Farms trains the support staff that this program is not therapy. Instead it is truly a class in training an individual how to halter, lead, and trailer a horse. Our initial pilot told us very clearly that the young at-risk teen is "therapy'd out", as they told us. Thus we work to not call our classes therapy although the goal is emotional growth with anger management, grief understanding, and a positive self image.
Also critical in each class is the commitment to identifying one task a student does well and then praising that student for that performance. Most individuals attending our classes have a negative self image and no self esteem. We see an actual physical response of the straightening of shoulders, as an example, when a student receives praise for handling a situation well, for example. We are careful not to be artificial or overly abundant with the praise but we are sincere with an example given and the compliment to the student that it was managed and done well by them.
In our pilot, such positive response was received by our pilot participants, that the school formally enrolled their at-risk students in the subsequent summer sessions. Our success continues with on-going classes during the school year and also a shortened summer session class, as well. Refuge Farms is currently working to expand the class beyond our local high school to other Chippewa Valley high schools.
To elaborate on the mental health therapy portion, Horses Helping is a program, using rescued horses, which is designed to use the horse to human relationship to facilitate healing for individuals that are experiencing emotional pain due to abuse, neglect, trauma, depression, divorce of parents or self, death of a close one or diagnosed for themselves, anxiety, or any diagnosed emotional or behavioral disorder. This program is also designed to provide corporate training sessions to improve teamwork and communication.
3. Enter the total number of facilities/locations where the horses used in the conduct of your horse-related programs are housed and cared for: 1
4. Describe your non-horse-related programs, services or activities you provide, including those involving other animals.
5. Does your organization operate programs involved with animals other than horses? No
1. Describe your equine management philosophies, practices, policies and operations with respect
to the use of the horses in your program, including the rehabilitation and retraining (if applicable),
ongoing training, schooling and exercising plan for each horse and your policy as to the number and
condition of the horses accepted by your organization.
Refuge Farms specializes in the rescue and rehab of the "dier" horses, the ones no one else wants. It is one of our promises that we give to each horse we rescue that we will "support you for as long as you are able" in their journey. "Always considering the quality of (your) life", Refuge Farms will supply special cares, special diets, and special medical treatments necessary to sustain a good quality of life on a case-by-case basis.
Perhaps the best way to describe our policies for the treatment of our rescued horses is to recite The Promises given to the horses upon retrieval:
1. You are safe here. No one will hurt you here. There will be no more beatings, whippings, electrical shock, use of performance enhancing drugs, or abuse of any kind. There will be respect here. You are safe here.
2. You will be fed here. There will always be at least clean hay and fresh water available to you. No more fighting for the hay. No more eating tree bark to live. No more thirst. No more eating of other's manure just to survive. You will be fed here.
3. You are home. You are here forever. No more fighting for a place in a herd. No more new water to get used to. No more trying to find the way in a new barn with a new caretaker. Even in death we will keep you at THE FARM. You can relax now. You are home.
4. You will be healthier here. Always considering the quality of your life, we will work diligently to restore your health. We will care for you. We will support you. We will love you. And we will medically treat you. It may not be possible to bring you all the way back to healthy, but we will work very hard to help your body and your spirit rebuild as much and for as long as you are able. You will be healthier here.
Our maximum capacity at Refuge Farms is 24 horses. Horses who are relatively stable but not adoptable due to condition or health are fostered at loving homes of our volunteers allowing Refuge Farms to maintain the population of the high needs horses. In 2012, over 170 were rescued by Refuge Farms with the majority of the horses being starvation and abuse cases. Scoring of the horses received in 2012 varied from .5 to 4 on the Henneke Scoring Scale.
Horses resident at Refuge Farms are all candidates for participation in our Horses Helping program. However, we are finding the human enrollees seem to gravitate to the blind horses and also seem to develop a deeper relationship faster with the blind horses. As a result, over 75% of our program horses are 100% blind horses.
2. Describe how your horses are acquired (adoption, seizure, surrender, donation, purchase,
auction sale, retirement).
Horses are retrieved by Refuge Farms by county Sheriff seizure, by surrender of the owner, by purchase only when the owner will not surrender the horse and leaving the horse will ultimately result in a painful death, or by drop off when a horse appears in our corral, our yard, or our barn without notice or warning. Refuge Farms also acquires horses from a local kill buyer who identifies and delivers to us horses that he feels are candidates for our program.
Many horses come to Refuge Farms from other rescues when the rescues ask if we would accept them rather than have the originating rescue euthanize the horse. A majority of those horses from other rescues are blind horses or horses in need of surgery to remove painful eyes.
Refuge Farms has also, surprisingly, rescued horses left chained to a stop sign in a local community or chained to a chain link fence behind a Kwik Trip truck stop. In desperation, Refuge Farms was called by the Wisconsin State Patrol when a horse, of a divorce case, was unloaded from a trailer in an interstate clover leaf. The State Patrol or Sheriff Department will call when a traffic accident involves horses or if horses are loose on public roads.
Honestly, Refuge Farms does not refuse an opportunity to save a life even on Christmas Day. In fact, we have noticed that on major holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter when the full families assemble. We are most likely called when the family decides to do something with "the horse". We see the trend so clearly that the trailer is dropped onto the truck on Christmas and Thanksgiving Eves every year in preparation.
3. Describe under what circumstances horses leave your organization.
Please describe in detail your horse adoption/fostering practices and procedures including any recruitment initiatives
you have to attract potential adopters.
Please include your policies and practices with respect to horses that are no longer useful or manageable and horses
that need to be retired.
All horses that are Sanctuary Herd residents of Refuge Farms are retired in the typical and standard sense and definition. The horses are crippled, dealing with diseases, not able to be handled, or significantly old or disabled. It is these horses, specifically, that we rescue and support to give them a quality of life filled with love and enjoyment until THEY decide it is time to move on.
Unwanted "dier" horses become Sanctuary Horses and do not leave our organization. Once they become a member of the Sanctuary Herd, promises are given to them that commits our dedication to them. They are told they are home and will never leave. That even in death, they will stay at Refuge Farms.
Rescue horses that come to Refuge Farms are adopted only after the adoptee candidate completes an adoption application and we have completed a veterinarian check, farrier check, credit bureau check, unannounced site visit, and discussion with three (3) references. These are horses that suit the need of the adoptee whether it be a pet or a pasture mate.
Refuge Farms advertises horses needing homes in our semi-annual newsletter and on our bulletin board on our website entitled "Horses Needing Homes". We have been very successful in adopting horses that are viable for use and have only had to retrieve one horse in our 17 years. We continue unannounced site visits and send emails asking for pictures of the horse. As we travel for pickups or deliveries, the route taken will be dictated by the drive-by's we conduct en route.
Since our therapy program is a non-riding program, our horses work extremely well to assist and perpetuate the progress of mental health therapy. As one of our clients replied, it was easy for him to talk to Spirit (a young thoroughbred mare with broken legs that have healed) since in just looking at her, he could "see she had suffered and no one wanted her, either".
4. For new horses, describe your initial assessment process for each horse (i.e. physical examination,
test ride, health record, Coggins test, quarantine, veterinary consult, etc.).
A new horse is quarantined in the corral area with water, hay, and shelter. Initially, we do a Henneke scoring of the horse body condition, a tape is created measuring girth, a fecal sample is processed, and a general blood chemistry panel is completed for any significant health issues to be identified. Blood for coggins is taken with the blood sample and all vaccinations are given, regardless of what is claimed by the surrendering party, if there is one. A pro-biotic daily program is begun and continues for the first 60 days on THE FARM regardless of condition.
The horse is quarantined for a minimum of 60 days allowing us to deworm after the fecal sample and then deworm again, if needed. This also allows us to identify and treat for lice or mites. Feeding and supplement requirements are identified and a plan is written with milestone dates identified for the plan to be reviewed and modified. If medical attention is required, those appointments and transport are scheduled for surgeries, biopsies, diagnostic work, etc.
During quarantine we are also able to identify personality and physical conditions. Using this knowledge we then determine which of the three herds this horse will initially be integrated into.
A folder for each horse including printouts of critical emails is started and forever maintained. This folder includes arrival pictures, 60 day pictures, and any follow-up pictures such as 1 year or crossing.
A horse that is a candidate for re-homing does not receive our typical promises. However, this horse does receive a promise from us that it is safe, will be fed, and will be re-homed but only to a good person who will treat it well. And we promise that at any time, if that owner cannot or will not keep the horse, he/she will come back to Refuge Farms.
5. Describe your overall horse health care plan and how you assess and monitor the health of your
horses on an ongoing basis. Include a description of your vaccination and worming schedule.
Include a description of your health/veterinary care plan for at-risk animals, geriatric horses
and horses with serious issues.
During the April farrier visit, every horse is dewormed and vaccinated with boosters for tetanus, West Nile, rabies, and 4-Way. For those horses showing unexpected stresses coming out of the winter season, blood samples are also drawn for blood panels. All horses at THE FARM are boosted for West Nile again in early September.
Fecal samples are taken of 50% of the herd in September with the winter deworming schedule being determined based upon those findings. Horses most likely to colic are dewormed more frequently. It is not uncommon for our fecal samples to return clear of any parasites.
Daily, each horse is haltered, hooked, and fed to allow the caretaker an opportunity to assess personality, appetite, and body condition. Should the handler note a lack of appetite or a change in personality or appearance, monitoring of the animal becomes more intense with decisions made to treat or transport to a specialized veterinarian for analysis.
The horses at Refuge Farms are watched very closely as these are all high risk horses. Their temperaments, manure consistency, color of urine, water and feed intakes, and interactions with the caretaker and other horses are all monitored on a daily basis. Any changes result in more closely monitoring with no hesitation in calling veterinarian support for the horse.
6. What is the euthanasia policy? Please include specifically under what circumstances your organization
will euthanize a horse and whether your organization will euthanize a healthy but difficult horse
Refuge Farms euthanizes a horse only when the quality of life is poor or the level of pain is not manageable. We do NOT euthanize due to space since we do not accept horses beyond our capacity. If a horse is difficult, we view that as a challenge to show the horse our love and patience and to win them over. Refuge Farms does not end a life because that life requires special accommodations, treatment, or handling.
When we do euthanize, we administer a sedative so the horse becomes drowsy and lays down to rest comfortably. When the horse is very calm and resting, we then administer the final injection. Burial here on the grounds of Refuge Farms takes place within 24 hours.
7. What is the breeding policy? Please include specifically if horses become pregnant while in your
care, and if there is a no-breeding clause in the documentation your organization uses to adopt,
donate, sell, etc. a horse:
Refuge Farms does not breed.
Stallions are segregated and gelded upon receipt or as soon as their physical condition allows. Mares are left with foals a minimum of 6 months for the emotional development of the foal.
Our adoption agreement includes a no breeding clause and gives Refuge Farms the ownership of any foals should the mare be or become pregnant in the care of the adoptive owner. And, in the case of a mare becoming pregnant at the owner's location, the mare would be returned to Refuge Farms since the adoption agreement had been broken.
8. Does your organization provide horses to any facility to use in research or medical
9. If your answer to Question 8 is 'Yes', please explain where and for what purpose horses are
provided to use in research or medical training?
Refuge Farms brings horses requiring surgery, procedures, or significant diagnosis work to the University of Minnesota Equine Center or the Stillwater Equine Center which are both teaching hospitals. Most cases are assigned to an intern/veterinarian combination to give the interns hands-on experience. In my experience, the horse welfare is first in priority but with consideration for the learning of the student.
Any surgeries may be partially performed by the intern however the instructor/surgeon is immediately next to the intern. This is done only with the knowledge and approval of Refuge Farms prior to surgery.
In our experience, the interns are so driven to be perfect that many actually sleep on cots outside the Refuge Farms' horse's stall after surgery. The personal care seems to be elevated when a surgical intern is involved in the case. And the learning of the student is greatly increased as a result of the involvement - thus creating an educated resource for saving more lives in the future.
10. Does your organization sell, donate or give a horse to an auction?
11. If your answer to Question 10 is 'Yes', describe under the circumstances where you have sold, donated, or given a horse to an auction, or where you would sell, donate, or give a horse to an auction. NA
12. Does your organization place horses in foster care?
13. If your answer to Question 12 is 'Yes', describe how foster homes are selected, screened, and
monitored and address all the questions below for each foster home in the space
Foster homes are select homes of Refuge Farms volunteers or adoptees. Refuge Farms will foster horses that are not adoptable due to personality, disease, or physical disability but the horse is deemed stable and able to leave the premises for the duration of its life.
A fostering contract is signed giving the foster owner authority to make life and death decisions in a crisis and to administer meds, call in a veterinarian, or otherwise treat the horse. Visits to the foster homes are annually, at a minimum. Close contact with the foster owners is maintained since these people volunteer at or visit Refuge Farms and our activities.
In all cases thus far, the care of the foster owners has been exceptional. Horses fostered are elderly cushings horses, blind yet very active horses, and older child camp horses that have been ridden almost to death. In all cases, the horses have recovered and are being supported very well and have an excellent quality of life filled with brushing, good feed, and tons of attention and love.
In some cases, as the conditions of the foster horses wane or as age creates special cares, the horse may leave the foster home and return to Refuge Farms. That horse then receives the four promises and becomes a permanent member of the Sanctuary Herd.
Currently, we have 2 horses in foster - a blind 7 year old Quarter riding gelding and his partner a 33 year old Arabian gelding.
14. What is the average equine adoption fee/donation received by your organization: Not applicable; None received
15. Adoption Fee Policies
All equines have one set fee or donation amount.
16. What is your position regarding varying adoption fees vs. one set fee:
Our organization has never considered this concept.
Our organization does not feel equipped to assess a fair market value.
Other considerations are provided below.
17. Provide any additional explanation to your answers if needed: QUESTION 14 and QUESTION 15 and QUESTION 16
Unlike other rescues that re-home horses, Refuge Farms does not set an adoption fee on those horses that we re-home. Instead, the adoption contract states that "Should you be inclined to make a donation in support of this adoption from Refuge Farms, all funds will be used to rescue yet another horse".
In our opinion, Refuge Farms does not set an adoption fee for two primary reasons:
1 - To Refuge Farms all horses are priceless. To put a price on a horse seems almost ridiculous as their value, to us, is well beyond any monetary amount.
2 - We do not believe we are in a horse selling or horse jockey market. We do not sell horses under any circumstance. We believe that giving away the horse with a new halter, a new lead rope, and a bag of feed is the sign of our love and dedication to this horse to the new owner.
Refuge Farms fully vets the new owner and we trust them by the time the adoption occurs.
Surprisingly, the resulting donation amount from our new horse owners is quite generous. We believe this is because the new owner sees that dedication and commitment in Refuge Farms and thus becomes as committed as we are to the horse.
This section must be completed for each facility/location where the horses used in the conduct of your horse-related programs are housed and cared for. For example, if the applicant is involved with horse rescue and utilizes foster care facilities, the applicant must complete this section for each foster care facility. If the applicant provides equine assisted activities/services to the public at more than one location, the applicant must complete this section for each location that horse-related services are provided. If your organization uses the facility of another organization, please enlist the aid of that organization in answering the questions.
Total facilities at which our organization operates horse-related programs: 1.
Location 1 of 1
Refuge Farms, Inc.
3035 Highway 29 Spring Valley WI 54767
1. Facility General Questions
1. Name of Contact: Sandra L. Gilbert
2. Contact's Phone: 715-505-5626
3. Contact's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Does your organization own, lease or use a part of this facility? Lease
5. If not owned, provide the name, address, phone, email and contact person of the organization(s) and/or individual(s) who owns the facility: Sandra L. Gilbert
3035 Highway 29
P O Box 195
Spring Valley, WI 54767
6. If your organization does not own this facility, does your organization have a written agreement with the owner? Enter Yes or No. Yes
7. If your organization does not own this facility, please provide the following information below: Start date and end date of current written agreement (term) and what is the organization's plan for the end of the written agreement?
Current lease start date: 01/01/2017 Current lease end date: 12/31/2017 Length of current lease: one calendar year Refuge Farms has an automatically renewing one year lease agreement with Ms. Gilbert. The lease gives Refuge Farms use of the grounds, the buildings, portions of the residence, equipment, and the horses in exchange for $1 and payment of 80% of maintenance costs. This arrangement was created upon origination to minimize the risk of property loss should an individual decide to sue Refuge Farms.
8. If your organization leases or uses a part of this facility, please provide the details as to what services are provided by the owner and if and how the owner is compensated..
Refuge Farms has an automatically renewing one year lease agreement with Ms. Gilbert. The lease gives Refuge Farms use of the grounds, the buildings, portions of the residence, equipment, and the horses in exchange for $1 and payment of 80% of maintenance costs. This arrangement was created upon origination to minimize the risk of property loss should an individual decide to sue Refuge Farms. The owner receives $1 per year and a contribution of 80% of maintenance costs including labor for fence, equipment, etc. The owner provides equipment in good condition with full training on use and safety while using the equipment. The owner also provides a safe environment to include fire extinguishers, first aid kits, proper lighting, access to clean restroom facilities, and tools required to perform the maintenance, as required. Should a skilled laborer be required for maintenance, the owner is responsible for locating and hiring the needed skilled service.
9. Does your organization operate programs involving horses AT THIS FACILITY that serve individuals with special needs, including but not limited to equine assisted activities and therapies? No
10. Enter the total number of instructors/trainers (full-time and part-time) involved with your organization's horse-related programs at this facility: 2.
2. Facility Horse-Related Questions
1. Enter the total acreage dedicated specifically to the horses: 19.9
2. Describe the number and type of pastures and paddocks, fencing, enclosures, stabling including barns and run-in sheds. Each of the three (3) pastures has a run-in building which can become entirely enclosed should the weather dictate. In the run-in building is the stock tank and a varying number of box stalls. Each pasture is housed by a herd of horses that are compatible based upon agility, personality, and supportive needs. Pasture sizes are 9 acres, 7 acres, and 3 acres. Gates are positioned to allow multiple pastures to be used as one pasture simultaneously. There are two grazing pastures plus a corral for quarantine purposes. The corral has a 16 foot by 12 foot run-in building which also can be completely closed should the severe winter winds/cold require. Two of the pastures share a 40 foot by 70 foot pole barn structure which has been divided to accommodate the need for the two (2) run-ins. Both run-ins in this building have doors that can be shut to contain the horses in extremely cold conditions. Fencing is a three-rail 2 inch by 6 inch treated wooden fence with an 8 foot span between 5 inch by 6 inch treated posts. Smooth electric wire runs on the inside of the middle rail. Gates are Sioux steel tube gates. Interior to the large pole building, additional box stalls can be created by hanging or closing gates. These stalls can be as large as 20 feet by 10 feet or as small as 10 feet by 10 feet. The need for stalls dictates the stall sizes. Recently added to the large pole building are five (5) tie stalls for feeding purposes. Each tie stall contains a wall hanging feed and hay feeder with a bucket hanger for a heated water bucket, as needed in winter. Above each tie stall, mounted on the closest post is a covered outlet to connect a fan for summer cooling or the heated water bucket for winter season. Three of the tie stalls are backed by a Sioux six foot tube gates. Due to the larger size of horses we rescue, two of the tie stalls are backed by two chain rails which can be adjusted to accommodate the length required. Each chain is encased in a hard rubber hose to protect the horse from chain pinchings. The tie stalls are six feet wide by ten feet long. The floor is lined with sandstone screenings. These tie stalls work very well to accommodate five horses on a wall that typically would house three horses, maximum.
3. Describe how you manage the use of your pastures/paddocks given the size and number of your pastures/paddocks and the number of horses you have at this facility.
Each pasture is housed by a herd of horses that are compatible based upon agility, personality, and supportive needs. Pasture sizes are 9 acres, 7 acres, and 3 acres. Gates are positioned to allow multiple pastures to be used as one pasture simultaneously. These three (3) pastures are reserved for the resident horses and releasing of the horses into the pastures occurs when the grounds are dry enough following the spring thaw. Currently, these three pastures support 17 horses which are supplemented with access to grassy hay 24/7, year round. The corral pasture is actually no longer a pasture but a paddock area. This area is reserved for quarantine or closely monitored horses following surgery, procedures or extremely high need situations. Any horses in this area are supplemented with water inside the shelter and grassy hay bales available 24/7.
4. How many hours of daily turnout do the horses get? (Estimate or Average) 20
5. Describe the area where your training, riding and equine related activities are conducted, including what type of footing/surface is utilized and what factors were considered to determine the suitability and condition of the area for the activities conducted.
Currently, the Horses Helping program utilizes the 100 foot by 110 foot hay pad for our therapy sessions. The footing is firm and gravel topped. There are no weeds on the hay pad and the surface is well-suited for horse activities. However, the lack of a roof over the area makes the program difficult to manage. Rain will cause us to reschedule sessions as will extreme heat from the sun or high winds. Without a shelter, the weather is our greatest hindrance in maintaining a steady schedule and keeping our commitment to our clients. However, the construction of our new Hospital Building in 2016 contains a run-in area of 40 feet by 40 feet. It is our plan to utilize this area for the Horses Helping classes since the area has an insulated roof for a cooler inside space during the heat of summer, relief from the bugs of summer, and a horse area that may be contained and completely closed off from other horse activities. The hay pad was built as a specific project and funded by The EQUUS Foundation. The hay pad has served us well as a storage pad for our round bales of hay and until the Hospital Building is fully constructed, we will continue to utilize the Hay Pad for our Horses Helping classes. Our expectation is to complete the minimum requirement for use during the late summer of 2016.
6. Is the facility in compliance with the Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities prepared by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (whether or not your organization is directly involved with rescue and retirement)? Yes
7. If no, please explain and specifically describe the areas in which the facility is not compliant. Not Applicable
8. If this facility is recognized as compliant with the published standards of another applicable organization, and/or accredited by another applicable organization, including any state licensure or registration process, please provide the details.
Refuge Farms is currently working toward certification of the facility and our Horses Helping program by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model. The Executive Director of Refuge Farms is also a Wisconsin State licensed Humane Officer. This license was attained in 2011 by successfully completing a one week class with subsequent testing and by attending Wisconsin State Certified rescue and emergency classes. Each year, trainings to remain current must be attended in order to renew the license.
9. Describe the availability/accessibility of emergency horse transportation at this facility.
Refuge Farms owns a 2002 1 ton dually 4x4 pickup and a 24 foot aluminum stock trailer (with a ramp and half inch rubber mat floor and wall padding). The trailer is parked and always cleaned ready to be loaded and ready within minutes. The truck is never parked with less then a half tank of diesel fuel. In a resident horse emergency, we can drop the trailer and be loading the horse in less than 5 minutes. We embark and contact the emergency facility on the road to alert them to our arrival. A directory of facilities is housed in the glove box of the pickup as well as the directory of THE FARM's cellular phone. Multiple volunteers are trained on dropping the trailer and also in driving the truck/trailer to prohibit a delay. The Executive Director trains on trailer dropping and hauling, completes driving lessons with the volunteers, and a list of available, trained volunteers is posted in the big barn for just this emergency purpose.
10. Do the horses have specific tack assignments? Yes
11. Describe the plan, process and/or procedures to insure appropriate assessment of tack and the use for saddle fittings, tack, blankets, etc.
Each halter has a dog tag attached to it with the owner horse name on the tag. All halters for the horses in that particular barn are hung on a tack rack facing that herd's paddock. Horse blankets are listed on a listing of horses by name with their winter blanket sizes and also posted in the barn. We are a non-riding facility, so we do not have saddles, saddle pads, or bridles for our general population. Refuge Farms has begun a Blind Horse Parade Unit and thus now has designated saddles with pads, halters, and reins for each parade horse. The Blind Horse Parade Unit is ridden with a western saddle and a halter - no bit. Amazing! The lead horse in the Blind Horse Parade Unit is a buggy horse that pulls an accessible oak wagon in full harness. This horse has a designated harness, bridle with bit, and lines. All parade unit tack is assembled and stored on saddle stands with the horse's name on that stand. The harness for the lead horse is also stored on a stand with the bridle, the pads, and the lines. We could NOT be prouder of our Blind Horse Parade Unit!
12. Describe the system used by your organization to help staff and volunteers readily identify each horse on the property.
A three ring binder contains a single page for each horse. Contained on that page is a picture of the horse, the name, estimated or known age, estimated or known breed, sex, and any significant personality triggers such as pop can noises, water bottle noises, plastic bags, or water hoses on the floor. Feeding instructions are listed for that horse as well as any supplements or feeding restrictions such as no treats. If medical treatment is scheduled for the horse the meds, dosage, and method is noted with warning signs of adverse reactions also noted. In the cupboard containing the meds, a grease board is updated with each administration including date, time, dosage. In the residence is a calendar taped to the refrigerator just inside the door. That calendar is marked, one month at a time, for upcoming vacs, dewormings, trims, meds administration, and appointments by horse. As each task is completed, the task is "X'd" on the calendar. It is our plan to move and consolidate all medical and horse history information into the Hospital Building once the build-out of that section is completed. This step will be supported by the double-walled locking metal cabinet purchased specifically for that purpose. This cabinet was funded by the EQUUS Foundation in a previous year. Also in the barn is a white board with a map of the floor. At each bucket holder, this white board identifies the horse that is tied at that feeder, the feed recipe, and the style of bucket used to feed that horse. Restrictions and cautions are written in red with recipe and horse name written in black.
13. Describe your housing plan and the turnout process/plan for horses normally stall bound.
Unless medically required, horses are not stall bound at Refuge Farms. After the daily feeding, all horses are turned out into the pasture for exercise and grazing. Each horse has access to a stock tank for water, salt black, and shelter of a run-in. The largest pasture also has the protection of a grove of trees to shade, block wind, or use to scratch. Only in severe cold and wind are the horses "stalled" overnight. And in this case, the horses are inside the barn but not stalled. They are free to roam the barn's interior with hay in the feeder and heated water in the stock tank. Rarely in the summer are the horses restricted inside of the barn yet if the humidity and fly attacks are severe - such as just before a storm - we will bring the horses inside and insure all have water and are available to one of our 36 inch fans or any of the 8 fans mounted in front of each tie stall head and each gate created stall. If a horse is stall bound, such as post surgery, we will turn the horse out in the yard or walk the horse on the property to give it exercise or access to grass. The entire property is encased in fence so should a horse be turned into the yard, the horse cannot have access to the road. Most cases of post surgery will be walked the large circular driveway multiple times throughout the day and then brought back to their stall.
14. Describe your feed, feed management plan and your guidelines for the use of supplements.
Roughly 50% of the resident horses are on a feed plan originally constructed by a specialized consultant helping us to manage obesity. These horses have lost inches over the winter season yet are still shedding out with shining, silky coats. We are very pleased! The remaining horses are recovering from overuse and starvation and so those horses are fed a relatively high protein and high fat feed (Nutrena Safe Choice). Every horse is haltered, hooked and fed daily with the thinnest horses also being fed in the early morning for an additional serving of calories. Supplements are used on a case by case basis and include Hoof Flex, Colic Care, Cool 100, Farrier's Choice, ProBiotics, and Farnam Weight Builder. Several of our older horses and those most likely to colic are treated with a daily dosage of the ProBiotic paste. Meds administered daily include Equoxx, Adequan(as prescribed), dexamethasone (as perscribed), and bute paste and bantimine paste (as needed). Several of our older horses and the horses which have experienced facial abuse also are receiving a large serving of soaked alfalfa cubes with each meal. In the winter, the soaked cubes are served in a heated water bucket to prevent them from freezing before being consumed. One of our Sanctuary Horses has a reaction to humidity and pollens and so, as needed, we utilize an equine inhaler with the specific prescription for that horse (a steroid mister). Also, one of our Sanctuary Horses is a black Clydesdale mare with non-contagious lymphenghitis. In treating her, we clean her daily and once each week we treat her with a mixture of coconut and lavender oils. This mixture has become the insect repellent for the entire population and works to reduce the size of the swellings on the legs of the infected mare.
15. How do you use the Henneke Body Conditioning Score to guide you in your hennekeing/exercising/use practices for each horse?
The Henneke Scoring is utilized upon receipt of a horse during the initial exam as well as for our resident horses during the spring vac/deworm process. A horse who has changed body composition (by use of a weight tape and comparing with the prior year reading) is re-scored and re-measured in all 9 body locations. The Henneke Scoring system is also used extensively in our rescue work since, in Wisconsin, the results of the scoring is court admissible. As a Wisconsin State Certified Humane Officer, the Executive Director has been trained and tested in the scoring process. Horse Handling classes are held annually for all volunteers where we teach the method and then score and measure the resident horses.
16. Please describe your activities to limit or control the advent and spread of disease within your facility (Biosecurity plan). This should include but is not limited to your manure management and disposal procedures, your carcass disposal plan and your parasite control plan. Please indicate the role of your veterinarian in the development and implementation of your overall plan.
Manure is piled in the respective pasture for one calendar year. Each spring, when the grounds will support the equipment, the manure piles are removed and new piles are begun. Manure is not mixed from pasture to pasture to avoid spreading of any parasites. Manure from the corral (quarantine area) is on a cement slab outside of all pastures in an attempt to eliminate unknown conditions brought on the grounds by new rescues. Once a horse crosses over, if the animal is not a sanctuary horse the carcass is disposed of through a rendering service. After the carcass is picked up, we clean and hose down the impacted grounds, burning the ground, if necessary. If the horse was a Sanctuary Horse, arrangements for burial are made and in all cases thus far, the animal is buried within 24 hours. The grave is then bordered and appropriate plantings completed one year after burial with plants, trees, and art reflective of the horse's personality and history. Parasite control is under very close supervision by our primary veterinarian. Fecal samples are taken at random by the veterinarian from all pastures and labeled as to horse's name. Based upon those sample tests, deworming products are adjusted. It is not uncommon to have fecal tests returned with a clear status. April of each year is our customary vaccination and Ivermectin deworming cycle. If warranted, skin samplings are taken if we suspect lice or mites although those conditions are extremely rare and usually appear only in newly acquired rescues from severe neglect conditions. Recently, Refuge Farms engaged Orkin to periodically spray the interior of our barn for flies and gnats. During the heat and humidity of a Wisconsin summer, we have noticed a drastic reduction of flies in the run-ins. This allows the horses to spend the day quietly below the fans and await the setting of the hot sun. Newly rescued horses are quarantined until all tests are returned and we see no reason for continuing segregation. For smaller quarantined horses, we will erect snow fence in addition to the board fencing to prohibit the nibbling or exchanging of saliva between the rescue and sanctuary horses.
17. Please describe your emergency preparedness plans that address weather related issues, fire safety procedures and/or any additional hazardous scenarios your facility could potentially experience.
Fire - All barns are equipped with commercial grade fire extinguishers that are inspected and replaced, as needed, every spring. Hay is piled in the barn housing the horses not to exceed 20 small square bales. All other hay is stored on the hay pad or in another non-horse structure. Weather - Close monitoring of weather reports changes our care plans daily. Whether it is the use or removal of winter blankets, fly masks, barn sequestering, or bathing, all accommodations are made to insure the horses are as best equipped to sustain the weather as well as possible. In some cases, we will prepare for severe storms/tornadoes if the risk seems likely by sequestering the horses before the storm arrives. Our primary concern is the wind chill factor in winter when temperatures get below -20 degrees and the winds exceed 10 mph. In those cases, the weaker horses are blanketed and housed in the barns with hay and water until the winds subside.
18. Please describe the security in place at the facility or facilities to restrict public access and to keep horses safe. Do you have a security system and/or on-premises caretaker?
The Executive Director resides at the premises and is the primary security system. She is a strong advocate of the horses and allows visitors to tour only with a volunteer as a guide and no treats are fed unless the treats are from the Refuge Farms supply and only to horses that are allowed treats. A gate has been installed at the entrance to the property off of Highway 29. The gate thanks you for visiting and asks that tours be by appointment. This gate has been a great asset in drastically reducing the drop-in guests or even drop-in bus loads of children and adults.
19. Provide the contact information for the individual or organization responsible for investigating
abuse in the county where the facility is located, including mailing address, email address, and phone information.
St. Croix County Sheriff Department 1101 Carmichael Road Hudson, WI 54016 715-381-4320 no email
20. Other than the animal control authority noted above, provide the contact information for all local, state and/or national authorities with whom your organization engages to address issues impacting horse welfare, including mailing address, email address, and phone information.
The State of Wisconsin Highway Patrol All Regions Madison, WI no specific phone no email * NOTE: Refuge Farms is called for accidents involving livestock that occur on state highways and freeways. The call comes from the random officer throughout the State of WI. Our contact information is given to the officer when the call for assistance is placed with the respective dispatch service. Unwanted Horse Coalition Local Chapter HQ: 1616 H Street, NW, 7th Floor Washington, DC 20006 202-296-4031 unwantedhorsecoalition.org NOTE: Refuge Farms is contacted for surveys, discussions, and tracking of unwanted horse histories primarily through Dr. Julie Wilson, DVM, affiliated with the Minnesota Equine Center, 1365 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 University of Minnesota Equine Center 1801 West Dudley Avenue Falcon Heights, MN 55103 651-625-6700 no specific email
View The Vet Checklist conducted on 04/19/2017
Veterinarian: Dr. Randee Blanchard, DVM
Clinic Name: Elm Valley Veterinary Clinic Street: 147 West Race Avenue City: Elmwood State: WI Zip: 54740
Phone: 715-639-5445 Email: email@example.com
Instructors assigned to this Facility
(see Instructor Section)
1. Instructor: Bridget McConnell
2 -> 1 - The total number of instructors entered for this facility does not match the number of instructors assigned to this facility under Instructors.
3. Facility Horse-Related Inventory Questions
1-a. Enter the total number of horses involved with your organization's programs that are currently housed at this facility: 10.
1-b. Enter the total number of horses housed at this facility: 17
1-c. Enter the maximum capacity of horses at this facility: 24
2016 Horse Inventory
1-d. Did your organization operate programs involving horses HOUSED AT THIS FACILITY during January 1-December 31, 2016? Please select Yes or No. Yes
Additional explanation:In our experience and in our sixteen year history, Refuge Farms has sustained an average of roughly five dollars per day per horse per day. That number reflects feed/hay, meds, supplements, medical payments, farrier services, deworming, trims, and trailering. In 2016, 17 horses were "rescued" with 16 of those horses being euthanized due to severely critical conditions and deep frostbite. One of our horses was adopted in late August of 2016 and one horse of the 17 rescued lived with us for 76 days before he decided to cross over. But in those 76 days, this very aged horse (estimated to be over 40 years) was warm with winter blankets, had shelter from the weather, had his teeth floated for the first time in his life, and then began to eat four plump full buckets of soak pelleted hay and feed every day! The Ole' Man, as we called him, also had a girlfriend in this time. In those 76 days, this horse was supported, loved, and allowed to be a horse. On the morning he rested and told us he was ready to cross over, he first finished his full bucket of hot breakfast. The Ole' Man required more than $5 per day, obviously, but other horses did not require the full $5 so, in fact, the average has been maintained.
24 2-a. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on January 1, 2016.
+ 17 2-b. Total number of intakes other than returns including donated, purchased, surrendered or rescued.
+ 0 2-c. Total number of horses returned.
41 = Total of 2a-2c
- 1 2-d. Total number of horses adopted during the year.
- 0 2-e. Total number of horses transferred to another facility during the year.
- 21 2-f. Total number of horses deceased during the year.
22 = Total of 2d-2f
19 2-g. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on December 31, 2016.
0 2-h. Total number of horses not retired including horses undergoing rehabilitation and/or retraining.
19 2-i. Total number of horses permanently retired.
2016 Horse Care Costs
$21735 Feed (Grain/Hay).
$1500 Manure Removal.
$700 Medications & Supplements.
$0 Horse/Barn Supplies.
$0 Horse Care Staff.
$0 Horse Training.
$600 Other direct horse-related costs not including overhead or other program costs.
$34675 2016 Total Horse Care Costs
$ 2016 Total Donated Horse Care Costs
7296 Grand total of the total number of days each equine was in the care of this facility during 2016.
Average cost per day per horse: $5
Question 3 ($34,675 ) divided by Question 4 (7296).
Average length of stay for an equine: 178 days
Question 4 (7296) divided by total of Questions 2a-c (41).
4. Self Assessment
I. Facility & Grounds
1. Signage: Are rules, restrictions and warnings posted in or near appropriate areas? Most of the time
2. Lighting: Are rules, restrictions and warnings posted in or near appropriate areas? All of the time
3. Emergency Contacts: Are emergency contacts posted in easily accessible locations for staff members if only cell phones are available or by each phone if landlines are available? All of the time
4. First Aid Kits: Are human and equine first aid kits up-to-date and easily accessible? All of the time
1. Condition of surface: Are horses provided a clean, dry area on which to stand & lay? All of the time
2. Flooring - drainage & traction: Are floors constructed and maintained for both good drainage and traction? Most of the time
3. Ventilation for enclosed shelters: Is there adequate ventilation and circulation to control temperature and prevent buildup of toxic gases? All of the time
4. Electrical wiring condition: Is wiring inaccessible to horses and maintained for safety? All of the time
5. Fire Prevention & protective measures: Are fire prevention and protection measures including fire alarms, extinguishers and sprinkler systems, maintained and in good working order? All of the time
6. Quarantine/Isolation: Is there a designated and separate area for isolation and quarantine? Yes
7. Ill/injured containment: If horses live outside, is there a designated and separate area (stall or enclosure) to house ill/injured horses? Yes
8. Are the horses housed in stalls/enclosures? Yes-Some of the time
8-a. If yes, Stall/enclosure size: Do structures allow horses to lie down, stand up and turn around? All
8-b. If yes, Stall/enclosure cleanliness: How often are stalls/enclosures cleaned? 4-5 days a week
8-c. If yes, Adequate ceiling & beam height: Is there a minimum of 12 inches above the tip of the horse's ear when standing? Most of the time
1. Turnout/Exercise Space & opportunity: Is there space and opportunity for horses to exercise or be turned out? Most of the time
2. Fencing - type, height, safety: Are these spaces appropriately fenced? All
3. Use of electric wire or tape fence: Are electric wires or tape fence visibly marked? Please select 'All or NA' if electric wire or tape fence is not used. Most
4. Condition of fences & gates: Are fences and gates functioning properly by being maintained and repaired when needed? Most
5. Condition of paddock/yard: Are these spaces free from equipment and debris? Most
6. Availability of shelter: Are natural or man-made shelters available to horses for protections from elements? All of the time
7. Cleanliness: How often are these spaces cleaned? 4-5 Days a Week
II. Horse Care
1. Hoof Care: How often is hoof care provided for each horse? Every 1-2 months
2. Dental Care: How often is dental care provided for each horse? Every two years
3. Physical Examinations: How often is each horse given a physical exam by a veterinarian? Annually
4. Horse checks: How often are horses visually and physically checked by personnel at the facility? 6-7 days a week
5. Food & Water Storage: Are all hay, feed, grain and water sources clean, free of debris and chemicals, and protected from weather and other animals? Most of the time
6. Drinking water: How often do horses have access to clean drinking water? All of the time
6. Public-Related Questions
(required if programs serve individuals with special needs)
1. How many clients participate in the programs at this facility? 16
2. How many hours per week do you operate the horse-related programs at this facility? 12
3. How many weeks per year do you operate the horse-related programs at this facility? 16
4. What is the average wait list time? 2 Weeks(Weeks/Months/Years)
5. How many hours per day does each horse work? (Estimate or Average)
Mounted: 0.00  Un-Mounted: 3.00  Total: 3
6. How many days per week does each horse work? (Estimate or Average) 2
7. What percent of your programs and services at this facility are mounted (vs. ground-based)? 0%
8. Provide any additional explanation to your answers if needed. Refuge Farms has a ground based Horses Helping program utilizing our rescued horses to teach our students how to halter, lead, and trailer a horse of their choice. Our program, begun in the summer of 2012, reinforced, for us, the need for our program and the value of the program to those who enroll. We have received calls from Minnesota and Wisconsin schools regarding availability of enrollment which continues to create great excitement in us and reinforces us of the need for our program. Each class is from 4 to 6 students, each with their personally selected horse. Each horse has a spotter or a volunteer who has been trained in HIPPA compliance, safety, and the horse's story and personality. The volunteer has previously spent ground time with the horse and the horse recognizes that human as a safe person. During the classes we work on creating situations where the student may be sincerely complimented for a task just completed. It is our purpose to work with the student to create a better self image, a positive approach to challenges, and a reduction in angry physical reactions to challenges. Our student may be an at-risk teen, a woman recently terminally diagnosed, a husband whose wife died in a car accident, or an entire family dealing with the death of a family member in war. Each one of these individuals is seeking help in acceptance and the search for joy again. We find our horses are excellent listeners and show great compassion for their human students. Amazing to witness!
1. *Instructor: Bridget McConnell
Refuge Farms, Inc.
Is the instructor certified by an organization that provides training in the programs, activities and/or services conducted by the organization? Yes
Provide the name of the certifying organization.MN Board of Social Work
Enter the year that the certification was awarded. (yyyy)2006
Is the instructor's certification considered 'active' by the certifying organization? Yes
Briefly describe the nature/level of the certification.: Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. This licensure level indicates Mental Health Professional status in the State of MN. With this level of licensure, instructor is able to diagnose and treat mental health issues without supervision and to become credentialed by insurance companies to utilize 3rd party billing.
Provide the name of the certifying organization.State of Wisconsin
Enter the year that the certification was awarded. (yyyy)2012
Is the instructor's certification considered 'active' by the certifying organization? Yes
Briefly describe the nature/level of the certification.: Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This licensure level indicates Mental Health Professional status in the State of WI. With this level of licensure, instructor is able to diagnose and treat mental health issues without supervision and to become credentialed by insurance companies to utilize 3rd party billing.
Provide the name of the certifying organization.EAGALA
Enter the year that the certification was awarded. (yyyy)2014
Is the instructor's certification considered 'active' by the certifying organization? No
Briefly describe the nature/level of the certification.Instructor has attended Part I and Part II of a two-part certification process. At the instructor's request, funding is being located to retake both classes. In the instructor's opinion the volume of information is so great that her request to retake the classes will allow her a more advanced level of service from the very start of her EGALA certification. After becoming certified, the instructor will have received 48 hours of specialized training in the EAGALA model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. In an effort to retain certification, instructor will be required to obtain approved continuing education credits.
Please use the space below to share any additional information about this instructor. Bridget has been providing mental health services to groups and individuals of all ages for the past 9 years. In that time, she has worked with individuals with a wide variety of mental health diagnoses and challenges. She also works part-time providing crisis assessments in hospital emergency departments, and is trained on suicide risk assessment.