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Horses of Tir Na Nog

GUARDIAN PROFILE - Last Updated: 06/07/2018



Chief Staff Officer:  Amy Pat Rigney, Administrator

Employees:   Full-Time:  1  Part-Time:  3  Volunteers:  140

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. Volunteers are required to attend a Volunteer Orientation at which they receive a Volunteer Handbook as well as hands-on training. The orientation is followed by one-one one coaching sessions with our Volunteer Coordinator.

A similar on-boarding process is used with staff and they are provided a Employee Handbook.

Job descriptions are provided to both volunteers and paid staff.

Governing Body:

Board meetings per year:  4

Number of Board Members:  5  Number of Voting Board Members:  5

Board Compensation:

Is Board Chair compensated?  No  Is Treasurer compensated?  No

Are there any other Voting Board Members that are compensated?  No

Board Relationships:

Are any members of the Board or Staff related to each other through family or business relationships? No

Board Affiliations:

Are any Board members or Staff associated with and/or compensated by another organization with a relationship or business affiliation to your organization? No

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? 97%

2. Describe your specific horse-related programs services or activities:
     Horses of Tir Na Nog is the longest operating non-profit horse sanctuary in San Diego County. We are currently caring for 50 equines (including a herd of mustangs and eight burros), 23 sheep, one llama, one alpaca, four dogs, and four goats). We provide life-long care. Our horses are placed in our care by the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services. We became an Adoption Partner with Animal Services in 2008. Since that time, Animal Services has not euthanized a single medically manageable equine. Horses are placed in our care due to age, arthritis or other chronic medical conditions.

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. We have worked with Animal Services to provide a forever home to a variety of livestock, including sheep and goats. We have also taken in several dogs that thrive in a ranch environment but were otherwise considered undoptable.

5. Does your organization operate programs involved with animals other than horses?  Yes


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. 
     Horses come into our care primarily through County of San Diego Department of Animal Services. These horses are identified as being medically manageable. As a result, they are not generally considered adoptable since they can no longer be ridden. Our goals is to provide a reasonable quality of life for these horses for as long as we can, with the support of our veterinary team.

Training and exercise is focused exclusively on ground work. We are a non-riding facility. Plans vary based on the abilities and limitations of each resident.

2. Describe how your horses are acquired (adoption, seizure, surrender, donation, purchase, auction sale, retirement). 
     Since 2008 we have served as an Adoption Partner with County of San Diego Department of Animal Services. As a result, horses come into our care almost exclusively through this partnership. We do not accept owner-relinquished horses. We have accepted horses through other municipal shelters and as a rare exception through our veterinary practice.

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. 
     Horses of Tir Na Nog is an equine sanctuary. As a result, our horses are permanent residents.

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.). 
     When Animal Services requests that we take in a horse in their care, they provide medical records that our reviewed by our veterinary practice. Typically their review is followed by an examination by our veterinarians. This exam includes basic behavioral analysis as well. The examination may include blood tests, x-rays, lameness evaluation, and other diagnostic work as required by the individual horse. Animal Services' shelter is typically used as a quarantine facility for us, although on occasion we have quarantined on-site as well.

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. 
     We work very closely with the vets at East County Large Animal Practice. We follow their de-worming and vaccination protocols, as well as dental float schedules. Our farrier trims the horses feet every seven week.

Our residents come to us as a result of being identified as medically manageable. As a result of the individual diagnosis, we develop individual diets and medication plans that reflect their unique needs. As a sanctuary our population consists primarily of geriatric horses, so diets and care plans are adjusted according to their needs.

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 for space: 
     The decision to euthanize a member of our herd is based on the quality of life of individual horses. This decision is always made in conjunction with treatment and/or diagnostic work by our veterinary team. We would never euthanize a horse for space.

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: 
     Horses of Tir Na Nog does not breed.

With one exception, all stallions are castrated BEFORE they arrive at our facility. Due to transport scheduling, one horse was castrated upon arrival at the ranch.

8. Does your organization provide horses to any facility to use in research or medical training? 

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?  NA

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 provided: NA

14. What is the average equine adoption fee/donation received by your organization: Not applicable; None received

15. Adoption Fee Policies
  Not applicable.

16. What is your position regarding varying adoption fees vs. one set fee:
  Other considerations are provided below.

17. Provide any additional explanation to your answers if needed: The question is not applicable since our horses are not offered for adoption.


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
Horses of Tir Na Nog Ranch

26930 Old Highway 80 Pine Valley CA 91962

1. Facility General Questions

1. Name of Contact: Amy Pat Rigney

2. Contact's Phone: 619-465-6384

3. Contact's Email: horsesoftirnanog@yahoo.com

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: Contact: Charlene Brown, (619) 291-4086

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? 
     start date: January 2013; end date: December 2028; at end of lease, HTNN will renew the lease for another 15 years

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.. 
     No service is provided by the owner, no there is no compensation for services.

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: 1.

2. Facility Horse-Related Questions

1. Enter the total acreage dedicated specifically to the horses: 16

2. Describe the number and type of pastures and paddocks, fencing, enclosures, stabling including barns and run-in sheds. There are 2 pastures, one 4 acres open space, fenced, for the 7 member herd of mustangs, and one 12 acres holding 3 take-out areas and 26 open stalls with weather covers. Wooden fencing surrounds the pastures. There are no barns or run-in sheds since the weather in San Diego is mild year round.

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.
     The stalls vary in size but in general they are 40'x50'. There are 2 to 3 horses in each stall, depending on the size of the stall and how well the horses get along. If the horse is new or has trouble adjusting to the other horses, it will be alone. Each horse has the ability to exercise at least every other day in the takeout areas, some times alone and some times with other horses if they get along. There is more than sufficient room. The mustangs roam the 4 acres, the property is fenced but without stalls.

4. How many hours of daily turnout do the horses get? (Estimate or Average) 2.

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.
     The takeout areas are only for the horses to exercise, there is no training or riding. They are large flat areas with no areas to stumble or fall.

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.
     No, it is not.

9. Describe the availability/accessibility of emergency horse transportation at this facility.
     We have 4 horse trailers. Friends with horse trailers also give assistance.

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.
     We do not offer riding experiences, we are a humane equine sanctuary. Halters and blankets are always checked for appropriate fit before they are uses with a horse.

12. Describe the system used by your organization to help staff and volunteers readily identify each horse on the property.
     Each horse corral has signs identifying the horses's names, genders, and breeds. Each halter has a name tag for the horse it belongs to.

13. Describe your housing plan and the turnout process/plan for horses normally stall bound.
     Our horses live in larger corrals. Each corral group rotates through our turnout area.

14. Describe your feed, feed management plan and your guidelines for the use of supplements.
     We use bermuda grass as our forage and then supplement it with bermuda pellets and rice bran, based the needs of the individual horses. Some of our horses are not fed any forage due to dental issues. Medication and powdered supplements are administered following veterinary evaluations.

15. How do you use the Henneke Body Conditioning Score to guide you in your hennekeing/exercising/use practices for each horse?
     We maintain a chart with body score and weights. We use this to adjust caloric in take as needed.

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.
     Since our horses come to us from County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, their facility is used as an off-site quarantine facility. Each horse is checked by our veterinarians before they are brought to the ranch. Once at the ranch, they are housed separately for 1-2 additional weeks.

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 is our greatest risk. We maintain the property with that in mind and allowing us to "shelter" in place during a fire episode. We also have four trailers on property if evacuation is called for.

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?
     We have two on-premises caretaker and the first ranch gate is kept locked unless volunteers or visitors are expected. We also maintain three live stock guardian dogs on property to alert the caretakers.

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.
     The San Diego County Department of Animal Services Dan DeSousa, Director 5480 Gains Street San Diego, CA 92110 dan.desousa@sdcounty.ca.gov 619-767-2766

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.
     American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) 424 E. 92nd St New York, NY 10128-6804 publicinformation@aspca.org (888) 666-2279

Veterinarian Information

View The Vet Checklist conducted on 04/19/2018

Veterinarian: Daniel Oman, DVM

Clinic Name: East County Large Animal Practice    Street: 10312 Quail Canyon Road    City: El Cajon  State: CA    Zip: 92021

Phone: 619-561-4661    Email: Eclasp@gmail.com

Instructors assigned to this Facility
(see Instructor Section)

     1. Instructor: Nathan Bailey

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: 50.

1-b. Enter the total number of horses housed at this facility: 49

1-c. Enter the maximum capacity of horses at this facility: 50

2017 Horse Inventory

1-d. Did your organization operate programs involving horses HOUSED AT THIS FACILITY during January 1-December 31, 2017? Please select Yes or No. Yes

54 2-a. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on January 1, 2017.

           + 5 2-b. Total number of intakes other than returns including donated, purchased, surrendered or rescued.

           +  2-c. Total number of horses returned.

59 = Total of 2a-2c

           - 0 2-d. Total number of horses adopted during the year.

           - 0 2-e. Total number of horses transferred to another facility during the year.

           - 3 2-f. Total number of horses deceased during the year.

3 = Total of 2d-2f

56 2-g. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on December 31, 2017.

            0 2-h. Total number of horses not retired including horses undergoing rehabilitation and/or retraining.

            56 2-i. Total number of horses permanently retired.

2017 Horse Care Costs

$     Feed (Grain/Hay).

$     Bedding.

$     Veterinarian.

$     Farrier.

$     Dentist.

$     Manure Removal.

$     Medications & Supplements.

$     Horse/Barn Supplies.

$     Horse Care Staff.

$     Horse Training.

$     Other direct horse-related costs not including overhead or other program costs.

$250708     2017 Total Horse Care Costs

$29770     2017 Total Donated Horse Care Costs

19465     Grand total of the total number of days each equine was in the care of this facility during 2017.

Average cost per day per horse: $13
Question 3 ($250,708 ) divided by Question 4 (19465).

Average length of stay for an equine: 330 days
Question 4 (19465) divided by total of Questions 2a-c (59).

4. Self Assessment

I. Facility & Grounds


Program Use of Horses for Special Needs at this Facility Not Applicable.

V. Instructors/Trainers

     1. *Instructor: Nathan Bailey

         *Facility Participation:

         Horses of Tir Na Nog Ranch

Is the instructor certified by an organization that provides training in the programs, activities and/or services conducted by the organization? No

Please use the space below to share any additional information about this instructor. Nathan Bailey first worked with our horses over a decade ago. We were thrilled to have him return in 2017. He uses a mix of natural horsemanship to help build the confidence of our horses. His help is essential for allowing our volunteers to work with horses that come into our care with a history of abuse or lack of handling.