ESS News and Events

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2017 Calendar

Schedule: Open days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteer schedule: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays: Cleaning and horse care, starting at 10 a.m. winter/early spring and late fall months, 9 a.m. in the summertime.
New volunteers are always welcome. Please see the Volunteer page for more info.

April 21: Table at Cid's with the mini's. Meet and greet!
April 22: Open Barn at ESS with special events - meet our horses, mini's and donkeys and Kat, our unicorn horse. Tack sale. Learn about horses and ESS programs. This special open barn day and activities are being held in conjunction with the ASPCA's Help A Horse Day. Discover all the many ways you can help horses everywhere!
April 27: Day long intensive hoof trimming clinic with Ida Hammer. Limit of 8 participants. Call or email for more info.
April 28: Ida Hammer - Exploring the Equine Hoof. $50 for this half day workshop.
May: Wednesdays 1 - 3:30. Volunteer training for this year's therapeutic riding program.

May 27: Spring Open House 10 - 3 at ESS. Official kick-off for our summer programs, free pony rides for the kids, grooming corral with the mini's, open barn.

ESS in the News
February 25, 2016

June 6: Therapeutic riding lessons start.
June 24: Fundraiser at Barbara Meikle's Fine Art Gallery in Santa Fe with Bindy and Marley
October 21 & 22: Hoof trimming clinic with Pete Ramey. Must pre-register.
November 25: Annual Holiday Horse Party at ESS.

Barbara Meikle painting at ESS, May 31, 2016
Sally in intent on posing for Barbara's new painting

2016 Review and Summary of Activities.

ESS in the News
February 25, 2016

What a great event! Thank you to everyone who donated items for our
holiday gift sales and everyone who came out and visited ESS for this event.
From The Taos News, Tempo, Dec. 3, 2015:


CONGRATULATIONS TO DONNA ROSENBERG, winner of the Bindy print. THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this raffle. I wish that everyone could have won. But please know that ticket sold helped pay our expenses for our rescue horses and donkeys, and equine-assisted therapy programs and helped make our holiday brighter. A big, big THANK YOU to Barbara Meikle for her generous donation of this gorgeous painting of our little BIndy.


ESS has been renting the former Thal Equine Veterinary Hospital and Clinic facility for the past 7+ years, located at 13 Los Caballos Road (formerly 283 Cuchilla Road), Ranchos de Taos. The facility has proven to be perfect for ESS activities, with office space, horse barns, a large clinic/exam room that was converted into a classroom, turnouts for horses, and a large riding outdoor arena.

We are proud to announce that we raised the down payment and completed the process of purchasing the property the first week of May 2015! THANK YOU, EVERYONE, who donated to the down payment fund. We couldn't be happier!

It was a pretty intensive effort, with the fund raising and working out all the details of the purchase, taking most of our time and energy the first few months of the year. Now we are well into our busiest time of the year with our Horses Helping Kids program and equine-assisted activities. We missed some funding opportunities for our summer programs because there simply was not enough time and energy (and manpower!) to do everything and make all the deadlines, so we have to keep our program size a bit smaller this year compared to last year. Currently we have 12 riders coming regularly for lessons and will work in as many others as we can this year.

We also have some additional things to take care of with the property - some repairs that need to be done and some improvements that we've been itching to make for years and were just waiting until we knew it would be our forever home. We welcome assistance with these things. Check the How You can Help page for more info.

December 2014

It was such an incredibly busy year here at ESS, I did not have time to update this news page. I had to rely mostly on getting the word out through our facebook page and regular updates printed in the Taos News. My apologies to anyone who missed out on the updates and thought we were no longer active. The truth is just the opposite!

Reprinted here is the text from our year end letter:

2014: A wonderful year at Equine Spirit Sanctuary. 2015: Exciting news to announce as we enter a new phase of growth!

Dear Friends,
It was a busy, busy year here at our little horse sanctuary. Each year seems to have a theme. Last year’s was clinics and education. This year we solidified our programs with the things that we learned from last year’s clinics and – wow – it was amazing how it all came together! It was a challenging year but also our most productive, rewarding, “feel good” happy year also. ESS is now stronger than ever!

We did 215+ lessons through our Horses Helping Kids program, therapeutic riding program and regular lesson program. By the end of the season, we were all worn out – but in a good way! We did many equine-assisted therapy group sessions also. I am very excited about how this unique program has developed and am looking forward to doing much more with it in the coming years.

Along with our usual outreach and assistance activities, we took in two new rescues this year. “Cisco,” a young colt that was viciously attacked by a stallion, needed daily wound care for extensive injuries along with treatment for parasites and a respiratory virus that he generously shared with many of our other horses. He (and they) are now doing well. “BB” came to ESS as a plump (obese) miniature horse with no training to speak of. She’s lost over 60 pounds now and is becoming quite a little character here as she loves to perform for visitors. She put on quite a show this fall for a group of seniors from a local retirement center, leaping over little jumps in the round pen, freestyle, like a little circus horse.

Sadly, our older horses passed on this year. Casey, William and Victor all were over 30 years old. It seems odd to not have an older horse now to take care of. Those precious gents were such a part of our ESS family and we miss them.

One of our biggest goals since ESS began in 2005 was to someday have a permanent home where we can build an indoor arena and provide therapeutic riding lessons and equine-assisted therapy programs year round. We are now one HUGE step closer to making that a reality! We now have a purchase agreement in place for the property that we have been renting for the past seven years. We are embarking on a major fund raising campaign to raise $125,000 to pay as a down payment, which will then make the mortgage payments low enough so it won’t raise our expenses way beyond what we are used to paying for rent.

Please help by sending your prayers and continued support and encouragement as we continue to build a place of sanctuary for all.

Thank you, ESS friends, and may your New Year also be filled with great joy and abundant blessings.
From all of us at Equine Spirit Sanctuary,
Ruth Bourgeois, Exec. Director

Nov. 30, 2013: Annual ESS Holiday Horse Party Saturday

Thank you to everyone who supported our annual Holiday Horse Party. The weather was perfect, and we had a great turnout for the event. Proceeds from the sales support the ESS programs - equine rescue and rehab, kids programs, equine-assisted therapy, therapeutic riding, equine-assisted learning activities for disabled persons, and educational programs about horses).

Victor and Vilmar made their debut providing pony rides for kids of all ages, big and small. They were delightful! Dustee filled in at the end of the day when the boys began to get tired. They made a great team and the three sweet horses made a lot of kids very happy that day.

Sept. 14-15: Yoga and Riding Clinic with Linda Benedik

Thanks, Linda, for a wonderful two days of riding and yoga. Due to heavy rains, we moved the clinic to the Juan I Gonzales indoor arena in town and didn't miss a lesson! It was a pleasure working with Linda again and we hope to have her back again next year.

Oct. 19: Equine Raindrop Therapy workshop
Thank you to Linda Carvalla, who organized this workshop. Our newest little rescue, Peanut the pony, was the demo for the class. Peanut is in rehab, with severe founder and obesity issues. He enjoyed his treatment and is more comfortable now.

June 22: Bindy and Sally went to Santa Fe!
They were special guests at Barbara Meikle's Gallery for an art opening featuring a new oil painting of ESS's Klassy Kat, by Barbara.

June 29: In Harmony With the Horse Workshop
One-day introductory workshop at ESS was led by Claudia Stromberg that explored a contemplative approach to horses that is in harmony with the horse's subtle nature. Thank you, Claudia, for a great workshop! Click here for information flyer.

Thank you, Trading Post Cafe for hosting the benefit day June 6 for our
Horses Helping Kids program!

Your support is greatly appreciated!


May 23 - Bindy and Sally greeting shoppers at Cid's.
A big thank you to Cid's for their support of ESS and allowing us to bring our little equines to the store and also for the Poker Chip donations.

Mark Rashid Clinic at ESS, held May 4 - 5 - 6: ESS's first clinic with Mark Rashid was a very memorable event. All who attended and participated came away with a new perspective about building a relationship with horses and horse training. It was an incredible learning experience for both horses and riders. Thank you - everyone - who helped make this clinic a great success! A special thanks to clinic sponsors, Taos Tack and Smith's Grocers, whose donations covered the refreshments for the Friday night reception and weekend clinic. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out, and Gera Brown for coming out to take photos.

Photos from the clinic:

Mark is an internationally acclaimed horse trainer known for his ability to understand the horse's point of view and solve difficult problems with communication rather than force. He began working with horses at age ten, when he met the "old man," who taught him to work with horses, not against them, and to listen to what the horse is trying to say. Mark's clinics center on one-on-one work with horse and rider and are immensely popular with people around the world. Mark is the author of several books including Nature in Horsemanship, Considering the Horse, Horsemanship through Life, A Good Horse is Never A Bad Color, and Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building Trust Between Horse and Rider.

Thank you, Five Star Burgers for hosting the benefit day April 24 for our Horses Helping Kids program!

Your support is greatly appreciated!

Now offering memberships in Equine Spirit Sanctuary. Click here for details!

January 2013 - Raffle for "He's My Hero" giclee
Bindy graciously offered to donate 100% of the proceeds of a raffle of his portrait "He's My Hero" by Barbara Meikle to the 2013 Horses Helping Kids program.

Update - Feb. 7 - all the tickets have been sold. The drawing was held Saturday, Feb. 9. Congratulations to Stacy Maclaskey, who had the winning ticket.

January 2013 - ESS is now officially a licensed, approved
New Mexico horse rescue

The New Mexico Livestock Board licenses and reviews equine rescue facilities in the state. These facilities have subscribed to the standards of care as prescribed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. In conjunction with the livestock industry, equine industry veterinarians and humane associations, a procedure for the care of abandoned and neglected horses has been established and implemented in New Mexico. Part of the mission and purpose of ESS is to provide rescue and rehab for horses in need so we went through the inspection and licensing process.

What does that mean for ESS? At this time, nothing has changed here. We have as many equines as we can accommodate and can take care of now, and are unable to take in more. We do have several horses that are available for adoption and when we have room, we will take in rescues.

We are always seeking ways to expand and help more horses. Now, more than ever, ESS needs a permanent home. The property we are currently located on has proved to be an ideal space for our programs and work. There is room for expansion, if we owned the property, which is our dream and goal. We are looking at ways to make this a realty. As always, your support is most welcomed!

November - December 2012 Fall/winter notes
It's been an incredibly mild, warm fall and we've been able to spend more time working with the horses than usual for this time of the year. As the cold months approach, however, we are now on the winter schedule. In case of severe weather, we follow the same guidelines - if school is canceled due to weather, ESS is closed also.

Even though we've been able to ride and work comfortably outdoors longer this year, we still are limited by what we can do this time of the year. Our vision and goals have expanded and we seriously see the need for an adequate facility in which to house all the wonderful program. Each program we now offer - the HHK, equine-assisted therapy, Kids' Learn About Horses, educational and outreach programs - will someday be available year round, not just in the warmer months, with the addition of an indoor arena. Of course, this is a very big and very pricey dream. But it's not just a dream. It is the direction we are headed and someday I am confident that we will be blessed with all that we need to continue to provide these meaningful programs.

ESS continues to grow!
As for now, we are continuing to improve our current accommodations. We now have portable panels that enclose the riding arena for safety and meet the standards for a Path, Intl. accredited therapeutic riding facility (one of our goals). We acquired a small manure spreader, garden tractor and small drag for the arena so that we can maintain the footing better and more efficiently distribute the "contributions" that the horses provide on a daily basis!

June 22-July 1: HORSES! Art Show at Stables Gallery:

Bindy and Hava were on hand to meet and greet visitors. Thank you to the Taos Arts Organization for hosting the event and all the artists who took part in the show and made a donation to ESS.

Bindy and Hava in Santa Fe

April 14: Bindy poses for his portrait by Barbara Meikle at her gallery in Santa Fe. He and Hava were guests of honor at a book signing event there for Barbara's new book of equine art, a benefit for Animal Protection of New Mexico.

Visitors enjoyed meeting Bindy and Hava and having their picture taken with Bindy. They were both very well behaved. Bindy, as always, took his job very seriously, proudly representing ESS.

Thank you, Five Star Burgers for a wonderful day April 11 and May 9!

And thanks to everyone who came to enjoy a meal there on these ESS Benefit Days.

Thanks to all who supported the Tack Swap on April 21, and to Ann and Dawn for hosting it at Blue Sky Pet & Feed Supply.

Horses Helping Kids
Our kids' program is expanding, now incorporating equine-assisted learning with the therapeutic riding to make up our new Horses Helping Kids program.

We received a Child-Rite Fund grant from the Taos Community Foundation for this program, specifically for kids who were adopted or who are currently in the foster care system. We are now taking applications for riders, so if you know of anyone whose child may qualify for the program please encourage them to contact ESS.

Volunteers are needed for the Horses Helping Kids program. We'll be doing lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Please let us know if you can help out for a couple hours on any of those days. Volunteer training days are scheduled for April 25, May 1 and May 15. No experience is necessary but you do need to attend the training sessions and learn the skills necessary to assist safely as a horse leader or sidewalker.

New donation options
ESS has been very blessed with donations from visitors and sponsors. We depend upon those donations to help feed and care for our many equines, to provide a home for them, and for our programs. Donations are accepted on-line through PayPal and now also on-line through Network for Good. Click the image below for details:

Cid's Poker Chip Fund
Be sure to take your bags when you shop at Cid's. For every bag that you use for your purchases, you will get a poker chip to help support the non-profit of your choice. Look for the ESS canister and drop your chip in. Every month we get a nice check from Cid's as a result of this wonderful program.

Albertson's Community Giving Program
We also have Albertson's cards - pick up a card to attach to your keychain and ask the cashier to scan it each time you shop at Albertson's. ESS gets 1% back on all purchases! If you want a card, call or e-mail and we can send you one.

Thank you for your support! We can't do what we do without you.

2011 ESS Christmas letter

2011 Holiday Horse Party - Saturday, Nov. 26
Thank you to everyone who braved the bitterly cold and windy weather to attend our annual benefit. We had a wonderful turnout and got lots of compliments on the decorated barn while people enjoyed the cookies, fudge and hot cider, and met Grace and Joy. Bindy's bags of goodies were appreciated by the kids and we had 14 who rode Dustee and Hava. We sold a lot of terrific gift certificates that were donated by local businesses and lots of raffle tickets. Thank you to all the local merchants who so generously supported this event.

Congratulations to Betty Backer, who was the lucky winner of the drawing for the painting of Grace and Joy, by Barbara Meikle. Thank you, Barbara for your generous support of our equines, and especially the donkeys.

Meet Grace and Joy
October 17, 2011 a new female donkey came to live at ESS. We named her Grace. Grace was one of 10 pregant jennies, in a herd of 25 donkeys that were destined to go through the sale barn at Los Lunas and likely to end up on a truck to Mexico. Grace was pregnant, very pregnant, and on October 25 she gave birth to a beautiful coal black baby. We named her Joy.

Congratulations to Launi and Scribbles!
Scribbles has a new home. He was adopted by Launi and now is enjoying his new life with a wonderful new devoted owner. He's one lucky, lucky horse!

Bindy is the recipient of the 2011 Milagro Animal Award
Bindy was honored this year with the prestigious Milagro Animal Award, presented by Animal Protection of New Mexico. The award was presented on October 1, 2011 at a banquet in Santa Fe. Bindy was being recognized for his "outstanding intelligence and/or courage."

Santa Fe artist Barbara Meikel sponsored Bindy's award did a beautiful oil painting of Bindy and Tali, titled "He's My Hero." Animal Protection of NM did a video of Bindy and ESS that was shown at the awards ceremony.

We are really pleased and proud of Bindy's accomplishments. He's just a tiny little donkey, but he has a big, big heart and he has really become an important part of the ESS family.

Bindy, above, wearing his silver medallion, with a giclee of the painting, a limited edition of 200. Barbara is donating proceeds of the sale of these giclees to ESS and Animal Protection Services of New Mexico. Contact Barbara at Pippin Meikle Fine Art gallery for purchase information.


Check it out - Therapeutic Riding Page.

We have a whole new group of wonderful volunteers, a great NARHA-accredited riding instructor (Marta Glover) and a great group of kids trying out the horses and programs.

It's a small program now, due to the fact that we have next to no funding for it. But it's a start, and we want to continue to expand it as our resources allow.

Springtime 2011 at ESS
April 9 - Spring Cleanup and Baylee's Birthday Party
A big thanks to all who helped with our annual spring cleanup day. We got the barn walls washed, enjoyed a pizza lunch, and as is typical for this year, we celebrated Baylee's birthday with a cake and gusty winds. The little fellow was four years old on April 10.

Spring Open House - Official Start of ESS Summer Activities - Saturday, May 21
Our spring open house featured two clinicians. Basil Goulandris who, along with John Mcgrath from Abiquiu, takes care of the ESS horses' hoof care, gave a talk and demo on barefoot hoof trimming. He discussed the care of foundered horses also.

Trainer and Coach, Lynn Clifford, MA, EAGALA II also did a talk and a demo with Scribbles (pictured here).

Both clinicians were interesting, informative, and presented the type of respectful, holistic horse care and handling that we promote here at ESS. We are working on getting a clinic together with Lynn in the near future. Bas also has offered to teach people about barefoot hoof care and trimming. Call or email if you're interested in learning more from either of these wonderful teachers!

The pony rides for the kids with our wonderful pony Hava were popular, as always. Hava was joined by big Dustee, the best lesson horse ever, who - as always - enjoyed his little riders.

Our volunteers outdid themselves with refreshments - sushi, fresh baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, banana mint bread, brownies, and more. It set a new standard for food at ESS events! 

A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who helped make this event a success.


Annual Meeting was held January 29 at ESS.

Wine Tasting -  Saturday, February 12, 2011
La Chiripada Wine Shop on Bent Street - Wine Tasting benefit
What a grand event this was! A big, big thank you to Michele and Michael for graciously hosting the wine tasting. We had an excellent turnout and a good time was had by all!

PS - the wine was wonderful. If you missed the event, be sure to check out the winery when you're in town.

The Equine Spirit Sanctuary - For Horses and People!