I was a primary whistleblower for this travesty.
It started with finding a horse lamed by barbed wire, living knee deep in raw sewage, being underfed. He was further lamed by a rider 100 lbs. too heavy for his size, riding on gravel roads without shoes. His feet were overgrown to further crippling levels. He lived in a junkyard of rusty machinery, with hazardous broken fencing. He had come up to Canada from People Helping Horses, two years previous. He had been tangled in barbed wire while on their watch.
I was appalled to find he had been adopted from a rescue. It was clear from his Success Story on PHH's website, they knew of the horrific conditions. This horse was further adopted to Society of Creative Anachronism "jousters." These complete amateurs were going to ride a lame horse with one blind eye, at full gallop in competitions.
When I met them, they were yahooing the horses around recklessly on concrete with sewer holes and on gravel. They did not have even the skills to lead a horse out of a stall, let alone ride. To get their animals in and out of stalls, they cracked whips and slammed doors and gates directly on their bodies. None of the tack fit. Halters, bridles, saddles; it was all so tight and badly cracked from lack of cleaning, the horses were being rubbed raw just from this.
In the two years since the horse had been adopted, PHH did no reference checks and no follow up visits. The adopter transported the horse herself from Arlington WA to BC. If PHH did any sort of adopter evaluation, they didn't care that these people had 0 experience or facilities for a horse. I quite frankly wouldn't keep a rat on their farm.
I began investigating PHH. I wondered how a "rescue" that garners over $1 million annually, could not rehab and monitor a horse such as this. I also wondered why they were rehoming only ten horses per year. I have rescued animals for decades, responsibly, and could rehab and rehome dozens for just one year's worth of PHH donations.
I took prolific photos and videos, and of course called the SPCA. With the help of other horse advocates, evidence went to the WA Attorney General. Witnesses from PHH came forward, as well.
This rescue deserved to be shut down. God willing, it will make people more cautious in future.
The poor horse was moved to a decent facility after SPCA intervention. Unfortunately, a similarly abused senior cat horribly died of neglect, despite my efforts to save his life.
To further highlight the nature of the "adopters": I am still being harassed by their friends. An entire network of people were yahooing on their horses, and protecting them in their abusive endeavours.
The group's executive director, Gretchen Salstrom, skimming off the top...nice!. But what nobody knew at the time was that Salstrom was under investigation by the state's Attorney General's office for allegedly misusing charity money.
"They were raising the money for therapeutic riding programs for children when they terminated that part of the program," said Attorney General Rob McKenna.
The state accused Salstrom of using the money on her own horse breeding and dog breeding business. Now, the state, the charity and Salstrom have settled the case, but there are still some loose ends.
"So, she's not allowed to have a relationship with this charity, but she's not allowed to work for a non profit of any type for the next 10 years," McKenna said.
I also am currently fostering one of the horses from PHH. Gretchen S. was not removed due to irregularities or lack of caring for the rescue horses.Get your facts straight! Rescue horses take months to get them back to a sub-normal state. I was physically at the PHH facility in Arlington each month May-August of 2012(this year) and visited the horses in their care. They all were being fed and cared for. The last group of rescues were so emaciated who knows if they ever will recover, not due to the lack of trying of volunteers from PHH. Spreading rumors is so easy versus telling the truth. We need to make sure we have all the facts correct before spreading rumors. Unfortunately do to lack of funds , I believe PHH will be closing its doors/stalls. I beleive there still may be 5 or less horses that need homes. Hopefully someone will come forward and give these horses a home. Contact PHH for more information.
If you honestly believe that PHH under the direction of Gretchen Salstrom took outstanding care of horses then you have no idea what good equine management is. Gretchen was removed from PHH because of irregularities. After she was removed all horses were placed or fostered. I am fostering one of those horses and she was emaciated and dehydrated when I got her - and Gretchen had custody of the mare for about 4 months before I got her. There is no excuse for what was done to the horses in Gretchen's care. The mare I have is going to live but that certainly isn't a result of anything done by Gretchen Salstrom.
I have been a volunteer since Feb., 2012. I have found this organization to be very caring and dedicated to the whole horse: body, mind and, yes, soul or spirit, however one wishes to define such an entity. PHH's heart is in the right place. I do think that The Board needs to be a Working Board and increased in number and filled with equine and financial people who are independently minded. I recommend this because it appears that there needs to be more planning, budgeting, fund raising and web site updating (advertising). All of that takes more resources, especially people, and a larger, working board could be of greater help to Gretchen. This woman has been doing this for 10 years and her depth of experience, combined with the backing of a Working Board, would raise this organization to the next level. All Creatures Great and Small
I cannot believe that anyone could put a bad review about this organization. Shame on you! These people put their heart and souls into these horses. I adopted a horse from them and he is a joy. So much personality and what a fabulous ride! And, I still stay in contact with them. Anyone who is interested in this organization and their program should go check it out for yourself, you will NOT be let down, I promise.
People Helping Horses is a one of a kind organization! The care, treatment, and training the horses receive to ensure a healthy, happy, sound horse both mentally and physically is phenomenal! All horses are well cared for and meticulously kept. The management team is both approachable and professional. Being part of this well run and VERY needed program it, helps me to feel like I am doing my part and making a difference. Thank you for all you do!
Wow, it’s sad to see such negativity from people who truly don’t understand what People Helping horses is all about. I have seen what then have done in the past 5 years in rescuing horses and I heard of the great comments of support and gratitude within the equine industry.
The economy has hit everyone everywhere hared in which families are struggling jut to put food on the table. But some how People Helping Horse has managed to continue with their mission to educate people and show abuse horses that there still is love and compassion out who are willing to love and care for them. Even in some of the most difficult times, there are people out there that are still willing to sacrifice for these beautiful creatures that deserve so much more. People Helping Horses is stepping up and bring awareness of abuse and being the voice for these beautiful animals that don’t have one.
Thank you People Helping Horses, for your sacrifices and for your donors who continue to give and make a difference. From the bottom of my heart thank you. May God bless you all and your families?
For those who continue to slam People Helping Horse, I hope some day your hearts will be warm again and not have all that bottled up hate and rage for others and organizations who are trying to make a difference. As much as I feel sorry for you, I too wish you all of God Blessings on this holiday. For hate on hate does not create acceptance or love it just creates more hate and this world has enough of that already. With all that hate who ends up loosing in the long run? The horses that need us the most to save them. So I with People Helping Horses and all those negative people all the good blessing and fortunes for the coming New Year.
Be kind to others for we only have one shot in this life so let’s make it a good one.
I have volunteered and worked with People Helping Horses for almost 3 years now, and have enjoyed every minute of it. The horses are amazing, as well as the staff, and especially the other volunteers. They have helped so many horses, and continue to help more and more each and every day. From volunteering I have learned so much about horses, and its also taught me about responsibilty. Overall PHH has changed my life for the better. And will continue to be in my life.
People Helping Horses has beneifited not only the many horses that I have had the opportunity to work with but me as well. I have learned so much and can't wait to further my experiences here. I have grown very attached to many of the horses and cant see myself without them in my life and therefor I and the other staff who feel the same strive to make sure that these horses get the very best care and attention. We take lead from a very strong woman who has guided us on this path of success. I know PHH will do great things!