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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Horse Harbor Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal-Related, Animals, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Equestrian, Human Services, Sports

Mission: To provide care and housing to a herd of 33 rescued equines. Recover and rehabilitate said equines and use in training and education to a group of 55 students, equine assisted therapy, and other community partnerships working with youth.

Results: The Foundation has recently been certified again by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and is one of 5 animal sanctuaries on the West Coast to obtain this certification. Our facility meets the highest standards in animal care.

Target demographics: equine education, environment, youth, youth with disabilities

Geographic areas served: Kitsap County

Programs: The horse harbor foundation provides care and keep to 33 rescued equines and teaches horsemanship to youngsters in the kitsap county area. We also teach equine assisted therapy to individuals with disability.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are few animal rescue organizations in the world that so thoroughly prioritize the health and wellbeing of their animals in the way that the Horse Harbor Foundation does. Prior to volunteering at HHF, I trained under a USDF silver medalist but it was my time with Horse Harbor that truly made me a good horsewoman and, simply, a better person.The structure of their programs is incredibly unique - rescued horses (those that are physically capable) are used in lessons, volunteers are able to be active in retraining new horses and assisting new students - and is a large part of why they've had such enduring success. Their equine assisted therapy program has been particularly impactful: Students are able to develop physical and mental skills through their work with the horses, both on the ground and in the saddle. Through my own volunteer work at HHF I earned scholarships to college, blue ribbons at IHSA competitions and lifelong friendships.I am not unique in how Horse Harbor changed my life. For decades now, they have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of every human and animal who sets foot (or hoof!) on the farm, and the world is a far better place for all that they have done.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

There is no better, more caring, and well-prepared equine-centered foundation than Horse Harbor. Together with their unique blend of compassion, training, and education, HHF works tirelessly with young people nurturing their understanding of the value and importance of the diverse Equine Community.

Through HHF Equine Therapy for autistic kids, I have personally witnessed formerly tense, and physically constricted special needs kids become relaxed and lucid simply by being atop these caring animals, supported by their dedicated trainers, as they guide them through a unique and special equine-human connection. The transformation is very emotional, validating the deep and vital connection horses have so willingly given to the history of mankind and our enduring humanity.

Not only do the horses "connect" with the kids, they bring a new perspective to the parents on the value of nature, conservation, animal care, and the sheer pleasure of how a non-device experience can deeply effect the flow of your life - slowly and affectionately, building a mindset outside of the self.

HHF exhibits tremendous dedication and compassion not only for their horses, but also for the preservation of all horses and their valued presence as part of our natural ecosystem. Horse Harbor Foundation continues to inspire me, my family, and hundreds of others that have been fortunate to be a part of their dedicated and passionate efforts.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered several times over the past few years at Horse Harbor, through a friend and a partner. The environment is one that is welcoming and encouraging to the youth, the volunteers, and the staff. The opportunity to learn, struggle, and grow with empathy and support is remarkable, and even in my limited role it's been a delight to see the deep passion everyone involved has. At the core is a sense of united ownership that is taken. So many young people who take lessons come back to volunteer and/or teach lessons themselves and pay forward the experiences they have had.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our daughter volunteered for several years, then helped lead other volunteers and now helps teach lessons. It warms one's heart to see horses come into Horse Harbor and get the care and love they deserve. I have watched formerly neglected horses get strong & healthy, then go through training and eventually become horses that are used in traditional riding and therapeutic riding lessons. It is also wonderful to see the young volunteers work with one another to muck out stalls and groom the horses. They understand that Horse Harbor is focused on the horses and making sure they are well cared for, and they learn the value of working together to help a common cause.

Noah0324

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Noah and I love going to Horse Harbor every Saturday! We drive over an hour to get there because we love what the place stands for. Their love for these beautiful horses that needed to be rescued, caring for them and teaching the kids to, not just ride them, but care for them as well, is the reason we love it so much.

My son has special needs and the volunteers are wonderful with him. He gets so excited when we are on our way to the ranch. I’m so grateful my son gets to be part of something so amazing and beautiful!

misfitmom

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi. I'm the senior staff volunteer coordinator at Horse Harbor. I've been here almost 8 years now.
I was raised around horses so it was natural for me when I meet Maryann Warren to readily jump into helping at "the" barn.
I started back riding four years ago and have great joy in getting to know our herd from a different perspective, and am having the time of my life.
Horse Harbor is one of the most comprehensive form of instructions that I've seen.
We teach stewardship for the horse, just not riding. Ground up, all forms of horse care since part of our herd is retired and takes us to another level of horse care.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They have given me a new lease on life. I suffer from military trauma and being around the horses and other volunteers and students. I feel like a member of the human race again.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great charity doing much needed work! They teach amazing, comprehensive lessons too!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Horse Harbor not only saves horses but also doubles as a horse therapy service for the disabled. The friendly staff takes pride in their work, they treat the horses and clients with dignity. Plus they are great at teaching how to ride!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Horse Harbor Foundation. I get to ride many different horses and learn how they all have individual personalities. In addition to riding lessons, I get to spend time learning how to take care of the horses. The hard work of cleaning the fields and the stalls and grooming the horses brings me joy. All of the volunteers and staff are very helpful, friendly, and understanding of everyone's feelings including the horses. Being part of this organization is one of the best experiences of all that I do.

ChelseaWa

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since we became volunteers at Horse Harbor 3 years ago we have come to see the people and horses there as an extension of our family. This organization plays an important role in our community. More than just a sanctuary for horses this is a sanctuary for people as well. It is a safe place to learn, grow, and help others. Sanctuaries like this one play an important role, by not just giving horses a home but by also educating the community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has had the wonderful opportunity to become part of the Horse Harbor family and we are grateful for every opportunity we are offered to expand our horse knowledge. Our daughter takes riding lessons at the farm and she learns so much more than just riding. I love that they teach the kids/riders about everything that surounds being around these wonderful creatures. From riding lessons, horse health to showmanship and grooming, I can honestly say, we leave the farm learning something new everyday.

The girls love getting to visit all the horses on the farm, whether they are school horses or living their best life in retirement, the kids love doting on the horses, often getting to help with feeding.

I myself get to volunteer around the farm, helping in areas of my best knowledge. The staff is always willing to help you learn when you're ready for the next step in your comfort zone to do things around the barn.

1 Shannon O'Hare H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never found a volunteer organization with such a powerful pull to do right by both kids and horses than Horse Harbor Foundation. From the moment I stepped foot there to preview the organization's summer horse camps to now, 8 years later, my heart just belongs there.

What makes this place so special? Let me start by saying that, while well supervised by adults, the day to day activities are run mostly by kids. These kids have all been trained to follow every rule implemented, safety method and are packed with the knowledge necessary to perform whatever role they are assigned. They know each of the horses well and are aptly trained to manage them. The high expectations for their behavior and the various assigned responsibilities are consistently the same across the board.

Besides the fact that dozens of kids regularly show up to volunteer their spare time to work at HHF is their absolute love of each horse. Most of them have a "favorite" or two but every one of the kids takes exquisite care of every single horse.

My most favorite thing to do there is while grooming a horse in their stall is to listen to the conversations that go on all around me: Maryanne correcting how someone is handling a horse or greeting everyone by name, the horses neigh to greet the kids, the kids vocalize their observations of each horse's behavior, asking about how a ride went or how a horse's injury is healing, or most popular is "how cute" a horse looked. Constant chatter like this goes on every day.

Most importantly though is the dedication to the health and safety of each horse. Allen and Maryanne and Kat champion this role. While operating on the tightest budget imaginable, they simply find a way to ensure every horse is safe and healthy. It is the utmost of their priorities and they do it well. Second to that, they ensure that their volunteers are appreciated. Not a single helpful action goes unnoticed nor unthanked. Third, they do their level best to provide a good learning environment for the riders. This trio is as fundamental to the success of HHF as rain is to Seattle.

This special organization has made an enormously positive impact on our family and countless others.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Horse Harbor was my first experience with a non-profit catering to both the needs of displaced and/or mistreated animals as well as human beings in need of unique support. While my work was largely in manual labor - mucking stalls, clearing weeds and brush, and facility maintenance - my time around the Foundation offered me numerous opportunities to see the ways Horse Harbor creates irreplaceable connections between students/clients, the horses, and the teachers/volunteers.

In speaking with the founders and operators, as well as many of the consistent volunteers, there is something uniquely empowering for everyone involved, and the lessons and skills learned - be it through traditional riding lessons, therapeutic lessons, or even things as (seemingly) basic as brushing and petting the horse and building positive, healthy relationships. If you are at the Horse Harbor Foundation, it is because you see the value in those relationships for human and horse alike, and it is a beautiful thing.

2 Aimmee S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

What an amazing horse rescue! Our daughter has gone there since she was very young and is now able to teach the next generation all she has learned! Being able to change horses lives is an amazing feeling!

3 Pony R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Horse Harbor Foundation has been a huge part of my life for almost 10 years now. I have learned so much there, about not only riding, but also how to care and treat horses as partners. I have had so many amazing opportunity’s to work with horses, and students. I feel as though every time I go I learn something new. Over the years I have also been given to opportunity to work with kids in equine assisted therapy program which is one of the most rewarding things in my life. Many of the horses without HH stepping in would have been on a sad path, and many would have been killed. I am so thankful that Horse Harbor was able to save them, no horse deserves that end. Horse Harbor Foundation truly fulfills their mission, and I am so so thankful to be a part of the HHF family.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Few people have the compassion of Allen Warren, the Founder of Horse Harbor.He’s created the perfect sanctuary for horses that basically have no where else to go, and utilizes a few of them as therapy horses. Allen is deeply involved in helping design legislation to protect and benefit all equine on a local, state and national level. The Foundation deserves the support of every true horse person.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working at the Horse Harbor Foundation has completely changed my life! Here, I was given the chance to work with horses who need help the most in our world. These horses often come with tragic stories, but HHF gives them a sanctuary where they are given a new home and a new life filled with love and compassion.
I have had the experience at HHF that I don't believe I could ever get through any other program as a student and volunteer. At HHF, you don't only learn how to ride, you learn how to communicate with your horse, you recognize that each horse has individual abilities and personalities, you learn the responsibilities of managing a farm and the care and attention that is put into owning a horse. The list goes on and on! I have worked with many different horses at HHF and have learned so many things from each and every one of them.
I started riding at HHF as a camper during the annual summer camps and quickly became a student rider and volunteer at the age of 10. Through this time I have worked with many of the students and campers which has given me the experience and confidence of helping and teaching others. I have also worked with the equine assisted therapy students which has been nothing short of a blessing. The program for these students is amazing and I have seen many wonderful things out of it and from working with the students. This program also requires a special kind of horse that is patient and with a big heart and I'm thankful we have the horses for this program so that it can be possible.
I am so thankful that I have had the ability to be a part of this organization. I have met so many close friends (both two and four legged) and have learned many things that I will hold with me throughout the rest of life.

4 Michaela R.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I took my first horseback riding camp at the age of 6 at HHF and the rest is history! I have been there through thick and thin over the course of almost 16 years and I wouldn't have changed a second of it. I love that at HHF I learned to ride "horses" and not just "horse." The amount of knowledge and understanding I gained about not only the horses but about myself is incredible and has helped me immensely in every aspect of my life. HHF encourages students to go at their own pace and learn to trust themselves and the horses they work with. This place has become home to horses and humans alike and its impact on the community is unparalleled!

3 Nick D.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started lessons at Horse Harbor a bit over 3 years ago and is still at it. I myself have started taking lessons as well. I volunteer weekly to assist in any way I can with this great organization that teaches so much more than riding. They teach their member students about all aspects of horse care along with very humane riding techniques.
It is truly inspiring to see the herd of horses they’ve taken in, rehabbed and given a good life whether it be as a lesson horse or allowed to live out their golden years as retired horses that are well taken care of.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Horse Harbor Foundation for almost 20 years. Our first mission is to rescue and provide a safe, forever home for our horses. Through a network of dedicated volunteers we provide a safe environment and loving care for our horses. Membership fees and riding classes provide for the health and care our our family herd. I have watched and worked with many generations of young volunteers who share the same respect and love of these incredible, spirited, and intelligent creatures. We have all gained valuable life experiences at Horse Harbor Foundation.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I used to be a student at Horse Harbor Foundation, starting when I was 6 until I was 15 and moved away. This place has taught me so much about horses, riding, and teaching in a way that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. The main founders and teachers, Maryann and Allen, are very knowledgeable and inclusive in their teachings to help students get a feel for real horse ownership, not just riding lessons.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been involved with the Horse Harbor Foundation for the past 8 years. This began for her, and us, with a summer riding camp and over those years has evolved into a very natural style of riding as well as a deep respect and understanding of the many horses that the Foundation serves and has rescued over the years. The Foundation provides a unique and very carefully balanced blend of horsemanship. My daughter now volunteers each weekend, grooming, cleaning stalls, exercising the horses both indoor and outdoor, and participating in the Foundation's equine assisted therapy program for children in the community with special needs. The Horse Harbor Foundation is highly deserving of any donor money available for this type of work. Having seen the work of numerous organizations of this type, the Foundation is run more efficiently, financially responsibly and with great love and care for the horses. I can't speak highly enough of the dedication of Allen & Maryann to their organisation and their cause.

Review from Guidestar