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!
It sounds like almost all of the reviews on here are fake. Very disappointing. But very believable knowing what people can do these days. Like miss Gretchen. Good luck with karma. Horrible nonprofit organization. Needs to get a clue.
I have had great experiences with People Helping Horses. Volunteers and staff have always been very friendly and helpful. The horses are beautiful, always well fed and cared for. Some rescues out there are just scams, take your money and don't care for the horses. Here the people are real, the horses are real.
I volunteered and i also donated to People Helping Horses and recently i recieving an email pleading for me to donate to support the 39 horses that PHH has in their responsiblty. She said that they may not make through the winter in the cold. I couldn't remember there bieng 39 horses at PHH so i went to there website. Under residents tab there is only 25 horses. So where have they extra 14 horses come from that is causing PHH to be in such a finical bind.
Review from CharityNavigator
I was a volunteer at PHH since march and i love all the horses there and their personalities. I always go on saturdays for the whole entire day. The people there are awesome there. I didn't always like how most of the people worked so hard and i have witnessed that some of the horses needed fly masks and they were never put on unless one of the volunteers did it or told someone else about the problem. No one should use their rescue facility as their own barn for their horses!! i will miss all the horses there but it was for the best of me to move to another barn to learn more about horses and actually get to work with them more hands on than just volunteering and never knowing if i get to do other things.
This organization does not meet my standards and I’m concerned that it may not meet your standards as well. Every volunteer meeting the Executive Director informs us that they are XX amount of money in the hole and yet she has 18 of her personal horses, 10 of which she personal bred, at the barn. She has more personal horses in barn then rescue horses. Currently she only has 6 rescues in the barn for training and 14 horses out on pasture. Some of those horse have been there for over 3 years, the amount time I’ve been there. I have been informed that the horses on pasture are waiting to come for training, when they can afford to put them in training they will.. I’m not comfortable having 18 of the Executive Director’s in the barn and having staff and volunteers clean up and take care of them, when they have 14 other rescues waiting to be worked with. I thought the goal of the rescue was to adopt the current horses so they can stop the 2 year freeze they have been on. I do not feel like this rescue is sincere about their mission or their funding.
I gave his organization one star for the following reasons.
The Board of Directors are personal friends of the Executive Director, and for the most part just puppets.
Misuse of funds is rampant. One problem is that there is no dissociation of funds. The Executive Director not only drives the company truck for personal use (it is her only mode of transportation) but has PHH pay for all of the gas as well. The Executive Director also uses PHH money to buy groceries for herself and to pay for vet/farrier/training for her personal horses.
The Executive Director is also guilty of putting down one of her broodmares because she did not raise a good foal and the horse was not good under saddle. Currently, she is trying to sell a broodmare that is sterile.
The Executive Director is a great marketer and tells you exactly what you need to hear to pull out your checkbook. It took me a very long time to figure out what was going on and it makes me sick to know it was happening right under my nose.
I suppose the most disturbing thing of all is how the Executive Director morally justifies breeding nearly half a dozen horses a year from her own broodmares when she has founded an organization whose very existence is predicated on an overpopulation of horses without homes.
Horses are suffering terribly, starving, going untreated with injuries, and so many other situations. Some of the horses at PHH were left to fend for themselves with no food or water. PHH was called and took them in. Suffering from rain rot, starvation, teeth problems, hoof problems.... each horse is treated and being rehabilitated so they can go to their forever homes. This facility PEOPLE HELPING HORSE has the most caring volunteers and staff I've ever met. I am proud to be one of those volunteers, though it is like joyful therapy for me. The horses always listen. Please visit our site www.peoplehelpinghorses.com and see for yourself the wonderful work they do. Pay a visit to meet my friend Jojo, one of the horses there. Please help our cause!! I, Jojo and the other horses thank you.
This group really has its heart in the right place. There is always a place there for an abused or unwanted horse at PHH. Their compassion and deications is amazing. I contribute to them as often as I can. Thank God for people like them out there. Thank You.
PHH is an incredible volunteer experience for me and I love what they do. These horses are incredibly lucky to have a place to stay like People Helping Horses. To me, I have no idea why anyone would want to abandon a horse, but in that case, if it does happen, PHH is a great place!
We have been receiving e-mails, pictures and mail from this charity for a long time. We regularly send donations to them as we can,,to help because be believe they really are caring and loving to the horses they rescue and are always looking for other horses to rescue from cruelty and inhumane conditions. The pictures they send show that the horses in their care are beautiful and well taken care of and show that they really care. We would love to go by and see their place, if ever we are out that way.