I moved to the Reno, NV area several years ago and quickly discovered that there were a number of different non-profit groups devoted to helping the wild horses of the Virginia Range. I have now been involved with several of them as a volunteer in different capacities, from fund-raising to actual hands-on rescue work, and I continue to support all of them. However, one group stands out for their tireless dedication, incredible accomplishments, and the remarkable skills and knowledge they bring to this often difficult and demanding work. That group is the Virginia Range Sanctuary (VRS).
Though a relatively small organization, what the VRS manages to get done truly boggles the mind. Here is just a partial list of their regular activities -- all conducted with the approval of the Nevada Department of Agriculture:
- Assessing and helping injured horses
- Implementing diversionary feeding to keep horses off of roads where they are a danger to both themselves and drivers
- Rehabilitating native water sources
- Relocating horses that are too close to developed areas
- Adopting out horses that have been removed from the range by the government (always to carefully selected homes)
- Researching new, humane strategies to control population growth
- Saving the lives of orphaned foals, who often come off the range requiring intensive, 24/7 critical care, some needing to be fed as frequently as every 1/2 hour day and night.
I won't go on and on here (I certainly could!), but in all my years of volunteering, I have never seen any group more capable or more deserving of support than the Virginia Range Sanctuary when it comes to wild horses. I feel privileged to have witnessed their remarkable skills and absolute commitment, both out on the range and in their advocacy work.
I will also tell you that after volunteering with the VRS for some time, I was recently asked to join their Board. While I have been asked to serve many such groups in a similar capacity and always said no (I am a somewhat well-known professional in the horse industry and did not really feel comfortable associating myself with any of them in that way), I did not hesitate to say "Yes!" to the VRS, and to let them know that I am honored to serve them. These are good people fighting hard to save a cherished icon of the American West, and I hope you will agree that they are deserving of all the help we can offer.
Note: Attached photos are two are of the orphaned foals saved from certain death this Spring.