Unwanted horses find second chance at Circle F

Upcoming fundraiser will support efforts to save horses

Circle F provides a shelter for unwanted horses and helps them find new owners.

Circle F provides a shelter for unwanted horses and helps them find new owners.

When horses are unwanted, abused or neglected, Circle F Horse Rescue provides an option to keep them safe and, and hopefully, find a permanent home.

Circle F is a volunteer-based organization funded by donations, with 100 per cent of the money going directly to care for horses.

The organization currently rents a piece of land on Matsqui Prairie near Glenmore and Harris roads, where unwanted horses are cared for and prepared to be adopted into a new home.

Joy Smith, a volunteer with the organization, arrives at Circle F every Monday to help care for the animals and assist with administrative duties.

“Monday is the best day in my life – every week.”

Smith said some of the horses are surrendered due to abuse or neglect, while some are given up for other reasons, including owners moving away, or getting a horse with the wrong personality for the intended rider.

Smith said the economic recession has also meant more people getting rid of horses they can no longer afford.

The Circle F facility can keep seven or eight horses at a time, and adopts out about 15 annually.

After losing her horse, 19-year-old Claire Mercier adopted Sophie from Circle F.  Her mother had heard about the organization from a co-worker.

“My mom has been rescuing animals ever since I was born … and I’d heard so many good things about Circle F.”

Volunteers visited their farm to make sure it was suitable for Sophie, and they’ve since visited to check to see how she is doing. Mercier said Sophie is also 19, making her an easy-going companion.

“It makes me feel good that I can adopt a horse who really needs a home instead of going to buy a $15,000 horse.”

The Circle F volunteers work in shifts, split into teams that focus on specific tasks including horse care and conditions, assessment of the animals coming into the program, visits to potential homes, fundraising and administration.

Horses that arrive at Circle F following a rescue are placed in an isolation padlock with their own food and shelter. They are slowly introduced to horses over a fence and eventually integrated into the herd. Horses are monitored for health issues and behavioral issues and acclimated to people and other horses before the groundwork for adoption can begin.

Smith said most of the awareness surrounding Circle F comes by word-of-mouth. They operate based on donations, striving for sustainability of their operations, but also hoping to eventually settle into a permanent location.

Circle F will be holding a “country hoedown” fundraising event at The Grand Ballroom in Richmond on Saturday, April 27.

Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door, with $5 from each ticket going to Circle F. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and there will be cowboy cha cha lessons from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., followed by dancing until midnight.

There will be a bake sale, a silent auction and a raffle at the event with proceeds going to Circle F.

For more information visit www.circlef.ca.