To help with the automated water project or learn more about Four Corners Equine Rescue, call 505-334-7220 or go to www.fourcornersequinerescue.org.
FLORA VISTA — Volunteers at Four Corners Equine Rescue have been spending winters dragging extension cords to power deicers that keep water troughs for 62 horses from freezing.
But that bothersome winter task will soon be unecessary for workers at this non-profit horse-rescue ranch. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers Jeff and Cindy Rendall and donations from area businesses, Four Corners Equine Rescue now has ten new automated water stations for its rescued horses and ponies, but help completing the lengthy installation will require more helping hands.
"It's an incredible system that when it's all said and done will mean greater things for our horses," said Debbie Coburn, who runs the shelter with her husband. In the beginning they only had three horses.
The Rendalls, from Burlington, Wisc., are active volunteers for the organization. They already had installed one of the electricity-free water stations at their Harper Hill home for their horses and ponies.
When a horse wants a drink, it pushes against a paddle that triggers a water supply valve to open, filling the bowl. Any water left in the bowl automatically drains back to holding tanks via insulated pipes that run four feet underground, which is below the frost line.
"We watered our horses with buckets and it was so labor-intensive and a real pain when the water supply would freeze in the winter," Jeff Rendall said. "Having the waterer cut the work in half, and so my wife and I thought we would try to fundraise for the Rescue because they had the same labor and freezing problems we did but on a much larger scale."
Over the course of seven months, the Rendalls secured the $7,000 necessary to purchase the water stations. Many Four Corners businesses including Raindrops, Pro Build, Essco and Frank's supplied money or materials to trench the nonprofit's five-acre ranch, supply piping, insulation, water tanks and other necessary parts to make the stations a reality.
"It's just a huge effort from our community to make this happen, especially in a time when it's not easy to give," he said. "It's going to give volunteers more time to spend with horses, which is invaluable. We're just trtying to help the horses. It's just my time and my back. Maybe our help will inspire others."
Horses can drink up to ten gallons a day in the summer months. For Debbie Coburn, and her husband Terry, who have owned and operated the rescue at their Flora Vista home since 2004, the new infrastructure means real savings of cost and labor.
"What keeps me going is that I keep learning," Debbie Coburn said.
The Coburns, the Rendalls and other volunteers hope to gain a deeper understanding of the horses that are rehabilitated in the rescue's ten pens and a nine-stall barn. Abandoned and rescued horses come to the shelter from all over the state and as far as Canada.
So far this year, Debbie Coburn has managed to place 16 horse in good homes and taken in 23 at the rescue. On Tuesday she was alerted that the Livestock Board has rounded up more than 25 horses in southern New Mexico, two of which will likely be added to the 62 in the coming days.
All the horses are named and given personal attention by the Coburns and their 10 volunteers. One volunteer, a retired teacher, comes by once a week to brush all the horses.
"So often, we remove ourselves with artificial devices and distractions, but horses reconnect you with the earth, with what's real," Debbie Coburn said. "This is the most honest relationship you'll ever have."