Animal lovers in the RM of Rockwood have banded together to operate a volunteer-run, non-profit horse rescue. They take in the most vulnerable, neglected and in need horses.
Located just four miles north of Stonewall and six-miles from Oak Hammock Marsh, the Blackbird Ranch Equine Rescue and Rehab says that its motto is to help horses with people problems and rehabilitate, re-teach, and re-home the animals.
“The rescue started about five years ago with Kim Lyons and Jodi Miller, her daughter, fostering horses,” Corinne Nykorak explained. “All of us volunteers now own at least one rescue horse.”
Other animal lovers initially ran a different rescue under another name that is no longer in service. Lyons and her daughter began fostering horses as far back as 2011 and began working on what is now Blackbird .
“We started rescuing horses who were headed to slaughter through auction and we actually started fostering a couple in 2011.” Lyons explained.
Blackbird’s website explained how Lyons and her daughter’s first pick was Cabo.
“(He was) a sweet little two-year-old needing someone to show him love and put him on the right path,” its website explained. “Our second pick was Catori, a beautiful blood bay and white paint mare who had only been used as a broodmare. The third horse instantly jumped out at Kim. Caliente, a beautiful sorrel gelding with very obvious scars on various parts of his body. No one had taken a second look at him. He had been there for quite some time and was so terrified of people that we could not approach him. No one was able to catch him to halter him and no one was willing to put the time in to earn his trust. Our decision was made, those were the three that needed us.”
According to its website, Blackbird boasts all electric and page wire fencing on 60 acres of pasture with homegrown timothy/alfalfa mixed hay, specialized feed, supplements, blanketing and barefoot trimming available for its horses.
“It doesn’t feel like we have been doing this that long, but we have. We’ve got 40-something horses and not all of them are available for adoption. We have 14 that board with us, I own six, my husband has one and the rest are either in rehab, available for adoption, or are permanent residents that will just stay with us until it’s their time,” she said.
Boarders have access to over 100 acres to ride on, along with surrounding dirt and gravel roads surrounding. Its outdoor grass riding arena features access to jump standards, poles and barrels. Special Event Equine Rentals are available, as the group works with The Prairie Gunslingers, a group of horseback riders from the Manitoba Interlake that stage train robberies, and are also available for hire as Sheriffs at corporate events.
“We all also work full-time jobs and run the rescue,” Nykorak explained. “We do not have any financial help other than our Bud Spud (events) and some smaller donations. Everything extra comes out of Kim’s pocket. We are slowly getting our charity status but its a long road when there is so many other things to be done.”
Blackbird Ranch Equine Rescue and Rehab’s next Bud Spud will be held at Cowboy’s Roadhouse in Winnipeg from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 27.
For more information, find them on Facebook, visit their website at bbrequine.weebly.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.