Harmony and Hope Horse Haven is a not-for-profit corporation that is a permanent life-time home to currently 70 horses, 19 that are personal, and 51 rescue.
Most of the horses that live at Harmony and Hope are retired Thoroughbred race horses. A lot of the residents have been surrendered to the ranch, or thrown away, either because they were injured, failed to win races, too old, or could not be cared for anymore by previous owners.
Owner, Ruth Plenty began breeding, raising, and racing horses with her husband Dennis, 19 years ago. The first Harmony and Hope was located 25 miles north of Phoenix in a town called New Valley. In Nov. 2005, Plenty moved her horses to Harmony and Hopes’ current 40 acre location in Portal.
Plenty explained that some of her horses were rescued when she knew there was no other recourse for them. They would either end up at a rendering plant, or shipped out of country for slaughter.
“That’s not fair,” explained Plenty. “They deserve more. Somewhere along the line they gave everything they had to give.”
One of Plenty’s stallions, Bob, earned 75 stars in his racing career, along with $83,000. He didn’t come off of the track until he was 11 years-old, which is significantly old for a race horse. He is described as being an “honest horse”, he enjoys the weather, watching birds, and a nice grooming.
“Sometimes I tell him ‘you are just a big teddy bear’” Plenty said. “’All you want from life are hugs.’”
Improper Conduct, nicknamed Icee, was born in 1985 in California. During her racing career, Icee had 34 starts from 1987 through 1991 with six wins, seven seconds and 6 thirds earning $18,917. After racing she spent several years in a mounted patrol program. At 25 years of age Icee finally retired coming to Harmony and Hope in May 2010.
“Icee is one of those ‘I’m Your Friend’ horses with deep needs to look after everyone and everything,” says Plenty. “When the mini donkeys arrived, Icee immediately took them under her hoof.”
Virgil and Jacob are two mini donkeys who live on the ranch, they are described as being great alarm systems. A 43-year-old donkey named Jenny, has also lived at Harmony and Hope for that last two years.
“They are a lot like humans,” Plenty said. “Although they eat, drink, sleep, and that is all that’s required of them.”
At the ranch, Plenty can often be found doing much of the work herself. On a daily basis, tasks include feeding, cleaning, grooming, exercising, and sometimes giving medical attention to her animals.
Plenty has received volunteer help on many occasions, from cause supporters, and close friends. She gave special thanks to Dave and Bobby Schurian.
“For being the best volunteers for so many years and so many hours of help,” Plenty said. “At feeding time, coming in at 4 a.m. to help haul hay around to feed the horses, those peppermint snacks, fixing water lines, keeping the tractor running, setting panels, providing lots of love and for always being there in an emergency regardless of the hour or on the days when we had to say good bye to one of our members.”
Plenty also recognized Joy Schneider as an exceptionally helpful volunteer, and Debbie Anbinder, who has organized fundraisers and raffles that have benefitted the horses.
As one could imagine, there are an incredible amount of small but important needs for the upkeep of a horse. From supplies, weight blankets, fly repellent spray, different types of feed, and sometimes medication and veterinary care, the approximate cost is $2,500 per horse, per year.
Plenty is sponsored by special organizations who raise funds for horse rescues. Some of these sponsors are California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), After the Finish Line, and Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA).
Harmony and Hope has received accreditation from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, which is “a nonprofit organization that serves as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing careers and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities”.
According to Plenty, after calculating, she has spent no more than 30 days away from the horses in the last 19 years.
“This is where I want to be,” said Plenty. “This is the best my life has ever been, and there is nothing more exciting to me, then to have a troubled horse one day walk up to the gate and me.”
As previously announced, Harmony and Hope will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rodeo Community Center.
A Chili lunch will be served for $5 (vegetarian option available) along with cornbread, cole slaw, and beverages.
The fundraiser also includes a rummage sale, baked goods table, and special raffle. Gently used household items can be donated to the rummage sale at the Swap and Shop on Highway 80 and Portal Road.
50/50 Raffle tickets can be purchased at $1 each or six for $5. Donated raffle items will include local artwork, services, gift certificates, and more. Proceeds from raffle entrants will be split with 50 percent going to the winner and 50 percent going to Harmony and Hope. Tickets are available at the Rodeo Café and Swap and Shop.
Other ways you can help are by making a cash donation, or by providing the following; gift certificates from feed stores, hay suppliers, and supply stores such as Home Depot, fencing and corral panels, new or used, in good condition, horse fly repellent spray and masks, and water resistant, light to medium weight blankets for the older horses.
Mail is received at P.O. Box 173, Rodeo, NM 88056. For more information about Harmony and Hope and other ways to donate, visit www.harmonyandhopehorsehaven.org.