Joan Steelhammer has dedicated her life to saving horses.
In 2003, Joan Steelhammer, a realtor, transformed her 30-year involvement in animal rescue into Equine Outreach Inc. (EOI), a nonprofit organization devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-homing abused and neglected horses, donkeys, and mules.
Located in Bend, Oregon, EOI works closely with local law enforcement agencies, the BLM, the Forest Service, area humane societies, local veterinarians, and other equine welfare organizations in the region to identify equines in need. Horses, donkeys, and mules come to EOI from all manners of unfortunate circumstances, from private ownership situations, to slaughterhouses, to wild horse auctions.
Currently, EOI is home to over 90 equines. The animals arrive at EOI in varying states of health, from those who need basic care (food, hoof care, dental care, vaccinations, and worming) to those near death and in need of extensive emergency veterinary care. The cost of rescue is high; the average monthly cost of caring for a horse at EOI is $150.
Once the organization receives an animal, the animal is furnished with appropriate medical care, and then evaluated to determine its level of training, if any. Once evaluated, horses are categorized as "Unstarted," "Started," "Rideable," "Professionally Trained," or "Companion."
Horses that can be physically and psychologically rehabilitated through EOI's training program are placed up for adoption. Those wishing to adopt a horse from EOI must go through a rigorous adoption process to ensure that they are willing and able to provide the appropriate care and facilities for a horse.
Equine Outreach is ASPCA awarded and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) accredited. It is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization that relies on the support of the public to keep its doors open. Want to learn more about EOI and its lifesaving work? Check out the organization's official webpage.
All photos via Equine Outreach Inc.