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LARKIN VALLEY — Donations are down this year at Lynn Hummer’s small Larkin Valley ranch, which offers a temporary reprieve for horses that have no place to go.
Hummer, who founded the Pregnant Mare Rescue Foundation in 2006, is seeking funds as well as new partnerships and sponsorships to keep the nonprofit organization afloat. She has eight horses looking for permanent homes, including a 7-month-old colt named Little Smokey who was born on the ranch in the spring.
“Our coffers are critically low and we still have horses we are caring for and trying to place,” she said. “Donations are down from last year significantly. We’re not exactly sure why.”
Hummer, who works full-time at a Watsonville company and runs the ranch entirely on donated funds and volunteer labor, hopes to groom someone to take over the mission-driven organization so she can retire and sell her ranch.
“I have lots of irons in the fire,” she said.
One idea is to partner with local landowners who will allow an on-track foraging program, an environmentally sustainable method of horse grazing that involves temporary fencing and helps with land management.
A GoFundMe campaign is underway to offset the cost of caring for five of the 38 neglected horses rescued from a Morgan Hill ranch earlier in the year. Hummer is also seeking grants and sponsorships.
It costs about $310 each month to provide hay, supplements and farrier services to each horse. She currently cares for 12 horses, a couple of which live temporarily offsite.
“We’re hopeful,” she said. “There is a lot of property in Santa Cruz County. Maybe we’ll find some grazing land.”
Horses looking for permanent homes include a Paint Mare, a Bay Quarter horse bay mare, a Connemara, a thoroughbred and a draft horse who is accustomed to children. Their ages range from 7 months to 27 years.
“I’m full and focusing on getting the numbers way down,” Hummer said. “In spring there will be a huge need for more pregnant mares to come to safety, so I’m really trying to get these horses into homes.”