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WATSONVILLE—Ten years after launching a horse rescue organization in her backyard stables, Lynn Hummer is celebrating the lives of more than 220 horses, their foals and the people who saved them from slaughter.
“Horses have always needed help and rescue, but really it’s because of the generosity of the community that we’ve been able to do what we do,” Hummer said this week as she prepares for an anniversary celebration Saturday for her homegrown Pregnant Mare Rescue organization.
The PMR annual country ride-in, “Horses, Harleys & Hot Rods” hosted by Castlewood Ranch in Aptos, will feature live music, food, family activities, bocce ball, a silent auction, raffle and parking for horses, bikes and hot rods.
“We want to honor the community for making this possible,” Hummer said. “Without the financial support, we simply wouldn’t exist.”
In fact, there have been several financially strapped seasons when emergency fundraising and volunteers helped pay for hay, vet bills and farriers.
There have also been times when Hummer, who has maintained the organization without pay, has considered handing over the reins, “but I discovered that no one’s going to do it with the passion I have.”
Many of the mares are traumatized when they arrive and need personal care and attention to regain their health and trust, she says.
She welcomes volunteers of all ages and boys and girls clubs to come by the stables and learn more about the horses. Last year, when Hummer had to undergo surgery for breast cancer, volunteers helped keep the organization afloat.
Although some horses find their way to PMR due to neglect, about 90 percent of the horses that end up on Hummer Ranch are pregnant, a “byproduct” of the racing industry, which uses them to nurse high-value ponies; and the pharmaceutical industry, which impregnates horses to get the estrogen in their urine.
The mares and their foals eventually end up in auction lots where they are purchased for slaughter. The Humane Society of the U.S. says more than 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year. The Equine Welfare Alliance says more than 150,000 horses were killed in 2014.
Recently four previously homed horses were returned to the ranch due to family illness and financial hardship. Hummer welcomes all her rescues home at any time, even though it means she can’t take on more rescues until these have new homes.
WHAT: A Country Ride-In with music, food, vendors, face painting, pony rides, lawn bocce, kiddie tattoos, raffles and a silent auction.
MUSIC: Chris Bigford (3:30-6 p.m.) and Santa Cruz Beach Cowboys (6-9 p.m.)
WHEN: 3-9 p.m., Saturday.
WHERE: Castlewood Ranch, 150 Nunes Road, Aptos.
TICKETS: $25, $10 for 6-12 years, free for children 5 years and younger.
EXTRA: Bring a side dish or bottle of wine to enter for a special prize.
ALTERNATIVE PARKING: Day stalls for horses, bike and hot rod parking available.
This article is published at the Santa Cruz Sentinel.