What is the Annie Project?
The Annie Project was created to offer Dude and Guest Ranches a new option for retiring horses. The Annie Project was born in June, 2017, through the relationship between Drifter’s Hearts of Hope, C Lazy U Ranch and The Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association. You can learn more about The Annie Project here.
What ranches are Annie Project Partners?
C Lazy U Ranch, Vista Verde Ranch, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Wind River Ranch, Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch, Badger Creek Ranch, Rawah Guest Ranch, Terryall River Ranch and Cherokee Park Ranch are Annie Project partners. We recommend staying with them for any dude/guest ranch adventures as they are committed to their horses’ futures! View all Annie Project Partners.
Who is the Annie Project’s namesake?
The Annie Project was named after a horse named Annie, who DHOH purchased from an auction in upstate Colorado. She bore the brand of a local guest ranch which began the partnership between the ranch and DHOH. That partnership is the foundation of the Annie Project, which has expanded to include nine ranches to date. You can learn more about Annie's story here.
I work at, manage, or own a guest ranch. Why should I become an Annie Project partner?
Annie Project partners get to know that their horses are going on to forever, loving homes. They receive free promotion on our Facebook and website, and are able to see who adopts the horse on the Facebook page as well. Additionally, as with all of the horses we adopt out, there is the security of knowing that the horse bears the DHOH brand, and DHOH holds the brand inspection for at least 6 months, if not indefinitely. So far, this program has helped over 40 retiring dude ranch horses find fantastic homes.
I am looking for a new horse. Why should I consider an Annie Project horse?
Annie Project horses are retiring from dude ranches, and the majority have experienced the hustle and bustle of ranch life. To date, the horses we’ve received have all been started under saddle, and the vast majority are well-trained. To work well in a guest ranch program, they have to be seasoned trail horses, which the vast majority are. We highly recommend considering an Annie Project horse if you’re looking for a proven trail horse, as we’ve found many of them to be just that!
If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably seen our posts about our current horses available for adoption. These posts include the horses’ age, height, training, and many key details to help potential adopters to find their right horse.
However, these posts don’t talk about the horses' state on the day they arrive at Drifter’s Hearts of Hope (DHOH). A majority come in need of good food, vet care, training, and much more. Even if the horses arrive in decent condition, they always need a few good meals and rides at the very least.
Every horse that comes through DHOH will have their feet and teeth done, receive quality hay and grain, and participate in our evaluation and/or training program. And like most things, all of these items require funding. Since DHOH is a 501(c)3 organization, that funding mainly comes from fundraisers, grants, sponsorship, and donations from our fantastic supporters.
Funding makes it possible for us to re-feed underweight or neglected animals, train young or unstarted horses, and altogether provide top-notch care that helps these horses become potential adopters’ right horse. Our fundraising efforts are varied, but a few of our key fundraisers include: annual tack sale, Art to the Rescue (an art show), and Deck the Stalls (a live auction in December). The newest addition to this list is our Hoedown, coming up on July 13th.
Our Hoedown event seeks to celebrate our 5th anniversary of rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing at-risk horses here in Colorado. We will be hosting a party at the ranch complete with a live local band "Blinker Fluid", food truck, a horse trailer photo-booth "Whoa Pony", a bounce house and more to bring the community together. It will be the event of the summer!
For events like these, we greatly appreciate sponsorship and donations of any kind, whether it be your time, horse food donations or funds. Your generosity helps us match more good horses with good people!
In the world of horse rescue, I often hear of people looking for young, sound, well-broke horses for very low budgets. I totally understand – I’d love to get an all-star horse from a rescue. I’d also love to help some of the horses that may not fit the former description, but they fit the latter: they are all-stars.
Think if you were a horse, how would your description read? In my case, I’d probably never get adopted. My back bothers me when I wake up in the morning. I have nervous tendencies (bite my nails like it’s my career). I definitely wouldn’t tie well as I can’t sit still. And I have my fair share of bruises and scars. Would you be top on the adoption list?
I’d have to guess most people, like most horses, have a scar or two. Yet they still deserve to live wonderful, happy lives.
So, I ask you to consider a “wise”, senior rescue horse. Consider a horse that might be a bit older. Might have a bump on his knee. Might need a Previcox pill with his morning feed. Might be the wrong color. Might be a little bit shorter or taller than you’d first thought. Might need a bit of extra grain to maintain weight in the winter. Might need an extra blanket. Might have a heart of gold.
Some of the best advice I ever received in the horse world was to look for horses that were good and kind. Good and kind will save you in a bind, beautiful and unblemished will not. Horse rescues are filled to the brim with good, kind, older horses that are just waiting for someone to do right by them.
Senior horses can be more life-changing than younger ones. And yet older horses, like many senior pets in shelters, are overlooked. Most people overlook older horses because they’re afraid they can’t keep up, or they’re past their prime, or they have nothing to give. The reality is that these older guys have so much to teach. They’ve been there, done that. So don’t be afraid to take the reins of an older horse and give them the chance to change your life.
We're celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign (UHVRC) - A partnership between Merck Animal Health & AAEP
Drifter's Hearts of Hope is extremely excited to be featured in the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign's (UHVRC) latest video celebrating 10 years of making a difference for horses in need. 28,000 horses vaccinated, $1 million in Merck vaccine donations, 300 equine rescue and retirement facilities in 42 U.S. states helped. Thank you to the more than 900 AAEP-member veterinarians dedicating their time and resources to help.
UHVRC is a nonprofit partnership between Merck Animal Health and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The UHVRC provides qualifying equine rescue and retirement facilities with vaccines for horses in their care, to help protect against West Nile Virus, Eastern/Western encephalomyelitis, Tetanus, Rabies, Influenza, and Herpesvirus.
DHOH does receive vaccines through the UHVRC and we couldn't be more grateful. The vaccines that we receive from Merck Animal Health help us ensure the horses we adopt out are up-to-date on shots. It also gives credibility to our rescue that our horses are treated just like the top-quality horses you see at a show barn.
Here's to 10 more years of helping horses in need!
Learn more about UHVRC here: https://www.uhvrc.org/
We are extremely excited to announce that Drifter’s Hearts of Hope was selected as one of the winners of the 2019 Innovation Grant from The Right Horse for THE ANNIE PROJECT!
We can’t wait to work on expanding this program - our goal is to partner with all of the 24 dude and guest ranches in the CDGRA over the next year and a half and even potentially grow the program into other States. A huge thank you to The Right Horse for this opportunity as well as to The C Lazy U Ranch for working with us to develop The Annie Project! We are ever so grateful!
From The Right Horse -
"We strive to inspire and empower groups who are working to help horses in transition. We understand the significance of finding the right horse. Every adoption helps a horse find a new home with a loving family and opens a space for the rescue organization to help another equine. The 2019 Adoption Innovation Grant is being awarded to three organizations that demonstrated the most innovative plans for boosting equine adoption. Help us in congratulating three outstanding organizations for their creativity, innovation and dedication to helping at-risk horses." Learn more about how The Right Horse selected the winners for the 2019 Adoption Innovation Grant here.
From neglected and abused horses to young and un-started horses, we rescue, rehabilitate and re-home our horses here at Drifter’s Hearts of Hope (DHOH). DHOH has never looked back since the first 3 horses stepped away from the kill auction, and into our hearts. On July 16th, 2014 DHOH saved Spirit, Clarity and Hope; since then we’ve rescued over 340 slaughter-bound horses, donkeys, mules and even a few calves. Our commitment to such an incredible number of horses, as well as our commitment to ensuring each horse is brought back to health and finds their perfect home has earned the respect of the entire equine community around us. Every pair of boots tells a story and this is ours.
In these Idyllwind boots, we will continue to write our story and save as many slaughter-bound horses as we can. Find out how you can be a part of our amazing journey here.
This is our "In these boots I..." story, what is yours?
Rescue Horse: Pistol Annie
Boots: Tough Cookie by Idyllwind Fueled by Miranda Lambert
We like to think of ourselves as adoption matchmakers. Horse Cupid, even. In other words, we help good people find their right horse.
When you first set foot into the Drifter’s Hearts of Hope (DHOH) facility as a potential adopter, you’ll be greeted with the question, “Tell me more about what you’re looking for in a horse?” While we’ve already reviewed your adoption application, we always like to get more detail in person.
That first question is just the beginning. We’ll then walk you past each available horse in the barn, discussing your basic preferences. What style of riding do you prefer and what kind of activities do you want to participate in with your potential horse? What characteristics do you like in a horse? What characteristics do you not like? What are your must-haves? What are your deal-breakers? Simply put, we are using these questions to help us fit you with the best potential “right horse” that will meet your needs.
From there, we’ll talk to you about the horses as we pass by them. We will highlight and pause by the stalls of horses that might be a good fit. Here we like to dig a bit deeper. What could make you nervous on or around a horse? How do you react when you get nervous? Have you had any bad experiences that are important for us to know about? Since safety is extremely important to us, we always want to be sure that we fully understand where the rider is in their horsemanship journey.
After hearing more from you and understanding your horsemanship, we’ll introduce you to the available horses we feel might be the best fit. We explain what the horse is looking for and needs in an adopter and living situation, what riding styles for which they’d be well suited for (English, western, trail riding, arena work, etc.), what kind of rider they prefer (soft hands, quiet legs, experienced rider, kid friendly, etc.) and what their deal-breakers and must-haves are. The horse is a key portion of this equation as they need to match with the potential adopter just as much as the potential adopter needs to match with the horse.
The key to these conversations is honesty and openness. We try to get to know you, your background and your goals to match with the knowledge we have of our horses, their backgrounds and their goals.
Once we have discussed and selected a horse or two that might be a good fit, we have you help us get the horse tacked up and ready to go. Once we are bridled and saddled up, we head out to the arena. From there we hop on the horse first and take him for a spin, talk you through what we’re doing with our leg and hand, what we’ve found to be successful with the horse, and what we like to do to warm them up.
If you like what you see of the horse under saddle, we will hand you the reins and a helmet. You’ll be able to swing a leg over and see how the horse feels. If needed, we will walk with you until you feel comfortable. We support you throughout the entire trial, providing helpful tips and hints to best work with the horse.
Sometimes these introductions ask us all to step a bit out of our comfort zones, which is conveniently located in a saddle, but here at DHOH we have found it to be very successful in helping match the right people with the right horses! 270+ matches to be exact.
We were honored to be invited back to the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association (CDGRA) to speak about The Annie Project and give an update to the member ranches. The Annie Project has been selected as finalists for The Right Horse Innovation Grant, wish us luck!!!
Horse showing is always an exciting opportunity for riders to test their skills and their horse's too. As a hunter/jumper rider, shows were always one of the highlights of my year. This year, my highlight was watching our riders compete at The Battle on the Rockies in Denver, CO on March 1st and 2nd. Not to brag, but our horses and our riders did a great job. They worked hard, put in hours of time they already didn't have between their jobs, school, families, other animals, and the rest of the world, to prove what we all have known already - rescue horses are show horses too.
Colleen Fitzpatrick - Miss Moppet
I learned just how important it is to do right by the horse in the show ring. Since I was aboard a youngster in her first show, I wanted to put a few positive show miles on her. Pushing her to the edge to see if we could win wasn’t the right answer in that situation; instead, we kept it calm and comfortable, knowing that we can try more difficult things with her in the future. She’s got plenty of time ahead of her! I also learned about how to best support people in their early days of showing - anyone who talked to me before going into the ring knows that my advice was to relax, trust their horse, and be as kind to them as possible. Kindness, quiet riding and a calm demeanor will always look best in my book! And I learned that Dani Ross and I can get an absolutely remarkable amount of work done in a very short period of time, and should probably go into business together at some point!
Dani Ross - Uptown
Riding a 5 year old who had (maybe) 50 days of training and who’d I’d only gotten to know two weeks prior, was a pretty incredible endeavor. It’s truly rewarding watching a horse grow from untouched and leery of people, to confidently showing in a coliseum stadium in a short amount of time. Words can’t even describe the feeling of knowing that you’ve played a role in helping this horse become the confident horse he is. It was also inspiring seeing the horse rescue community come together. While we were competing against each other, in the end we were all there sharing our passion for saving horses lives and to show the world what these animals can do when you give them a second chance at life. Each one gave so much heart and trust to all of us during this show even when it was probably sensory overload for all of them. This show was a wonderful cause to bring awareness to the amazing horses at rescue centers here in Colorado.
Kyle Griffin - Reba
The biggest obstacle was the arena with Reba. She didn't like being in the large arena with no other horses, people moving around and the banners. Reba will do anything Kyle asks of her and she was extremely spooked with the new environment. We feel like we need to take her to more shows, get her exposed to being the only one in an arena and working with her on her anxiety the best way we can. Kyle thoroughly enjoyed participating as it was a great experience for him. Reba and Kyle have a strong bond and he has taught her so much that with time, patience and practice, she could be a great competitor!!
Personally, it was a victory to see rescue horses competing at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. Before I was part of horse rescue, I was part of the horse show world. It always seemed there was an unspoken division between show horses and rescue horses, that the two were oil and water- they never mixed. The Battle On The Rockies was a great step forward in removing barriers to potential adopters. A horse cannot control their past, their future, or their present. Only humans can determine that. We as humans have the responsibility to ensure these, and all horses, have a bright future- whether that is in the show ring, or the backyard.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of horses are transitioned from career or ownership. A growing number of these horses end up at risk of inhumane treatment. Led by the WaterShed Animal Fund, The Right Horse Initiative has been developed to unify horse industry professionals, equine welfare advocates, and the broader horse loving public to improve the lives of horses in transition.
The Right Horse Initiative promotes horse adoption as one of the preferred methods of finding your next horse. This unique partnership commits the time, talent, and resources to promote horse adoption through education, training, and public awareness on a national level. Together we will work to achieve our goal to massively increase the number of horse adoptions nationwide.
As a partner in The Right Horse Initiative, we’re proud to support a national movement reframing the conversation about equine adoption. Drifter’s Hearts of Hope is working with The Right Horse Initiative to promote equine adoption as well as the bond between horses and humans. We are good people for good horses, and everyone who loves horses has ownership in this movement. To learn more about The Right Horse Initiative, visit therighthorse.org.
Drifter's Hearts of Hope
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