Love Is The Key At Horse Rescue Facility

Tierra Madre helping horses ease into old age

By Curtis Riggs – The 29 horses living at the Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary are some of the happiest horses around. This is not a “sad sack” operation, Tierra Madre owner Jim Gath says of this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Tierra Madre, which is located on a three-acre ranch near Dynamite and 44th Street, has been helping to rehabilitate older, injured and discarded horses for five years.

Gath and volunteers at the facility have been accepting horses with problems such as leg injuries and temperament issues. Some of the horses have been left behind by their owners during the worst of the economic downturn. Gath was quick to point out that the practice of leaving the horses behind has slowed considerably. The horses at Tierra Madre range from a miniature horse to thoroughbreds, which stand several hands tall. There are several thoroughbreds at the facility, which are recovering from racing injuries. “It is important for horses to have a place to go after their racing careers are over,” says long time Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia, whose day job is the general manager of Turf Paradise Race Track in North Phoenix. “Time is what is needed,” he adds. “It is important for a horse to have a place to go and important for us to know they have a place to go once they stop racing.”

Gath tells several stories about how quickly horses have recovered at Tierra Madre. These stories range from a horse that could not walk because of arthritis and soon walking and running after arriving at Tierra Madre – to the recovery of several thoroughbreds who improved quickly after being away from the track. “I do it because the horses need me,” says barn manager Eric, who comes to Tierra Madre daily to feed and clean up after the horses. Volunteers are key to the operation. It is the norm for a volunteer to pick out a favorite horse and care for him specifically during its time at Tierra Madre. Tierra Madre will have a booth set up at Harold’s Cave Creek Coral at the July 3rd Fireworks Extravaganza. The following Sunday, July 8th, there will also be a spaghetti dinner there from 4-7pm. All the proceeds will go to help benefit Tierra Madre. Further information can be found on their website, or by contacting them at 480.747.1070. | CST

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