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Monica Hardeman: Founder and president, Equine Rescue Center & Sanctuary

Monica Hardeman bonding with two of her rescue horses.

How many years have you been involved with rescue?

I have been rescuing since 1998, so nearly 20 years.

How can someone contact the Equine Rescue Center & Sanctuary (ERC)?

Call me on my cell phone at 831-840-1412, e-mail me at [email protected], or visit our website, equinerescuecenter.org.

Do you have any upcoming events?

Yes, the Equine Rescue Center & Sanctuary Adoption Fair at Tractor Supply in Gilroy, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will bring a bunch of adoptable horses. Also, the ERC Play Day Fundraiser with the Marin & Sonoma Horse Councils — we are in the process of firming up a date, but we’re aiming for Dec. 20. This will be a great day for the whole family, so bring your kids! ERC will bring adoptable horses; there will be pony rides, games for the kids, and loads of fun, all for a great cause.

How did you get involved with rescuing horses?

I’ve always loved horses. My grandfather was a rodeo cowboy from Hollister, and when I was four years old, I would ride the ponies he got for my cousins and me. I worked on a ranch in my teens, and my dream was always to care for horses and give them a second chance when no one else would. When my sister was murdered in 1995, I found horses to be very healing. Once I realized how much horses helped me, I wanted to help them and help them to help other people.

Tell us about your organization.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal welfare organization rescuing abused, abandoned, neglected, and slaughter-bound equines, including horses, donkeys, ponies, and mules. We rescue animals from auctions that are heading to slaughter, and we also take them from city and county animal control agencies. We currently have 80 rescue horses. We offer sanctuary to older horses and horses with chronic conditions, and we also have many wonderful horses available for adoption.

What is the biggest challenge facing your rescue right now?

Feeding 80 horses is costly. Since we moved to our new facility, we have many needs: a tractor, an arena, a hay barn, and shelters for the horses. All of these things have a high price tag.

What is the age range and types of the horses available for adoption?

We have newborns to late-30s, and we have a wide variety of colors, breeds, and sizes available to adopt or, if you can’t adopt, you can sponsor care for one or more horses. There’s Paca, an Andalusian filly yearling; Waylon, a 5-year-old buckskin quarter horse; Lucky, a Palomino paint gelding who is 15; Angel, a 10-year-old red roan mustang mare; West, a paint filly around 9 months old; and Tiko, a bay colt gelding foaled in April of 2014, just to name a few.

A horse I’d really like to see adopted is …

Gabe, a three-year-old sorrel quarter horse gelding, is one of my favorites — he has a fantastic disposition, great temperament, and he loves to learn.

A horse who is a great success story …

Sammy. He was 30 years old and on the slaughter truck ready to ship. I asked the “kill buyer” to sell him to me. He did. Sam was to come with us to ERC to live out his golden years in sanctuary. A very nice lady followed Sammy through our website, fell in love with him and adopted him. Now he is living the good life, being spoiled!

Where can people go to find out more, see adoptable horses, volunteer, foster, or donate?

They can visit the ERC website at equinerescuecenter.org, where they can see the horses, make one-time or monthly recurring donations, or sponsor a horse. They can also mail donations to: ERC, 34565 Panoche Road, Paicines, CA 95043. You can also visit ERC; we are open Tuesday through Saturday.

Monica Hardeman with Gabe Pimentel, ranch director
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