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home : current news : current news November 25, 2015

5/27/2014 5:05:00 PM
Mustangs adjust to new life
Kate Beardsley, Carol Statton and Sonja Chernishov with rescued mares, exploring their new by Kathryn Godsiff
+ click to enlarge
Kate Beardsley, Carol Statton and Sonja Chernishov with rescued mares, exploring their new digs.

photo by Kathryn Godsiff

By Kathryn Godsiff

There are several horses now in residence at Paws n Claws Resort on Cloverdale Road. They aren't boarding there - they're rescued horses adjusting to their new lives and new location in the Mustangs To The Rescue (MTTR) program.

Kate Beardsley founded MTTR in 2012, though she's been privately rescuing horses for many years. She is happy to return to Sisters Country after 15 years of living in other Central Oregon locales. MTTR previously operated out of Skyhawk Ranch in Terrebonne, but needed to relocate due to the sale of that property. Janet Herring, owner of Paws n Claws, was happy to accommodate at this stage.

"Mustangs To The Rescue is an all-breeds horse-rescue," said Beardsley. No matter what the equine's background, "if the human has failed the horse, we'll help."

The first point in the rescue's four-part mission statement is to take horses in dire need. The second is to assist state, local and federal agencies to manage local horse populations, both wild and domestic. Third is to assist the community and its members to become better partners for their equines through education and volunteer opportunity. And fourth is to place the horses, whenever possible, in service, such as search and rescue, pack strings, and park patrols. This aspect serves to elevate the public perception of rescue horses and mustangs.

Beardsly runs a tight ship, being careful to not overtax the facility or her capacity to adequately care for and train the horses in her care. The rescue is incorporated in the State of Oregon and is currently waiting for 501(c)(3) notification. A board oversees the policies and decisions, and a dedicated cadre of volunteers (called crew-members) assists.

A volunteer training is slated for Saturday, May 31, at the Paws n Claws location, 67717 Cloverdale Rd. Beardsley said that horse experience is not necessary, but an attitude of teamwork and community service is.

Several of the current crew-members were present when The Nugget visited the facility. One was attacking young knapweed plants while Alice Stevens and Carol Statton groomed three mares.

Stevens said, "I've volunteered for a year and learned so much from Kate, and made awesome friendships. It's a fun place to volunteer."

Statton concurred, adding, "I've never left without learning something that benefits my own horse life."

Beardsley noted that the friendships built amongst her crew benefit everyone. "There's a thin line between horse-rescue and people-rescue."

Indeed, the good will was evident in the calm demeanor of the horses. Beardsley, Statton and board member Sonja Chernishov took the three patiently waiting mares for their first walk around the property during The Nugget visit. There is an old trail course built among the bitterbrush and junipers, and the mares strolled through it with only a few stops to look around.

Beardsley noted that before coming to MTTR, the two older mares had been part of an abandoned group of horses running around on a ranch and roadways in Wheeler County. Each rescued horse has a story, usually of heartache, and MTTR is working to ensure that those stories have triumphant endings.

To register for the volunteer orientation, visit or call board member Sandy Mayernik at 541-350-0799.

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