No neigh-sayers among generous horse-lovers!

SANTA FE, N.M. — My sweet, generous, loving husband rolls down the car window and passes a dollar or two to the forlorn person with the ragged cardboard sign requesting donations in the intersection. Then, one afternoon, there was Cody. The sign said, “Will work please. Not charity.”

Paul circled around the block, then drove away. He did that three times. Really didn’t need more hassle and emotional entanglement in his life right now! Fifteen minutes later, he returned to the intersection, and found the lanky fellow still there at the light. There was something about his eyes and his demeanor … Paul asked him if he was on drugs. “No sir.” They went for a coffee and Paul inquired about his situation, his needs and his skills.

Incredible, heart-wrenching, horrendous circumstances had conspired upon an upstanding, hardworking, very smart and successful former rodeo star/rancher (there but for the grace of God go I!). He lost his entire family in a tragic accident, gave away all he had, and became homeless and despondent. Today, Cody is employed full time, and is an indispensable and highly valued groundskeeper in Santa Fe. Happy ending.

You won’t find any wild horses standing at the intersection asking for help.
Mustangs are still running free here in New Mexico, all over the place – and probably enjoying their unrestrained lifestyle – except for the fact that there’s not enough food out there to sustain them. Many are bone thin. Some are starving. Then there are domestic horses whose owners have neglected or abused them.

Enter The Horse Shelter.

Jan Bandler started it in 1999 and her daughter Jennifer Rios continues it today with passion. The Shelter usually nurtures around 75 horses at a given time until they are ready to adopt out as companion or riding horses. It has an annual fundraiser at their facility in Galisteo, which brings in 20 percent of the year’s operational expenses.

The belle of the ball at this year’s benefit was the cutie pie new baby foal, 3 days old, wobbling like Bambi in her pen in the May sunshine and temporarily named Fortune until her real name is given. Her mother, Fiona, a wild mustang, was brought to the shelter emaciated just days before having her baby. Shelter staff is helping her recover from both starvation and giving birth.
So the shelter has two more to care for!

It will cost $10,000 to support Fortune for the next three years, which is about when she will be ready for a saddle and adoption. (Feed, farrier, vaccinations, worming, dental … but not medical and not training!) Anyone wishing to underwrite that cost will have the right to name the baby.
News flash! Someone has done it! Baby Fortune has a sponsor! No new name yet. I hear they might keep Fortune, with at least a double entendre there …

Last year, the hay for the shelter cost $100,000. This year, due to the drought, the same amount of hay will be $150,000.

Please raise your paddle to underwrite $10,000 worth of hay! Two generous equine lovers did … .
Now who will pledge $5,000 towards the hay? And $2,500, and $1,000 all the way to the folks who would give $100, because the man said, “If we can’t feed ’em, we can’t train ’em!,” pulling at the heartstrings, and extracting more dollars out of the crowd.

These helpless creatures cannot go get a job to support themselves, or hold up a sign. They are at the mercy of the elements or humans. About 350 kind-hearted humans took the scenic drive to Galisteo and sold out the big tent. They raised $150,000 to help rescue the horses!

Happy ending.

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email

Jay Ritter in the BBQ queue.

Queen of the Horse Shelter, Jennifer Rios.

Kitty Hudson shops the silent auction.

A foal called Fortune was the belle of the ball.

Tara Early, Auction Spotter extraordinaire!

Happy to be here, Thomas Duncan.


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