California Riding Magazine • July, 2014

HiCaliber Help Wanted
Escondido Rescue Needs New Home

Michelle Cochran, who founded HiCaliber Horse Rescue in 2002, must find a home for over 50 horses in various stages of rescue and rehabilitation. For nearly six years, HCHR has been nestled in the eucalyptus grove at the base of the Deer Park Monastery in Escondido; a safe haven for abused, starved, abandoned and homeless horses. The Monastery has told Cochran that the horses must be off of their land within 90 days.


Ellie Mae before...


...Ellie Mae after.

HCHR is a home away from home for over 30 volunteers as well as several neighbors who visit and care for the ranch daily. Many of the horses are healing from injuries or are well into their golden years and they require experienced care and attention. Another half-dozen are recovering starvation cases from local Animal Control agencies, who entrust the horses to HiCaliber and their progressive medical team that consists of three veterinarians, an emergency medicine tech, and several holistic practitioners.

"We have a 100 percent recovery rate with rehabilitation of the most severe starvation cases Southern California has ever seen. Emaciated horses have delicate digestive systems that require round-the-clock care and an experienced team," says Michelle. "We provide refuge for equines that often have nowhere else to go; many are facing euthanasia at municipal animal shelters due to medical or behavioral issues. Municipal shelters are already understaffed and over populated; they are dog and cat experts – but we are the horse experts and they need our help. Any time we can lighten their load by 1100 pounds, it's a good feeling for all involved."


Solar before...


...Solar after.

 

HCHR is run by Michelle Cochran, a former Animal Control Officer; Dr. Daniel Grove of West Coast Equine Medicine; Niki Avila, a registered veterinary technician; and Miles Dunbar, a horse trainer with Dunbar Sport Horses. Their unique approach to rescue and a no-holds-barred Facebook page has created a unique grassroots organization of passionate horse advocates who are putting a positive spin on an often-times sad venture. To date they have rescued over 100 horses from abuse, neglect and slaughter, all while offering educational programs, and providing support to owners in crisis.

In order to keep HiCaliber operating, several donors have stepped up to assist with funding the relocation, but more help is needed. A fund-raising goal of $700,000 in 90 days may be quite a lofty aspiration, but with the disappointing news to vacate, along with the community's desire to support our growth, there is no greater time to launch this venture. The donations from small to large will greatly impact new found growth and provide our team and horses with long-term security that leasing land failed to offer.


Johnny before...


...Johnny after.

 

Despite the massive under taking that HCHR will go through, the silver lining to this transition is that it will allow us the continuing opportunity to assist more horses and expand our current programs. One of those programs is Horses as Healers, a flagship protocol which is geared towards children, domestic violence victims and veterans.

Furthermore, the municipal animal control agencies can continue to utilize the HCHR facility in a more substantial capacity. "Too often, rescue is portrayed as a losing battle that leaves you feeling guilty and depressed," says Michelle. "At HiCaliber, we are making a difference, and having fun while doing it. Our horses light the way and our loyalty is always to them. There is no time to be sad when you are lucky enough to be surrounded by an animal as noble as the horse. HCHR refuses to dwell on what we can't do but rather to celebrate in what we can."

Article provided by HiCaliber. HiCaliber is a California registered charity. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit website www.hicaliber.org or visit their GoFundMe website www.gofundme.com/ak14w0.