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Equine Welfare Network Messenger

We are a 2017 Messenger!

We are proud to be an EQUUS Foundation Messenger and share our horse care & use practices with the public.

The Messenger Designation is awarded annually. To retain an existing EQUUS Foundation Messenger designation and apply for an EQUUS Foundation grant in 2017, organizations must provide all required information and update their Messenger information on or after January 1, 2017 and not later than April 30, 2017.



Messengers are organizations on the Equine Welfare Network that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency and accountability by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their operations.

Click here to learn more about our horse care and use practices.

Refuge Farms, Inc., Horse Rescue & Sanctuary



Refuge Farms, Inc., Horse Rescue & Sanctuary
3035 Highway 29 P O Box 195
Spring Valley WI 54767
715-505-5626

Physical Address:
3035 Highway 29,Spring Valley,WI 54767

Tax ID/EIN: 20-2332234
Year Founded: 2001
Last Updated 2017-07-18

Public Charity


View our WEBSITE

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Primary Focus involving horses (Horse Welfare, Public Service, Sport & Recreation):  Horse Welfare

Our organization operates programs involved with horse rescue, foster care, rehabilitation, adoption and/or retirement.

Our organization's primary activity is equine retirement.

Our organization is directly responsible for the care of horses to provide its services.

100% of our total programs and services are horse-related.

Our organization conducts its horse-related programs at one facility.


Our Mission/How we are involved with horses:
Refuge Farms rescues the dier horses, being those that the other horse rescues refuse. These are the old the diseased the forgotten and the crippled. We heal as much as the horse directs and re-home whenever possible.

Our Sanctuary Horses are further utilized in our established Horses Helping program of equine based mental health therapy. The program works with all humans in need of self esteem, self confidence, grief support, or general well being and utilizes our Sanctuary Herd horses.

Horse-related programs:
Horse Welfare:<br /><br />The originating and long-term program of Refuge Farms is the rescue, rehab, re-homing or retirement of the "dier" horses or horses that the other rescues refuse. These are the crippled, the dying, the diseased, the horses considered killers or mean, as well as blind horses, horses with tumors or broken legs, and those that are starving from neglect, abandonment, etc. These are the horses our Declaration of Purpose identifies as our specialty. <br /><br />In the winter of 2012-2013, Refuge Farms was called upon to find a way to sustain life of over 130 horses where the owners simply could not locate hay. Refuge Farms did not take ownership of the horses however we were asked to help to sustain them until grass once again appeared in the spring. <br /><br />Working with the Cattle Ranchers Association, Refuge Farms was able to find winter housing for all 130 horses and the horses were fostered by the cattle ranchers. This brought no revenue to Refuge Farms however finding a way to sustain the lives of these horses truly fed our Missions of rescuing the "diers".<br /><br />This example is used to illustrate how Refuge Farms has remained focused on saving the life - always, always working to save the life - of the horse currently in our doorway and in doing so to always consider the quality of the life for each horse.<br /><br />Horses Helping: <br /><br />In 2012, a pilot of the Horses Helping program was conducted and confirmed that our Sanctuary Horses are, indeed, great givers of healing. This program is intended for people of all ages that are suffering from mental health issues or emotional issues as a result of abuse, neglect, death or disease, divorce, or mental illness. <br /><br />Our program is not a riding program. Horses Helping is a ground based program where horse activities are used to generate responses which are then discussed and lead to self-learning and awareness. Therapy may be individual or group style and may be from one hour to an entire half-day. <br /><br />In each of the five classes of a typical program, Refuge Farms trains the support staff that this program is not therapy. Instead it is truly a class in training an individual how to halter, lead, and trailer a horse. Our initial pilot told us very clearly that the young at-risk teen is "therapy'd out", as they told us. Thus we work to not call our classes therapy although the goal is emotional growth with anger management, grief understanding, and a positive self image.<br /><br />Also critical in each class is the commitment to identifying one task a student does well and then praising that student for that performance. Most individuals attending our classes have a negative self image and no self esteem. We see an actual physical response of the straightening of shoulders, as an example, when a student receives praise for handling a situation well, for example. We are careful not to be artificial or overly abundant with the praise but we are sincere with an example given and the compliment to the student that it was managed and done well by them.<br /><br />In our pilot, such positive response was received by our pilot participants, that the school formally enrolled their at-riskĀ students in the subsequent summer sessions. Our success continues with on-going classes during the school year and also a shortened summer session class, as well. Refuge Farms is currently working to expand the class beyond our local high school to other Chippewa Valley high schools.<br /><br />To elaborate on the mental health therapy portion, Horses Helping is a program, using rescued horses, which is designed to use the horse to human relationship to facilitate healing for individuals that are experiencing emotional pain due to abuse, neglect, trauma, depression, divorce of parents or self, death of a close one or diagnosed for themselves, anxiety, or any diagnosed emotional or behavioral disorder. This program is also designed to provide corporate training sessions to improve teamwork and communication.

Non-horse-related programs:


Volunteer Opportunities


A Life Changing Opportunity
A very special horse rescue is in need of compassionate and dedicated humans to support the healing of the horses not even wanted by other rescues. We call them the diers. They are blind or with broken legs or terminally ill or severely neglected or abused. Our Missions are to heal them as much as possible and support them in their choice to live or cross. Then we make these horses available to humans in need of healing or a great listener. Horse handling training is required. A big heart is a great trait. And the rewards are unending and life changing. Thank you for considering us. Age 16 and younger require parent or guardian companionship.

Volunteers Needed!
Volunteers of all skills are needed! No previous horse experience required. Under age 16 require parent. Special needs are now fencing, building demolition, computer skills for GiftWorks and QuickBooks. Thanks!

Wish List Items


Our Skid Loader Needs Help!
Our John Deere 260 skid loader works year round to move round bales, clean barns and pastures, and remove snow. We are in desperate need of tracks to help us move on ice and a fork lift for feed deliveries. Thanks!