It’s time to cast your vote for your favourite Hero of the Horse. You may vote once a day, from now until September 15th. Please spread the word and help recognize the efforts of these exceptional horse people.
The winner’s story will be featured in the November/December issue of Horse Canada and they will receive a trophy, along with $2,000 to continue their work. PLUS, Canadian Saddlery will donate 12 blankets of any size (234 Goliath Regular Neck Turnout or 235 Mid Neck Turnouts) – a $2,100 value!
At just 12 years old, Kris Latham rescued her first horse from slaughter. She and her mother literally stopped a truck on the road and pulled the mare off, saving her from an unfortunate fate. From there, Kris dedicated her life to horses – doing everything from mucking stalls and managing stables, to opening her own facility and establishing Second Chance Cheekye Ranch. In operation since 2016, the not-for-profit, located in Squamish, British Columbia, recently applied for charitable status.
Kris has rescued 77 equines since SCCR opened its gates – 71 horses, five donkeys and one mini mule – and 38 have been rehomed, with adoptions pending on two more. The adoption process involves an application, reference checks and the approval of a five-person Board. One of Kris’ own personal rescues, a donkey named Cheeks that survived a flood in 1996, serves as SCCR’s mascot.
Kris said half the horses come from auctions, where they outbid kill buyers, while others are saved from kill pens and still more come to SCCR through an affiliation with the Native Bands in the Pemberton area. SCCR has taken in nearly 30 of their horses in order to help decrease the herd’s population to a manageable number, and reduce the hazard of the animals getting out on public roadways.
Most of the horses have had minimal handling, and can be considered wild or feral. Kris begins their rehabilitation by assessing each horse’s physical and mental states, and then slowly helps them on their way to health and calm acceptance of being handled and ridden. She said this can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the animal. Kris pairs horses with capable volunteers who care for them and help with their training. She said it is incredibly rewarding to watch the transformation and learning that takes place for both the horses and the people.
Kris raises money through social media, a lesson program, various workshops, bottle drives and an annual fundraiser, which generated $11,000 this year.