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Published: Friday, August 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Marysville sanctuary offers hope for neglected horses

  • Warren Lewis, a volunteer from Seattle, strokes Otto, a Belgian draft horse, at the All-Breed Equine Rez-Q center near Marysville during the center's ...

    Sean Ryan / The Herald

    Warren Lewis, a volunteer from Seattle, strokes Otto, a Belgian draft horse, at the All-Breed Equine Rez-Q center near Marysville during the center's horse adoption and foster day last month.

MARYSVILLE -- Many of the lodgers have come a long ways to get here.
They're refugees towed north and east beginning their journeys along country roads and ribbons of highway in Idaho, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Others are homegrown, uprooted for whatever reason from pastures and farms around Snohomish County and Washington state.
Some are big, some are small. Some are old. Many have been neglected.
All needed a place to stay and they've found that spot on an 18-acre spread on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. All-Breed Equine Rez-Q operates on property west of the Tulalip outlet malls and Washington State Patrol district headquarters. The land is owned by the Marysville School District, which leases it to the non-profit horse rescue center.
"We focus on the need, not the breed," said Dale Squeglia, Rez-Q's president and executive director, repeating the slogan on her business card. "We don't pick and choose."
That much becomes apparent during a tour of the grounds which is now home to thoroughbreds, quarter horses, miniatures, ponies, a pack horse, a retired carriage horse and even a donkey.
Rez-Q is a sanctuary for homeless, abandoned, abused and donated horses. It also tries to help people learn more about being better horse owners.
Some of its horses are placed into foster care and eventually adopted. Equine Rez-Q is careful how it screens potential new owners and caretakers, Squeglia said.
"If the adoptions don't work out, we will take them back," she said.
Many of the horses were saved from other rescue operations that could no longer make it financially, said Jeanie Esajian, a California woman who often visits Snohomish County and likes to help out at Rez-Q.
Seven horses were brought from an Oregon farm last year when their owner died and her husband couldn't care for them.
Two Rez-Q horses have notable bloodlines, said Sharon Peck, a retired teacher who volunteers there. They are great-great-great-grandchildren of Seabiscuit, the undersized, rags-to-riches champion racehorse from the 1930s whose story was told in an Academy Award-nominated film.
Rez-Q hosted an open house and bake sale late last month, giving dozens of people tours while answering questions about adoption, foster care and volunteer opportunities as well as how people can donate to an operation that gets by on a shoestring budget.
"I'm always wheeling and dealing and looking for help," Squeglia said.
Typically there are between 18 and 22 horses there at any given time.
Many are expected to live out their remaining days on the grounds, including Blacky, a spunky 30-year-old miniature gelding who once was a birthday party pony. Blacky has become the rescue center's mascot.
"He's going to be here forever," Squeglia said.
Over the years, volunteers from their teens to their 70s have helped out. Some initially were looking to fulfill community service requirements from school or brushes with the law; others just love being around horses.
Squeglia said she has seen some young socially awkward volunteers blossom as they gain more knowledge and skills taking care of horses.
"It's extremely good therapy for any kid with troubles," Squeglia said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.
How to help
All Breed Equine Rez-Q, a horse rescue center west of Marysville, is looking for homes for some of the horses it has taken in. The non-profit organization, 2415 116th St. NE, Marysville, also needs volunteers and donations.
For more information, call 425-263-6390 or go to allbreedhorserescue.com.
Organizers ask that visitors call ahead.
Story tags » MarysvilleTulalipHuman InterestAnimals

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