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tCm: What is The Medicine Horse Project? When and why did you start this? JS: I took a leave of absence from Lifesavers last year in August. I really needed a break. I had been working non-stop for 18 years with no vacations or time off of any kind. I was burnt out. My husband (separated) died in February 2014. That hit me hard. Not only was he my legal husband, he was my friend and he was the Sanctuary Manager. Losing him was devastating to me. But I had to muscle through it and put all those pieces back together: fill all those holes that were he left empty. I really needed some time to myself. So I stepped away from Lifesavers and started a much smaller nonprofit horse rescue because, well, you can take the girl out of the horse rescue, but you can’t take the horse rescue out of the girl. I had to keep busy doing what I love and my true purpose, but on a smaller scale. I needed time to heal.

Just recently the Board of Lifesavers asked me to come back – which was something I was dreaming about for months. So, another one of my dreams has come true. Really all of my dreams come true. I guess that’s why I’m referred to as a visionary.

tCm: Would you consider yourself a pioneer in the field of horse rescue? JS: Yes, I would. But I am not the only one. But I was one of the early organizations that focused on wild horses: rescue, gentling, training, adoption, education and advocacy. Now there are hundreds of horse rescues, large and small, involved in wild horse welfare. To this day, Lifesavers remains at the top of the hill alongside others like Return to Freedom, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary and the International Society for the Preservation of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB).

tCm: From where do you rescue your horses? JS: Horses need to be rescued from a number of different situations: the slaughter pipeline is the priority. But we’ve also taken horses from private hardship cases. We took a bunch from the BLM after a fertility study left a bunch of mares and foals with nowhere good to go. We’ve worked with Animal Control and we’ve even found horses barely alive wandering solo in the desert.

tCm: How do you support your rescue and sustainability efforts? JS: Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue depends on donations from the general public. We use direct mail and email to reach out to our donors. We have a large Facebook and social media presence. We also have a staff grant writer. Sometimes we receive donations and gifts bequeathed to us by individual's wills. Of course the occasional fund raising even takes place.

tCm: Do you rescue other animals in addition to horses? JS: Horses are our main scope but we have taken in some cattle, goats, dogs and cats. We don’t actively rescue any of those other species. But sometimes they show up on our radar and we make a decision to help them on a special case basis.

tCm: What do you think is the fate of our wild horses? Do you think the battle to keep wild horses free roaming will ever end in a victory for them? JS: I don’t think we’ll see the kind of relief for wild horses that we want in my lifetime. I hold on to the hope that something major will change the course and our horses will

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