Katharine had returned to New Mexico after becoming homeless in Arizona in 2009. She found property up near the mountain in Las Cruces, applied for help with the down payment, got a 9 to 5 desk job to be able to make payments and was able to get a mortgage and buy it. Then she started a school of gentle horsemanship.
She and her Mum had come up with the name "Dharmahorse" years earlier. A year later, her Mum had heart failure and came to live under Katharine's care until she passed in 2014.
With amazing school horses and students, Dharmahorse began work with special needs children and adults. Dharmahorse hosted homeless and near homeless children and their families, worked with the Bridge Program of a nearby high school and taught Classical Dressage to hundreds of students.
Every week or two, she would receive calls about horses at risk with requests that she take them in. No longer working a "real job", Katharine schooled horses for a local breeder in exchange for hay to feed her own horses. The "rescuing" began to take over the stable!
In Arizona, Katharine had worked with a very large Horse Rescue, so she knew what she was getting into. In 2015 friends suggested becoming a non-profit and helped Dharmahorse become a 501c3 so that the rescued horses could get donations for food and care.
That same year, Katharine met Mark. In 2017 they married (on horseback, of course!) and devoted their lives to the Sanctuary and the horses.
In 2018, it was becoming obvious that Dharmahorse needed more land. Mark and Katharine had designed a Track System facility and had been looking at 10 acres of vacant land beside their home. Patrons had put funds into an escrow account for purchasing land, but the price for the 10 acres was beyond what it should have been.
One night (at 2:00AM), Katharine was looking at properties on an obscure website when she spotted something amazing - there was acreage with a house and barn, less than a block away, that was for sale!
Because the sale of that property had to be cash, and we had cash, we were able to offer enough to buy it outright! The Sanctuary bought its own place outright on January 9th, 2019.
Then, the work really began! With incredible volunteers and helpers, the facility took shape (see here). Our dream for the horses became a reality.
Katharine got a grant for an Infirmary Barn in 2020 and Dharmahorse was inspected and verified by the GFAS.
But the year 2020 hit us hard, shutting down all Volunteer, Special Needs and Workshop Programs. Mark and Katharine took care of both stable yards by themselves. The miracle was the way the new facility was set up for ease of care and to support the natural good health of the horses.
Dharmahorse had a successful fundraiser in 2022 at Woody's Gift Gallery in town and was able to fill the hay barn before winter! There will be more events in 2023.
Now, we are able to have a few skilled helpers (no volunteer or other programs yet, it will take time to rebuild the system). We have had elderly horses pass over, we have brought in new rescues, built a water line system this year that was overwhelming at the time and is now the godsend of easy watering and frost free faucets! There is a sink with hot and cold water in the barn for making the mashes for all the horses.
We have another modular barn (just like the Infirmary) that we set up in March, 2023. We have a new social media presence. We have a trainer helping with the "unhandled" intakes and a new, wonderful hoof trimmer. Dharmahorse will exist well into the future, built on a foundation of compassion and proven natural horse care.