Rescue Wins Big with $25,000 Grant

ASPCA Awards More Than $100K to Help a Horse Day Contest Winners

Ramona, CA—TheraPony, a small volunteer-run horse rescue and sanctuary located in Ramona, CA has been awarded an ASPCA grant to continue their life saving work. More than 170 rescues and sanctuaries nationwide participated in ASPCA’s Help A Horse Day celebrated in April. TheraPony was awarded the grand prize of $25,000 for their efforts to lower the number of unwanted horses through 30 Geldings In 30 Days campaign., providing 30 free castration surgeries in the San Diego area during the month of April.

Each year we are proud to recognize the commitment and creativity of equine rescues across the country through the ASPCA Help a Horse Day national competition,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “ASPCA Help a Horse Day illustrates how much can be accomplished when communities and advocates come together to make the most of their ideas, efforts, and resources. I congratulate this year’s winners and thank everyone involved in the lifesaving work of caring for horses who’ve been abused and neglected.”

We are extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity and support of ASPCA and our community,” said Anika Russell, TheraPony’s young founder. “This validates years of hard work. I am so proud of our little rescue and looking forward to doing even more to help our community. We are already working on ideas for next year’s Help A Horse Day. And yes, it will include more new members of the Gelding Club”

I’d like to thank Mylestone Equine Rescue and New Jersey and San Diego Horse Coalition for stepping up and supporting this campaign. Both organizations provide community support programs, on opposite sides of the country,” said Lana Russell, TheraPony’s Treasurer. “I’d also like to recognize the following sponsors, without whom this program wouldn’t be possible: Unwanted Horse Coalition, FarmVet,, Harmel’s Helping Hands Equine Massage, our dedicated veterinarians at Exact Equine in Lakeside, CA, and our trainer Pete Spates of Natural Responses Horsemanship. Special Thank You goes out to our community and Ramona Chamber of Commerce for their support of our organization and Help A Horse Day Celebration”

TheraPony has several projects that will benefit from the much-needed funds. Part will be set aside for next year’s gelding campaign. The rescue plans to fund their Community Support Program with a portion of this grant. The facility TheraPony leases needs work to help accommodate 9 horses who joined the program this year. One new horse, Shelley, was found to be pregnant, so a foaling stall and nursery are in order. Then there are big ticket items that would many more horses but seemed like an impossible dream until today. Because TheraPony focuses on elderly and injured equines, The Magnus Compact Portable PEMF unit has been a wish list item for several years. The group plans to discuss how to get the most bang for their buck during their weekly Saturday night get togethers at the rescue.

How you can help

The routine care for one horse is about $3,000 a year, not including emergencies and acute cases. With nearly 30 horses under their care, the need for funding never ends. Donations and monthly sponsorships are greatly appreciated.

Adopting, fostering, or sponsoring a horse is a great way to help relieve some of the burden on local rescues as well as free up funds for another horse in need.

Help is also needed in areas like website and T-shirt design.There is something for everyone to do.

Upcoming Events

TheraPony hosts Saturday night potluck get togethers at their ranch in Ramona.July 1st Celebration at TheraPony Ranch

First Saturday of every month is Ranch Day. Volunteers gather on this day to tackle larger projects and clean up the ranch.

Second Saturday of the month Pete Spates with Natural Responses Horsemanship holds a clinic at the ranch covering variety of topics.

Tax-deductible donations can be made here PayPal Giving Fund


Media Contact: Lana Russell 714.658.5333




List of all 2017 Winners

ASPCA video



Happy Five Year Anniversary!

13503104_1086196224750470_8236863054938035305_oThis is the time of year I sit back and reflect on where we’ve been and where we are heading. We had a five-year-plan and we have stuck pretty damn close to it. We have stayed on track with growth, support, and program development. Even with a few complications and set backs along the way, we managed to keep our eyes on the prize and move forward.

This is a year of exponential growth for our little rescue. It’s a make it or break it year. We are moving away form self-funding (as was the goal) and moving towards self-sustaining operation. We have some great ideas and programs in development, are building relationships within our community, and thinking outside the box to not only provide for the horses in our care but to also be a resource for our community. Heck, just a few months ago we pulled off #30GeldingsIn30Days campaign, quite a big undertaking for a small rescue!

Of course this is only possible thanks to our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and our amazing community. We thank you, the horses thank you, and I hope we can count on your continued support as we continue to grow and develop.

What’s in our future you may ask? We are hoping to add two more board members, assemble a strong advisory board, secure long-term funding, and my personal “must do” item: get accredited by Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).

Want to join our team? Email We’d love to hear from you. Here’s to the next Five Years of hard work, amazing opportunities, and many many more lives saved! ~Lana

*** As of the date of this publication, TheraPony has saved 35 horses, placed 4 in forever homes, and laid 3 to rest. Thank you for your love and support.

Do Horse Make You Smile?

IMG_5603With the upcoming #HelpAHorse Day Celebration and our #30GeldingsIn30Days Campaign underway, there is a lot to be smiling about. But most of all, we are smiling because our horses who are happy and loved and don’t have a care in the world.

Want to make a pony smile? Buy a shirt here. This campaign runs through April 30, 2017






Fancy showing off her pretty smile


2017 ASPCA’s Help A Horse Day


RSVP to Help A Horse Day Celebration

Thank you to our sponsors




Ramona Sentinel

California Riding Magazine:

Horse Nation:

Ramona Town Radio:

30 Geldings In 30 Days



As part of this year’s ASPCA’s Help A Horse Day, TheraPony will parter with Unwanted Horse Coalition to offer 30 FREE castration surgeries in San Diego area during the month of April.

Know a stallion who is ready to become a gelding? Email for more information and application.


Read more about this special project here














Happy 1st Birthday, Maven the Mustang

IMG_1528.PNGMaven the Mustang is turning one and we are celebrating!  Join us Sunday, April 24, 2016 10-6 as we host ASPCA’s 150th Anniversary Help A Horse Day by celebrating Maven the Mustang’s 1st birthday with family fun, demonstrations by equine professionals, and adoptable horses from Bar Double 9 rescue. Click here for more information and to RSVP. #HelpAHorse

Welcome home, El Chapo and Dominic

In the hustle and bustle of the move and setting up our new facility, we almost forgot to introduce the two boys who joined us the the last two months of 2015.

12244379_937769052926522_3285220796524732940_oMeet El Chapo and 8 year old OTTB, Chappy for short. Chappy was rescued from auction in 2014 as a stallion with a blown up knee. While we were not the rescue that pulled him, we helped connect them with his track owner and he promptly bought Chappy back.

A year later, now a gelding and with a new owner, Chappy found himself looking for a home once more. While neither the rescue that found him at auction nor TheraPony are responsible for him (he was bought by his former owner, not under rescue contract), we felt that since we had a hand in saving him once, we are not going to let him fall though the cracks again. This horse needed someone to be his safety net from here on out. He is now a TheraPony horse. Whatever the future brings, Chappy will always have a home here

What started our as “he can go straight to the trainer, get trail miles and find a home” turned into Chappy being a permanent resident of TheraPony. Chappy’s swollen knee, at 8 years old, is not just cosmetic. His joint has deteriorated over the last few years since his injury in 2010. We are glad we said yes to Chappy, he definitely should not be ridden ever again or go from home to home. There is no reversing the damage done to Chappy’s joint. All we can do going forward is provide the best care possible to extend his quality of life.


12346377_945221168847977_4726338590147562763_nMeet Dominic. He is a 30ish year old gelding who found himself in need of a new home or facing a grim end. The truck was literally coming for this one and he only had days left on his deadline.

Dominic wasn’t purchased from a feedlot, lingered in quarantine, and carted cross country costing thousands. He was literally around the corner.

The oxymoron in this situation is that while never abused or neglected and much loved by their families, horses like Dominic are regarded as farm animals, and slaughter is an acceptable end for them. Just think of them as any FFA animal raised with love knowing that they will be sold by the lb. and being ok with it. His owners are not heartless people, they put down an older horse when it was time and knew Dominic would not do well alone. This is, however, the country and killing a fat seemingly healthy horse and burying him in your back yard is considered a waste. They were grateful the rescue was able to offer him a spot and we are grateful for the opportunity to intercept this horse without having the extra costs of bail, quarantine, and transport.

In life, you always have two choices: do something or do nothing. In this case, doing nothing meant watching a horse at best head to auction and at worst, straight to Mexico. Dominic is now a TheraPony horse.

Welcome, Mezzanine!

DSC_0003Mezzanine the Thoroughbred was born December 16, 2014, a few months ahead of her due date. Through the dedication of her owners and determination of her vet, Mezzy pulled through and continued to thrive. Although she possesses some very impressive bloodlines, due to her health, Mezzy’s owners decided not to pursue her racing career. Instead, they looked for a home where she would be loved even if she can never be ridden. Although it is our hope that Mezzy will outgrow her condition, TheraPony is committed to this baby regardless of what her future hold. One thing for sure: that future includes no racing and no babies.

Mezzy and Maven have their very own Facebook page Two Worlds, One Family where you can follow their daily lives and adventures.