By Janet McAfee

On January 28, 2019, Riverside County Department of Animal Services responded to call about starving horses on a property near the Salton Sea.  Tragically, one horse and a burro at the ranch were deceased.  Officials discovered there was no food and very little water available to the animals.  Officers took custody of the eight surviving horses, suffering and emaciated, and transported them to the County Shelter in San Jacinto where they will come available for adoption.  The body of the deceased horse was taken to a lab for necropsy, and a cruelty investigation was opened.

Coachella Valley Horse Rescue volunteers visited this Salton Sea ranch last summer out of concern the horses were suffering in the blazing 120 degree weather with no shade.  They gave the owner shades and medication for the horses fly infested wounds.  At that time, the owners refused to relinquish the animals to the rescue.  Tragically, the situation went from bad to worse.    

This wonderful local charity leads the battle to protect and rehabilitate these amazing and majestic creatures from cruelty and abandonment.  In turn, the horses share their healing love.  The Coachella Valley Horse Rescue is an amazing organization with a variety of programs involving our equine friends.


President of CVHR, Dave DiMeno, is a Marine and the driving force behind their program that helps Veterans, HORSEINALITIES BOOT CAMP Engaging Heroes with Horses.  Participating Veterans, some with service connected disabilities, develop confidence and trust as they train with rescued horses. Experiencing the unique connection between human and horse, participants gain inner strength and improved health.  

The Coachella Valley Horse Rescue takes their miniature horse for happy visits to seniors in nursing homes.  They conduct presentations about animal care and cruelty prevention to school children.  They also work with Boy Scouts and Girl Scout groups.  Rescued horses receive veterinary care, training, and are readied for adoption.

Annette Garcia, Rescue and Volunteer Director at CVHR, developed a love for horses when she began riding as a 5-year-old.  In 2009, Annette was active with the Indio Mounted Posse.  Horseback riding with a girlfriend, the pair came across a pair of horses tied to a tree.  In that time of economic downturn, the friends suspected they were deliberately abandoned.  Public animal shelters were becoming overrun with unwanted and often starving horses.  Some horses ended up in slaughter houses.  There were not enough rescues to help them.  An email sent to Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres produced the seed money for the Indio Mounted Posse to launch the Coachella Valley Horse Rescue in Indio. 

Donations are needed to keep this deserving charity operating.  The Veterans program is free to the Vets, but sponsors are needed to sponsor a horse for a veteran for $400 per month.  A tractor is needed for projects around the ranch and to grade the arena so the horses stay safe while exercising.  Food, supplies, and vet care must be provided.  All donations, large and small, are 100% tax deductible.  You can mail a check payable to CVHR to P.O. Box 809, Indio, CA 92202, or donate online at  Call (760) 808-6279 to volunteer.  Join the mission at CVHR, “Let’s Save A Horse Today!”