By Janet Mcafee

February, containing Valentine’s Day, is the month to celebrate love.  For us animal lovers, that includes the loving bond we share with our 4-legged companions.  Horse lovers report an amazing and almost magical connection with their animals.  A wonderful local organization, the Coachella Valley Horse Rescue (CVHR), provides love, refuge and adoption services for rescued horses, rehabilitating them after they suffer cruelty and abandonment.  In turn, these magnificent creatures share their healing love with many folks in need through the organization’s programs.  Do horses feel the emotion of love, and how might they express it?

A 2018 scientific study at the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth provides evidence that horses actually understand and remember human emotions, a trait that makes them seem even more amazing and magical.  Now, science indicates that these animals can not only pick up on a person’s mood, but they actually have a “memory for emotion” that guides their future interactions with that person.  Other research shows horses can read human body language even when they do not know the person.  The love you feel for your horse may not be reciprocated in the identical way, but a horse certainly feels emotions and gives affection.

Deco, a special rescue horse at the CVHR ranch, touched the lives of many seniors, children, veterans, and volunteers who participate in the organization’s program.   This 34-yr-old rescue horse created two paintings that resemble hearts on the morning of May 28, 2018.  Later that day, Deco passed away after losing his battle with cancer.  It doesn’t take much imagination to see an image of a heart in one of Deco’s paintings which is pictured here.  The horse touched the lives and hearts of many seniors, children, Veterans, and volunteers who benefit from the programs at CVHR.  Horses are not able to speak words, but they communicate through their body language and through their hearts. 


Special Open House events are held at the CVHR ranch on the second Saturday of every month.  The upcoming March 9 event, from 8:00am until 11:00am, includes a St. Patrick’s Day parade with the horses.  The March 9 event will also include the opportunity to paint with a horse.  Admission is free and includes coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries. If you decide to purchase a painting, the cost is $25.  The CVHR is located on the north side of the 10 freeway, down an unpaved road on Monroe Street (look for the CVHR sign just before Granite Construction).  For more information about this event contact (760) 808-6279.

Donations are needed to keep this deserving charity operating.  Food, supplies, veterinary care, and dental care must be provided for the horses.  Their program to serve Veterans is free to the Vets, and sponsors are needed to sponsor a horse for each veteran for $400 per month.  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 for more information or to volunteer.  If you own horses you cannot afford to feed, they may be able to help.  Like their Facebook page, The Coachella Valley Horse Rescue to receive updates.  Become part of the movement, “Let’s Save A Horse Today!”