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This article was published 25/8/2015 (1542 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There’s a new animal rescue just outside of St Malo that aims to give horses and dogs a second chance at life.
Jessi and Gerr Tetrault own and operate Hooves N’ Hounds Board and Rescue, a 24-7 board and rescue facility that takes in horses, dogs, cats, and even triplet goats with the hope of healing and eventually rehoming them.
The facility—which officially opened this past spring—got its start after the Tetraults daughter purchased a horse during a not-so-pleasant experience at a local auction market.
"I have horses and two years ago we decided to go to an auction at a local auction market because my 11-year-old daughter was interested in purchasing a horse," said Jessi.
Jessi said wasn’t sure if getting a horse for an 11-year-old was the best idea, because she knew how much work they are.
"We went anyway, just to see what it was like and it was an awful experience."
Jessi said there were about 100 horses in pens that came to the auction for various reasons. She cites horses being ill or injured, owners being ill, or owners no longer wanting the horse as some of the main reasons horses end up at auction—because the owners know they’ll get some money from the auction.
"As these horses were going through, a bunch of them were going for meat. We could see the—he’s called a kill buyer—in the front with a calculator. As the weights pop up through the chute, he calculates 45 cents a pound," she said.
Jessi’s daughter was able to bid on the horse that she wanted and get it for $200—after her mom stepped in to help her outbid the kill buyer.
"We brought him home and he’s been probably the best horse that I’ve ever owned," said Jessi.
After this experience, the Tetraults decided to extend their 30-acre property—which was previously just a boarding facility and deemed too far from Winnipeg by many people—into a rescue for animals, as well.
"On one side I have this passion to rescue horses and on the other side I have the facility where I can board other people’s horses. So we thought, why not combine the two and say when you board here, you essentially rescue a horse?" said Jessi.
"So we make the commitment to every boarder, if you board with us for one year, in your honor we will rescue a horse. Whether it’s from a neglected or abusive owner or we go to auction and take it off the slaughter truck, it’ll be a horse in need essentially."
The Tetraults had a similar idea with dogs where their boarding efforts will continue to subsidize the cost of rescues.
"We’ve opened up our house—since we moved here about three years ago—to foster dogs. I thought, we have dogs here all the time anyway, why wouldn’t we open it up to dog boarding and take that money and put it into our rescue pot and then go to the rescue with that cash?" said Jessi.
Though both sides of the business are going well, Jessi said the dog side is way more lucrative, because more people have dogs and the $25-per-day, kennel-less family environment the Tetraults offer is appealing to people. Jessi said kennels typically charge more than $30 a day, charge extra fees for the dogs to get exercise, and keep them in kennels at night.
One of the Tetraults' goals for Hooves N’ Hounds is to bring awareness to the issue that first led them to creating their business.
"One of the things we’re pretty keen on is educating the public that this is what is happening with horses, because when we talk about what we do, a lot of people are totally oblivious that horses are sent for meat and is unregulated," said Jessi. "We take the stance that horses are spiritual creatures that represent freedom."
This past spring when the Tetraults went to a local auction, they limited themselves to two horses. During the next auction in September, they’re hoping to bring home three and continue to increase their quota each time after.
The couple has taken in horses that were ill or injured, rehabilitated them, and rehomed after they’ve healed, only a matter of months later.
"I think the more awareness we create for it, people who are looking for horses will call Hooves N’ Hounds and say ‘I love the concept," said Gerr. "I’m looking for a horse. Do you have one I can adopt?"
A professional trainer comes in several days a week to work with the horses, but the couple still does the ground work with them.
"When we train them we do all the ground work ourselves and we have a professional training come in for the riding aspect of it. We figure by investing into the horse, people don’t have to invest into the horse, so they’re willing to pay a little more for a horse that they know they can ride," said Gerr. "People don’t typically want to train the horses they get. They want a perfect horse that already does everything they want."
Gerr said they hope a horse they rehome never ends up at an auction again and they can help ensure that by training the horse to ride because it’s more appealing to a buyer.
Jessi said they take care of every aspect of the horse. If a horse has issues with their feet, they’ll call a ferrier to help with that. She also said that if there was any prior illness or injuries, they’ll disclose it to the prospective buyers.
The Tetraults plan to continue to grow their business and they’re hoping to rescue more animals to create a petting zoo for next spring.
In addition to the five children the Tetraults have, they currently have rescued horses, cats, dogs, chickens, a pig, and triplet goats running around their property.
For more information on Hooves N’ Hounds, located at 25021 on Provincial Road 403, visit their website at hoovesnhounds.org.