Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Tireless Passion for Horses- Dude's Ranch Equine Rescue Center

Some of the residents of Dude's Ranch.

They have names like Fabio, Voodoo, Spirit and Don Cortez...names given to them by the woman that tirelessly works to provide them a soft place to land, when life has handed them something else. "Many of these horses have tattoos, or a story to tell, there isn't any one particular story or criteria in order to save them". Neglect is what fuels the passion Chellie has for her equine charges. A former marketing executive and fashion photographer, Ms. Testa has been rescuing and re-homing horses for over 20 years.

I recently was invited by Chellie Testa, to visit her equine sanctuary in Acton, CA about 40 minutes outside of Los Angeles. Dude's Ranch Equine Rescue Center.

I was greeted by the ranch dogs an assortment of Chows and Shepherd mixes, and was graciously welcomed by Chellie. Dude's Ranch was created in 2002 and named after "Dude", a former rescue. Dude's Ranch mission is to rescue horses from all ill-fated situations. Currently home to 30 horses, Dude's is a quiet "soft place" for the thoroughbreds, mustangs, paso fino, quarter horses, draft and PMU horses she has saved from as far as WA and NV. Literally picking up the horses herself to ensure their safety. "I have had some surprises along the way, pregnant mares, and babies born in the middle of the night".

To supplement the donations that the 501(c)3 non profit exists on, Chellie offers riding lessons, riding tours, camping experiences, private boarding, and communication clinics between horse and rider that serve as a "therapy" for both. "Our horses are well loved and cared for" says Chellie, "they are not tail to nose trail horses, but well trained horses that can be used for extended trail events and experiences".

The ranch has a "Ride A Horse, Save a Horse" campaign. Adoptions and sale of the some of the horses are made available to be able to assist other horses that would require a permanent home.

Dude's Ranch has an open house each Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Volunteers are needed, there is never a shortage of work to be done. Funds are low and resources are greatly appreciated.

Bring some apples or carrots, you will definitely make new friends. The ranch's number is (661) 269-2473 and operates from sun up to sun down, just like Chellie and the love she has for the horses. http://www.dudesranchequinerescue.org/


  1. I love these stories.......they give me hope amidst all the stories of abuse and neglect and worse. Thanks Sharla!!

  2. I am glad that you enjoyed the piece. There is a lot of good still in the world, sometimes you just have to look a bit harder to find it.


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