Grass Valley horse rescue looks for funds through membership |

Grass Valley horse rescue looks for funds through membership

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

A year and a half after moving into a 5.9-acre home at Fair Valley Ranch complex near the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Purpose Ranch is hoping to get more members in the saddle to support its horse-rehabilitation mission.

"This is the time of the year when our membership seems to lull," said Trish Browne, cofounder and president of Purpose Ranch's board of directors. "We always seem to dip around this time of the year, when our grants run out. This is the time when we need to up our membership."

Founded three years ago, Purpose Ranch is a nonprofit horse rehabilitation center that rescues horses of all sizes, ages and breeds.

"We rescue the horses and find a purpose for them rather than stick them in a lonely field," Browne said. "We try to give them jobs. We use them for farming and other efforts."

The nonprofit's goal has another component, Browne said: "to educate people about the responsibilities of good horsemanship and being horse owners."

In 2012, Purpose Ranch transitioned from the Rock-N-Horse Ranch, where Browne cofounded the nonprofit with Randall Gross, to the Fair Valley Ranch, located at 11780 McCourtney Road on the outskirts of Grass Valley.

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The new home can accommodate as many as 30 horses, has both indoor and outdoor arenas and round pens and enabled the organization to coordinate with other community programs to offer clinics, classes and events, Browne previously told The Union.

Along with the opportunities the new facility offered, the move also came with added costs, such as a six-year lease and the nonprofit's first paid employee — a barn manager who provides 24/7 care for the ranch's animals.

"Right now, we are not in the black because our membership dropped to the point where expenses exceed income," Browne said. "Our way to fix that is a membership drive."

Purpose Ranch's main program funds are generated from its more than 40 members, said Pam Herrenkohl, a board member who also said the nonprofit needs to attract between 15 and 20 members when she spoke to The Union in July.

"The major part of our funding is membership," Browne said.

Members pay monthly donation dues that directly support the horses and are also directly involved in working with the rescued horses, Browne said. Members are taught how to "read" the horses, communicate in a way that calms and reassures the horses and work with them in both riding and driving situations.

"It's our members that show the horses to the public, groom the horses, exercise them," Brown said.

Recent efforts to attract members have included a booth at the Nevada County Fair and a Large Animal Rescue workshop in collaboration with an assortment of Nevada County's emergency rescue agencies including firefighters, police and veterinarians.

Attendees at the large animal rescue in July were taught how to work with the response to 911 horse rescue calls, as well as given demonstrations on what equipment is used in such a situation.

"It's hard to describe everything (Purpose Ranch does) succinctly because we are doing so much," Browne said.

Purpose Ranch will also be at the Draft Horse Classic, taking place Sept. 19 through Sept. 22, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Anyone interested in Purpose Ranch is encouraged to visit, call 530-273-4368 or email

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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