Local horse rescue Hope for Horses (H4H) celebrated its successful move to a new location with an event on May 21, featuring demonstrations, a silent auction, food and drink, and the chance to meet the horses under its care.

The event was a moment of stability after three months marked by uncertainty about the group’s future.

In March, the rescue was planning to buy its old location on Arno Road when the owner wanted to put it up for sale. But in April, it received a 30-day eviction notice. At that point, it found out that a possible new location, Reebok Ranch on Alta Mesa Road, was up for lease. That touched off a month of fundraising leading up to the Big Day of Giving.

The community response to H4H’s $30,000 ask was “beyond expectation,” President Grace Purdum said during the welcome event, noting that the goal was much higher than others the group has had.

In about a month, H4H raised $28,000, with more donations continuing to come in.

“It enabled us to pick up and open our doors,” Purdum said.

H4H’s event included demonstrations for people looking to learn more about connecting with their horses, and how the rescue helps heal the horses it takes in.

Carla Bauchmueller, who helps riders over 40 become more balanced and confident while riding, spoke about ways to change one’s posture and breathing to get in sync with a horse.

“What you need to be as a rider … is you need to be centered and rounded,” Bauchmueller said. “Especially when the horse acts up, you cannot act up as well.”

Scott Purdum, Grace Purdum’s husband and creator of the Advantage Horsemanship training program, demonstrated how H4H works with former racing horses, aka off-the-track thoroughbreds.

He showed a process of building rapport with Astro, a thoroughbred that suffered a fracture, before leading the horse through exercises designed to help her unlearn some of the associations she’d built up through racing.

“We’re trying to help them realize they don’t need to go fast,” Purdum said.

Attendees visited with the horses, tasted wines, and ate ribs, tri-tip and chicken from The Q BBQ.

The rescue was able to welcome new equine residents, thanks to community support: two older horses who were abandoned. Another person tried to look after them but was unable to provide adequate care. One of the horses, more than 30 years old, collapsed in the transport trailer, and the rescue feared for his life.

“So we thought we were going to lose him, and he’s really rallied,” Grace Purdum said. “He’s really picked up in spirit, and he’s kind of ready to go.”

A table had been set up asking attendees to suggest permanent names for “The Painted Gentlemen.”

“I think they’re going to come around really well, especially the one that we were really worried about Day One,” she said. “I think he’s going to thrive, be that next success story.”

Hope for Horses’ new location is Reebok Ranch, located at 11795 Alta Mesa Road. For more information about H4H, visit its website, hope4horses.com.