By MELISSA HUTSELL
T This is not your average horse rescue. — Jeannine Etheridge
he Oakdale Equine Rescue has saved more than 250 horses since its inception in 2011. What started with just six horses only five years ago has evolved into the Oakdale based non-profit organization whose mission is to rehabilitate, foster and find homes for each horse they accept. Although she has always had a deep love and appreciation for these animals, Jeannine Etheridge, cofounder and president of the OER Foundation, says she “never imagined creating and running a horse rescue.” It was not until her daughter’s fifth grade project focusing on her future career that Etheridge became involved with animal recues. “My daughter’s dream was to become an equine veterinarian, so I thought it would be best if she worked at a horse rescue.” 209MAGAZINE
Etheridge contacted the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which directed them to a horse rescue located in Ceres. After a bad experience at the Ceres horse rescue, the family was redirected to an organization in Oakdale. “After several months of working side-by-side with my daughter and donating time, I was chosen to be a board member,” said Etheridge. It wasn’t long before Etheridge decided to team up with Lora Handley to create Oakdale Equine Rescue, along with board members Ramie Shumate and Mary Smith. And the rest is history. In five short years, Etheridge has saved hundreds horses from neglect and abuse only to rehabilitate them and find them safe, loving homes. “This is not your average rescue, “says Etheridge.