LBL Equine Rescue is a young, but growing, non-profit in Silver Springs, Nevada. They
opened in 2014 and have been making a name for themselves for their efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and adopt out horses. The rescue was founded by Brittany Denoyer and her mother, Linda Bruno, on their five-acre property, which also includes the home they share.
Though Linda and Brittany both grew up riding and owning horses, starting a rescue was never in either of their life plans… until one fateful day shortly after they moved to Nevada. Today, the duo takes in slaughter-bound horses, neglected horses from Animal Control, and injured wild horses. I sat down with the mother and daughter team to find out more about the challenges and successes of their startup rescue.
Q: What is your horse background?
BRITTANY: “I loved horses my whole life, but I started riding when I was about 12. She put me into lessons and I think it was six months later I had my first show in English. I did three-day eventing, cross-country, show jumping, dressage… I got into Pony Club when I was 13 and then the lady that actually started Pony Club asked me to ride one of her horses, so that was a huge honor. And him and I fell in love. He was my first horse! Everybody says if horses could fall in love, he would be in love with you.”
LINDA: “My third-grade teacher really connected with me. Before school ended she said to me, ‘What do you want for your birthday this summer?’ And I said, ‘Well I want a horse!’ So she got me a horse. And I leased it from her for almost a year and so that really got me involved. That was way back when you could ride your bike to the stable and spend all day there and your parents never worried about you. I did a lot of trail riding. What was really nice, when Brittany got involved we actually were able to ride the same trails that I rode when I was a kid. They’re still as beautiful as I remember them.”
Q: Your rescue is not that old and it has grown really fast. That wasn’t really your intention moving out here, so how did that happen?
BRITTANY: “We first moved out here before I moved my two horses out here. I wanted a project horse. Everyone said ‘Go to Fallon Feedlot, you can find plenty of them there.’ So I went to the auction and I fell in love with this colt. I wanted him and I called my mom and said ‘Mom I want this colt. I don’t know how to get him home!’ and she said ‘We’ll figure it out. Bid on him and do what you got to do.’
So I took my place inside and they were running all the cattle through. I had no idea how an auction worked. I was terrified. All of a sudden he comes running in, and so I hear the auctioneer start running off numbers. It was just gibberish to me. I was waiting for him to go lower and lower and all the sudden I hear ‘Sold!’ and I had no idea who he had been sold to. We were walking out and my friend said ‘you should go up to her and you should ask her if you can by him.’ So I did. I said ‘Can I please buy him off of you?’ He sold for $7.50! I said ‘I will give you $400 for this colt.’ She was like ‘No, I’m going to fatten him up and he’s going to go to slaughter.’
And it didn’t really dawn on me. I was like ‘what? What do you mean you’re just going to send him off to slaughter?’ And it hit me that I lost this horse to a kill buyer. I cried all the way home. I was so sad. I got home and I researched how to open a non-profit for horses.
Q: Right away?!
BRITTANY: “Right away! We sent in the paperwork in July of 2014 and we heard back August 2014. Everyone said it would take at least a year… nope!”
Q: What was your thought process?
BRITTANY: “I didn’t want horses to go to slaughter. We don’t raise them here for slaughter. We don’t raise them for human consumption. We raise them as our pets, as our companions, as our friends, as our teammates. It really hurt that people actually do send them off to slaughter. I was pretty devastated and I was like you know what, we can’t save them all, but the ones that we can save – we make a difference in their life.”
Q: Linda, when Brittany came to you after this experience at the auction and told you what happened and had this idea, what was your reaction?
LINDA: “Let’s look into it.”
Q: No hesitation?
LINDA: “No, none. Of course, I worried about the financial situation with it. These are things we constantly have to work through, but we’re not going to let that deter what our goal is.”
Q: What is the mission of LBL?
LINDA: “It’s not only to rescue horses bound for slaughter or those that are abused and neglected, but we also take in the injured mustangs off the range. We try to rehabilitate them and put them back out. If not then we keep them here, geld them if they’re a stallion, halter break them, and try to find them a forever home. But also to educate the community on what it takes to own a horse, what it takes to take care of them. It’s not the adoption fee that is an expense that they should worry about. It’s the care afterward and I don’t think everyone understands that. We don’t want people to make the mistake of getting a horse because they want a horse and then they’re not able to take care of it. Because where does it wind up? Fallon. Or they won’t know how to take care of it and it will
be starved and neglected and then we wind up with a different case altogether.”
Q: How many horses have you adopted out since you opened?
LINDA: “I think about 10?”
BRITTANY: “In our first year nobody knew where we were. In our second year, still, nobody knew where we were. It wasn’t until our third year that we’re really booming and
we’re really pushing those adoptions out. One of our first adoptions didn’t happen until a year after we opened. And they lived right down the street and had no idea we existed!”
LINDA: “The other thing is, we have a really rigid adoption contract. And it’s really to
safeguard the horses. Most of these horses have been here a year or longer and not just because we’re unknown, but because we’re also very picky.”
Q: What have you discovered the biggest challenges are to running a rescue?
BRITTANY: “Getting horses into their forever homes. Just because we are so picky about it, about who they go to. Our adoption contract is about eight pages long!”
Q: So are the successful adoptions what keep you going?
BRITTANY: “Yes, absolutely. When they finally get into their forever home it’s like that moment, you’re just so emotional and you’re so happy about it.”
Q: What is the process here when you do take in a new horse?
BRITTANY: “We give them a few days to settle down, figure out their surroundings, get used to us, get used to the horses they have next to them. We do an evaluation, they get vet checked, and once they’re cleared for everything then they go into training.”
Q: Do you give yourself a time limit when you take in a horse?
LINDA: “No. There may be some that will never leave. We have a 36-year-old mare with Cushing’s. She is an amazing horse for kids to learn with for ground manners and grooming. She’s perfect for that. She’ll probably stay here. Nobody’s probably going to want to spend that kind of money to give her the medication daily.”
Q: Where a lot of rescue groups get in trouble is, while they are well intentioned, they don’t know when their resources have been maxed. How do you plan so you won’t have that problem?
LINDA: “Obviously limiting ourselves. I know what my financial situation is so I know what we can and what we can’t expect. I always talk about our Top Ramen, because in the winter time that’s dinner four times a week! It’s a commitment we made together. One thing I have to say is Brittany has learned a great deal of understanding about what a need and a want is. A lot of people are very leery. They think all rescues are bad.”
Q: Well, there have been bad ones…
LINDA: “Yes, but we always say please come over and see what we do. That’s what we’re here for. You come and see. If any of these horses look bad, tell us. You’ll never see any of them mishandled. You’ll never see them lacking for food or water or anything.”
Q: What has the community response been like since you opened?
BRITTANY: “It’s been amazing. After our [open house] and once we got on the news, that’s when we really blew up. It’s been amazing. Everybody’s been really supportive. They’ve really pulled together.
LINDA: “This past Sunday I had 12 volunteers. I’ve never! We’re lucky if we get two! I have a gal that comes from Fallon. One from Reno.”
Q: You’re not only mother and daughter, but you’re also business partners. Do you think you’re a good business team?
LINDA: “99% of the time. We have our issues! I would say we’re more like sisters than mother and daughter…”
BRITTANY: “I don’t know about that. [laughs] We work really well together. We have our struggles, but who doesn’t in a horse rescue? There’s times she says no on a horse and I say yes.”
LINDA: “…And I pout for a day.”
BRITTANY: “She pouts and we usually bring it in.”
LINDA: “We just kinda work together on things.”
BRITTANY: “And then there’s times we’re really frustrated at how this place is… and then we look at old photos and we feel so much better.”
LINDA: “I would love to make it look nicer. But here’s the thing, do we get rid of as many horses as we can and just work on making this place look pretty? Or do we focus on what we’re doing?”
BRITTANY: “Our main focus is the horses.”
Q: When you think back to what you guys were doing five years ago, clearly this was not in your plan or vision. What do you think about how things have turned out?
BRITTANY: “I feel accomplished… even though we still have more to go.”
LINDA: “Things work out for a reason. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d
Q: What are your future goals for LBL?
LINDA: “I’d like to get a place with more property. To go bigger.”
BRITTANY: “If we do decide to move, we want to stay local. Because it is just the two of us that are here 24/7, that’s why we try to limit ourselves so much on how many we bring in and when to say no. If we do get more property, I would love to have facilities. An arena. All we have is our round pen. So just to expand that way… and not get too many on the horse side.
LINDA: “Until then we’ll just keep plugging away with what we’re doing… But, If I had it
my way, I would just do pregnant mares…”
BRITTANY: [shaking her head] “Noooooo! If I had a choice it would still be the abused
and neglected just because we take pride in that. In almost every situation, we’ve been able to rehab them. And it’s amazing seeing their progress.”
Q: If someone is not in a position to adopt, but wants to help, what do you need?
LINDA: “We have the volunteer days. Normally we host people here every
BRITTANY: “We have a monthly sponsorship.”
LINDA: “We could always use someone who can weld things, because we have plenty of panels that can use some help. Or people that can help fixing fencing. We’re going to be building another shelter soon…”
BRITTANY: “Donations. Feed. Vet bills. We always need volunteers.”
LINDA: “Even if it’s just loving on a horse…
because they need that too.”
Learn More: https://www.lblequinerescue.org
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