Michelle Cochran, who founded HiCaliber Horse Rescue (HCHR) in 2002, must find a home for over 50 horses in various stages of rescue and rehabilitation. For nearly 6 years, HCHR has been nestled in the eucalyptus grove at the base of the Monastery; a safe haven for abused, starved, abandoned and homeless horses. Deer Park Monastery has told Cochran that the horses must be off of their land within 90 days.
WHO is HiCaliber Horse Rescue? HCHR is a grassroot organization of passionate horse advocates who do things a little differently. We built our operation from the ground up, starting with one horse. We are your every day average Joe, the little guy – small but mighty.
We think outside the box, march to a beat of a different drum and try to have fun while saving lives. Rescue can be draining and drag you down; rather than dwell on what we can't do, we celebrate what we can!
HiCaliber Horse Rescue was founded by Michelle Cochran, a former Animal Control Officer, who also co-founded two successful dog rescues in San Diego County. Our board of directors includes Dr. Grove of West Coast Equine Medicine, Niki Avila, a Registered Veterinary Technician specializing in emergency medicine, and Miles Dunbar, a horse trainer with Dunbar Sport Horses and a numbers cruncher by day; .
Our advisory board is a group of long time volunteers who work in conjunction with our board to keep our efforts moving in the right direction. They provide support to the BOD where needed and offering their guidance and input for any critical decisions that cross our paths.
Our volunteers are the backbone of our success! They show up day in and day out, approxomately 80 hours a week are given to the horses of HiCaliber. Our volunteers are from all walks of life, with various careers, economic and cultural backgrounds. They are the true rockstars of HiCaliber who make it happen! Our horses love them as much as they love our horses. Watching our herd blossom under their care and compassion is inspiring.
WHAT does HiCaliber Horse Rescue do? Well, HCHR is more than a rescue group! We provide information, training, owner assistance, and shelter support in an effort to help horses and owners all over San Diego and Riverside Counties. At HiCaliber, our horses light the way and our loyalty is always to them.
We are an adoption based program that focuses on the right home, not the quick one. We put gentle and individualized training on all of our horses before they leave our facility. We allow and encourage adopters to come get to know our horses on-site so we can offer support and guidance. Our horses are much happier going home with someone they already know and trust which makes for successful, life long matches.
We also offer our training services to the public in an effort to be a self sufficient organization. While donations are a huge part of our success, we never like to hold our hands out.
We assist owners who are in exigent circumstances that will affect their horses. We try to be proactive in our approach to rescue and not wait for the horse to decline. Be it death, foreclosure of a loss of job, we know that bad things happen to good people. We try to help the community in these situations where our budget allows.
As a former Animal Control Officer, Michelle is adamant in her desire to help the animal shelters place horses. They are the dog and cat experts, but are often times ill-equipped to deal with horses who are in need of round the clock care. Having been an Officer herlself, Michelle is aware of what it takes to build a successful case when charging an owner with animal cruelty. Often times, evidence horses find their way to HiCaliber for rehab, where West Coast Equine Medicine and Michelle can effectively document the progress and findings that will help Animal Control and District Attorneys build their cases.
WHEN does our lease end? HiCaliber Horse Rescue has to vacate the lands in 90 days! Yep, we lost our lease and we gotta be out in 3 months. We have spent the last 6 years of our existence here, growing our unintentional rescue. We never could have imagined how big our operation.
WHERE is HCHR heading? We are hoping to stay in North San Diego county along the 15, 78 or 76 areas. The majority of our volunteers are from these areas and ripping them away from the horses who love them so much isn't ideal. Our horses have a deep trust in our crew and we need to now more than ever. This move will stress the horses and they need their human family to be familiar to keep this as normal as possible for them.
WHY is this happening, did something go wrong? Ummmm, to be honest – Our operation grew much larger than anyone expected over the last few years. The universe/God/fate has been pushing us in a direction that says there are bigger and better things waiting for us. Each time I dig my heels down in fear to stay, something else pops up that says, “Nope! There is something waiting for you on the other side of this mountain you're facing!”
HOW CAN YOU HELP? This move is going to take a MIRACLE to happen, but if there is one thing I know about HiCaliber – it is that we work best under pressure, we can handle chaos, the unknown and what-if's. We are all fighters here: Brain injury, abuse, cancer, veterans, single parents, special needs kiddos – With your help, we got this but we need your help!
**HiCaliber Horse Rescue is a certified California charity:
HCHR initiated their 501(c)(3) application in August of 2013 and are currently in "pending" status with the IRS, HCHR is allowed to receive charitable contributions in accordance with IRS regulations.