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The Hallelujah Horses from the largest U
A Closer Look

Spirit Horse Equine Rescue

& Education Center

12 Years of Rescues, Service & Educating

Story and interviews by Teresa Nguyen

March, 2020

"We train horses with dignity and use their nature to create positive relationships." 

~ DeeDee Golberg, Founder

The Hallelujah Horses from the largest rescue in U.S. history

Red at the Dentist

The interviews for this story started on a chilly, but sunny Wisconsin morning with a visit to the Janesville Animal Medical Center to meet up with DeeDee Golberg of Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center and a horse named Red. Red is getting up there in age, over 20 years old, and had lost quite a bit of weight. A dental check up was in order. During the procedure, which we stayed to witness, the veterinarian told DeeDee that Red’s teeth were worn down pretty far. 

This is typical of an old horse, but not a positive sign. When they are young, their teeth are very long and strong. As they age, they wear the teeth down, more and more. The dentist used a power tool to grind the teeth and she noted that one very loose tooth needed extracting. The expression on DeeDee’s face said what no one needed to ask. The realization that this senior horse was closer to his end than she wanted to face was evident. A horse lives on average 25 years. When they can’t eat well, this affects their health a great deal. It was sad news.

It took a while for Red’s dental work to be completed, but then it was over and Red was recovering from his drowsy state in the clinic stable. DeeDee went to greet him and his excitement to reunite with her warmed the heart. He was clearly much happier than an hour earlier.

Red has dental work done at Janesville Animal Medical Center

This was just one of many visits DeeDee makes with the horses to the vet, one responsibility of Spirit Horse out of many.

DeeDee’s compassion for horses began in her childhood, while visiting her uncle’s farm. After her retirement from teaching, she founded a rescue, which serves southern Wisconsin and well beyond. They have rescued horses from as far away as Arkansas and South Dakota and have helped horses involved in a variety of predicaments, such as an interstate accident, eventually returning them all the way to Kentucky.

The Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center board of directors is just as passionate about its mission, their service to the community and the need for an official rescue facility to continue the beautiful and important work of rescuing, rehabilitating and training horses with the goal to find them loving owners and a real place to call home.

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DeeDee Luchsinger Golberg

Founder/President of Spirit Horse
Advisory Council Member - Homes for Horses Coalition


I was born & raised in Janesville, attended Parker High School. In high school, I was very active in Student Council and I was on the Pom Squad the very first year it was formed. I was also involved in Art Club and Spanish Club. At the time, I had post high school ambitions to get involved with animals, but there was no vet school at the University of Wisconsin back then. I didn’t know what other things you could do with animals and didn’t know about the field of animal behavior, which would have been the ticket for me.

After high school, I attended UW Madison earning a degree in Education, Grades 1-9, and a minor in Science. I taught for 27 years in various schools around Janesville, mostly 8th grade.

DeeDee Golberg
DeeDee and her 'heart horse', Rose


My uncle, Walt Luchsinger, had a farm when I was young. It was across from what is now K&W Greenery. That was the highlight of my youth. We lived in town, but we went out there quite often. He even had draft horses. I remember sitting on one, a black draft horse named Bud, when I was just 3 years old! My uncle farmed as a hobby. He had a high stress job at Parker Pen, but this was his way to relax. 

My uncle didn’t teach me a lot about horses, but I was a voracious reader and learned as much as I could. The book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell inspired me and made me aware of how cruel people could be to horses. 

First Horse

When I was 12, my uncle passed away and his horse, Jim, didn’t trust anyone but me. By default, he became mine. We kept him on my uncle’s farm. My mother was terrified of horses, but she didn’t try to stop me and just told me to be careful. My dad would take me out there and we’d do the best we could with Jim. I was his and he was mine...we had a great relationship. He lived to be about 33 years old and passed when I was in college. He taught me a lot.


For a long time, I was ‘horseless’. When my son was 11, I got a horse thanks to the mother of a boy on his little league team, Jeannie Welsh. She was very encouraging.


I don’t know how the subject came up, but she had a farm and said if I had a horse, I could bring it to her farm on Read Road to keep it there. She’s now on our Board of Directors.

My first horse came from South Dakota. We went out trail riding as a family. I loved the horse that I rode and contacted the fellow who owned him. I know that often, especially at the end of the season, they get rid of the horses. So, we met the guy part way and I brought him home. But it didn’t go well. They must have had him drugged when we were riding, because he had all sorts of issues. People told me a variety of violent ways to keep him behaving, but I wouldn’t do any of those.

That’s when I realized I did not have enough knowledge for a troubled horse. He was dangerous and I did not have the skillset. Sadly, I sold him.

So, then I got another horse in Tennessee. But, unfortunately, that horse had problems, too. I ended up selling him, as well. Then I started studying and researching breeds to learn which horses were supposedly easy going. I went to Kentucky and visited a lot of farms. I ended up with a Mountain Pleasure horse. That was my heart horse, Rose. 

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Natural Horsemanship

Natural Horsemanship

Rose was good, but there were things that weren’t perfect between us in our relationship. It wasn’t like my horse, Jim, back in the day. I went to go see a Natural Horsemanship trainer named Pat Parelli.  He coined the term Natural Horsemanship. It was like a lightbulb went off. He solved the problems I had with the horses in a humane way. 


Rose, my heart horse, brought me to my journey to Natural Horsemanship. She ended up living to be 34, quite an old age. I just lost her last summer. I don't know if there will ever be another heart horse like Rose for me.

We are the trainers at Spirit Horse, so I’ve written a series of books on Natural Horsemanship.

One of DeeDee's books on Natural Horsemanship

It is a way to treat and train horses with dignity and to use their nature to create a positive relationship with them.

To watch a blog video on Natural Horsemanship


The Formation of Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center

After retirement, I didn’t know what I would be doing. I’d had horses and had been studying Natural Horsemanship. It was kind of fortuitous. I was giving lessons, and one young lady I was teaching, Anna Baines, was getting really good. We saw a news segment on TV about a rescue place needing volunteers. We went to visit. 

It wasn’t a nice place and they were doing things that we didn’t approve of. So, on the way home, we decided we would start a rescue, just like that! We had no idea what we were doing. 

Anna is now a veterinarian in Seattle.

I found out about a woman who had started a few rescues of her own. She had written a book about how to start and run a rescue. I read the book, contacted her by email and I followed all the steps. We formed a board of directors, filed for 501c3 nonprofit, which back then was an ordeal, and got a website up and running. Everything just exploded! It was March in 2008, just before the downturn in the economy and General Motors was about to shut down.

We were also dealing with my husband’s battle with cancer. But we decided to either get busy living or get busy dying. He was very supportive of this project because it was important to me.

Our first rescue was Tommy, a mule, who we got from Northern Wisconsin. A concerned neighbor had called about this animal because his feet were about a foot long and he was rarely ever standing up. I called the owner and he told me that when he couldn’t catch the mule, he would whip him. The guy told me, “If you can catch the son of a b*****,you can have it!” 

Then there were two horses. The second had an appointment to be euthanized. The vet had deemed him a “hard keeping nut job”. He was a former race horse, was getting older and needed special feed. The boarding facility couldn’t accommodate that. Thankfully, his owner called me and we went to save him.

Dee Dee on right with Linda Parelli, lef
DeeDee (right) with Linda Parelli, horse, Annie Oakley, 
and adopter, Robert Goodland

Growth of the Rescue

That September was the baptism by fire. There was the largest forced surrender in Rock County history. A man up in Lima Center was ordered to give up the horses. We took 32! They were completely wild and we had to round them all up. Nearly every single one of those horses from that surrender was tamed and adopted.

Our initial plan was to have a facility right away. We wanted a place where people could come, have open houses and involve the community. With General Motors closing, that whole concept of asking the community to contribute that kind of money just disappeared.

We completely switched gears and started operating out of foster homes. We went to the town board and asked if we could exceed the number for the acreage and we got permission to do that. We operated that way for 7 years at the Home Farm, but also had foster farms ranging from Lodi to Loves Park.

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Largest U.S. Rescue

The Largest Rescue in U.S. History

The largest rescue in the history of the United States happened out in South Dakota. There were 907 horses! A woman had successfully run a sanctuary, but she let them all reproduce. She had good intentions to preserve individual genetic groups of wild horses. But soon there were nearly 1000 horses! I can’t even imagine what it would cost to care for them.

They were falling on hard times; the horses were getting sick and she didn’t have the resources. The government stepped in. The governor of South Dakota called Elaine Nash, a national level mover and shaker with horses, who took responsibility for them. Elaine called me. We agreed to take two, but we ended up with 10! She got all 907 adopted.

Some of the beautiful wild mustangs rescued from  inevitable slaughter in SD
They are called the Hallelujah Horses

To see a WCLO video of the Hallelujah Horse rescue, click here: 



Our biggest challenge was when the township decided to not allow us to keep the greater numbers at the Home Farm. We were forced to move 23 horses. Most of them were special needs. And we had already taken in the wild mustangs from the South Dakota rescue. We moved all the horses we had to move, and that in itself really hurt us, as we’ve had to pay to lease a couple of properties.

That creates a challenge because, without our facility, we have to drive all over from foster farm to foster farm, and that takes time. 

Another challenge is that it’s a lot of work. We have not found trainers who are willing to give of their time, they are trying to make a living, of course. Any trainer we use would also have to have the same philosophies as we have. Natural Horsemanship is followed by only about 25% of the horse world now. That means 3 out of 4 people you meet are not going to be like-minded about horses.


People come to us and, in today’s society, are more aware that it’s important to adopt a rescue animal. They do a search on our website, and see a horse they are interested in. We go through the interview process with them, and then they come out and make sure it’s a good fit. We also check references and do a barn visit, to make sure the horse will be kept in a safe place. We make the ultimate decision for the family. I can proudly say we have had zero horses returned in 12 years (out of over 100 adoptions) for mismatch reasons. I don’t believe there is another rescue in the country with those bragging rights!

Fostering Horses

Usually, people come to us having heard what we do and want to help out. They might be thinking about buying a horse, but they’re not sure and just want to give it a try. Sometimes they have a child interested in horses and want to foster a horse to see if it's a good plan. We think it’s a great idea. The worst thing for horses is for people to buy one and then sell it so it is moved around and around and ends up in the slaughter pipeline. It breaks your heart. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen. They get their horse dreams, rather than becoming horse nightmares. It’s good for the humans AND the horses. Having foster farms helps us have additional places for horses in need.

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Mica, the wild mustang, accepts DeeDee's as his first human touch.

Goals for a Facility, for the Community

We have always wanted to be a part of the community, be a place where people can come and learn about horses, to see horses. We want to be a destination for school groups and tours and field trips. I had a set of six presentations I used to take to schools, but school budgets don’t allow for much cultural programming these days. These programs could be presented at the facility. We had the Craig FFA students out and that was a great experience for them.

We have had the UW Vet students come down to the Home Farm, and we’d like to be able to do more of that. You can’t do a lot of that unless you have a facility. You just can’t.

We want to host clinics and have regular lessons; we want to set up a program that has now been approved by the government for veterans. The program, a kind of horse therapy, helps veterans suffering from PTSD. We feel we could get a good volunteer base for these kinds of programs, as wellWe really want the community to be able learn more about horses. 

We have a Capital Campaign goal of 1 million dollars, which is pretty modest compared to the price of land. We’re looking at a minimum of 40-50 acres. That would take up half the money. Then you need to start the improvements. 

Once we get the land, we can start talking to various businesses about in-kind donations, like excavation or donating rock and other services.

Facility Goals
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Dallas and Tatonka - seized by law enforcement in 2018

Volunteers Needed

We’re always looking for volunteers. We have paperwork to be done, computer work, social media updates. We also need helpers with the work at the farm, from fixing fences, painting, to working with the horses. We would offer the training to work with the horses and learn how we do it, so things are consistent for the horses. People could also offer to go pick up hay. There are a lot of opportunities.

The Accident

One of the most dramatic experiences was when there was an accident on I90 that involved horses. The people were traveling from South Dakota to Kentucky. They came up over a hill and there was a disabled vehicle in the middle of the road. His choice was to either hit it or swerve. So, he swerved and his tire caught the shoulder and they flipped into the ditch. 

The woman was hurt and she had to be taken by ambulance. The man, was okay, but went with her. There were two adult horses and a young 3-month-old horse in the back…just left out there, tipped over in the ditch. Law enforcement called us.

They wouldn’t stop traffic or even cut it down to one lane, because if there are no fatalities, they’re not supposed to do that. This made our job very challenging.

Fortunately, the horses were not injured, but they were shaken up. We got them out to the side of the road first, and I was afraid one of them was going to get away into the traffic. We ended up walking them along the highway to my trailer and, thankfully, got them in!

The horses stayed with us for about a month. We then transported them all the way back to Kentucky. It was quite an ordeal. The couple only paid the very minimum cost - hay and mileage for transporting the horses. We did not charge them for time and the work to care for them. We rely on donations, we have no funding, of course, so this was quite an expense.

This is just one example of the kind of services we provide. Once we had to rescue a horse from being stuck when trying to jump out a trailer window. There are quite a variety of situations that come up.

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Luna – A Favorite Rescue

Every rescue makes me realize that what I’m doing is all worth it.

We have a horse, a buckskin, from a seizure in Arkansas named Luna. The horses had been impounded for a year and a half. They were not treated as they should have been, they couldn’t even go outside. Luna had signs on her stall, “Beware, do not enter! Staff only.” She was so scared of people and the second most dangerous horse I had ever known. She learned to bite and strike because of the way she had been treated. She was so terrified. When the court case was settled, and the people in charge were looking for places for the 116 horses to go, I offered to take the five horses no one wanted.

Luna came to stay at the Home Farm. Now she’ll probably never leave. She’s so sensitive and can go back to that ‘bad place’ in her mind so quickly. Our guy who trims the horses' feet had predicted that he wouldn’t ever be trimming that horse’s feet. But we did! And we did it with no drugs. He took his hat off and said, “I never thought this would happen, and I take my hat off to you!”

I’m most proud of that, because she was so badly damaged. She’s 11 years old now. She loves children and is so charming and sweet with them. She trusts them. At clinics she’ll splash and play in the water. People who knew her are so amazed!

Homes for Horses Coalition

I was just asked to be on the Advisory Council of the Homes for Horses Coalition. It is the division of the Humane Society of the United States that deals with horse rescue. Spirit Horse has been a member of the coalition for many years, and several of our board members have attended conferences and clinics. They were aware that I’m into education and Natural Horsemanship. I’m very excited about that. People need to be educated so that the problems don’t keep repeating.

What’s Next?

I will keep doing this until I can’t. My dad lived to be 96, so I’m planning on that. Maybe even living to three figures! I’m hopeful that perhaps my grandchildren will want to continue this important work into the future.

Homes for Horses
Dee Dee on Homes for Horses
DeeDee joins the Advisory Council of Homes for Horses Coalition, a national animal sanctuary organization
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Susan Peterson

Susan Peterson
Equine Massage Therapist
Board Vice President


I was raised in a Chicago suburb and had always loved horses. To this day, I still have my childhood horse books. However, unless you have money, there’s really no opportunity to be involved with horses around there. Then, about 20 years ago, I moved to Wisconsin to help take care of our mom. I started working a boarding stable doing chores in exchange for dressage lessons and I was learning how to take care of horses. It was so much fun.

Equine Massage

There had been an article in the paper about a man named Greg Gage, who started a school for equine massage therapy at his farm in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Susan with Autry

I saved the article. My sister, who massages people, ended up meeting him. She encouraged me to go to his school. Greg has since founded the Therasage EMC program and travels all over the country doing clinics. 

So, I signed up for the class and didn’t know how I would pay for it. At the time, I had a MetLife insurance policy and by random coincidence, a lawsuit had been filed and I received an unexpected settlement. It was the exact amount I needed for school! That was meant to be.

I always had to work another job, as I was not turning the equine massage therapy into a full-time profession, but then that led me to Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center. 

Equine massage is very rewarding to me. I do training clinics, as well. There is something about being able to ease a horse’s pain, to see them feel better…it makes you feel like a million bucks!

Greg Gage always said that our goal should never be to make money, but to help the horses. And that’s what I love to do.

Joining Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center 

I’ve been with the organization since September of 2008. 

I always had a heart for rescues. I learned about the rescue when I heard there was going to be a fundraiser. I offered to donate massages to the rescue and DeeDee Golberg was thrilled about that. We hit it off right away.

I get goosebumps when I think about this. I had been praying to God to find a way to help her and her horses. Money is always the biggest need, but, since I didn’t have a lot, what else could I do? Then, the very next day, DeeDee called and asked me to join the board of directors! It’s so rewarding. I do more than give massages, of course. There’s a lot to do, but that is one of the ways I can help.

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Susan works with Vera to help her accept being haltered

Seeing the needs of the organization is sometimes heartbreaking. It’s been difficult to fund-raise and it’s almost overwhelming. It seems like for so long we’ve been trying to raise money, to feed them and function. We don’t know where to turn anymore. It’s very frustrating. We’ve reached out, but not much response. None of us are marketing people. We’ve had some help along the way, but no one really commits.

I would rather shovel manure all day long than do fundraising! But we can’t give up. It’s such an important mission. It’ll be so ideal to have a facility.

Community Support

We’re always looking for reliable volunteers. We have a form on the website and there’s training available. Just the feeling of helping these beautiful creatures to have a good life, to avoid the possibility of abuse or slaughter is wonderful.


Volunteers at Spirit Horse

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Volunteer Morgan and kitty Sargent


Type of building Spirit Horse needs

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Money is always the biggest need. The healthcare and bills and all of their daily needs add up. We encourage sponsorship of a horse on our website. People can attend and contribute to our fundraisers, as well.


Adopted Horse

I adopted a horse who had been abused…kind of a basket case. It would take so long to catch her. She would tremble so terribly. If she saw anyone with a straw hat, she would start shaking. It took awhile for her to trust me to massage her. Eventually, I was able to touch her anywhere. DeeDee suggested I adopt her. And I did!

Her name is Maddie. She’s probably about 20 years old and has some health issues, but she’s a joy to me.

Susan with Maddie
Maddy Olberg
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Maddy with Roo

Maddy Olberg
Board Member at Large

Maddy is studying at UW-Madison for a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics.

Finding Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center

I reached out to Spirit Horse shortly after I lost my mare, Hallie, to colic in March, 2018. I was looking at horse rescues around the Madison area to find my next equine partner and was immediately attracted to Spirit Horse.  As I stated in my original email to DeeDee, “I have seen the wonders that natural horsemanship can do for people and horses. And I absolutely love that your organization uses it in your rescue program to turn around the lives of horses in need.” I went out to visit the Home Farm and began volunteering that spring. 


Adopted Horse

I adopted my mare, Roo, from Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center in June of 2018.

And, yes, she is still with me! She is a “left-brain extrovert” which means she is extremely playful, curious, and fun!  Her backstory is that she was imported from Canada as a yearling. But upon arrival, her original owner immediately decided they did not want her because of a turned-out front hoof. She was shuffled around a little before being surrendered to Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center. 

I met her when I started volunteering for Spirit Horse and quickly fell in love with her spunky and playful personality. Her turned-out hoof might keep her from high-level dressage or jumping, but doesn’t slow her down one bit for trail and pleasure riding with me.


Natural Horsemanship

To me, natural horsemanship is the best way to effectively communicate with all horses. Horses are innately intelligent and social animals and natural horsemanship leverages their natural inclination to build relationships and follow a leader. 

Methods of natural horsemanship allow you to become the horse’s natural leader, which makes the horse more relaxed, engaged, and cooperative. Natural horsemanship gives you a solid and consistent platform for communication which makes horses safer, easier to control, and more predictable. 

Additionally, for me, working with and riding horses has always been about the relationship with the horse.  I wouldn’t want to feel like I was forcing a friend to go for a hike with me, I would want my friend to want to join me for a hike. Similarly, natural horsemanship helps you build a relationship with your horse, so that rather than forcing them to do what you want, they want to work with you or go for a trail ride with you. Ultimately, it is a win-win for everyone - horse and human!

Supporting the Mission

There is a great need for equine rescue in our area, especially for equines in need of physical, behavioral, and mental rehabilitation. Getting a new facility will not only allow us to rescue and rehabilitate more horses, it will also provide a space for us to educate the community in order to help people to keep and rehabilitate their own horses, reducing the overall need for equine rescue! 

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Maddy with Dallas

Training in natural horsemanship comes at a very high cost, inaccessible to those needing it most. Supporting this mission is important because getting a new facility will, in turn, support the community with much-needed, publicly-accessible education in natural horsemanship. 

Marcy Waelti
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Marcy Waelti
Board Member at Large
Owner of Waelti Horse Farm

Learn more about Waelti Horse Farm:

I've known DeeDee and Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center for about 4 years now. Jeannie, also on the board, is a neighbor and introduced us.


There are many ways to help the rescue; passing on our Facebook news, requests and educational workshops, volunteering, fostering, adopting and sending in donations. 


I have adopted two from Spirit Horse and I am fostering one. 

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Marcy with Nein

They have all become loving and caring horses who trust people and try their hardest to do what we ask of them. That's not always easy when they have had such different and difficult lives before Spirit Horse, and before Natural Horsemanship. 

In the summer of 2021, I will have earned my Equine Gestalt Coaching certification. It's a 2-year course. After graduation, my horses and I plan to help families smooth out the emotional, and other bumps in the road. I hope to bring balance to their lives through experiential experiences. Horses have an almost magical ability to sooth and heal. 

Read about Snowman and his relationship with one of Marcy’s autistic students. Click here and scroll down the page: 

Snowy Forest
Marcy with Snowman
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Sharyn Sheen
Sharyn Sheen with Paisley at Black Beaut

Sharyn Sheen
Board Treasurer

The Value of Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center


Horses have played such an important role in our history and it is only recently that they have become companion animals.  Making that shift hasn't been easy for horses, as there are so few advocates for these magnificent animals.  What little girl or boy hasn't loved horses at one point in their childhood!  

The dilemma today is that providing homes for horses has become challenging.  There are no shortages of rescues for dogs and cats, but just try and help an abandoned horse, or one in distress, and you will be hard pressed to find a place to go.  Horses are not easily adopted.  

Sharyn Sheen with Paisley at Black Beauty Ranch

Community Support

In order for us to continue our mission, we need the support of the community in providing a place for these animals to spend their years in sanctuary or to be adopted.  We have exceeded our ability to take in more horses and are in need of community support for a new facility.  

This facility would be a place the public could come to volunteer, see the horses, especially our mustangs from the west and become educated about natural horsemanship. By supporting the facility, the public will realize they are contributing to the welfare of the horses that historically we have been so beholden to.  It is now our turn to help them.  

Mary Olson

Mary Olson
Board Member at Large

Finding Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center

I found Spirit Horse during the time that I was homeschooling my daughter Lily. She was dearly wishing to have a horse, so I thought we’d find a horse rescue where she would be able to learn about the reality of horse care and training. She learned about volunteering and fieldwork which were the foundations of our homeschool curriculum. 

We heard about an alternative training philosophy called Natural Horsemanship, which we just flipped over, and we wanted to find an organization that included that in their work with equines. We finally found DeeDee and were immediately hooked. She is just an incredible educator and trainer and her passion for rescue work blew us away. She is not only an exceptional horsewoman, but she has become a mentor to my daughter. 

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Mary and Wyatt

I ended up working at the rescue, too. DeeDee has such a huge heart and I just had to “join the fun”. We bonded quickly with the horses and with the people of Spirit Horse. Soon after, DeeDee asked me to officially join the organization, which was about two years ago. Lily is now a junior board member, as well.

Serving the Community

Spirit Horse is able to fill in a HUGE gap in animal care services that the Humane Society is unable to achieve. For example, DeeDee gets weekly calls from local folks, and people all over the Midwest, who want to surrender their horse due to a variety of reasons. 

Police Departments call DeeDee when there’s an accident involving a loose horse or a trailer over-turning. Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center has also taken in abused horses from law enforcement confiscations.

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Snoopy jumping at Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center

Spirit Horse works with schools to provide educational field trips to the rescue so that students can earn science credits and participate in community service. There’s even a local church that asks us to provide two donkeys for holiday religious services every year. 

Spirit Horse works to save the American Wild Mustang from extinction. We drove out west to rescue several of these vanishing animals and we’re working on programming to share the experience, and the plight of these majestic beings, with communities across the region.

Supporting the Rescue

There is a need for more community support in this area of Wisconsin.

The town board and residents need to revisit the idea that a registered, legitimate non-profit rescue should be granted permission to have more than one horse per acre, as long as requirements are met. The number of horses that arrive for care and training and then get adopted out creates a dynamic variation in the numbers from month to month.  

There are numerous ways for people to help, besides legislation. A seemingly small $20 donation means so much to our rescue and the horses. It’s so easy to support  Spirit Horse! We just need to keep getting the word out to folks.

Jeannie Welsh
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Jeannie Welsh
Board Secretary

Joining Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center

I became friends with DeeDee when she bought a horse and asked if she could board it at our farm. My husband and I moved to Kentucky in 2004, but we remained close friends and in contact with DeeDee. 

I remember when she came up with the concept of the rescue and we bounced around ideas for the name and the logo she designed. It was a very exciting time because it was clear from the beginning that there was a definite need to advocate for unwanted horses. 

Jeannie with Cowboy 

I became a board member in 2009. Even though I still lived in Kentucky, I took part in board meetings via conference calls and drove back to Janesville to take part in several fundraising events and activities.

Cowboy on the Chief Joseph Trail Ride

Cowboy, one of my fosters, was adopted by a woman in Utah and taken to Montana to ride in the Chief Joseph Trail Ride. The Nez Perce were instrumental in developing the appaloosa horse breed, and only appaloosas are allowed to participate. The ride is a historic, progressive trail ride that traces the route Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce took while fleeing from the U.S. Cavalry in 1877.

Every year, riders travel 100 miles over a 5-day period, which means it takes a total of 13 years to complete the entire 1,300-mile trail from start to finish! This was an amazing feat for this appaloosa horse from Wisconsin and he did it with tremendous heart! 

Why Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center is Important 

There have been several occasions when Spirit Horse has been called upon for assistance. One such rescue was from one of the largest surrenders in Rock County. There were over 30 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules removed from horrid living conditions. Spirit Horse scrambled to the rescue and found places to foster them, rehabilitate the horses and adopt them out to loving homes.

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Charlee with donkeys
Maddy riding Roo
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Over the years, we have taken in horses who have been "discarded" for one reason or another, through no fault of their own. Spirit Horse has connected them to people throughout our community and given them a new chance at life.

We hold events such as "May the Horse Be with You" at the Rock County fairgrounds, allowing people to get up close with our horses. They learn how to interact with their own horses, more as a partner, in a more natural, safe and comfortable manner. Hopefully, through our educational events, we have shed light on a different, better way to approach working together with horses. We hope that people won't give up so easily on their equine friends.

Spirit Horse serves the needs of people and horses alike. The ones who love their horses, but for whatever reason, albeit health, finances or perhaps relocation, want to know they have a place to turn to – a place where their beloved equine are out of harm’s way. Spirit Horse  is a safe place to "land" until their new life and home can be matched with them.

Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center has joined a strong network nationwide with other equine advocate groups. Our goal is to help be their "voice" for the need of reputable equine rescues.

A Worthy Mission

A Worthy Mission


Red was delighted to see DeeDee after his dental work was over. He was quickly recovering from his drowsy state and happily circled around a few times in the clinic stall. When DeeDee entered, Red excitedly nuzzled up against her shoulders. He knew she was there for him; he felt her unconditional love.

From major rescues to numerous dental and veterinary visits, purchasing feed, hauling hay, cleaning barns, to training with Natural Horsemanship, rehabilitating and compassionately caring for these equines, running Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center is both costly and a lot of work. But Spirit Horse is a kind of heaven for these beautiful beasts and DeeDee Golberg, the board members and the volunteers are keenly aware of this important mission and its value. 

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DeeDee with Red

Spirit Horse diligently works to help unwanted, abused, neglected, or slaughter-bound horses, ponies, mules and donkeys and educates owners about horse psychology and care. The need for community support for a rescue facility is greater than ever. Without the rescue, many of these majestic equines would see an entirely different fate, one we wouldn’t even want to imagine. 

Southern Wisconsin is so fortunate to have such a dedicated organization, selflessly rescuing horses in need throughout our community and beyond!

To learn more, visit Spirit Horse Equine Rescue & Education Center's website. Click on the logo: 

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