Ruralite Magazine features OGR as its cover story

Mar 4, 2024Blog, Featured News

cover of Ruralite magazine
Two page spread of article about OGR in Ruralite

Click to view larger image

No More Bad Days

Sanctuary near Birkenfeld provides care and a safe forever home for horses and goats in need

By Scott Laird

Nestled in a picturesque valley near Birkenfeld, out beyond Fishhawk Lake, are 14 acres of horse heaven called On Golden Rescue. The pastures, barns, outbuildings and ranch-style house are the home of Larry Boxman and Gayle Rich-Boxman, along with 12 equines, four goats and two golden retrievers. It’s an idyllic setting, especially for horses in need of proper shelter, a place to socialize, graze and play. They also receive medical care and grooming and farrier services.

Larry and Gayle both have had a lifelong love of animals.

“It was something we had in common when we first met 25 years ago,” Larry says.

The Boxmans have created a forever sanctuary and rehabilitation center for equines and goats that come from varied situations—some come from neglected or abused backgrounds, others are simply old, compromised and no longer “of value” to the owner, while others are homeless. On Golden Rescue’s occupants live the rest of their lives, their “golden years,” in lush surroundings with top-notch care and kindness.

Larry and Gayle have seen miracles happen by providing genuine love and compassion to each animal in their care. Animals have responded with improvements in health, behavior and happier attitudes.

The Boxman’s care motto was first adopted when they rescued a horse named Jericho from an unfortunate situation. As he was being loaded for transport to Birkenfeld, Jericho struggled, frightened of the horse trailer.

“It’s OK, Jericho,” his owners had repeated in an effort to calm him down. “There will be no more bad days.”

Jericho has thrived since arriving in his new, safe and healthy environment.

As the owners of a new animal sanctuary, the Boxmans took several important steps to ensure their organization was trusted. They developed a strategic plan and business plan for the organization to manage financial resources and help fundraise. On Golden Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has earned a platinum badge—the highest rating—through GuideStar, which evaluate and screens nonprofits.

On July 11, On Golden Rescue was accredited as an animal sanctuary through Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. GFAS provides a rigorous certification process that ensures sanctuaries worldwide caring for horses, other farm animals and wildlife meet the highest standards of care, training for staff, professionalism, safety, disaster and evacuation plans, and financial management.

On Golden Rescue received its accreditation after being accepted into the evaluation process and following 10 months of work.

“If we were going to set ourselves apart and be worthy of the funding we get, we want to make sure the public—because we are a public charity—knows that those funds are being used appropriately and the animals that are receiving the benefits of those funds are receiving the best care possible,” Larry says. “From the very beginning, we worked to build our facility to meet the highest standards in the world. Now, we’re having a huge impact on horses’ lives and on people’s lives.”

On Golden Rescue does not adopt out the animals in their care. It is a sanctuary—a place for animals to live out the rest of their lives in peaceand comfort.

Much of the facility has been constructed to be self-sustaining, with water catchment and storage and solar panels providing power. Barnswallows are encouraged to build nests and provide natural insect control, and feral barn cats serve as rodent control. The manure the animals generate ischopped up or mulched and spread back into the pastures.

With the help of three employees— Ashley Cavett, Barbara Lebland and Tiffany Steinweg—and several volunteers who help with grooming,exercising, watering and mucking, On Golden Rescue is able to meet the daily needs of the animals they have rescued.

Larry is the organization’s executive director, and Gayle serves on the board of directors, along with Marianne Berg, Hailey Palmore, Angela Roach, Steve Berg and Dr. Kim Post, a local veterinarian.

Larry says On Golden Rescue plans to expand its facilities this year and double the number of equines it can shelter.

“This has definitely been a team effort,” he says. “Hopefully, we can continue to add to our team and offer more and more services.”

One of the Boxman’s horses, River, was in a bad situation when Columbia County was getting ready to seize him from his owner.

“River was incredibly head shy when he came here,” Gayle says. “He was very skittish. He had a bunch of scars on his face, and he was just a wreck.”

“He would just bolt if we got anywhere near him, so we just let him be,” Larry adds. “I would go out and just stand in the field, and eventually, he would get curious. It took a little while, and then he let me touch him, and he realized I was his friend.”

River now allows staff to walk up to him and pet him. He will even bend his head and allow someone he’s familiar with to put a fly mask on him.

“He knows he is in a safe place,” Larry says.

On Golden Rescue is always looking for volunteers, whether they have experience with horses or not. Those experienced with building or repairs, bookkeeping and fundraising are also valuable to the organization.

Interested volunteers or those interested in donating can visit the “Ways to Help” tab at www.ongoldenrescue.org.

“What we see when we take these traumatized horses before they arrive here—you see the darkness in their eyes,” Larry says. “There’sreally no life. When they get here, they realize they can be a horse and have a good quality of life. You watch the light come back into theireyes. It’s just amazing. The fact that we get to do this is fantastic, and we just want to do more of that.”

About On Golden Rescue:

On Golden Rescue is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of horses, goats, and donkeys in need. With a mission to provide compassionate care, shelter, and medical treatment to abused, neglected, and abandoned animals, On Golden Rescue works tirelessly to give these animals a second chance at a happy and fulfilling life. The organization also focuses on education and community outreach to raise awareness about animal welfare and responsible ownership.

For additional information or to connect with a member of the OGR Team, please contact On Golden Rescue at info@larryb26.sg-host.com or (503) 936-4396. High-resolution images and further background information are available upon request.