Thanks to major fundraising efforts and its many supporters. the Olympic Peninsula Equine Network finally has a barn and tack store. Shown are, from left, OPEN Vice-President Diane Royall; Valerie Taylor, equine program director for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries; OPEN President Valerie Jackson; and OPEN directors Glenda Cable, Allan Bryd and Mike Vaillancourt. (Karen Griffiths/for Peninsula Daily News)

Thanks to major fundraising efforts and its many supporters. the Olympic Peninsula Equine Network finally has a barn and tack store. Shown are, from left, OPEN Vice-President Diane Royall; Valerie Taylor, equine program director for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries; OPEN President Valerie Jackson; and OPEN directors Glenda Cable, Allan Bryd and Mike Vaillancourt. (Karen Griffiths/for Peninsula Daily News)

HORSEPLAY: Olympic Peninsula Equine Network unveils new barn

GREAT NEWS: OPEN finally has its own doors to open.

It’s a big, beautiful set of handcrafted sliding barn doors that open up to reveal Olympic Peninsula Equine Network’s much-needed new barn.

It’s taken a lot of fundraising, along with the help of generous donors and volunteers, for the Sequim-based horse, pony and donkey rescue and re-home organization to see the barn come to fruition.

“We’ve wanted and needed a barn since forever,” said Diane Royall, OPEN’s vice president, ranch manager and self-proclaimed “chief poop picker-upper.”

The barn now serves as an office, tack store and storage.

“We’ve received so much donated tack to help us raise money, and have held many tack sales,” said Valerie Jackson, OPEN president.

“They are so labor-intensive, we have to get everything out and set up, and then what doesn’t sell we have to store again in one of our own garages or barns. So this is so much easier.”

All that time takes away from the time they spend with the horses.

In the new store the tack can always be on display.

If someone isn’t working on the property to show what’s for sale, just call and they will be happy to meet you there.

The barn itself isn’t very large — just under 400 square feet — but with its high ceilings and loft it’s both sturdy and functional.

Personally, I think it’s adorable and charming inside and out — and I want one just like it to be my new much-needed hay barn.

It was Royall’s husband, general contractor Kevin Royall, who designed and built the barn along with Richard Schoonover, James Royall, Maxwell Royall and OPEN director Mike Vaillancourt.

Vaillancourt also crafted the new signage and horse heads insignia adorning the front of the doors and barn.

It just tears me apart to see and hear of animals being neglected — or worse, abused — which is why I applaud and avidly support OPEN and the countless hours of work its founders Jackson and Royall do in helping people and their horses, along with taking in, rehabilitating and hopefully re-homing equines in need to good homes.

The need is so great the two, who also work and have families, can’t do it alone.

So they formed the nonprofit and rely on the help of many “wonderful volunteers and supporters,” Royall said, including board members Glenda Cable, Allan Bryd and Vaillancourt.

Funding also comes through grant programs and partnerships through organizations such as Homes for Horses Coalition.

“Last year I applied for a grant through Help-a-Horse day event through the ASPCA,” Jackson said, adding it took her months to fill out the application (she’s a busy woman who also works full-time at the Seven Cedars Casino).

“During the application process they asked if we were part of Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. I said, ‘No, but I will look into it and we will be next year,’ ” Jackson said.

She applied for GFAS accreditation.

Because there are many people and organizations that claim to be a rescue who do not provide quality care, it’s the only organization offering an animal sanctuary accreditation program worldwide.

Through its evaluation process, GFAS can ensure those designated as GFAS-verified or accredited uphold the highest standards for animals in their care.

Once an organization gets accredited GFAS provide assistance to help each sanctuary uphold its standards of operations, educational resources and mentorship.

Accreditation also provides a sort of stamp of approval, which is a tremendous aid in applying for grants.

Earlier this month, Valerie Taylor, equine program director at Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, came out to inspect the property and the horse rescue operation.

She took pictures of items such as the shelters, fencing and latches, as well as inspecting for cleanliness and quality of feed.

Before leaving she gave a verbal approval, but they won’t receive full accreditation until after her recommendations are approved by the GFAS board of directors.

OPEN’s next big fundraiser will be in June, when they host a big barn dance.

The Cedar at Dungeness is loaning them a big tent so they can host it on the property rain or shine.

Until then they are looking for sponsors and volunteers to help out.

OPEN horses are available through adoption.

Foster homes for horses are always needed, as well as more volunteers to help with grant writing, grooming and working with the horses, feeding, picking up manure and other cheerful chores.

If you’re in need of tack, check OPEN’s tack store, at 252 Roupe Road. It is chock full of donated tack and gear to help support the cause.

For more information, call 360-207-1688, email [email protected] or go to www.olypen equinenet.org.

Mail donations to P.O. box 252, Sequim, WA 98382.

News

Thanks to Back Country Horsemen’s Mount Olympus Chapter’s cheerful and hardworking members, the Littleton/Mount Mueller trail is clear of fallen trees and branches and ready to ride from the trailhead to the Rock House.

Its monthly membership meetings are held every third Monday at the Upper Elwha Community Center.

For more information, contact Larry or Sherry Baysinger at 360-327-3611.

Also, every first Saturday of the month members Dave and Becky Seibel host a fun day with your horse at their Spirit Horse Ranch.

This is free to BCH members and will cost non-members $10.

For more information, call Dave Seibel at 360-640-9472.

Finally, the BCH Peninsula Chapter will host its annual Salt Creek Spaghetti Ride on April 28.

The rideout will be at 9 a.m. from Salt Creek County Park in Joyce.

They’ve also been busy updating the Miller Peninsula Trails with signage.

For more information, contact Linda Morin at [email protected] or 360-775-5060.

________

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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