Animal Rescue facility expanded to offer services for equines and their owners during pandemic

Happy Endings Animal Rescue Sanctuary was founded in 2007 by C.C. Beaudette-Wellman and is an all-volunteer organization. It is dedicated to providing rescue for abused and neglected horses in the Santa Ynez Valley. They offer refuge, rehabilitation, sanctuary, public education, and an equine-based therapeutic program for at-risk youth. 

In 2020 Happy Endings rescue program expanded its services to include horses in the community who were suffering during the pandemic due to COVID-related hardships.

“Thanks to the generous donations of Jacobsen Hay and Feed, we were able to feed 13 Belgian horses who would have otherwise not have been sufficiently fed,” said Beaudette-Wellman. 

In 2021 Happy Endings received generous grants from a few different foundations, which allowed them to help feed 44 horses belonging to 40 different individuals, approximately 80 percent of whom were seniors.

“We also received 120 bales of hay from Jacobsen and 55 bales from private individuals,” added Beaudette-Wellman. “Farmers Warehouse donated 80 bags of equine senior feed. Throughout the year, we teamed up with Care For Paws to distribute animal feed at the Santa Ines Mission alongside People Helping People who distributed food for those in need.”  

In 2022, with much less funding, explained Beaudette-Wellman, Happy Endings still fed 19 local horses belonging to 12 local individuals.

“We received a couple of grants and used our private donations to match those funds,” she added.

“In 2023 we have obtained some funding and are targeting seniors in need who are struggling to support themselves in the face of steep inflation,” continued Beaudette-Wellman. “For those living on fixed incomes, the increased cost of everything is creating extreme hardships, so we are here to eliminate some of that stress by helping to feed horses in those families.”

In order to ensure recipients of their program are truly in need, Happy Endings conducts on-site visits, and checks personal and veterinary references. They also confirm that the horses are in generally good condition, that abuse or neglect are not factors, and determine that there are no seriously underlying health issues before they accept them as recipients. When all of the conditions are met, Happy Endings provides hay, equine senior feed, necessary farrier needs, and non-surgical veterinary care, within reason.

Bonita Sargeant is Happy Endings’ grant writer and heads up the Rescue Program and also volunteers to care for the horses.

“I have horses on site and horses in foster care,” said Beaudette-Wellman. “I have horses in Buellton, down the street at the neighbor’s ranch and in Santa Ynez, all cared for by Happy Endings and their volunteers.

According to Beaudette-Wellman, higher expenses had made the sanctuary’s job more difficult.

“Last year, at this time, one bale of hay was $24. I just ordered some hay and it is now $39.99, which will last one horse five days. That’s almost double the price,” she said. “The prices of everything have gone up from food to medicine, veterinary costs, even gas for the truck. There is not one single thing that hasn’t gone up in price that I know of. If you would like to contribute funds to offset some of these sky-high prices, we would be most grateful.”

Beaudette-Williamson said her facility provides a safe place for people to place their horses if they can’t care from them.

“It is well-known in the rescue world that people give up their animals because they can’t afford to keep them, so they either euthanize them or place them in shelters. For the most part, placing horses in a rescue facility is next to impossible. Some will only accept horses with financial support attached, such as a trust fund,” she explained. “Lately, it has been rather problematic with people creating fraudulent rescue facilities, asking for donations, and applying for grants, but they are not legitimate. They take the money and the horses are sold to ‘kill buyers’ and transported to either Mexico or Canada, who then buy them by the pound. We want to support people who want to keep their horses in their loving homes so that’s why we started this program.”

If horses are neglected, Beaudette-Wellman will try her very best to find foster homes to place them; if she can’t or the owner is unwilling to relinquish, the case gets sent to Animal Services.

“But it takes a lot of money to rescue these animals and rehabilitate them properly, so we rely on grants from foundations and caring individuals from our community,” she said. “During the COVID period we were unable to hold our annual fundraiser, ‘Rock for Horses.’ But, this year, our event will be happening in early September. So please come join us for a fun-filled evening.” 

Happy Endings invites all seniors with horses, if they are struggling financially, to call Happy Endings at (805) 448-7138 and take advantage of its Rescue Program now. Their funding is limited, so please don’t delay if you need help.

“We are very humbled to be of service to our community and will continue, by the grace of God, to do so,” said Beaudette-Wellman in conclusion.

For more information about the organization and the many programs Happy Endings offers, visit