Art and Pony Show

For all the reverence shown to horses in American culture, precious few of us stop to consider what happens to them once they slip past their prime. Suffice it to say that the answer isn't always pretty. Keenly aware that older horses that are no longer wanted or needed, but a step away from the slaughterhouse, Wildhorse Ranch Rescue in Gilbert has stepped in as the ultimate retirement home for horses in need.

Residents include retirees from the race game and government agencies as well as state-confiscated (abused) horses in need of not only a home, but also love and nurturing. Of course, the cost of equine altruism can be prohibitive, so in the interest of raising both funds and awareness for the program, art and commerce have formed an alliance for the greater good with the grand opening of Wildhorse Ranch's Mudpony Gallerie.

Located on site at Wildhorse Ranch, the Mudpony Gallerie will feature original art and music from local and regional artists and a selection of great wines and decadent desserts, including cowgirl chocolates and rum cake. Mudpony also will host acoustic sets by featured musicians as well as Friday-night happy hours, beginning in August.

While donations are welcome, and the ranch's curators hope to raise additional funds from sales of tee shirts and other products, admission to the gallery is free. As an added touch, visitors will receive a barn tour to get up close and personal with the horses they'll be helping.

"It's all about raising awareness and bringing people to the cause," says Kim Meagher, founder of Wildhorse Ranch Rescue. "The bottom line is that it's going to be a great place for people to hang out and enjoy great art and music from some wonderful artists."

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Craig Wallach