.Mare Rescue Heals Horses And Program Participants

Pregnant Mare Rescues saves horses and heals participants

Animal communicator Cindie Ambar volunteers weekly for Pregnant Mare Rescue in Watsonville. 

PMR is a temporary horse sanctuary committed to rescuing pregnant mares and orphan foals from abuse, advocating for the humane treatment of all horses. Ambar, of Heartsong Animal Healing, is a local animal communicator and healer and has seen horses from all walks of life, former Olympic athletes, mares used to make female hormones, and discarded horses. 

“All have been traumatized, some so severely abused or neglected that it takes a great deal of healing work and loving kindness to heal. This includes an understanding of trauma reactions and symptoms, as well as the ability to provide appropriate and compassionate support,” Ambar says. “PMR works with the horses by giving them the space and time they need to heal and allow the horses to take the lead in their own journey.”

She explains that the PMR sanctuary is different from most rescue facilities, which have a trauma-informed perspective when working with horses and provides from two to six hours of pro bono healing work and communication on a weekly basis. 

Ambar provides healing with Reiki energy since it’s a modality that can support multiple animals at the same time. Trained in 18 different healing modalities, she uses her skills to create physical, emotional, and behavioral healing for the horses on an individual basis. 

She recalls a profound healing experience for a filly named Lady. At six months of age, Lady was untouchable. Ambar made progress on the first two visits, but on the third, something remarkable happened. 

“I had been with the horses for almost twenty minutes when Lady started to close her eyes. This meant that I had established a great deal of trust, and she felt safe enough to let her guard down. She continued with eyes closed, starting to drop into sleep,” Ambar says. “She slept standing up for about half an hour, then would open her eyes, stretch, close them, and go back to sleep. After that session, we were able to connect physically.”

While her contributions make a tremendous difference, she attributes much of PMR’s success to farm manager, Denna Kelley, referring to her as “The Horse Whisperer of Santa Cruz County.” 

Kelley’s passionate journey with horses began at the age of six when she was drawn in by horses’ elegance, grace, and powerful presence. She had competed in many Equine disciplines over a period of 20 years but after getting married and starting a family, she disconnected from the horse world and began a career helping adolescents suffering from addiction and alcoholism. 

In 2012, after suffering a severe injury on the job, her dreams of continuing as a professional clinical technician ended. Suffering from depression after her injury, she began volunteering with Pregnant Mare Rescue, believing that getting back to horses was vital to her recovery. Observing the horses’ healing process sparked a personal healing journey that was far beyond anything she thought was possible. 

As the healing began, the depth of Denna’s progress was profound. Recognizing the power of reciprocal healing occurring organically, deepened her understanding of the horse and human relationship, laying out new pathways for deeper healing not only for horses but humans. 

She now manages the Pregnant Mare Rescue Sanctuary, where non-ridden and retired rescue horses reside, grazing in their beautiful eight-acre pasture. She gives guided tours offering meditation with the horses, as well as conducting programs for children and adults. She is also developing healing workshops to be offered as the pasture space evolves to facilitate these amazing Zen experiences. Denna speaks of horses as being magical and deeply grounded in a realm we can all aspire to connect to more often. 

“They assist in healing through their innate wisdom and are incredible teachers that guide us on a spiritual journey,” Denna says. 

Pregnant Mare Rescue, Watsonville – pm*******@pr****************.com

408-540-8568 Visiting hours by appointment only.


  1. My mother Linda used to comment about the beauty and grace of horses. I think she had some interactions as a child and always talked fondly of these animals. I had always wanted for her to have a chance to return to it. No doubt, she would have loved this place and the energy would have fed her soul.
    Also, my Auntie June is cooler than your aunt…

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