Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Fundraiser for 'Soda Bay' set for Nov. 29

KELSEYVILLE – A fundraiser dinner late this month will help support a horse recovering from severe neglect. {sidebar id=24}

Valarie Sullivan is organizing a Nov. 29 benefit at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville to raise funds for food and medical bills for Soda Bay, a horse she began fostering earlier this year.

Soda Bay was turned in by his owner to Lake County Animal Care and Control on May 24, as Lake County News previously reported.

The 21-year-old Appaloosa/Thoroughbred gelding was extremely thin, with abscessed feet and other health problems. His condition was so bad that Animal Care and Control had concluded it was best to euthanize him.

However, while she was delivering hay to Animal Care and Control one day, Sullivan saw the horse, and asked if she could take on his care.

Months into his recovery, Soda Bay is doing well, said Sullivan. He’s been enjoying the fall sunshine over the last few weeks and also has been able to socialize with her other horses.

One day recently, Soda Bay even did a little running and bucking around the corral, Sullivan said. “That tells me he feels pretty good.”

The older horse – who Sullivan affectionately called a “grumpy old man” – also is looking better, with more flesh and weight covering his bones, which jutted out from his emaciated frame when Sullivan first brought him home.

“He's had his second set of corrective shoes and he's walking a lot better,” she said. “He barely has a limp any more.”

Good food, affection, joint supplements, a special diet and vet care have helped bring the horse to a point where Sullivan estimates he is about 70-percent recovered. “I think it all makes a difference.”

She added that he has made a lot of progress in just fourth months. “It’s kinda neat.”

His recovery has been helped by the many visitors who come to see him, said Sullivan. “There’s quite a following that he’s acquired. They bring carrots and apples.”

One woman who is in her 80s visits every Soda Bay every Monday, Sullivan said. Four volunteers come on a regular basis now, with activity slowing a bit since school started.

Sullivan wants to help Soda Bay find a good home. She said she is planning on starting an equine nonprofit called “A Gift Horse” which will put horses together with children who might not otherwise be able to have a horse.

Once fully recovered, Soda Bay will probably be up to some light riding for adults and children, said Sullivan. “Even old horses like to go out with their friends.”

Sullivan estimated that it would cost $6,000 for Soda Bay’s year-long rehabilitation. So far, she has received about $700 in donation, along with feed, a blanket and stall mats.

Tickets for the Nov. 29 benefit cost $35 each, said Sullivan, with proceeds benefiting Soda Bay’s recovery.

After Thanksgiving, people will probably be ready for someone else to cook, Sullivan said.

Guests will have their choice of one of three entrees and a door prize ticket, said Sullivan. In addition, there will be $1 raffle tickets, with ticket holders not needing to be present to win one of 10 raffle prizes so far, with the list of prizes continuing to grow.

Early donations include gift certificates to area businesses, custom-made horseshoe sculptures, horse-themed gift items, wine, and coffee and video gift baskets, Sullivan reported.

There also will be a silent auction, with items including a set of gold earrings valued at $350 donated from Coddingtown Jewelers, a deluxe room overnight stay and two one hour massages donated from Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, a custom-made wine rack donated by Greg Stanley of Kelseyville, a wine gift basket from Ritchie Creek Vineyards of St. Helena valued at $400 and more, according to Sullivan.

Sullivan said she is still looking for primary sponsors for the event, and places to sell the raffle tickets.

For more information about the event, sponsorships or to purchase raffle tickets, call Sullivan at 707-279-9933 or on her cell at 719-661-0306.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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