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The Oregon Rescue Challenge for 2018 will be held June 29-30, in Powell Butte.

PHOTO BY JOY REYNEKE - Trainer Heather Petersen works with 'Phoenix,' a tricolored pinto mare, rescued by the Warm Springs Horse Network.The Warm Springs Horse Network will proudly present its tricolored pinto mare "Phoenix," its candidate for the 2018 Oregon Rescue Challenge.

This year's Oregon Rescue Challenge will be held June 29-30, in Powell Butte, at the Rim Rock Riders Event Center.

Co-trainers Heather Petersen and Ashley have been chosen as this year's premier Warm Springs Horse Network trainers. Throughout the competition, the women, who have the proven ability to work with mustangs, will provide Phoenix with an experienced, loving touch.

Phoenix will showcase her abilities to rise to extraordinary heights, as a true Phoenix rising from the ashes. Warm Springs horses exhibit exceptional minds, potential and heart, representing tribal culture at its finest. They are Pacific Northwest American Heritage Horses — superior equine from the Warm Springs Reservation, and "a gift well worth owning," according to the WSHN Board of Directors.

Phoenix came to WSHN in April 2016, with a group of mares on load 63. Adopted by a wonderful woman from The Dalles, Rachael White, Phoenix was given 30 days of training with a Warm Springs tribal member.

Her filly foal, Maiya, now owned by Alyssa Huntley, is thriving.

During the next few months of life off the reservation, Phoenix lived at the Redmond foster home of Mary Wallace. After a month of training, she was adopted by a Central Oregon resident, Jackie Taggert, of Sisters, where she lived about a year.

Trainers, including Keirsten Ochner and Nicole Perez, have been instrumental to her training journey, as well. Phoenix boarded with, and became Wallace's horse after a period of time due to Wallace's caring and compassion. Wallace's home provided a safe landing place until Phoenix was offered as the WSHN 2018 ORC horse.

As people step into Phoenix's path, she continues to rise. She accomplishes each step with more trust and willingness. As the Phoenix of myth and legend, she is a dark horse that is rising to brilliance.

Phoenix was rounded up in the spring of 2016. The horse network purchased approximately 20 mares off the Warm Springs Reservation from a group that were to be culled. Phoenix, along with approximately 19 mares, came from the Simnasho region of the Warm Springs Reservation.

All of the mares had foals on their side or were bred. Some of the mares from that herd have been reunited at the Wallace Ranch, such as Dorothy and Whisper, who found permanent solace in each other when adopters Mary Wallace and Cheryl Sherman felt the two mares were probably mother and daughter or mother and granddaughter.

The gracious heart of Wallace led to an amazing day, when the reunited mares literally danced in uniform hoof steps.

Soon after, another happy reunion occurred at the Thomas Ranch in Culver, where herd mates Phoenix and Hope stood watch over each other in contentment. The two, who were pasture mates when they were raising their foals on the Pruitt Ranch in Culver, were content to spend a few days together.

Phoenix will come with a great care package for the buyers. So far, the mare's dowry includes a trail backpack, two tons of hay — one each from Petersen Farms and from Jacobs Family Farm, six months of supplements, a gift card, and 30 days of additional training from HLP Training at one-third the normal cost.

To make donations for the new owner, contact Heather Petersen, Shontae Thomas or Beth Matanane, or visit www.paypal.me/wshn.

You may also drop off dowry items to Tori Reid at the law office of Jered Reid at 35 SE C St., Suite D, in Madras.

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