Help for ‘Healing Horses’

WAIPOULI — Julie Tangelder never dreamed rescuing a horse would have her volunteering at Healing Horses Kauai.

“In saving her, she actually saved me,” Tangelder said while checking in items for the gala fundraiser’s silent auction. “Yes, it’s been challenging; yes, it’s eaten me out of house and home, financially brought me to my knees. Still, it’s healing, it’s rewarding, it’s priceless.”

Maliea, the name of the rescued horse, means calm, Tangelder said.

“Saving her life has calmed my spirit, healed my heart, enhanced my soul, and rejuvenated my passion,” she said, acknowledging all the people who helped her with Maliea.

It was May 10 when Tangelder came upon Maliea, who was dying of starvation and malnutrition.

“The hole had been dug,” Tangelder said. “She literally had moments to live.”

Against odds of saving the horse, Tangelder covered her with a sheet, walked her home and put her in the backyard for lack of a better place — and prayed for her to survive until morning.

“I found a horse,” Julie said. “Or, better said, she found me. She renewed my passion for horses. I couldn’t let her die.”

Her quest for a pasture for Maliea led her to Heather Phelps, director of Healing Horses, and now, Maliea is pastured with the rest of the Healing Horses stable.

“Healing Horses Kauai is very excited to be developing a new community riding facility on 15 acres of land on the Kapaa side of the Kapaa bypass road,” said Phelps. “This facility would not be possible without the generous support of local businesses and community members.”

Phelps said to complete the facility, HHK needs to raise $50,000 and the upcoming summer gala at the Hukilau Lanai on July 15 will not only help with the fundraising, but raise awareness about equine-assisted activities and therapies.

Hukilau Lanai donated the space for this event, said Misha Smiley of HHK, and many others donated items for the silent auction.

The gala featuring dinner, entertainment, a silent auction and cash bar will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hukilau Lanai, 520 Aleka Loop Road. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children to age 14. Children under 4 years old are complimentary. Tickets can be ordered by calling 635-4720, or email

Healing Horses Kauai’s mission is to improve the physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being of Kauai’s youth and disabled community by using equine-assisted activities and therapies.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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