Sunrise Horse Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Calistoga, California. Our mission is to rescue and provide sanctuary for abused and neglected horses in Napa and surrounding counties, as well as provide community members of all ages with life-enhancing skills and experiences derived from horsemanship.
In addition to providing forever homes at our sanctuary, we also regularly provide assistance to horses and horse owners in need by offering food, temporary shelter, foster homes, permanent placement assistance, veterinary care or consultations, and information regarding horse health, dietary needs, and geriatric care.
We offer natural horsemanship training classes, group educational experiences, and many different volunteer opportunities. Sunrise Horse Rescue is a place where people and horses can connect on a deeper level and build relationships based on mutual respect, trust and compassion.
Founding member, Lisa O’Connor, grew up with horses and is passionate about providing a loving home for horses in need. Over the last eight years, Lisa has used her background in business, sales and marketing to help Sunrise grow as an organization and provide a safe home for severely abused and neglected horses. "I am very inspired when I see the spark come back into their eyes as they learn to trust again….they have so much to teach us about forgiveness." Lisa and her family currently live in St. Helena, California.
Mary Taylor is the Volunteer Coordinator of Sunrise Horse Rescue and a founding member. She was born and raised in Napa County, where she worked as a registered nurse for many years. Mary now enjoys the challenge of helping to build and manage a safe place for horses to live, and for people to learn about animals and nature. "I'm blessed to be working as part of a team to provide holistic care to horses who have been so neglected in the past." Mary and her husband have two grown daughters and now live in Napa, California.
Lindsay Merget is a highly experienced horsewoman who has been riding, competing, and caring for horses her whole life. She was a leader on the Equestrian team at Cal Poly University, has completed various specialized training courses, and is currently working towards her Instructor Certification through PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International). In her professional life, Lindsay is Co-Owner of Streamline Irrigation Design and Compliance, and an Account Manager at Dexter Estate Landscapes. Lindsay is passionate about the Sunrise mission and her skills are a huge asset to our team. “We offer a place for horses where there are no expectations, just unconditional appreciation and love. I am so grateful to be a part of that.”
Shari Bluband first became involved with horses as a young girl, when she and her father rescued a beautiful Appaloosa Mare from an abusive home. That experience led to a lifelong love of horses and other animals. In her professional life, Shari is currently the Executive Director for Oncology, Radiology, Physical Therapy & Job Care at St. Helena Hospital. Her business, management, and non-profit experience has been invaluable to Sunrise as we have continued to grow. “It is an honor to serve our herd, the horse community, and our volunteers that love and care for our horses each day.” Shari graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and received her MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She currently lives in St. Helena, California with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.
Jan Flynn grew up in Belmont, California, and has been involved with riding and caring for horses her entire life. During her professional career, Jan was a business owner, actress, middle school teacher, city counsel member and mayor. She retired in 2014 from her position as the Idaho State Director for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific, to devote time to her abiding interests of writing, education and horses. “I feel very lucky to be part of such an outstanding group of dedicated and hard-working equine advocates.” Jan and her husband have two grown sons and live in St. Helena, California.
Dr. Claudia Sonder, DVM, joined the Board of Sunrise Horse Rescue in 2012. She is widely regarded as one of the premier equine veterinarians in the country, and is currently Director of the Center for Equine Health at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Sonder was an equine practitioner in Napa, California for a number of years before returning to UC Davis to serve in her current role.
Sophie Gullung joined the Board of Sunrise Horse Rescue in August 2018. She has had a deep connection with horses throughout her life, first while growing up in France, and again in upper Napa Valley. She moved to the Bay Area 22 years ago.
Sophie, a former Chevron Senior In-House Counsel, is currently a real estate agent with Pacific Union - soon to become Compass - in St. Helena. She is honored to bring her corporate and real estate expertise to Sunrise Horse Rescue, in addition to her love for horses. Sophie also has a passion for equine therapy, communication, and holistic medicine.
“Nothing would make me happier than helping Sunrise Horse Rescue find its next piece of land to call home.“