«Return to News ListingVolunteer of the Month: March 2020


April 14, 2020 – 


March 2020 Volunteer of the Month: Mike Davila  

Mike is currently a horse care volunteer assisting in the care of NMCTR’s therapeutic riding horses. During this COVID-19 pandemic, Mike has assisted NMCTR by offering to add horse care shifts to his schedule and picking up shifts when volunteers could not make it. He also took the initiative to stay longer at the barn, spend quality time with the horses, and groom them. The horses don’t understand why their riders have been missing but enjoy the extra time Mike spends with them! Volunteers like Mike display teamwork and compassion, and are the reason why NMCTR is so successful! Thank you Mike! 

A little about Mike…  

“I started life on a New Mexico ranch. My earliest memories are peeking through the bars of a corral watching my father break young horses for ranch work, or sitting on the porch with my mom in the evening waiting for him to come riding up after a long day in the saddle. Horses and livestock were always a part of my life.  Loretta, my wife of 49 years and I raised our four daughters in a rural setting with lots of exposure to livestock. We raised dairy calves, chickens, pigs, goats and of course horses. The girls favorite horse was a palomino gelding we named Pal. He was a retired ranch horse who had been sent to a sale barn. He was bought by a horse trader who was going to ship him to slaughter. I was able to buy him, the girls fell in love with him.  He was absolutely bomb proof and let them climb all over, ride, groom and braid his mane and tail to their hearts content.

But life happened and we moved to the city.  We lost connection with horses and livestock except for an occasional visit to an uncles ranch. I’d take my old saddle, ride and re-live the early days. But all of the girls still have a soft spot in their hearts for animals. The oldest has a horse farm in Colorado, works as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor at a horse therapy facility there called “Hearts and Horses”. Another daughter is a large and small animal veterinarian. She graduated from CSU and works here in Santa Fe at Smith Veterinary Hospital.

When Loretta and I retired in 2015, we traveled a lot, but then decided to move to Santa Fe and start investing time in our home, friends and community. A big part of this is volunteering at NMCTR. Working at the horse barn feels like coming full circle and reconnecting with my roots. Driving up in the morning, hearing the horses greet me with nickering and pawing makes my heart jump with joy. I absolutely LOVE feeding, mucking, brushing and visiting with these big ole gentle souls (and the other volunteers too). 

It’s an honor and humbling to be singled out as volunteer of the month. There are so many others who deserve it more, work harder, longer and are selfless in their giving, especially the staff. I’m hoping the respect, encouragement and heart I see in our horses, volunteers and staff can carry us through these trying times. ” ~ Mike D.