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Press Release


Louise Gardner

Louise Gardner and Monika Kerber with Nitro, a grandson of Secretariat

Monika Kerber and Louise Gardner

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Meet the CFO and Secretary of Villa Chardonnay: Louise Gardner

Written by: Alexandra Lynch
Client: Villa Chardonnay
Release Date: 2015-02-02

Temecula, CA – February 2, 2015 – With an advanced career and professional skillset, Louise Gardner utilizes her extensive knowledge of finance and business planning to help Villa Chardonnay remain one of the largest and most reputable animal sanctuaries in North America. Find out more about Gardner’s background and how she has helped Villa Chardonnay become so successful in this exclusive one-on-one interview.

Talk about where your love for animals and horses got started.

I started taking horseback riding lessons when I was in sixth grade. I never became very good at it, but it was always a pleasure and I greatly enjoyed the time I spent with the horses. I always grew up with lots of animals in the house - dogs, birds and other animals – they have always held a special place in my heart.

Talk about some of your background with animals.

It is in my nature to care for anything that breathes. I have a special place in my heart for animals that need help. Monika and I have always been rescuers; we’ve certainly never in our lives purchased an animal. Monika rescued her first Thoroughbred before we even met about 26 years ago, and we started rescuing together 17 years ago.

Give me some of your non-horse background.

I was born and raised in Chicago. I have a BS degree in mechanical engineering, and I’ve been in the lighting industry for my entire career, for 25+ years. I started in engineering, but after 10 years, I worked my way into what I considered more fun, which was marketing and sales, and general management and finance. I really enjoy these aspects of business and have learned how to apply them to Villa Chardonnay as well. The animals we care for take the majority of our free time, but I love going out for sushi, and try to oil paint and sketch in my free time. I have a minor in art – it has always been something I enjoy.

Do you think the skills you have developed in your career have helped make Villa Chardonnay so successful?

Yes, definitely. Any time you’re managing a company outside of your equine job, your “for profit” job, is going to transfer over. My marketing skills and learning to write press releases ages ago has certainly transferred over to my role with Villa Chardonnay.  I have been able to apply many of these skills to help us tell the Villa Chardonnay story. One of my primary roles is the financial management of Villa Chardonnay. Without a doubt, my knowledge of working in the corporate world has helped me in the non-profit sector as well.

When did you know you wanted to open an equine sanctuary?

After rescuing Chardonnay over 10 years ago, I started doing more and more research on the internet. One of the most dramatic things I ever did in my personal life was writing and creating the first website for Villa Chardonnay: Because I did so much research online as to what was going on in the community, I had a great sense of what we needed and what people would respond to. This knowledge really drove my passion because I saw so many horses going to slaughter. I mean, I saw what was happening, and you can find graphic details, and things you didn’t want to know. Even with everything we do, I can’t look at some of the things online. All of the research was really eye opening and motivating.

What are your plans for the future with the sanctuary?

The main goal is to become a self-sustaining sanctuary.  We are currently fundraising to move to a substantially larger property so that we can make this happen. With the property we have in mind, we will be able to grow our own alfalfa hay and have more space for turnout, as well as the possibility of an arena. At our current location, we have our hands tied: we are at our maximum capacity. We used to have an arena, but now it’s a home for horses, donkeys and ponies that can’t go out on grass due to various medical conditions. The new property would save us around $12,000 a month, which could be plowed back into caring for the animals and creating more space.

Villa Chardonnay, Horses with Wings, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. All donations made to Villa Chardonnay, Horses with Wings, Inc are tax deductible. Items purchased from Villa Chardonnay Pet Supplies are not tax deductible.

Click here to make a donation to Villa Chardonnay!

To sponsor one of Villa Chardonnay's loving animals visit 


For more information about Villa Chardonnay Horses with Wings click here 


Visit to learn more about Villa Chardonnay Pet Supplies

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