LESAGE, W.Va. (WOWK) – Some rescue horses in the Cabell County area were the recipients of Christmas Day generosity on Wednesday, and the people who helped out said it was about more than just cleaning out stalls.
About 29 rescue horses live on the Mulligan Farm in LeSage. The animals are cared for by the non- profit group Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue.
”Some of them have been neglected. Some of them have been abused physically. Others have come[here] because people have said ‘hey, we are not going to be able to care for these horses through the Winter. Can you help us before something happens,” said Katie Webb, caretaker for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue.
The non-profit group recently hosted an event called, Help HOP Christmas Eve and Day by Volunteering. Webb said Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue relies a lot on volunteers, and people tend to be in a generous mood during the holiday season.
”Just the caretakers themselves. . . we wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the work,” said Webb.
Volunteers like Laura Johnson and her daughter Melody Powell stopped by the stables on Christmas Day to clean out the stalls, feed and water the horses, and groom them.
Johnson, who is a volunteer coordinator for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, said sometimes the regular volunteers don’t have time during the holidays because they are spending time with their families, and the event helps fill the void and create awareness.
Johnson said it was important for her to stop by on Christmas Day because she wanted to make sure the horses and the caretakers were getting the help they needed.
”Because we need to get them (horses) from going from a bad condition up to where they can be adopted and go to that perfect person,” said Johnson.
The volunteers for the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue who stopped by on Christmas Day said it was also important for them to help because they didn’t want a group of horses that had a history of neglect and abuse feeling like they were forgotten about during the holidays.
”They need to know people care about them. . . coming out here whether its 20 minutes or 6 hours like yesterday. It’s doing something for them (horses),” said Johnson.
Her daughter Melody, who did a little bit of everything on Wednesday, said for her it didn’t even seem like work.
”My favorite thing to do with them is probably spend some time with them, groom them and ride them,” said Melody Powell.
Webb said she was grateful for the volunteers that came out, and it was truly a Christmas blessing.
The Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue has two main locations in the Tri-State area that act as foster homes for the rescue horses. One is in LeSage and the other is in St. Albans.
The non-profit group has helped rescue more than 400 horses since 2011.