“Saving only one horse won’t change the world, however it’ll change the world for that one horse.”
When God created the horse, He birthed into existence the proper instance of fluid grace and poetry in movement. Watching a horse gallop by means of a grassy area, mane and tail flying within the wind, one can’t deny the ability and fantastic thing about an animal that has lengthy served mankind in each work and pleasure. However with partnership comes accountability, and lots of occasions, for a lot of causes, an individual is unable to care correctly for an animal in its possession. The result’s typically a tragic reflection of man’s cruelty, whether or not meant or not.
Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue gives a humane resolution to any equine that’s in want of particular care due to neglect, abuse, or when an proprietor can not take care of the animal. Hope’s Legacy is a protected haven the place horses, ponies, donkeys and mules will be cared for, given medical consideration if wanted, rehabilitated and educated earlier than being fastidiously fostered or adopted by an individual prepared to offer the animal a loving residence.
Maya Proulx is the visionary behind Hope’s Legacy and shares credit score with a exceptional crew of devoted volunteers and workers doing their greatest to offer consolation and dignity to equines who’ve been uncared for and forgotten. Since 2017, the equine rescue has made Fortress Rock Farm its everlasting residence. The 172-acre farm, positioned on Fortress Rock Street simply off of Craig’s Retailer Street in Batesville, is nestled within the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Driving in on the gravel highway with a cover of inexperienced leaves and the Mechums River slowly meandering by means of the property gives the look of an earlier century the place life advanced at an unhurried tempo.
The identify of the equine rescue got here from Maya’s off-the-track thoroughbred, Hope, whom she’s had for seventeen years. Hope is in residence at a therapeutic driving faculty close to Charlottesville the place a brand new chapter of her life started, doing a job, Maya mentioned, “she is superb at.”
Maya, a Nelson County native, began driving when she was a baby of 4 and acquired her first horse at eleven years of age: 1 / 4 horse/Standardbred cross who had been deserted at a boarding steady. The mare was Maya’s first rescue expertise, however within the years that adopted there gave the impression to be one horse after one other that got here to her from some sort of dangerous scenario. Ultimately Maya determined she wished to do rescue on a bigger scale and started wanting into what it might take to begin a non-profit horse rescue. Her dream grew to become actuality in 2008 when Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue, Inc. grew to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit group. Maya based Hope’s Legacy after she came upon that many animal management companies in Virginia wouldn’t have services for seized horses.
“I wished to create a useful resource for animal management companies in Virginia so that they had somebody to name when the necessity arose. We began out in a neighbor’s fenced-in area that had a two-stall barn on it, and that first yr we took in just one donkey that was truly adopted the identical day we acquired it. The subsequent yr we took in three horses, so we grew slowly. Promoting was by phrase of mouth, by means of our major veterinary hospitals, Blue Ridge Equine Clinic and Westwood Animal Hospital, and animal management.”
Maya mentioned within the first 9 years of Hope’s existence they moved seven occasions, borrowing and leasing properties across the space. In 2015, they began wanting actively for a extra everlasting residence. As destiny would have it, one of many rescue’s supporters informed Maya her mother and father had handed away, leaving 480 acres to their kids and a few of the siblings wished to maintain their acreage and a few wished to promote. She requested Maya if she can be occupied with wanting on the property and Maya mentioned, “completely.”
Initially, Hope’s Legacy had budgeted a specific amount for 50 acres of land, however the homeowners, not wanting promote to a developer, supplied them 172 prime acres for lower than half the market value of what land was bringing in western Albemarle. The provide was dropped at the board of administrators and with Maya’s suggestions, the board mentioned, “Let’s do it!” The members of the family agreed to finance the property with zero p.c curiosity, “which was an enormous reward,” mentioned Maya.
“We closed on the farm two days earlier than Thanksgiving of 2017 and started fencing the subsequent week. There was a small home on the property and an previous barn that was used however finally needed to be torn down. At the moment, we had ten horses. As soon as we acquired the primary area fenced, we moved just a few horses into it, and when the second area was completed, we moved just a few extra. We used spherical pens and made small paddocks. The volunteers carried water to the horses from the Mechums River that winds by means of the property, however later wells have been drilled and now every enclosure has water. Run-in sheds have been constructed the subsequent spring and several other bigger completed sheds from Helmuth Buildings in Harrisonburg have been introduced in on vehicles. Many have been donated by supporters.”
From the beginning, Maya’s husband, Wealthy, performed an enormous half in Fortress Rock Farm. He was the grounds and services supervisor, caring for the mowing in addition to main volunteer teams in constructing initiatives. Though not initially a “horse particular person,” he helped his spouse ship and herald equines and totally supported her mission. Sadly, Wealthy handed away in Could of this yr, leaving a big vacuum in Maya’s coronary heart in addition to the hearts of his household and associates.
This October Hope’s Legacy will begin their first main development challenge, an 8-stall consumption barn. Maya mentioned, “This barn will present a safer surroundings for our caregivers, veterinarians, volunteers, and farrier, who at the moment work outdoor. This 40’x72’ barn will probably be named for Henry Javor, a supporter who gave beneficiant monetary help to the challenge. The barn may have a central aisle and cross ties will present shade, safety from the weather, safe footing and higher visibility. It will likely be used to accommodate equines from giant rescue operations, present stall relaxation for injured or starved horses, to quarantine one group of equines from others, and supply housing on a second story for a future farm supervisor and potential rental unit. Because of beneficiant donors, the monetary aim for the barn has already been met. Additionally, the ultimate fee on the 172 acres was paid in March of 2021, making Fortress Rock Farm mortgage-free. Sooner or later there will probably be a driving ring, a spherical pen for coaching and a community of trails for coaching and path journey occasions.”
Since its inception, Hope’s Legacy has taken in 500 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys and located ceaselessly houses for almost all of these taken in. It has taken lots of work by the workers, volunteers, donors and sponsors who give so generously of themselves. When requested if there was something particular Hope’s Legacy wants in the intervening time, Maya was fast to request extra volunteers to assist with the farm’s rising wants. No expertise is required, and coaching is accessible for anybody with a coronary heart for horses. “We’ve got retirees, highschool college students, individuals who have ridden horses, individuals who have by no means been round horses, ex-military, anybody, actually, who want to assist,” Maya added.
Occasions at Hope’s Legacy embody “Hoofin’ It for Horses,” a 5K path run on the property with an open home and tour of the farm afterward, and a “Books on the Barn” program for 6- to 14-year-olds. For extra particulars, log into the Hope’s Legacy internet web page at www.hopeslegacy.com.
Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue is the exceptional story of what one particular person with a ardour for kindness can do to make an enormous distinction on the planet… particularly in case you are a horse!
The Saving of Bobby Earl
Horses have a physique rating from 1-9, with 5 being optimum. In March of 2018, a 10-year-old horse was dropped at Fortress Rock Farm with a physique rating of 1, the bottom on the register and the poorest total situation. The proprietor was compelled to give up the animal, who had been disadvantaged of meals to the purpose of hunger.
Carolyn Sandridge, a Hope’s Legacy volunteer since September of 2017, mentioned she was immediately drawn to the emaciated equine, who was bodily and emotionally depleted.
“When he got here off the trailer and was put in a stall, the look in his eye informed us he was an emotionally damaged horse. He was so defeated at first and by no means even nibbled the hay he was given for a number of days. He was afraid and didn’t belief anybody. For his top, he ought to have weighed round 1,100 kilos, however when he got here in, he weighed between 800 and 900 kilos.”
Bobby Earl, named by Maya Proulx, had realized that people couldn’t be trusted and pulled away from any contact with them. Carolyn mentioned that slowly, slowly, after about 5 days, he started to point out some curiosity in his environment, his meals, and the individuals who got here to feed him. Nourished in each physique and soul, Bobby Earl started to achieve weight and thrive.
Carolyn grew to become more and more connected to the horse, and in December of 2020 formally adopted him. He continues to be boarded at Fortress Rock Farm, so his wants are taken care of every day. He has gone from a fearful, untrusting animal to at least one who acknowledges the love Carolyn exhibits him and nickers a greeting when he sees her approaching.
“He is stuffed with persona and needs his ears scratched every time potential,” mentioned Carolyn, who praises the advantages of being a volunteer at Fortress Rock Farm. She mentioned it does your coronary heart good to be a part of a company whose fundamental aim is the care and well-being of horses that simply want an opportunity for a brand new life.