LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — Horse Haven recently rescued four horses from Sevier County. They're getting acquainted with their new stalls in Lenoir City. However, they are facing some serious health challenges. The nonprofit said it is focused on getting them healthy and into a safe home.
"Usually in the summer months there's hopefully grass out there for the houses to eat and stuff like that, but we've noticed a huge increase since the beginning of this year in rescues," said Ashley Ford, the Horse Haven Executive Director.
Bales of hay, sunshine and proper medical care is the order of the day for the four horses in their care — Maverick, Penny, Hangman and Rooster. They're gaining back their strength after being rescued from a home in Sevier County last month.
"They were all very malnourished and they're currently on a refeeding plan. You have to slowly refeed them," said Ford.
Weighing at around 500 pounds, less than desired, and suffering from water rot, Maverick is named after the new Top Gun movie for his concentrated power of will. Horse Haven said they are seeing an uptick in malnourished horses. Thirty horses live at Horse Haven now.
"I feel like as soon as they get on our trailers, they know. They come into this bar and the light shines brighter in their eyes. They hold their heads higher. They know they've been rescued. We've actually had horses jump onto the trailer,” Ford said. “I don't think the worst is over yet. I think that some of these owners have good intentions and they're just not being able to afford the feed and the hay and vet bills that come along with owning horses.”
Ford is grateful for every chance Horse Haven gets to help, and she said she is thankful for the donations they depend on to run. She knows there will be many more animals in need, especially now.
"Once they're rehabbed and up to weight. then we find them their forever home and we check up on them months, and even years, down to the road because we want to make sure these horses never come back to the situation that they came from," Ford said. "They're going to need a lot of groceries.”
Horse Haven operates through donations. If you would like to help, you can donate or volunteer by visiting horsehaventn.org. You can also donate through the upcoming Fall Harvest Fest and Craft Fair in October.