Posted: Feb 2, 2013 8:44 AM by Simone DeAlba - MTN News
Updated: Feb 2, 2013 8:51 AM
NEAR SIMMS - The Montana Horse Sanctuary serves as a refuge for those in need of new homes, but the current economic climate is weighing heavy on this safe haven as well.
One of the residents is Penny; once badly neglected by her owner, she came to the Montana Horse Sanctuary searching for refuge, and it's here that she found kindness.
Jane Heath said, "She's just an absolute love, she enjoys children, she enjoys adults, she's friendly, she's really quiet."
Non-profits such as the Montana Horse Sanctuary are facing some challenges; Heath said, "Nationally we're being told that horse rescues and sanctuaries are closing at the rate right now of about one per week."
A rough economy paired with a severe drought makes for an unfortunate twist of fate.
Heath said, "We're getting calls from all over Montana from people who are just running out of money. You know, early on, when the economy started to tank, they were able to continue hanging in there, but it's just getting their resources stretched so thin by now that it's really difficult for them...and of course, hay prices have been incredibly high this year."
For now it's donations that keep the shelter thriving: "We exist entirely by donations and grants. It's completely funded by the public, in essence."
The rescue agency currently has 13 horses, each boasting their own distinct personalities.
The sanctuary is located about 25 miles west of Great Falls between Simms and Fort Shaw, and is about 1,200 acres with a 200-acre state land grazing lease.
The Montana Horse Sanctuary website has more information, including this overview:
Montana Horse Sanctuary provides positive options for both horses and handlers by providing:
- a safe sanctuary for horses in need, whether displaced from a loving home or turned over to law enforcement because of abuse or neglect;
- rehabilitation to the sanctuary's resident horses to help them live healthy, happy lives;
- permanent homes by placing horses with qualified, loving owners;
- educational opportunities for horse people including riding, care, health and handling.