“Most of the horses that come to us, come to us at starvation, on a body scale of 1 to 10 with 5 and 6 being perfect. Horses come to us with body scores of 1 and 2,” said Serenity Farm Equine Sanctuary Executive Director Rhondavena LaPorte.
Owners of the sanctuary say the first step to rehab for the horses is helping them regain their weight. Then, they begin training those that are trainable and finding them forever homes.
“We try to let our horses be horses. They have access to hay 24/7, they have access to water sources, unfrozen water sources, 24 hours a day,” said Serenity Farm Equine Sanctuary Director Bill LaPorte.
“They could be here as little as 3 months, or they could be here as long as… we have some that came to us completely feral, born in the wild and they will probably be here with us for 4 or 5 years,” Rhondavena said.
In addition to the horses, Serenity Farm Equine Sanctuary is also helping people.
“We have some outgrowth from dealing with the horses, or the people that come and volunteer for whatever reason,” said Bill. “It tends to break down the communication barriers, helps folks relax, and socialize and that kind of thing.”
The owners say they've had success stories of children with high anxiety who couldn't even speak be able to give presentations in class after working with animals on the farm.
Thanks to donations and small grants, they're working on building out their barn to accommodate horses and volunteers. Owners tell NBC29 they pay 70-percent of all costs associated with Serenity Farm Equine Sanctuary.