“Learning as you Grow: Taking a Rescue from an Individual Effort to a Statewide Organization able to Serve over the Long Term”


When I went into rescue, it started on my own dime. I did not have a lot of dimes, mind. I had 3 little boys, two still infants, while my husband and I were both full time Marshall University students. We did without many things in order to fulfill this vision I had of giving neglected horses hope in this area.

We did the best we could with the little we had in 2009/2010. Little knowledge, little funding. We saved a horse or two at a time. We had only a small idea of what we were doing, but I knew this was something that would grow, if we stuck this out.

Back then, there were no discounts from equine vets, farriers or feed companies. There were no volunteers, board members or officers. There were no grants, no followers.

There was no rescue trailer, truck or facilities to use beyond our humble barn on our small hillside farm.

. . .but I tell you what there was. . . A Vision.

We learned as we went. I made mistakes. I tried to do better.

There came a time where our finances could not withstand the growing burden, and frankly, neither could my body, mind or soul. This is what happens with most individual efforts. I could not do it alone anymore. I had picked up a support base over that span of time, but it was too much for a single person. Not only was this true, the impact was so small compared to what a group could do, it was time to either call it day or grow.

Growing is hard. There was no guide book, no one to follow, no one to ask and no one to emulate. Those that came before us in West Virginia equine rescue left legacies no one could want to shadow.

About that time, two amazing women stepped in and said something like, “You know, you do not have to do this alone.”

Those women became the start of a quest to take this from an individual effort to a statewide, unified organization.

We continued on a clear path from that point on, a little group working for about a year before we endeavored to apply for our 501©3 status.

We have worked hard and smart together since 2011. We have expanded to a team of over 20 amazing volunteers, board members and officers with fosters in 3 states. There is still so, so much room to grow, and we see that. We intend to do it, too.

We have operated in the black with solid fiscal responsibility since becoming a 501©3, currently keeping a 3-6 plus month operating expense buffer (our IRS filing is public on Guidestar for the last 3 years).

Our budget not only offers vetting, farrier care, dental care, transport, hay, monthly training, supplements, medication and grain for 25 horses in rescue, but it covers transport to assist horses in need all over 3 states that are going to private homes or other rescues when we are at capacity. This covers local intervention for owners struggling to provide vet care or feed to their horses in times of temporary economic struggle. It assures continuing education for our team to make sure both on the administrative side and equine side, we are always learning how to make a better impact, and a bigger impact.

When one begins this type of Journey, what one does not think about is how important the organization’s effort can become to the animals and communities served over time if one works hard and smart, but at some point, the original team will not be there, and the need will be just as great. It is a rescue’s responsibility to build an organization that can outlive the first team.

Heart of Phoenix’ intention is to create a lasting organization that is so established, so rooted in our communities, so connected with our supporters, that it always serves equines in need here in this area, maybe beyond.

When you donate, know that you are giving to an effort that will be here serving the horses of the Tri-state responsibility for the long haul. Everything we do on the administrative end works to assure longevity for this rescue effort.

We’ve grown. Have we ever, but it is only just the beginning.

We need your continued support to continue and to grow, and we thank those who have been with us all along this journey.


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