Bringing broken spirits back to life: Local rescue overcomes the odds to save horses in need

Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue overcomes financial hardships through the pandemic to continue helping horses in need.

HARDY, Va. – While much of the business world was shutting down over the past year, life on the farm only got busier. This is especially true for a local horse rescue that despite facing a fire and financial hardships, managed to care for a growing number of horses in need.

Anyone who works with horses as much as Kaye Garland has will tell you, there is something magic about them.

“I love horses,” Garland said. “I have been around them my whole life. They’ve given me so much in life.”

That passion for horses prompted her to volunteer at the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue in Hardy three years ago.

“I thought this might be my turn to give back. I was always told when I came here that this is a different breed of horse. This is not your regular horse. I thought no, I’ve been around horses, this is going to be easy. You find out real quick, these are rescues,” Garland said.

A decades-old painted horse named Fry is among the 40 plus horses currently living at the Hardy farm. Garland said he came to them skin and bones after his owner died. The owner’s family didn’t know how to care for the horse after he passed. Volunteer and RVHR board member Brandon Lovejoy said that is a common occurrence among horses they rescue.

“Through no ill-intent or fault of their own, some people get a horse and don’t know how to take care of it. Others are animal control situations,” Lovejoy said. “A large number of horses have come in over the course of the pandemic because of how expensive they can be to care for.”

Now eating a specially regulated diet three times a day, Fry has greatly improved at RVHR since he came in last fall. RVHR volunteers were able to give Fry a second chance at life. The horses’ backstories are often what captures their rescuer’s heart, as well as the public’s.

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