A herd of 27 Arabian horses were rescued from deplorable conditions and a life of neglect and brought here to San Diego Sunday. It took ten weeks and upwards of 50 volunteers to orchestrate the transport and relocation of these rare and historically significant horses.
The horses were living in a suburb north of Sacramento with an elderly couple that grew too sick and too old to care for them, said a spokeperson for the non-profit Pegasus Rising Project. The horses were discovered clearly seeking the company of humans. They were malnourished, not groomed, and teeming with parasites.
The at-risk herd included nine stallions, 17 mares and their babies, some living alone in tiny pens with inadequate fencing with many horses up to their ankles in mud and their own waste. All across the country, horses that owners can no longer care for are being auctioned off for slaughter with euthanasia according to the Pegasus Rising Project.
That’s when the non-profit made the decision to find the horses a healthy home, a place to be rehabilitated so they can help people who have experienced emotional trauma.
“This isn’t just about rescuing a group of horses. This is about rescuing a very significant group of horses that are innately different than a lot of horses we encounter. They’re extremely docile and loving toward humans. They’ll allow anyone to come in and interact with them without any fear of anything happening,” said Cynthia Royal of Pegasus Rising Project.
Once volunteers heal these horses, they will be used to heal humans including veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, abused children, and survivors of domestic violence.
This is no ordinary herd. Arabian horses are originally from the Middle East and came to the United States during the Reagan era. President Reagan petitioned to bring a champion stallion to America. Reagan succeeded and the stallion used for breeding on U.S. soil had won races abroad equivalent to our own Triple Crown.
A woman in Rancho Santa Fe donated her property to the horses and others are staying in a facility in Valley Center. These homes are temporary, so the non-profit group has set up a rescue registry to help pay for food, supplies and a permanent facility.
“In addition to monetary support or buying something off of our rescue registry, we also need people. We need people to help us run our business and the organization. We also need a lot of people to help us care for and rehabilitate these horses and to come out and be healed by them. Just come out and experience the magic,” Royal said.
If you would like to volunteer, donate or find out more information, visit The Pegasus Rising Project's website.