I found ... or this place found me ... a few months ago. I’ve lived close by for years and have marveled at the beautiful horses out in the fields for years. But one day I noticed the ‘volunteers needed’ sign and that drew me in. Apparently it’s been there for a long time but I just noticed it one day ... for some reason. I don’t try to understand why - just glad I did finally notice that sign.
Went to a visitation Saturday, met Joanie and the herd. Having loved horses - FROM AFAR - didn’t know what I could offer to HPS. I was scared to be around or up close to these beautiful animals.
Fast forward to about 6 months now .... volunteering mostly on weekends .... and I LOVE IT! I’m learning and loving so much! The entire team of volunteers have been so patient and helpful!
I read the reviews, the newsletters, the HPS site, the Facebook page. I can tell you from being there - hands on - the herd is loved and so very well cared for! I would recommend anyone with a love for animals, horse ‘sense’ or not - come volunteer - there’s something EVERYBODY can do for this great cause and this magnificent herd of horses.
You will definitely benefit these rescued horses - you might even rescue yourself ... I tell everyone it’s great therapy
The horses at HPS are so so so well taken care of and every volunteer I've met through this organization is amazingly sweet and kindhearted. If you enjoy simply being near horses or have a passion for their well being, I highly suggest you come out and work a few days to experience the compassion and dedication I have here at HPS. And of course I hope you'll stay and join our team of amazing members! We and the horses would highly appreciate you!!
I went to schools that focused on the importance of helping others, and I have done many projects to help others, if you name it I have done it. Now I believe helping people always feels good, gives you a warm feeling inside like you just made a difference and it is true because you have made a difference. I have always been an animals person and when I was tasked with doing a senior project I chose HPS. I love every day I help out, the main feeders are very nice and you can get a general feel that everyone there is happy to help and do what they can to assist these beautiful creatures. I have seen horses come in sad and hungry and this place does not only offer them a new home with food, but a new life to make the horse's life great and far better than how they were when they arrived. I have seen horses make that turn around and recover completely and it warms my heart to take a bucket of food to a healthy horse who I watched arrive in poor shape. The horses are left very unrestrained with ample room to run and graze, now there is still a fence but they are only left in stalls to eat and for medicine distribution. While one is walking around the sanctuary, the happiness of the horses can truly be felt which the happiness and health of the horses is the main focus here and that is how it should be. I have spent many hours here with the horses feeding, treating, and cleaning and I would not trade the time I have spent here for anything else, this is truly a great place full of love and care for the Horses.
Much different review from my previous
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Pam Laferty Currie
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As many of you know I have been volunteering at a local horse rescue for the past 4 years. I also served as an officer for 3 years. I have had to make the difficult decision to walk away from this rescue. Over this past year there have been many questionable ethical and management decisions. People named as Board of Directors have not held that position for years and in one case had never agreed to be on the Board. The rescue went over a year without a presiding president and several months without any officers at all. The officers all resigned because of the controlling nature of the Executive Director, a person who puts her need to control before the needs of the horses. At one point 14 people had to step in to save the life of a horse that the Exec. Dir. had scheduled to be put down. Stardust was blind in one eye and partially blind in another. We had a volunteer willing to adopt her but instead of agreeing to the adoption it took a village of people to make the adoption happen. Horses should not need to be rescued from a rescue. The Exec Dir. intentionally misled a Veterinarian into believing the rescue was administering SMZ (antibiotic) when the Exec. Dir. was giving the horse MMS* instead. The veterinarian believing the prescribed antibiotic was not working put the horse down. Sweet, sweet Aurora did not have to die. Most recently was the totally preventable death of Wind Dancer. Against the Exec. Dir. wishes we had Wind Dancer moved to a smaller pasture with a few horses. She had a broken hip and did not need to be in the main herd getting shoved around. The Exec. Dir. could only take not being in control for a very short time and had Wind Dancer moved back into the herd. Within a week she fell and hit her head (the veterinarian’s exact words). She lay in her stall that night for several hours suffering terribly. We finally convinced the Exec Dir. that she was NOT just exhausted but that we needed the vet to return ASAP to end her suffering. Totally preventable death.
My most recent disagreement with the management of the rescue revolves around the lack of accountability of the Exec. Dir. to anyone. It is also curious to me that this particular non-profit does not list their officers or Board of Directors. All others I have looked at list them with a small biography of each person. Because this was a concern of mine I had asked for several weeks to have a copy of the bylaws. I was eventually tossed a few papers, out of order but did not have the opportunity to carefully read them. I asked again for a copy to take home and read but still nothing. About 6 weeks ago 4 new officers were put in place (now down to 3 because 1 quit already). I emailed the new President and asked for the bylaws. I was told they would be reviewing them “and make decisions as deemed necessary. When the bylaws have been reviewed and modified, I will contact you to see if this is something you are still interested in receiving.” I responded that I would like a copy and this is the response from the President of the rescue to a member (me) in good standing:
“Tell me Pam, why on God's green earth would you be interested in such a thing. Surely it is not for your light reading pleasure while wintering in Punta Cana sipping on a Daiquiri.
If you were so interested in perusing the particulars of the bylaws of HPS, why hadn't you done so before quitting you position as officer of HPS?
Let's just say, inquiring minds want to know. Why this curious obsession of yours all of a sudden?”
The sarcasm and disrespect for a member was the last straw for me. I no longer wish to have any association with this “rescue”.
Review from Guidestar
I have been volunteering for over 3 years at HPS. It is truly a labor of love for everyone involved. So sad when a horse comes to us near death and so rewarding to see the change in just a few short months. Aurora has always had the tiniest little whinny when it's time to be fed but we all know just how much it means to her. It's like she is saying thank you, thank you!! So many stories about each and every horse. Joanie does a great deal of research to be sure that the treatments the horses receive are the most up to date therapies.
It is also gratifying when a horse is place in a new home. We all miss them but know that this is the ultimate for the horses. The work and care never ends so we are always looking for new volunteers. No experience necessary.
There is no other place for rescue horses like the Horse Protection Society of NC (HPS)! They get some severely emaciated horses that any other organization would euthanize, but HPS is able to turn them into the wonderful & beautiful animal that they once were. Each of the 47 horses gets their own special diet, vet, farrier, & dental care along with much TLC from the many volunteers. As a volunteer, I love going to HPS to be able to add to the quality of life that each horse experiences there.
I have been volunteering with the Horse Protection Society of NC for 5 years now and plan to continue indefinitely. Joanie Benson who started this organization is extremely knowledgeable about horses and over the years has managed to pour every donated penny into the care of the horses. She is notified by local Animal Control, Humane Society, and individuals about starved, abused horses. Her initial visit to see the horse is to do an assessment. Then she attempts to educate the owner concerning the care needed. If the owner is receptive she will return to perform another assessment in about 2 weeks or so. If the horse does not show any improvement she offers to take the horse to her facility with the owners permission. Once the horse is under her care it is placed on a special diet according to the needs, dewormed, and checked by a Vet. Routine care is lots of TLC, hoof trimming, Vet & Dental checks & care, as well as exercising as tolerated. The entire organization is staffed by volunteers only which allows all monies to go to the care of the horses. Though donations and grants she has been able to build barns to house 50 horses and also has built an indoor riding arena so the exercising can continue year 'round. Tremendous improvement in the horse's health & demeanor is evident in a short week or two once the horse arrives at her facility. They seem to thrive under her care and she has educated each volunteer so their effectiveness is maximized. Placement of recovered horses to a good home is always a goal. If placed, Joanie keeps in touch to ensure the ongoing good health of the horse. If deterioration is found she then returns the horse to her sanctuary. The Horse Protection Society of NC is an excellent charity which survives totally on donations and some grants.
Review from Guidestar
I love all the horses at HPS! HPS works very hard to take in any horse in trouble and works on a total volunteer basis. They have so many horses (50), and it takes so much money to run the ranch, that they struggle month to month to find the funds to provide food, supplements, and medical supplies to these beautiful creatures! They need all the help they can get. Please consider being a sponsor or volunteer!
I have been a volunteer at HPS for 3 years now, and it's a wonderful place for recovering horses! They are very carefully cared for and evaluated closely for any injuries or sickness. I find it to be a very fulfilling opportunity and encourage anybody with a bit of spare time to volunteer at this wonderful safe haven for horses!
I love HPS working with the horses they make me a better and happier person.
All of the people and animals are a joy to be around.
Oh my, I have so much to share but I will try to keep this brief. I saw an article in the Charlotte Observer about the Horse Protection Society in early 2004, despite the fear of my heart & mind handling the pain of Equine abuse and neglect I stopped in, met Joanie Benson and have not looked back. I served as a contributor, volunteer, AM feeder and Medical Needs Director for several years. Joanie Benson taught me invaluable knowledge of horses including their nature, needs, habits, conformation and the patience to learn to listen to my horse, for my horse will teach me what I need to know. I sadly had to forfeit my HPS commitment due to my mothers health, but have since become the rider of a wonderful Quarter Horse owned by another HPS Board Member, taking with me 6 years of natural horsemanship, the healing power of a holistic regime which HPS is a firm believer and a heart full of amazing animals present and past .....
I saw a newspaper article about HPS. Having previously owned a horse, I attended a fund raiser at HPS in October, 2010. I have been a member of HPS since that visit. I usually visit the sanctuary once a week to help wherever I can. Having witnessed the arrival of some of the rescued horses and the horrible condition they were in and see the results of excellent care, meds, proper nutrition, and loving concern some 8-12 months later is nothing short of remarkable. Each horse is fed in their stall, then checked out and given any medical attention necessary and then turned out to freely roam the sanctuary. There is more to owning a horse than putting on a saddle and riding. If you want to really learn about horses from the hoof up, visit HPS, become a volunteer and help these magnificent animals. They will love you!
I have many family members and friends that volunteer their time and energy every week to HPS. The difference they are making for these horses is amazing. Seeing the before and after stories of a rescue effort is so touching. I have visited the horse farm and saw the many horses, but also the many faces of volunteers working to give each horse a better tomorrow. Thank you to each volunteer and donor for your time and effort for this mission.
I have been volunteering at the Horse Protection Society since June 21, 2014 and I must say that I have never worked with a more dedicated and loyal group of people, in my life. Not only are the volunteers loving, caring, and dependable, but they are each determined to make a difference in the lives of others. One simply cannot fathom just how much light that the volunteers at HPS bring into this world. Those who believe that they are coming to spend time and energy with the horses who are in dire need of attention and care, quickly learn that they are not alone. As volunteers, we quickly find peace, joy, and laughter in each of the personalities of the horses. Just when we think to ourselves that this world is a dark place, the world who let these poor souls be neglected and abused before making it to this refuge, we begin to look around at all the beautiful souls who bring these horses back from near death and it is only then that we realize that we actually live in a beautiful world. Accompanied by the beautiful souls of Turk, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Penny, Harrah, and the many chickens, this place is truly filled with love and a little hard, but very rewarding, work.
I have seen many aspects of the Horse Protection Society and there is always a spirit of Let's Get It Done for the horses. Questions are asked and ANSWERED! What is best for each horse and their environment? How do we make it happen? With time and through the hard work and love of many diligent volunteers I have seen rescued horses heal and thrive. Whether it's managing the large organization's daily needs, doing the physical labor, or fund raising every volunteer's contribution is valued and appreciated. Please consider donating time or money to this wonderful horse rescue.
I have been involved with HPS since 2005 both as a donor and assisting with the website and monthly newsletter. What I have witnessed is an ongoing, tireless effort by Joanie Benson and the volunteers to rescue, nurture and provide an improved quality of life for so many horses. The care taken in making an individual decision about each new resident of the sanctuary in terms of what they will need to flourish is never compromised. Every single horse is treated with concern and dignity and Joanie and the volunteers are fully committed to following whatever plan is put in place. It is a labor of love that has never faltered.
I was a Volunteer feeder at HPS for almost four years and it was one of the hardest jobs I have ever had. Feeding forty horses plus caring for their individual medical needs is no easy job. But the reward of seeing them recover and the angels that volunteer there kept me coming back each weekend until work took me away. HPS is truly a Spiritual Santuary for horses and the humans that love them.
The people and volunteers that are at the HPS work hard and love what they do. Several years ago I was unable to keep my best friend for the last 15 years due to my divorce. I called and talked to Joanie and explained my situation. They took Warrior in and cared for him until he crossed the Rainbow bridge. I have supported this organization for the last ten years. I plan to continue to do so. Wonderful job they do!
I volunteered for a month straight and fell in love with every horse on the property! They are so lucky to have landed at HPS. I saw first hand at how well all of these horses are cared for and loved. It is hard work caring for at least 46 horses and seeing to all their needs, but HPS does everything they can to rehabilitate or just to let a horse live his/her last years filled with love. I am so honored to have been a part of this organization even if only for a short time ( moved back to Michigan). Keep up the good work all of you at HPS. Give all the horses a big kiss from me :) Brenda
Have ridden since 4 years old. HPS is top notch. Visited without calling first on purpose. Everything calm, and in order. Volunteers are well trained, and horses are well cared for without a doubt. Thank God for HPS NC.
This is such an extraordinary organization! To see these rescue horses makes me grateful there are people out there to take on such a huge commitment...and be successful.
I adopted my first long term foster horse "Daisy" from HPS back in 2005 and have had her 9 years now. This past summer we adopted our second long term foster from HPS, a tiny little miniature horse named Cracker Jack. Both came from situations where they were neglected and HPS saved their lives. These wonderful people see horrible cruelty everyday and fight to stop it. They save the ones they can and give mercy to the ones who are beyond saving. They are truly angels. I know they have made the difference in the lives of so many people and animals. I thank God everyday there are wonderful people on this earth like the people at HPS. They deserve all the help and support available!
I have had the opportunity to be a long-term foster home for one of the HPS horses. We adopted "Daisy" (formerly Moncha) nearly 8 years ago and she's lived at our home in Waxhaw since. Although I wish I lived closer to HPS (it's about an hour from me) and wish I could volunteer more often I still feel like I am making a contribution by fostering. These people are wonderful and I can't speak highly enough. They are making constant improvements to the farm and I have watched it grow into a top notch facility. The horses truly are their number one concern. I will definately always remain a part of the HPS family and will continue to foster for them as long as I can. I THANK them all for what they do!!!!!!