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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Horse Protection Society of North Carolina

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: It is the mission of the Horse Protection Society of North Carolina, Inc. to make the world a better place for horses through education, rescue, and rehabilitation. HPS provides a sanctuary of last resort for unwanted, neglected, and abused equines.

Target demographics: rescue starved and/or abused horses.

Direct beneficiaries per year: As of September 2014 we have taken in four new rescue horses and have placed four horses to wonderful homes! We are currently feeding 45 horses.

Geographic areas served: Rowan, Iredell and surrounding counties

Community Stories

58 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great place! Many hardworking and caring people who strive to take the very best care of the horses.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with hps for almost 13 years. The horses well being comes before all else. The majority come in starving, mistreated and scared. After just a few short weeks they gain weight and begin to trust again. Within months they are happy and running around. The people who take care of them are dedicated and show up no matter the weather. This is an amazing place. It has done so much for me and there is nowhere else I would rather be. Judy

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering weekly at HPS for over 6 years. It is an amazing place. Horses come in starved and neglected and abused but within weeks they have gained weight and confidence and trust. All the horses receive the best food, vitamins and nutrients. If a vet is needed they are called immediately. Every effort is made to make each horse comfortable and happy. And that goes as well for all the other rescues ; dogs, cats, chickens and turkeys. This is very special place and I am blessed every time I go there.

Nenal

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The horses and the volunteers at HPS are experiencing true happiness. I have been at this rescue for four years and enjoyed every minute of it. The horses are and have always been the top priority. They are cared for by people that truly care for their well being. Each horse is given individual care twice daily, which includes meals and medical attention. The best part is watching the horses change from scared and wounded to confident and healthy. Seeing them make friends and act silly at times is a reward in itself. Their personalities really shine through once they have this excellent care and environment.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is this most amazing place anyone could imagine. Beautiful animals and wonderful caring and loving people. Lots of hard work involved and every bit of it is worth it. I wish I had gotten involved many years ago instead of just recently.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

HPS is truly dedicated to the welfare of there horses and all of the horses who are rescued. They have a great group of volunteers who truly put there hearts into it .

1 Rhonda W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Pam_48

Volunteer

Rating: 2

Much different review from my previous

Pam
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Pam Laferty Currie

16 hrs ·



.

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

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.
Pam

Read more
3 expert mucker

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Read more
3 Sandra28678

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3 Colleen45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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 .....

4

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

3 Jennifer388

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

3 Daniel83

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3 whitehair

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

4 Stephanie166

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

3

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

3 eddlesgirl

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!!!!!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of visiting this amazing place! It is very obvious that these horses receive the best care possible (look at some of the before and after pictures)! They even get chiropractic visits if needed! Their food is specific according to their health needs also. The volunteers are angels - they always could use more help though! The work is therapy for the volunteers to - physically, emotionally and spiritually - being around these horses is healing work in of itself! Joanie is the BEST! I tell everyone about HPS if they have any interest in horses!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Horse Protection Society of NC for early 2 years. I wanted to help an organization that rescues horses - and I was initially drawn to HPS by their website: it had a lot of information about themselves (both who they were and what they did and how things worked at their Sanctuary) - a lot of information about the horses they had in their care - and the fact that the website was up-to-date and that they had monthly newsletters. That told me that not only do they do wonderful work for the horses, but they know what they are doing and that the organization had great management and structure. It was clear they communicated well and often to their Board, their donors, volunteers and visitors. Every visit to their website is informative; their newsletters are well put together -- I always learn something. I still visit their site often! I look forward to the next newsletter. They also have a great and active presence on Facebook.

When I went to visit them, I was struck by the positive, caring attitudes from everyone I met: the President, the Executive Director, Board members and volunteers. The real proof was with the horses. When one considers the suffering, abuse and neglect the horses endure before coming to HPS, it is such a blessing to see healthy, recovering and well-adjusted horses at the Sanctuary. HPS has regular weekly visiting hours for people like me (who wish they lived closer by, but can still help with donations) to come and be with the horses from time to time. The barns and stalls are clean, the horses are properly fed and well-looked-after and (most of all) loved. The love is infectious. The volunteers tell me stories about the horses - who did what or how their progress is coming along. I know every dollar, every hour, every aluminum can that is donated to HPS is put to the best use. If you want to make a difference, this is the organization to support. The remarks you will read from other reviews are true - this is a wonderful, loving caring place -- it practically levitates.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Horse Protection Society is such a wonderful place. I have volunteered for a year, but due to personal circumstances I have only been able to volunteer periodically. I've been so impressed with the level of care and love provided to these wonderful creatures. Joanie has taken her vision and has inspired not only me and so many volunteers, but also my son. After a visit he has decided that he would like his required volunteer hours with his school to be at the Horse Protection Society. This place makes a difference, not only for the horses but for everyone who volunteers or visits.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have learned so much from this website. Their compassion and perseverance is amazing. It makes it so easy to donate to such a worthwhile organizarion. Please keep up the good work and save many more unwanted horses!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at HPS for about 9 months and have learned that rescue is exhausting and addictive. The work is hard and dirty, but at the end of the day, you know you did something that matters. You were part of saving a life, a life that someone else may not have seen as worthy of saving. To see the way these horses look when they come in, it is hard to look at. Yet when you see them just a few short months later looking strong and healthy, you can't help but be proud to be part of an organization like this. So many people come together to make this happen and that, in itself, is amazing.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HPS is a wonderful place. I volunteer there on a weekly basis and I am so thrilled to be a part of something so great. This a place of hope, love and second chances for the poor mistreated horses that find their way there. Most often starved and sick, we all do everything we can to show these horses the love and kindness that they've never had before. We make sure they have full bellies, clean stalls and plenty of attention. It's not an easy job nor is it a glamorous one ( yes, we shovel alot of poop) but we each willingly go back time after time, hot or cold,rain or shine to make sure that the horses we love have everything they need. What do we get in return? We get to see these sad and neglected horses returned to health and happiness and know that we had a hand in making that happen. We still get to believe in magic.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Simply put, HPS is first-rate. I first became of aware of it from a 2002 article in the Charlotte Observer but it wasn't until 2006 that I first set foot on the ranch. I was impressed then by the knowledge and dedication of its members and my respect for HPS continues to grow with each visit. As a former rider and long-ago horse owner, I appreciate the breadth & depth of the knowledge of HPS's founder Joanie Benson regarding horses in general and even more so for her guiding knowledge on how to bring abused horses back from the brink. I continue to learn something new every time I go out there.
As an 8-year member and most-often "donor" rather than "volunteer," I have been so moved by the HPS's monthly newsletter updates on rescues and successes - as well as the occasional necessary loss - that I have continued to increase my contribution each year while still feeling I need to do more. This non-profit operates on very careful, well-prioritized use of its funds, more so than I think should be necessary for such an excellent organization. But the horses' welfare and comfort, whether they can be saved, rehabilitated or not, are always the top priorities. This was especially evident when Joanie gave me and another volunteer a refresher lesson on grooming these recovering horses. For every question I asked, the answer's consideration was for the horses first, the expense second and there was no third.
I just spent 5 days last week alongside other regular and new volunteers, helping groom the horses (15 of the nearly 50) for their 2015 Calendar photo shoot, one of numerous HPS fund-raisers. I haven't done anything that satisfying in many years. The photo shoot itself was positively thrilling, to see these beautiful, saved horses play in the ranch's lake, walk with their equine "best friend" and gallop out of the shaded woods around the large main pasture.
I'm now trying to contribute, within my personal limitations, to some of the vast amount of physical labor required to care for nearly 50 horses because the level of effort I see by the regular volunteers is truly inspiring. Every single person I have met at the ranch has been welcoming, helpful, gracious and grateful regardless of their level of expertise, work duties, length of membership or preferred involvement. Those who can lift and bend, do. Those who can't, help in other ways. Questions are welcome and answers carefully given. No interest or effort is wasted by this amazing group.

1 Guitarist88

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This shows what one determined and talented person can do to help improve our world.

5 Cassie C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My mother is a volunteer at HPS and she loves it. I have been out to visit with my 2 year old daughter and it was a great experience. I think it is wonderful that all the horses are allowed to roam free in and out of the barns and pastures as they please. Unless there is a specific reason why they cannot be around other horses, due to sickeness or due to just coming in it is great that they are not contained all hours of the day. It allows the horses to be horses and to feel safe, free and loved. When we visited there were several horses that absolutely adored my daughter. My daughter was overwhelmed with how many of them wanted to be right next to her, and that shows me they all have so much love to give. If you have never been around horses and young children it truely is an experience. So many horses seem to bond and immediatly protect young children like they can tell there innocence and love immediatly. Its awesome. My mother loves to be apart of the work that is done at HPS. It is so hard to fund 1 horse let alone 40+ at one time. They say it takes a village to raise a family... :)

5 Ravenius

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Horse Protection Society is very special place for me. I've been here 2 Summers and coming on 3 Winters now, when I first came here I was extremely anxious. I imagine myself a lot like the horses that are rescued and come here, abused and being rehabilitated into their best self. My favourite example is Turq. When Turq arrived as a rescue dog at the Horse Protection Society, he kept his tail down, pied everywhere, and kept his head lowered, as if he had done something bad. I remember Deborah lifting up his chin and tail into a position of confidence to remind him that he can feel safe and secure both here and in his own body. I was like Turq upon arrival, no self-esteem, no confidence, fearful of talking to people, and extremely anxious all the time. 2.5 years later both me and Turq are more confident animals. And while I still have a long ways to go (we never stop learning or growing), I genuinely see the Horse Protection as a pivotal moment in my life, that helped to build up my character.

I am forever grateful to all the lessons my mentor Deborah has taught me, all the insights and great stories of the animals over the years from Joanie, and the people I've met there and worked with like Pam, and others who come together when a volunteer suffers a loss, even if they don't know you that well. They are an amazing group of people, and we need more volunteers and individuals like them.

Volunteers who are dedicated, aren't afraid of hard work, who care for each other and the animals, and a dose of commitment is a plus too. I dream of the day when more people stop in not to just visit to look at a horse they can adopt, or look at a shovel and turn their nose up, but to actually help and be a part of the HPS family.

I feel so grateful for the opportunities I've been given in life which allow me to be here. The Horse Protection Society changed my life, taught me a lot about connecting with horses and people, and helped me look at horses and the way we treat animals. I think we need more people in this world like them. Love this place!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted Coyote, a 15 yr. old QH x from HPS and couldn't be happier! I was very impressed with the whole operation, but especially, the love and care these horses receive. Their adoption process is very thorough and they make sure the horse is matched with the right person. After we had Coyote home we had good follow up and I feel comfortable calling the staff with any questions that might come up. He's now a happy, well adjusted member of our family. We love him! I so appreciate the work HPS does for so many horses.

2 Michelle162

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My volunteering started in July. HPS welcomed me with open arms and great enthusiasm, this in and of itself made me smile. HPS cares for 48+ horses and each volunteer does this without complaint. They all including myself find great personal reward in tending to the recovery of these abused, starved and neglected equines. What's even more gratifying is to have one of the rescues lay their head on your shoulder while you are grooming as if to say thank you, they have been hurt so badly yet they are so forgiving. Volunteering is to say the least hard work, 48 horses that need to be fed, watered, medicated, 2 barns and 4 condos that get cleaned twice a day, not to mention the repairs, fencing, fund raising, abuse calls and behind the scenes day to day operations - These people are amazing and better yet LOVE what they are doing, we all should be so fortunate. The knowledge that I am gaining as to horse health and well being is without doubt the best I have ever had access to. HPS takes pride in answering my questions so that I have a clear understanding why each horse is cared for the way they are, they put the horse first and foremost above all else, even themselves at times. I am so very happy that I called, that they welcomed me and that I have a place where I can go and give back. The horses, their whinnies, the smell of the barn, the sore muscles and the people and what they stand for and the work we all do has given me a peace and serenity that I have not had for quite sometime. HPS is a wonderful rescue, still struggling, ever learning and always showing love and compassion for the horses they take in. I am proud to be a part of it all, wish I had more time to give and hope that I can continue to be a volunteer for many years.

2 Teri K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a new volunteer with this organization. It has been truly rewarding and great therapy knowing that the little bit of time I am able to contribute working with the horses and showing them love will help them heal. It is great that horses in need have HPS to call home until they find a loving/caring forever home.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent Organization. HPS is a place where there is an unfathomable aura of peace and purpose. The organization, helpers and horses are a clear reminder that there is HOPE in this world. I am sure that when God takes a moment to glance across the universe, He can not help but take a second and smile when His eyes rest on HPS... :)

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization! I began volunteering here only a short time ago, but I was impressed with the procedures and especially the dedication and knowledge of the long-time volunteers from the first day. They are organized, efficient and extremely hardworking, but most of all they CARE about each horse. The individualized attention each horse receives including nutritional, medical, and personality needs is truly inspiring. No matter what the horse has endured in the past, whether by accident, neglect, or circumstance, it can expect the very best care and protection here. Luckily for me, they are also very patient with new volunteers who have so much to learn! I truly admire this place, this program, expecially the people involved and hope to be a part of their work for a long time!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at HPS and it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Watching a starved horse return to a beautiful, healthy being is so rewarding. All the horses that come to HPS are so deserving and the volunteers to a wonderful job of caring for them. The dedicated volunteers arrive early in the morning and stay late at night to make sure the horses are safe, fed, watered and barns cleaned. Many of the horses that come to HPS need medical attention and the care of a vet. Plus there can be accidents or colic. The cost for the care of a sick or healthy horse is expensive. HPS depends on donations and grants. Without the dedicated volunteers and the people who sponsor a horse or donate each month it would not exist.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm just finishing my 8th year as a volunteer and board member at the Horse Protection Society of NC. When I first began at HPS, we housed our herd of 29 horses in a dilapidated 100-year-old barn and numerous out buildings along the property. Through sound business practices, HPS now has transformed into a beautiful facility comprised of new barns that house up to 50 horses, vinyl fencing, a covered hay feeder that allows horses to enjoy hay out of inclement weather and an indoor riding arena in which to safely place horses back under saddle after their recovery and rehabilitation period is competed. All this has been accomplished while remaining debt free and without compromise to the feeding and care of the horses.





Previous Stories
4

Board Member

Rating: 5

In response to slanderous allegations made by marenmind on Oct 5, 2010 that the horses at HPS do not receive proper care, that the people who run are "terrible, hateful, people" and do not appreciate donors and volunteers.

HPS cares for approximately 45 horses each month. These horses are fed twice a day and every horse is check from checked and treated for any medical problem from the tiniest scratch to the most serious disease. This care is documented daily by the volunteers and with 30-40 people helping to care for these horses on a monthly basis. All horses receive yearly dental care, are up to date on vaccinations, receive hoof care every 6-7 week, unless foundered and then receive hoof care every 3-4 weeks and annual digital radiographs,and are wormed every 6-7 weeks. Additionally, we request volunteers to each take a horse and give it personal attention each week.

Most horses need about a year to completely recover from starvation and begin to ride again. All horses are treated by a chiropractor before being saddled and are brought back slowly and carefully. This may mean that the horse is only walked without a rider the first day, then sat on the second time, then ridden at a walk for about 5 minutes the third time. Strict attention is paid to ensure that the horse is not over exerted and injured as it returns to a saddle career.

Barns are cleaned a minimum of 4 times a week. I clean them at least once a week myself and have been doing so for the past 7 years.

Volunteers are our most important asset. Most come to the sanctuary with absolutely no horse experience but are welcomed to come share the experience of rehabilitating these magnificent creatures. The only stipulations are that volunteers/members pitch in and carry their share of the load, follow policy, and treat others at the sanctuary with respect.

I convey my personal appreciation to volunteers for almost every task they perform on a daily basis. As does our Executive Director, who also buys a Christmas gift for every volunteer/feeder from her own pocket. Every donor receives a personally written thank you note for every single donation they make.

For many years, Joan Benson did much of the physical labor, at the sanctuary herself despite already being in her 60's. In 2005, a change was made to allow her to properly fulfill her role as a true Executive Director and since then the sanctuary has flourished with the addition of a covered hay feeder, improved fencing, 2 large barns and 4 smaller ones totalling 50 stalls. We are happy to say that this was accomplished without the sanctuary incurring any debt. We are now on our way to adding a covered riding arena and would like to obtain special medical equipment such as a sling.

I understand that this organization is not for everyone. We cannot let you or your children ride the horses because there is too great a liability issue. The work is difficult and we are often short-handed so we need everyone to pitch in. There are many rules but they are to keep the volunteers safe, the euipment operating, and the horses healthy.

Sometimes people cannot understand those few simple facts and they leave in anger. I do not understand why people such as marenmind then try to harm the horses and the organization they once professed to love.

I'm proud to represent this organization and will not hide behind a fictitious name as marenmind has done.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a volunteer at HPS I learned more than I could have imagined, not just about horse health, nutrition and care, but also about the unfortunate circumstances that put so many horses at risk. Circumstances that make me thankful every day for HPS and similar organizations that literally save these exceptional animals from abuse, neglect and starvation.

With each weekly visit to the Sanctuary, there was something new to learn, a new horse to meet or a new volunteer to work with and yes, sometimes a new heart ache to deal with as horses struggled to heal and recover. At times the physical demands of working in the heat of summer or the cold of winter threatened my drive, but one brief moment of eye contact with any one of the horses and the energy was there to get the job done. I learned that one of my favorite sounds was crunching of grain coming from every stall in the barn and the nickers of joy because supporters and volunteers cared enough to see to it every horse would have a morning meal.

To my surprise, i quickly discovered that from those heart aches and physical challenges came personal growth and a great deal of gratification from being involved in the work of HPS. Also, there are the Friendships that developed, many of which have remained now for several years. You can count on growth, gratification and friendship opportunities when you are a volunteer, no matter what the cause, volunteering makes life better!

So, one very special day a few years ago, we brought home the sweetest, most sensitive little mare we have ever known, a miracle horse considering her circumstances, that was rescued by and rehabilitated at HPS. She has been a delight to know and care for and has taught us how wonderful it is to have a very mature horse in the herd. She is patient, wise, and kind. She is proof that animals can forgive and accept and enjoy love and interaction again. Her name is Twilight, she is in her senior years, however she sings a song of whinnies and nickers everyday when it's meal time. She is happy and having her as part of "the family" means so much to us. We will always be thankful that someone cared enough to get involved, that HPS could bring her to the sanctuary and of course that she could come home with us that special day!

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The leaders of HPS are inspiring caring individuals who absolutely put the animals first and respect and appreciate their volunteers. I was there last weekend, a relative newcomer, helping with a particular annual project. Things were well organized, the animals were well cared for in great enclosures and had all been transformed from their initial state as rescue animals. HPS is a magical place changing the lives of countless animals. They have a huge pasture/pond/forest which looks like a fantasy novel when the horses are running throughout. I support the work and the people of HPS wholeheartedly!

PS: I have no idea why that negative reviewer posted such inaccurate information, granted several years ago... this place is fantastic!

5 windcatcher

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with HPS for over a year now. When I started there, I was a pretty recent cancer survivor.. less than one year. It was challenging for me. I was going through major PTSD and depression and had a lot of physical challenges. Working with these horses helped me to overcome my own problems and focus on something that needed my attention. Just being around these horses healed my spirit and helped my body to become stronger through hard work and sweat. No, it is not easy work, but it is the kind of work that when you are done ... you feel good. You feel a sense of accomplishment because you know that you did an amazing thing.

These horses come in at various stages.. some have been abandoned, some abused, many starved. It is truly amazing to see how, sometimes in a very short time, how they rebound. Every horse gets a personal plan of action and every horse is looked at thoroughly each and every day. They are loved dearly by the people who come and work there. There are chiropractors, vets, dentists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and of course volunteers that take such amazing care of them.

These horses are treated with the utmost respect and care. I have seen Deborah Baker, HPS president, come several times a day to treat a horse that needs extra attention. I know that Joanie Benson, Executive Director, has spent countless hours at the side of a horse that needed constant medical attention. I have known volunteers that come and work despite being sick or living over an hour away and work tirelessly for hours to feed, water, medicate, love and clean barns. Barns are cleaned twice every day - with each shift of volunteers.

What makes people give so much? These horses have been mistreated by humans. They have been left ... unwanted and disposed of. No creature should be treated this way. Horses, in particular, have served mankind since the beginning of time. They have carried man across countries, they have carried men into battle.. They have transported our goods.. they have carried our mail. They have farmed our lands. And, they have entertained us and they have provided companionship. They should not have to live their lives with people who do not respect them. HPS truly provides a sanctuary that understands and brings compassion and care to these beautiful animals.

HPS has saved my life. I cannot imagine where I would be today had I not "accidentally" stumbled across them. There have been ups and downs - but more ups than downs. I love the connections that I have made with other volunteers because we share that strong sense of love and compassion. I love these horses as if they were my own, and I look forward to the days I am there. Hard work ? Yes! Worth it? Double YES!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of HPS for over ten years. Although I live pretty far away and cannot volunteer onsite, I have edited the monthly newsletter, been program director of the first national gelding program ever created and continue to participate from a distance as corresponding secretary.

This is an all-volunteer-run rescue that was founded over 22 years ago. The sanctuary takes in horses that other rescues refuse; typically the horses are older, most have been starved nearly to death through ignorance or neglect, some come to HPS from the good relations that have been built with nearby Animal Control departments. The executive director, Joanie Benson, shares her knowledge of re-feeding starved horses with other rescues and individual owners who are looking to avoid creating Refeeding Syndrome. She has cajoled what I would consider scary owners into releasing their starved animals to HPS and provides exceptional veterinary, farrier and dental care for all of the horses. No expense is spared in trying to understand each horse's complete physical situation rather than making decisions based on appearance alone.

While I believe that all animal rescuers are to be admired, the track record of HPS is remarkable. With no deep-pockets underwriter, HPS relies on grants, donations and volunteers and has so for its 22+ years. It has rehabilitated countless horses, retrained and found loving homes for many more. It follows each of its horses and retains ownership so if circumstances change for the caregivers, the horse returns to HPS. It's bad enough for a horse to be abused and/or starved once; the HPS policy of not relinquishing ownership is to ensure it never happens again.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Horse Protection Society of NC is a godsend to the horses of North Carolina. My son and I have been members and volunteers for 3 years. It has changed our lives.

I can attest that it is truly inspirational to be involved with this organization and to watch the horses recover and live without the fear of hunger, neglect and abuse. I am proud to be a member of HPS.

The horses are well cared for and each volunteer/donor is appreciated. Every decision made is considered and executed with the horses best interests at heart.

HPS has grown to become the dream sanctuary that is today because of the determination, dedication and care of Executive Director Joanie Benson and President Deborah Baker. HPS is flourishing with the help of donors and the loyal, caring philanthropy of the hard working volunteers.

Rescuing horses from near death and rehabilitating them is not an easy task. A team of devoted people are required and without them it would not be possible to have this magnificent place for the horses to recover.

Hps, beyond doubt, is the epitome of what a non-profit rescue should be. Every penny earned is used solely for the advantage of the horses. The people involved deeply care and the animals benefit from the loving care they receive; the people benefit from education they receive and the satisfaction gained from KNOWING that you have accomplished something miraculous in saving lives.

I implore anyone who reads this post to look deep into your heart and become involved to help us save the horses.


Every aspect of my life has changed due to the influence of this amazing place!



Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have helped at HPS since about two years as a volunteer and I continue to be amazed at the dedication and sacrifice and love Joannie Benson and Deborah Baker show for the horses and their well being. Unless you have worked at HPS for at least a couple of times, you cannot even imagine the amount of time, strength, dedication, and knowledge of horses it takes to keep everything going. The demands and needs and worries are literally 27/7. Very few people would be able an/or willing to take over all these many responsibilities. All my respect to you, Joannie and Deborah.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have volunteered at HPS for almost 3 years and find it to be a wonderful place to work to help the horses who have been rescued to enjoy a full and loving life. The volunteers are a great group of people and it is run by 2 people who have the horses' best interests always uppermost in their minds and hearts.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been blessed to volunteer at HPS for 8 months now. I am amazed at how much work it takes to care for 45 horses and how much time each horse gets. Each one is treated every day for medical conditions based on the horses needs. Joanie's knowledge is so valuable and her dedication remarkable! I have learned so much about the proper care and respect for horses. As someone who has loved horses for 35 years I am so grateful to be a part of HPS. These beautiful creatures have all come from terrible conditions and here they can heal, learn to trust and become the noble animals God created them to be. None of this would be possible without volunteers of time and money. It takes many hands and hearts to help these horses but what an amazing place this is!!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 1

STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM THIS PLACE AS YOU CAN! The cause of rescueing horses and helping rehabiliate is wonderful but the 2 people that run the place are terrible, hateful people. They see volunteers and contributors as indispensiable and do not care about anyone but themselves. The horses stand in waste and do not receive the proper care. Very Very Sad and disapointing!

Review from Guidestar