‘We’re hurting’: Equine Rescue of Aiken calls for help

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Equine Rescue of Aiken is facing a new field of challenges, from the growing number of horses needing to be saved to the rising costs.

More than a year ago the rescue accepted nine horses from Edgefield County. The horses are back in good health, but the rescue says the owners refuse to surrender them.

The nine horses are ready for a new home but because there is no court date set, the horses remain at Equine Rescue of Aiken.

All you could see were hip bones and backbones when the nine horses were rescued by Equine Rescue.

“They’re very happy now they love the grass,” said Ashley Wallick, Equine Rescue Manager.

The horses are healthy but still do not have a home.

Jim Rhodes, executive director of Equine Rescue of Aiken, said: “It’s abusive for them to be stuck here. Right now they’re getting all their needs, with the exception of their emotional connection with an individual.”

It’s something hurting the horses and the individuals watching them.

“We can’t do anything because we don’t own them,” said Rhodes. “We’re paying for them. We’ve invested over $53,000 in the last year. That’s actual money out of our pocket. That’s not a monthly fee or whatever. That’s actual dollars, documented dollars that we’ve spent on these horses.”

The money will never return back to the rescue, a place that relies on donations.

“We’re hurting,” Rhodes said. “If we would have had that extra $50,000 to $60,000 in our bank account, that would have gone a long way. That would have helped us out now.”

Property-wise, the rescue has the ability to care for 70 horses. Finance-wise, the rescue is budgeted for 40 horses this year.

Right now, the rescue has 55 horses on the property.

To learn more about the rescue, visit their website.