Written by Robyn Martin
Horse Protection Society is located in China Grove, NC, 30 minutes north east of Charlotte, NC. Founded by Joanie Benson in 1991 and incorporated in 1999, HPS is dedicated to providing sanctuary for abused, neglected, and abandoned horses in the Central Piedmont area of NC, including the greater Charlotte and Greensboro metro areas and surrounding counties.
HPS has taken in many breeds of horses, from miniature to draft. Due to the high demand for horse rescue in our area, HPS is committed to taking in those horses in the most dire of need. Quite often, our horses upon arrival are a 1 on the Henneke Body Score scale. Joanie fields many calls from owners and concerned citizens and offers education in equine nutrition and care, as well as steps to take when horse abuse or neglect is suspected.
Due to the extremely poor condition most of our horses are in upon arrival, we are very aware of refeeding syndrome, and gradually introduce a nutritionally balanced diet to all of our horses, evaluating daily for each individual horse.
Most of our horses have received some kind of training elsewhere, but we start fresh with every horse. Time with the other horses in our pastures is crucial in teaching new arrivals how to be horses again. Our seasoned herd members deserve a great portion of the rehabilitation credit. We give our horses all the time they need to rehabilitate, for starved horses, this can be at least a year, before beginning a formal training program. We believe training begins at HPS the minute the horse walks off the trailer. Once they arrive at our sanctuary, training is in progress.
Our volunteers provide consistent care and routines that over time allow our horse to develop trust and a sense of security they may never have felt before. Formal training always begins with ground work starting with loose lead and progressing to work at liberty. Only after we have established trust and have properly fitting tack do we begin riding horses. We are grateful to have an indoor riding arena to be able to work the horses in all weather. Due to the amount of horses we work with, we emphasize the horses learning basic skills, ground manners, basic riding, working off the leg. We leave it up to the potential placement homes to take it form there.
There is an extensive application process required of people interested in having HPS horses placed with them. Often, our best applicants are current or former volunteers. HPS has an application form that must be completed. It is required that people interested in having a horse placed with them actually spend time working with that horse before final arrangements are made. This minimizes the possibility of a poor match, and allows the horse and person to develop a bond before the horse arrives at their home.
Our biggest challenges, as is likely with all rescues, is finding dedicated volunteers and funding to continue to provide the high quality of care we strive for in caring for our horses.
One thing that is unique about our rescue is that we offer a safety net for our rescued horses who are placed in other homes. We do stipulate in our contract that placement homes provide an annual update about the well being of our horses placed with them. If they are no longer able to provide adequate care for any reason, HPS will gladly take the horses back.
There have been many times a placement home intended to keep horses for life but found they were unable to due to unforeseen medical or financial reasons. HPS is dedicated to caring for our senior horses, we often have horses living well into their thirties in relatively good health.
Horse Protection Society – China Grove, NC
2135 Miller Road, China Grove NC 28023
If you are interested in loaning or donating your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: