Equine rescue fills needs in horse capital of the world

Published: Nov. 28, 2018 at 6:03 PM EST
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Front Range Equine Rescue is a horse sanctuary originally founded in Colorado, and a second location was opened in Marion County in 2015.

Their mission goes beyond rescuing horses, they also advocate for wild horse protection, and putting an end to horse slaughter houses.

The founder of the rescue reminds us that as pets, horses require a lot of attention and care, so today, TV20's Olana Osborn visited this rescue to learn more about their demand in Marion County.

Hilary Wood has been working to rescue horses for more than 20 years. She didn't own her first horse until later in life, but from the beginning, she's owned rescues.

"I just knew he was in a bad situation and I got to know him, and I wanted to get him out of there, I was sort of inspired by that horse's story," Wood said, explaining how she got involved with horse rescues.

From there, Front Range Equine Rescue became her mission.

"It's really heartwarming, but it's also heartbreaking," she said.

In Ocala she has the capacity for 13 horses, and right now she's at 11. Some horses were surrendered by the owners after an injury, and other came from animal services. They are all now fully retired due to medical needs, but Wood will still adopt horses out of this location.

"If we find that they could rehab and become adopted, we will put them up for adoption," she explained.

She's seen a lot of improvement from the horses that she's taken in.

"They are basically emaciated, their organ systems are shutting down, other disease processes that weren't treated correctly, and of course, extreme starvation cases we've seen," referencing a horse that came in nearly 75 pounds underweight.

Horses can make a great addition to your furry family -- but Wood urges you to do your research before buying a horse.

"We know that a lot of people love horses, but you don't always have to own a horse to be involved with horses. Get involved with horses before thinking about making that commitment that it takes to actually own a horse," Wood said.

Because the demands of a horse are a little larger than another house pet, "there is a big financial commitment to this, get around horses, learn something about them from the people that are handling them all the time." Wood suggested horse riding lessons or volunteering with horse rescues.

Front Range Equine Rescue is a non-profit organization. If you'd like to get involved, visit