By Marisa Webber
Fifty volunteers, 48 horses, 40 acres, four donkeys and one pig make up RVR Horse Rescue. It houses a large variety of horses and donkeys that all have one thing in common; they are cared for in the most loving, caring environment possible.
Many of the horses, and all of the donkeys, at RVR Horse Rescue are rescued from environments that cannot provide the proper conditions. The others are adopted horses that live and are cared for on the farm. One of the most recent rescue stories is a horse named Phoenix, who was taken in as an owner’s surrender. This means the previous owner of the horse could not properly take care of him anymore, so it was agreed to put Phoenix in the care of RVR. On intake, Phoenix weighed 842 lbs., so the volunteers worked to properly feed him.
“You have to feed carefully, you can’t over feed them too fast because they could become colic, which is basically when their digestive system shuts down,” said Nick Fewell, a regular volunteer. After just 47 days, Phoenix now weighs about 936 pounds, averaging a weight gain of 3.3 lbs. per day. He is fed six times a day to ensure steady, proper weight gain. It is not certain how old Phoenix is, but the volunteers assume he is between 22 and 26 due to the wear on his teeth. Horses typically live to be 30 to 35 years old.
RVR Horse Rescue was founded by Shawn Jayroe who grew up on a 1,000 acre farm and developed a love for horses. She realized she wanted to dedicate her life to care for, and rehabilitate horses that have been abused or neglected. Her dream became a reality 20 years ago when she had finally raised enough money to buy the 40 acre property that now holds and cares for 48 horses. At RVR they do not stop at horses; they have four rescued donkeys, as well as a pig who wandered onto their property. The volunteers have so much compassion for each and every horse. Fewell, a volunteer since August of 2013, knows the name and story of each rescued horse. Some of the horses are used help children with special needs by providing them opportunities to interact with them.
RVR is always in need of help and donations. Minors can volunteer under parental supervision. It is located at 12611 Hayes Clan Rd. in Riverview. For more information, visit rvrhorserescue.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 280-9299.