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Wanship Nonprofit Rescues Abused And Injured Horses

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Saving Gracie Foundation
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A nonprofit organization, the Saving Gracie Equine Health Foundation, based in Wanship, aims to come to the rescue of injured or abused horses.

The director of the foundation, Barb Phillips, said that it is based at the Blue Sky Ranch which is owned by herself and her husband. The program is named after her first rescue case—Gracie, a horse she saved from an owner in Spanish Fork in 2013.

“Well I started with her, but the abuse case was ongoing. It started in September or October of 2013. We went down and tried to help the rescue case with hay and grain and we were involved in the court case to try to prosecute the owner of that ranch. So, Gracie was the first horse but then after we were allowed to go to auction, we got several more and brought them to the ranch.”

We asked her if horses are abused because owners don’t have the money or are callous. She said it can be both.

“This particular case I think they ran out of money and there was about 140 horses that were starving and abused. The woman that owned the ranch did go to jail for a year. That was how that particular case happened but we’ve also over the course of three and half years its just situations come up. We have some thoroughbreds some off the track. We rescued one from Puerto Rico that was in trouble after the hurricane. So, we had him flown to the states and brought to us. He’s been with us for almost a year now.”

She said another one of their rescues is a three-year-old injured racing horse.

“The race horses, you just never know what’s going to happen to them when they stop racing. I think the racing industry, it takes responsibility often and tries to place them into sanctuaries if they can. I don’t know what happens to the other ones but it’s sad.”

They’re also planning a program for wild mustangs.

“We have a couple of mustangs that we rescued last year. We are in the process of gentling those mustangs so that they can become part of the Blue Sky program. Our hope is that they will be guest horses at some point. If that works out, we call it the Blue Sky Mustang project, because we adopted them, Saving Gracie, we’re training them, and when they’re ready Blue Sky will adopt them. If that all works out—it’s our first go at it—then we’ll be able to go back and rescue more mustangs.”

Saving Gracie participated in the recent Live PC Give PC event, and marketing director Hattie Cole estimates they made some $10,450. For more information, you can visit their website here.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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