Sanctuary. Webster's dictionary defines sanctuary as, "A safe place. A place of refuge and protection." Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary in Lincolnton, GA is exactly that. Currently over fifty horses who have been rescued from all sorts of abuse, neglect and trauma can live out their lives, running free under the watchful eyes of Melanie Sue Bowles and her husband Jim. Never again to worry about hunger, abuse or abandonment they romp together as a family through pastures, streams and woods. Melanie expects nothing of them, except that they enjoy the peace and happiness here. Being one of the few true horse sanctuaries in the country no horse will ever be adopted out. "They've given enough." Melanie will tell you.
|Proud Spirit horses relaxing by the pond|
I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Melanie on Tuesday for a story to be published in my October Heartbeats column in Trail Blazer. They make a practice of saving horses other rescues turn down since they'll never adopt them out, they don't need to be able to be ridden. "Our horses will never see a bit, saddle or any tack again. They've given enough." Melanie said.
|Dixie and the Mustangs soaking up the sun|
All the horses at Proud Spirit come from one form or another of neglect or abuse. Melanie believes it's quite arrogant for humans to think they are the only species that deserve emotional well being. She and Jim believe and promote that it is just as important to place as much emphasis on the horse's emotional well being as we do on their physical needs. That thought became the cornerstone of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary's philosophy.
|Melanie and Jim|
Over the past 25 years Melanie and Jim have intervened on behalf of more than 300 hundred downtrodden horses, many of them coming to the sanctuary to live out their lives in peace and dignity, a life that most had never known before.
Melanie began to write down the stories of some of the horses they'd rescued and a friend urged her to publish those stories because they might help others understand how horses need and deserve our compassion. Her first book "The Horses of Proud Spirit" was published in 2003. Melanie has since released two more books, "Hoof Prints" and "The Dogs of Proud Spirit." Over the years the sanctuary has welcomed a number of unwanted dogs as well. The proceeds from all her books help to support the sanctuary. Visit their website http://www.horsesofproudspirit.org/ to purchase these fine books.
Be sure to watch for my story about this wonderful place in my Heartbeats column of the October issue of Trail Blazer, and thank you Melanie and Jim for all you do to help horses.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry
Check out Trail Blazer magazine here- http://www.trailblazermagazine.us/