I recently had the pleasure of touring the Pegasus Project, a horse rescue ranch between Edom and Ben Wheeler.
About two dozen neglected, abandoned and abused horses roam the 95 acres. Most of these majestic creatures have been nursed back to health from horrendous circumstances and are ready to be adopted.
The ranch was started three years ago by horse lovers Mike and Allyson DeCanio. A year earlier, they rescued two severely malnourished stallions seized by law officers from a property in Smith County.
After they rescued the stallions — Milagro and Romeo — the DeCanios purchased the property near Edom, set up the nonprofit Pegasus Project and began taking in other abused horses.
The DeCanios now work with animal welfare organizations to respond to cruelty complaints and assist law enforcement agencies with investigations. Their goal is to rehabilitate horses so they can be adopted.
On their website the DeCanios state the mission this way: "These animals need more than sanctuary. They need people dedicated to improving their quality of life and capable of providing the level of care necessary to revitalize their body and spirits.
"Every horse is treated individually and handled daily by accomplished horsemen … to create a respectful, well-trained partner for its future family."
During the tour, Allyson told me and fellow Tyler Paper reporter Dayna Worchel that when people learn about Pegasus they often want to volunteer. She says what they need more than anything is donations.
Seized horses require immediate veterinary care and immunizations before they even arrive at the ranch and then it costs about $300 month to care for each horse, not counting costs of unexpected illnesses or emergency care.
Pegasus Project relies on donations. All the money goes to care for and train the horses. Allyson and Mike do not get paid by Pegasus.
Allyson says people can help by financing the ongoing care of a horse, by donating horse supplies or hay, agreeing to serve as foster families for horses available for adoption and by adopting a horse.
She encourages everyone to spread the word about Pegasus and its mission. You can find out much more by the nonprofit and its horses by going to the Pegasus Project website, mypegasusproject.org, and its facebook page, facebook.com/PegasusRescue.