Summer has been a busy time for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center north of Nicholasville.
The rescue and adoption center for horses of all breeds has been at its 50-animal capacity, said executive director Karen Gustin. Open since 2007, the center cares for horses that are surrendered because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
"Recently we took in seven horses from a large group of Thoroughbreds that were abandoned up in Bourbon County," Gustin said. "One of those horses came in with a three-day-old filly. ...The mare is still pretty thin because she is still nursing, but they are well on their way to regaining their health.
"Then we also took in another emaciated mare and her foal from Eastern Kentucky," Gustin said. "That foal was theoretically four months old, but because of the poor nutrition, he was the size of a two-month-old. He's a little guy.
"Then we have a third mare and foal who came to us from Eastern Kentucky. The mare came in foal, meaning she was pregnant. The baby wasn't born until July, so by the time the baby was born, mom and baby were pretty healthy.
"It's unusual to have three babies all at once," Gustin said.
Foals are typically weaned from their mothers at six months, and will continue to stay at the center until adoptive owners can be found, Gustin said.
It costs an average of $500 each month to care for one horse at the center, Gustin said. The center receives grant funds from various organizations, but also relies on donations from individuals. As a non-profit organization, it does not receive any taxpayer dollars.
The center plans to roll out a "guardian" program where individuals can sponsor the care of a horse at a certain giving level.
In the meantime, "We had a great month for adoptions in September," Gustin said. "We adopted out six horses and we took in five. That's a really good month for us."
There's an application process for potential adoptive owners. "We ask them for a veterinary reference, a farrier reference, and a personal reference," Gustin said. "We ask them for a photo of their facility, whether it's their own farm or a boarding facility where the horse will be kept. ...We're basically looking for someone who has the financial means to take care of a horse, the knowledge to take care of a horse, and someone who has a good reputation as far as being able to pay their bills and take proper care of an animal."