A 30-year-old Bandera County horse rescue group is taking steps to start life anew.
Brighter Days Horse Refuge at 682 Krause Road in Pipe Creek is reorganizing with a new board of directors and plans to be more visible and more in touch with a community that has a long history of caring for horses.
“We are starting from the ground up to improve the operation and return to the original mission statement of
taking in abused and neglected horses and making them healthy, resocialized and adopted,” said the refuge’s new board President Carole Gage, whose been on the job more than two months.
“The more horses we can adopt out, the more we can take in that need our help,” she said.
Gage said she has been around horses since she was young, raised a number of horses and was a barrel racer in her earlier years.
The 20-acre horse refuge currently has 45 horses with each animal eating about $150 a month in hay and grain.
For all the horses, that comes to a charge of more than $6,700 a month, or about $81,000 a year.
Veterinary, farrier and other expenses add tens of thousands of dollars more, Gage said.
The nonprofit organization operating the refuge has an annual budget of between $100,000 to $150,000 supplied by donors and at times by grants, she said.
In an interview with The Bandera Bulletin, Gage and new board Director Jim Otten addressed how the equine operation ran into hard times.
Over the last few years, the prior board of directors was hit by the death of one member and the retirement of another following an accident.
“Then things got stagnant over the last few years, and the number of horses coming in increased, but the number being adopted dropped. That led to rising feed bills and veterinary bills and costs going up fast,” Gage said.
Otten said Brighter Days is getting back to better planning and a better development strategy, including a targeted outreach to the community.
“We need to reimagine our operation, including telling our story and letting everyone know who we are,” Gage said.
“We are very excited to have a float in the Bandera Memorial Day parade on Saturday, May 25, as part of our effort to be more visible and better known,” the board president said.
Another part of the initiative is educating children and others about horses and horse care and the relationship between horses and humans that has evolved over several thousand years.
Gage said Brighter Days is working on a plan to take horses to schools and other places where children can see, touch and experience a real horse.
“We want a larger audience to know about Brighter Days so they will visit and possible adopt a horse or two, or donate to our mission with money or volunteering their time and talent,” Gage said.
The organization is currently seeking groups and individuals to help repaint buildings at the Krause Road location.
The board president said Brighter Days has a new web site and Facebook page that are more user friendly than the old sites.
She said making donations to the horse refuge is now easier. Visitors wanting to help can use PayPal for direct donation and can go to AmazonSmile and a list Brighter Days Horse Refuge as their charity.
For more information about the operation and what the community can do to help, visit the new website brighterdayshorserefuge.com or call 830-510-6607.