Jason and Jeanine Jones and their sons Joei and Jaycob run a nonprofit horse rescue operation at their home on 44 acres north of Sparks in which they take in animals that owners can no longer care for.
Founded in June 2009, the Have a Heart Save a Horse Corp. takes in equines that are neglected, abused, injured, no longer have homes or are at risk of being taken to slaughter. At any given time, the Jones family cares for 25 to 30 rescue animals.
“We started the rescue after some people we know that had horses lost their home,” Jason said. “We felt bad and we took them in.”
That was in March 2009. In June, the family received three more horses.
“In June 2009 the need for a rescue center for horses became more apparent when we received three more rescues that were approximately 500 pounds underweight,” the corporation’s website, www.haveaheartsaveahorse.org, states. “It was then decided that we needed to start a local nonprofit horse rescue and apply for our 501(c)(3). Not only were rescues coming in one after the other but the expenses were becoming very large.”
And the expenses are still large. The nonprofit relies entirely on donations and the Joneses are dipping into their own pockets to care for the horses.
“Right now we can only afford to feed and water them,” Jeanine said, adding that the horses need vaccinations, training, hoof care and often medical attention. “We are always looking for donations.”
Donations can be monetary, but there are a variety of other ways to get involved.
“If people don’t want to donate money, they can go to Dr. Coli Comstock … and donate to the doctor,” Jeanine said.
Comstock provides much-needed veterinary services to the foundation’s horses on a regular basis at a discounted rate, she said.
“He helps us so much,” Jeanine said. “They are just great people.”
Donations also can be made to H&J Feed, where Have a Heart Save a Horse purchases feed for the animals.
Additionally, the nonprofit is seeking a grant writer to help find funding.
“We are looking for grant writers and would even pay them once we receive funding,” Jeanine said.
People who are in the market for a horse can adopt animals from Have a Heart Save a Horse, Jason said. Horses that are adopted remain property of the nonprofit and cannot be sold, but adopters can keep the horses as long as they like. Adoption fees range from $100 to $500 and go back to the nonprofit to help pay for feed and care of other rescue horses.
“What people like is the horses stay in our name,” Jeanine said. “If they have to bring them back, they can, and we have had horses come back.”
One such horse, Hank, has been adopted and returned to the rescue three times, but Jeanine said 18-year-old Spanish Springs High School student Hunter Newbrough has taken over care of the horse.
“Hunter works and pays for his horse,” she said. “This horse has been brought back to us three times because he kept bucking people off, but Hunter hasn’t had any problems like that. This is a match right here.”
Newbrough visits the horse and rides him three days per week. He also assists with the other horses on the property, along with Joei, Jaycob and Taylor Swanson. The young men pick up and deliver horses and assist with feeding, grooming and exercising.
“If it weren’t for our family and volunteers, we would not be able to do this,” Jeanine said. “They are major helps to us. If it weren’t for these guys, there would be no way.”
The horse market has suffered since the economy took a turn for the worse a few years ago. Horses that once cost thousands of dollars are now sold at dirt cheap prices, and feed remains expensive.
So if keeping horses is so costly, why does the Jones family continue to take them in?
“Our goal is to heal and gentle these previously damaged horses/burros and adopt them into forever, loving homes,” the rescue’s website states.
“It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy when you adopt out a horse,” Jason said.