MANATEE COUNTY — On a piece of property off Fruitville road, horses graze in wide-open pastures.
But spaces such as these are few and far between.
Alan Napier, who runs Napier’s Log Cabin Horse & Animal Sanctuary with his wife, Sheree, and their children, is in desperate need of more land.
The Napiers are pleading for donations of land or at least the use of it so that they can rescue more horses.
“We want to do more, but we can’t do more,” Alan Napier said. “We have the people. We just don’t have the funds or the facilities to help them.”
The sanctuary already is caring for more than 30 horses on several properties. Because of space limitations, they can’t take any more in, but the need is worse than ever.
Napier said he’s heard reports of horse owners leaving their animals in state parks or even loading them in other people’s horse trailers while they are out on trail rides, although none of those incidents were local.
The rescue gets at least two calls a week from horse owners who can no longer afford to care for their animals.
“(People) just can’t take care of their horses anymore,” Napier said. “We hear stories all the time.”
In addition to allowing for more animals, having good quality grazing pasture will help reduce feed costs, which already run in excess of $2,000 a month just for the horses.
“If you’ve got the acreage, you’ve got the grazing,” Napier said.
To help offset the costs of feeding so many horses, the rescue began offering horseback riding in May.
The rescue acquired six horses from the Sarasota Family YMCA after the organization lost funding for a facility that provided a permanent residence for about 20 youth. The property also included horseback riding for the children, Alan Napier said.
The sanctuary agreed to take responsibility for the horses in exchange for use of the land when the facility closed, Napier said.
Horseback riding lessons cost $25 per hour and are available by appointment only.
For more information about the rescue or to donate land, visit its Web site at www.napierfamilyfarm.com or call 750-8185. Donations also can be made at Bank of America in care of the Horse and Animal Sanctuary.
Contact Pam McTeer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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