Before they founded Miami County Horse Guardians, Kulla and Smith paid to house and recuperate around eight horses out of their own pockets. It wasn’t cheap, but Kulla said it was the right thing to do.
“All I know is I’m an animal person, so I was going to do it,” she said.
Beau was the last horse they helped save with their own funds before deciding to form the group.
About a year-and-a-half ago, the Horse Guardians hosted its first fundraiser, which brought in around $2,000. Since then, it has sponsored a number of other small fundraisers like a silent auction and selling sweatshirts.
With that money, Smith and Kulla have nursed eight neglected horses back to life.
One of those horses Smith found in a barn completely packed with trash. She said they had to clear a path through the debris to get him outside and into a trailer.
Blood splattered the walls of the stable, where sharp nails stuck out and gashed the horse when it tried to move.
“Horses can’t get out of situations like this,” Smith said. “They’re trapped, and they can’t help themselves.”
By creating the Miami County Horse Guardians, Smith said she hopes horse owners who neglect or abuse their animals will know there are people in the county who will fight against that neglect and abuse.
And she said people are already getting the message.
“I hear, ‘They’ll get you in Miami County if you don’t take care of your horse,’” Smith said. “’You have to watch your p’s and q’s here.’”
But conscious cruelty is rarely the reason horses end up malnourished or sick. Smith said ignorance and bad information are what usually lead to those kinds of situations.
That was the case with Beau.