This week we chat with Shawn Jayroe, owner of RVR Horse Rescue in Riverview. Jayroe has been around horses her entire life, growing up on a 1,000-acre ranch in Texas, where she dreamed of providing a safe haven for abused and neglected horses. Jayroe started her "Hair Perfections" salon in Temple Terrace in 1987, saving up her money to purchase a 40-acre ranch in Riverview, where she began rescuing horses, rehabilitating them and finding them better homes. Jayroe eventually applied for non-profit status for the rescue, where a string of loyal volunteers help keep it running.
I was at a local horse rental facility and saw some kids riding this horse that was clearly in pain and it showed in every movement. I could not walk away. When they took the saddle off, she had bloody saddle sores all over her back, she was starting to founder and had bursitis. Eight months later, I found her a home with a woman who did dressage. Turns out, (the horse) had been, at one point, a very well trained dressage horse. I did this with several horses and it became quite expensive, so I started searching for land.
The mission of RVR is to rescue abused, neglected, and starved horses. Once we get them, they are evaluated and treated as necessary, and after they have been fully rehabilitated, we try to adopt them out to a loving, forever home. We also focus on educating the community and we share resources and information with the horse community in order to put an end to the abuse and neglect.
Since we are a volunteer-only organization, people are always needed to help with the day-to-day care of the horses and grounds. They can donate feed, hay, tack, and building supplies. Sponsor and fostering programs help offset the costs of rescuing these horses. We also need people to donate time and special skills, like fundraising, office work, construction, grant writing, etc. Most importantly, we need monetary donations to defray the cost of rehabilitating the horses.
Seeing healthy horses adopted out to loving homes is all the reward I need. To reach into the grave and pull these magnificent animals from certain death, and to give them a new lease on life, that is why RVR exists.
Horse racing is not going to stop. I just wish they would not start them so young and not allow them to fall through the cracks when they find out they’re not good at it. No more injections, either!