A dilapidated greenhouse with the remnants of a roof and no walls doesn’t look like much, but its home for 22 rescued horses.
Inside this makeshift barn Wednesday morning, Pam Mosher, clad in jeans and a tank top, groomed 21-year old “Dancer” and then led it to a small corral for exercise.
“Alright Dancer, go on,” Mosher directed, striking the ground with a small whip.
“Quit looking for food; go out there and trot,” she said. “Lord have mercy, I know you are older, but you have to stay in shape.”
At the end of the exercise session Mosher said, “Go girl,” while patting “Dancer” on the head and giving the attentive animal a kiss.
Mosher relocated her non-profit Hidden Creek Farms Animal Rescue about three months ago to Sebring from Lake Wales.
She made the move to expand from 13 acres to 43 acres of property she is renting at a good price off of U.S. 98.
It will take eight more months to clean and fix up the property that was a citrus nursery about 10 years ago, Mosher said.
“It’s a slow process because it is being manually done because there are not enough funds to hire crews and fence people,” she said. It’s a lot of work, but two neighbors come by regularly on Saturdays to help.
Though she is 51, Mosher said she works hard daily from 6:30 a.m. until midnight, noting she has floodlights on the property.
At 11 a.m., Wednesday, she said, “I’ve got four washed today, one lunged [training exercise] and six stalls done. That means I still have 11 stalls to do.”
Mosher is caring for 22 horses now and noted she had 36 at one point last year.
Many of her horses are for sale, but the economy is so terrible she keeps getting more, Mosher said.
Someone brought in an appaloosa on Tuesday, she said. “Come to find out it’s blind, but that’s alright because I have my blind horse so I know how to deal with the blind. But, they could have told me.”
To raise money to care for the animals she gives riding lessons, breaks and trains horses, and holds pony parties. Her petting zoo includes a chicken, rooster, mini potbellied pig, two rabbits and three ducks.
Eight rescue dogs earn their keep by keeping the coyotes away.
“I mainly try to stick to the horses, but I seem to get calls on all kinds of stuff,” Mosher said.
She used the word “emaciated” often to describe many of the neglected horses she has taken in.
Many people get a horse to ride and then think they can just put it out in a pasture or they want to get rid of an ill-tempered animal, Mosher said.
“I can’t say ‘no’ when a horse is half dead,” she said.
Mosher has been doing “rescue” for 33 years.
“My mother kept saying, ‘don’t buy a horse,’” Mosher said. “He bought me a pony,” when she was 8.
At 14 she had six horses. Later she learned a lot when she traveled with race horses as a groomer and trainer, Mosher said.
She is hoping to get some more volunteers and donations including donations to help put a roof over the horses, Mosher said. “Also, we have a program where they can sponsor a horse and we have pictures of all the horses and it’s only about $25 a month. It just helps toward the feed.”
For more information call 863-443-7624 or go to www.hiddencreekfarmsanimalrescue.weebly.com and www.myponyparties.weebly.com.