Charity of the Week: The Pegasus Project

Luke in April 2011

The Pegasus Project, Inc. is a Texas-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit, horse rescue organization which facilitates the seizure, rehabilitation and adoption of abused, abandoned, and neglected horses in East Texas. Working with other animal welfare organizations and local law enforcement, Pegasus helps conduct investigations and seizures of neglected equine. Founders Allyson & Mike DeCanio provide daily hands-on care to each and every horse coming through the program. Allyson, an attorney, volunteers her legal skills to divest neglectful and abusive owners of their rights to the horses and then takes them into the program and nutures them back to health. Our goal is to rehabilitate horses by establishing a foundation of solid mind and body through love, quality care, and natural horsemanship methods. Once healthy, it is our hope that every horse be adopted by carefully screened new owners. Each horse is trained by our staff of horse developers, including head trainer Don Knapp. Other acclaimed horsemen, including Mark Rashid and Bruce Logan, volunteer their training skills for a limited number of horses. Pegasus utilizes both natural and traditional horsemanship techniques to prepare our horses for their new adoptive homes. Our goal is to always see things from the horse’s perspective. Pegasus provides a permanent sanctuary for horses not acceptable for placement.

One example of a horse Pegasus has helped is the beautiful “Cool Hand Luke”. This sweet, blue-eyed boy was named in tribute to the gorgeous, blue-eyed Paul Newman. This Paint colt, who was 3 at the time, was rescued on April 21, 2011 by Pegasus with the assistance of the Smith County Constables Office. Abandoned by a felon at the home of his elderly father, this young horse stood in a dirt pen for more than a year without food or hay and with very little water, all the while surrounded by beautiful green pastures and ponds just outside of his reach. With a body score of less than 1, Luke had a long way to go. Although he had no reason to trust humans, he proved loving and gentle and adored human attention. Luke attained normal weight in no time and took to his training program with no issues. Luke is very laid back and the perfect horse for most any rider. Luke was chosen by Debbie Tunnell of Republic, Missouri, and his adoption was completed on February 24, 2013. Luke is one of our most beloved horses to ever come thru Pegasus and we will miss his gentle spirit. We are thrilled that he has found such a wonderful home. Godspeed, dear Luke.

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