On her 10-acre property, Brittany Saad keeps a blind horse named Leroy, a lame-footed quarter horse named Emma and an abused ex-racehorse named Charlie who tends to kick at men.
For the past two years, she has gathered the sick, the skeletal and the abandoned — luckless animals hit by cars or suffering laminitis in their hooves.
But now the Harnett County veterinary technician has taken in an entire herd that is overwhelming her generosity: 28 undernourished Arabian horses, many of which are pregnant.
“I’m crazy,” said Saad, 26. “I want the ones nobody else wants.”
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Saad’s nonprofit, Love of Lacey Equine Rescue, recently finished hauling the horses a few at a time from Cabarrus County, where a 78-year-old man had grown too old and weak to care for them. The transport alone took four days over two weeks.
None of the Arabians, which range in age from a few months to 20-plus years, had ever been seen by a veterinarian. They’d had no vaccinations or medication. One 4-year-old mare has no milk to feed its colt, which instead is seeking it from the others in the herd.
As she juggles their care with a full-time job, Saad is strapped for feed, hay, shelter and funds. The longer-term goal: finding permanent homes.
“I’m potentially bottle-feeding a ton of babies,” she said.
This is not a case of abuse. Saad learned about the Cabarrus County horses through the owner’s family rather than law enforcement. The family called Love of Lacey because the nonprofit only takes horses with medical or intense rehabilitation needs.
Charlie the racehorse came all the way from Massachussetts, where he was to be euthanized after running 66 starts. Saad thinks he must have been abused by male jockeys or trainers because he kicked her boyfriend after a light pat on the rear.
Saad, a former student at N.C. State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, started her group to refocus her energy after helping her father through a three-year fight with multiple myeloma. After he died in 2012, she put life insurance money toward Love of Lacey.
Her nonprofit takes its name from the horse she rescued from a show barn four years ago, mare with a case of laminitis so severe it could not bend her legs. Since then, all the horses she rescues have names starting with L, A, C, E or Y.
The Cabarrus County herd brought her horse total to 44, more than doubling it. As they recover, they eat a bag and a half of feed each day, each bag weighing 150 pounds. They also eat through two round bales of hay every three days.
Their pasture has no shelter, which is fine in warmer weather but insufficient once winter comes. While they had never been on a trailer before she rescued them, and had never worn a halter, they have grown far less skittish around people in a week’s time.
“They’re friendly as can be,” said Saad’s boyfriend Bryan Davis, feeding them this week. “They’re not wild.”
Love of Lacey has found homes for four of the new horses so far. It’s not a fit for everyone. The application makes it clear that the nonprofit doesn’t allow its horses to be sold or given away. These are companion animals.
But it’s a four-legged friend for somebody willing to work a little, and to put patience and love first.