STACY, Minn. (FOX 9) - These horses can't see the beautiful life Kari Belevender has created for them at HOC Rose Sanctuary Rescue, but these animals can feel her love.
Through an ASL interpreter, Kari told FOX 9 about how her unique nonprofit got started. It all began when she was fostering a horse named Cami, later discovering the horse would totally lose their sight within the next year.
As a deaf woman, she wondered how she would manage a blind horse. But then, she had an epiphany.
"At that moment, I thought maybe it is like a hearing mom who has a deaf kid... I felt a parallel in my life to what these horses might be experiencing and the frustration of not being able to communicate, and I thought, ‘Hey, I can try this. I can figure this out,’" said Belevender.
Over the last seven years, the sanctuary and rescue has grown to house eight blind horses, all of them making their way to the farm after their owners surrendered them.
"A lot of times, the owners just don't know what to do. They don't know how to have a safe environment for them anymore," said Belevender.
Her rescue is that safe haven, but their mission isn't cheap. In order to give the horses the care they deserve, HOC Rose is in desperate need of donations and sponsors for their animals.
"We need help with shelter and hay to keep our organization going for even another year," said Belevender.
She hopes to spread the knowledge that blind horses can thrive just as well as seeing horses with the right support.
"My goal is really to change people's perspectives about what a blind horse is to change that stigma," said Belevender.
With help from the community, Belevender hopes her work changing perspectives about both horses and people with disabilities can continue.
To learn more or to sponsor a horse, you can reach out to Kari directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.