WEBSTER, Minn. (FOX 9) - The beauty of horses grazing on the hills of a Webster farm isn’t lost on anyone.
But, look a little closer and you’ll see just about every one of the horses at Healing Hearts and Hooves has their own unique features that make Keri Bedeaux love them even more.
Some are blind. Some have nerve damage or broken bones. Some are malnourished, and then there’s Elita, which means "the chosen one" in Latin.
"I saw her crooked face and I’m like, I gotta have her, without even knowing what was going on with her. But, she’s a special needs horse and that’s what I’m drawn to," said Bedeaux.
There are 60 horses, donkeys and ponies at the farm that were most recently rescued at auction where they likely would have been killed. It’s a trip that is always heartbreaking, as Bedeaux can’t save them all.
"Walking away from horses, I mean you’d go crazy if you consider where they all go. But, you just do what you can for the ones you can and hope for the best that they’re all going to good homes not to slaughter," she said.
Bedeaux tries to buy those horses that she says need her the most. They’re discarded work horses, old or are suffering in some way.
"I just want to give them a soft place to land, feel like they’re loved and make them feel like they’re not alone until their time comes," she said.
A couple of them are adoptable, but most are just here to get good food, medicine, and any care they might need.
But, it’s not just the horses that are being helped at Healing Hearts and Hooves. Bedeaux learned along the way that while she rescues horses, the horses can rescue people. Now, those suffering with depression, anxiety or other kinds of mental health issues are coming out here to connect and find some peace in a sometimes not so peaceful world.
Bedeaux said she was helped with her anxiety and depression, and now members of the military, police and others are reaching out.
"Typically, they connect with one horse or two horses in particular and that horse is like their therapist. They can sit with them, take them out and walk them. They can brush them, spend time with them – whatever is gonna help them," she said.
One of the first people to benefit from the horses is now a volunteer.
"They connect with you, they choose you," said Anna Franck, a volunteer. "I suffered from anxiety for years, and our family had suffered an unexpected loss. Coming out here, I found a peace I didn’t know I needed that bad."
Many of the horses arrive to the farm stressed, anxious and depressed. But, whether it’s the magic Bedeaux sees in the eyes of her blind horses or the affection of those that were neglected, the horses leave this earth loved. And visitors to the Healing Hearts and Hooves go home with hope for a better tomorrow.