VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Every year, thousands of horses throughout the country are abused, neglected, and sent to “kill pens” to be euthanized. However, a local non-profit in Virginia Beach is taking in these horses that have been physically, psychologically, and emotionally hurt and restoring them to full health, all with the help of Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Shauna Horsley, from Alliance, Nebraska, and George Washington’s volunteer coordinator for Circle A Home for Horses, and Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Jonathan Horak, of Quincy, Illinois, volunteer their time there to provide tender loving care to horses who have been mistreated in the past.
“Circle A is an organization that takes horses who are injured, ill, or just malnourished, and raises them back to health,” said Horsley. “We focus on rehabilitating and rehoming every horse.”
Circle A takes care of many horses, says Horsley.
“Right now we have around 45 different horses we’re taking care of,” said Horsley. “I also have my own horse, Amelia, that I take care of.”
Since one of the focuses of Circle A is to find a new home for the horses, they have a program where you can foster one of the horses.
“Amelia is the horse that I just bonded with the moment I saw her,” said Horsley. “[Circle A] worked with me to help me adopt Amelia. I’m really thankful that I can say she is my horse.”
“In the horse community, we have a saying. ‘You don’t choose the horse, the horse chooses you,’” said Horsley.
For Horak, he helps out at the farm for a different reason.
“I love working hard and helping others, and Circle A lets me do both,” said Horak. “That’s why I love being a hull maintenance technician; I do a lot of work with my hands, and that work helps Sailors out around the ship.”
Circle A isn’t the first place Horak has worked with horses. He has prior experience at another horse farm.
“I used to work on a small farm back when I was a sophomore in high school,” said Horak. “This farm may have a lot more horses than the one I used to work on, but when you get down to it, fixing a fence is fixing a fence, no matter how big the farm.”
Horsley said there is one thing that Circle A Home for Horses needs to be more successful in helping the horses there.
“We need more people helping out,” said Horsley. “I believe that if every Sailor on the GW could come just once and meet all these horses, then we wouldn’t have to worry about people coming to help us.”
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at Circle A Home for Horses, please contact Horsley for more information.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.