'They all have a broken past:' Rescue gives neglected horses a second chance

DreamCatcher Horse Ranch nurses abused horses back to health

CLERMONT, Fla.DreamCatcher Horse Ranch and Rescue Center has become the last hope for many abandoned, neglected and abused horses.  

The 10-acre ranch in rural Lake County is home to nearly 50 horses, most rescued from bad situations. The rescue center specializes in major medical cases.  

A horse names Eleven was an owner surrender that arrived malnourished and with an infection in her leg. 

Loran Wheatley, co-founder of the rescue center, has been dressing her wound each day with hopes she can survive. 

"We think she was caught up in wire," Wheatley said, as she wrapped a bandage around the adult horse's leg. "You know, people want to buy horses -- they're cute, they're adorable, they're great pets for kids. They don't realize that these horses are expensive."

Wheatley said she started the rescue in 2006.

"The recession hit and the economy crashed," Wheatley said. "People were letting them loose in the forest." 

Wheatley said at that time she took in a few horses and now considers saving them her calling. 

"I feel God put me on this Earth to save them," she said. "We're their last chance."

Wheatley said she has found new homes for about 1,000 horses in 13 years. 

She was nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award by volunteer Pam Molesky. "Loran is the most caring person you'll ever meet," Molesky said. "They are getting results. They're saving these animals."

After about 40 minutes, Eleven is walked back to her stable where she'll eat more hay and a few carrots. 

"We believe in miracles," Wheatley said. "We're going to give her the best we can."

The center provides trail riding and horseback riding lessons to help offset the cost of operation.  

Wheatley said her goal is to build a clinic on the property for veterinary services. She said the center couldn't operate without the help of volunteers and they are always looking for more help. For more information about DreamCatcher Horse Ranch and Rescue Center, click here.

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