Nonprofit rescues horses and humans

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By Taylor Riley

Editor's note: The date of the meet and greet has been changed to 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15 at 2485 Eminence Rd, Eminence.

Would you like to #HelpAHorse?

Now you can with the help of the American Saddlebred Legacy Foundation (ASLF), located on Eminence Road. The nonprofit not only helps horses by rehabilitating and rehoming them, but it’s also helped many people in need as well.

When we caught up with ASLF President Jennifer Hegg a year ago, the foundation was little known. Now, through the help of grants, hundreds of horses have been directly placed in homes.

The foundation is working with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)'s #HelpAHorse to show people that “adopting horses is a good, if not better, alternative to buying,” Hegg said.

The foundation, established in 2015, builds relationships and becomes resources to trainers, owners, breeders and the Amish to help rehome Saddlebred horses that don’t fit traditional training programs. It’s not exactly a rescue; ASLF’s goal is to repurpose the horses before they go through the auction process. The foundation works with the Right Horse Initiative, which advocates to “improve the lives of horses in transition,” according to a brochure.

The nonprofit is focusing its attention on training now; it recently won a $10,000 grant to get its young horses trained and placed into loving homes.

Now, the foundation is hoping to win more prize money it can dedicate to training opportunities. Hegg is competing against 43 national groups to win $150,000. The money, she said would “allow us to help additional horses in need.

The foundation currently holds 23 horses in need of rehabilitation, usually older companion or younger prospects. The horses typically rotate through within six to eight months.

Hegg not only helps horses; humans are also helped in the process. One of those humans is 10-year-old Preston Mengedoht.

Local readers may remember Mengedoht’s mother Deidre Irene Mengedoht, a Louisville Metro Police officer who died after being hit by a car on Christmas Eve 2018. Mengedoht’s stepmother Casey Dowden began helping Hegg at the Eminence farm and soon, Preston, his dad Jason and two little brothers came out to ride and take care of the horses.

In the family’s time of grief, the horses became a relief to Preston. The family has since adopted Preston’s favorite, 10-year-old Gelding Bud and another, Bubbles.

“I feel this place heals things,” Hegg said. “It’s been a urge help to (Preston).”

The foundation is funded 100 percent from donations and grants, although donors are their “most valuable resource.”

If you’d like to donate time or funds to ASLF, contact them at saddlebredlegacy.com/contact.

Meet Jennifer Hegg and the horses from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 15, with a rain date scheduled for June 15. The event is free and open to the public. The event will take place at the Old Brick Farm, 2485 Eminence Road, Eminence.