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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Have a heart for the horses

BY KIM DAME Hernando Today correspondent

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When an abandoned couple of horses were nearing their final breaths, one took a long walk to the edge of the pasture bordering a road and lay down to die. The emaciated horse was spotted by a passerby who then discovered its pasture buddy, also nearing death.

The one by the roadside had to be put down. The companion, who was renamed Hope, survived but not without tireless rehabilitation from Carrie Young and Allan Wilson who run Ohana Horse Rescue. The gelding was taken in and became one of 32 horses on the 40-acre ranch off Lake Lindsey Road.

There isn’t much Carrie Young hasn’t witnessed since she decided to open her property and her heart to help suffering equines. Many days she fights the rage that builds up inside when she sees another neglected animal and hears lame excuses from their owners.

“But we are spiritual people,” Carrie said.

With a withering economy, she also understands that times have been rough on people. Sadly the animals have paid the ultimate price.

Ohana takes as many as they can to rehabilitate and place into forever homes. But those who adopt a rescued equine sign a lifetime contract which means, on occasion, Ohana sometimes gets them back.

Ohana doesn’t run on a limitless budget, however. Like most rescues, Young and Wilson depend on donations from generous supporters.

“We have sacrificed everything to care for them,” Young said. And they accept without hesitation any offers of assistance, both physical from volunteers, and financial, from generous donors.

In fact, one of their loyalist followers is Envy Models & Talent (Envy Pageant Productions) in Spring Hill which will be hosting a benefit on Saturday April 13, to raise money for Ohana Horse Rescue. The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Saxon Manor which is located at 200 S. Saxon Ave. in Brooksville.

Suzi Hosfeld, owner of Envy Models & Talent in Spring Hill, jumped at the idea to support the horse rescue. And with the help of a parent of one of her models, Lauren MacKenzie, the benefit quickly turned into a combination of Envy’s annual Ms. Hernando Pageant, with other attractions including vendors, contests and more.

Envy Models & Talent is a big contributor to local charities, choosing a different one to support each year.

“The girls go out and raise some money to go to the Miss Florida State Pageant,” Lauren MacKenzie said, while also collecting funds for the chosen charity.

MacKenzie’s daughter, Makayla, who currently holds the title of Miss Hernando Teen 2013 and was the previous Miss Weeki Wachee Teen 2012, raised $200 on her own to support Ohana.

“Suzie matched all the contributions which were then presented to Carrie Young last November at our National pageant in Tampa,” Lauren MacKenzie said. “But now Envy wants to do something on a bigger scale because they are in such need.”

The idea grew from a simple fashion show to a pageant. “We came up with a way to have the Miss Hernando pageant and raise money as well,” Lauren added.

The event, named Have a Heart for the Horses, will be held at Saxon Manor in Brooksville and will include the Miss Hernando Pageant as well as a Talent and Best Western Wear contests.

The annual pageant is usually held during the Hernando County Fair, MacKenzie explained. But this year, Envy decided to combine it with a charity event, attracting pageant entries for the Miss Hernando title, while also opening up opportunities for those who want a simple competition.

Entries for the Miss Hernando Pageant are $80 for ages 24 months to 13 years and $150 for ages 14 and up.

The cost for the event is just $5 per person which gets them into the event. For those interested in participating in the Best Western Wear, the entry fee is $10. Talent competition is $15 for two performances. Best Western Wear and Talent competitions are open to all ages and participants do not need to be entered into the pageant to compete.

Ohana will also provide at least two horses from the Rescue which will be available for pictures. MacKenzie said the horses will compete for Best of Show. All the proceeds from the event, excluding the pageant, will be donated directly to Ohana.

Early registration for pageant entries is encouraged so Suzie Holsted can give each participant the information they will need to compete. Registration for the Best Western Wear and Talent competitions can be completed the day of the event.

Carrie Young was moved by the efforts of Envy Models & Talent and those who have come together to support a cause that has, for the past six years, become her life.

The Rescue began when a few horses were placed at her farm from the Sheriff’s Department as a favor, Young said.

She decided to make it a permanent solution, filed for the not-for-profit designation and the rest, you might say, is history.

For more information about Have a Heart for Horses or to register in the Miss Hernando Pageant, contact Envy Models & Talent at 352-256-9959. Or visit their website at You can also contact Ohana Horse Rescue at (727) 326-7827.

Kim Dame is a correspondent for Hernando Today. She can be reached at

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