It started with only a couple horses. As word grew, calls continued to come in about injured or sickly horses that needed a rescue's help to survive. Even requests from local law enforcement had to be accounted for. Now, Missouri Forget Me Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary has over 75 horses, peacocks, goats and pigs just to name a few of the animals in its care.

It started with only a couple horses. As word grew, calls continued to come in about injured or sickly horses that needed a rescue’s help to survive. Even requests from local law enforcement had to be accounted for. Now, Missouri Forget Me Not Horse Rescue and Sanctuary has over 75 horses, peacocks, goats and pigs just to name a few of the animals in its care.

Connie Hendrix, founder of the rescue, says that her original work was mostly through local shelters, helping dogs and cats. As her ambitions grew, she decided that she wanted to move out onto county land with her husband and open an operation on a larger scale. Now, found at 1025 Heritage Dr, Linn Creek, Hendrix works with dozens of volunteers to maintain the health of around one hundred animals.

In her time at the rescue, Hendrix has seen her fair share of sickly animals, abandoned or simply in poor health. She says that neglect and starvation lead to many of the rescues that she has dealt with, mostly pertaining to the horses. She will lead a group to rescue the animal and bring it back to health with the help of a number of volunteers.

“I could write a book on stories about these animals and the things I’ve heard,” Hendrix said.

One such volunteer is Pepper Wideman, who helps to train horses for riding and general behavior. Though there is a set of acreage for horses that are in their final years, another goal of the rescue is to train young horses to be well behaved for a family who might be interested in purchasing, much in the same vein as a shelter.

Wideman will lead horses out to a trotting path where she teaches verbal commands. These commands are anything from learning to differentiate between a trot and a gallop, to stopping completely while riding. By teaching these young horses commands, it allows for whoever is interested in rehoming to be able to better connect with the steed right away.

Besides horses, Hendrix has also found herself forming deep relationships with a number of needing animals. One such animals is a young calf named Iris, who was so weak at the time of bringing her in that she was unable to stand on her own. With nutrients and patience, Iris is now like a personal pet of Hendrix’s.

“Iris is Connie’s baby,” Wideman said. “Connie is the bleeding heart of this rescue.”

As the rescue grows in animal accommodation, the need for funds and space has continued to grow. The rescue took a hard hit this past winter, as much of the hay stored outside was destroyed with the harsh conditions. Hendrix says that the rescue is hoping to soon build a new barn for storage and to house more horses. On top of this, she says that they are in desperate need for strong, younger volunteers to carry heavy objects and to complete more difficult manual labor around the farm, as many of the current volunteers are older and are working with whatever time they can find throughout the week.

To aid in this cause, the rescue will be holding a Spring Open House event on Sunday, June 9. The event will go from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and all are welcome. There will be pulled pork sandwiches and beverages for all. The rescue hopes that all lake horse lovers will attend and see the world that they are doing at the farm. Donations, monetary or otherwise, will be accepted at the gathering.