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Riverview ranch saves horses from starvation

RIVERVIEW, Florida -- Shawn Jayroe spends many of her days at Hair Perfections, the salon in Temple Terrace that she's owned for decades. The money she makes from her clients' manes goes to horse manes.

"I can connect with [horses]. I can understand them," Jayroe says.

That's why she opened the nonprofit RVR Horse Rescue, run entirely by volunteers. It was born from a passion for ponies. Jayroe sold her home, even her Corvette, to pay for the 40 acres that make up the Riverview ranch.

Right now, nearly 40 horses graze there, all rescued from potentially deadly situations.

"Lexi was starving in her own little space with little weeds to eat. It was horrible," Jayroe recalls about one of her most recent rescues.

Volunteers saved Lexi from a field in Wimauma last month. They found her emaciated, her hooves disfigured. For two weeks, the rescue cared for her nonstop until she passed away.

"Makes you want to cry," Jayroe says. "But the fight in all the other ones helps you keep going."

Earlier this year, the rescue was threatened by a wildfire. It charred 25 acres of Jayroe's land, and came just eight yards from burning her barns.

But there are happy endings at RVR Horse Rescue, too. Lily and Sandy were two of the four miniature horses surrendered last year by a Hillsborough County deputy. She faced animal cruelty charges and resigned from the force.

RVR brought Lily and Sandy back to health and they were adopted by another former Sheriff's Office employee. Volunteers say the horses are now living a life of luxury.

"I'm so excited that someone actually fell in love with a horse and is taking the horse to start a new life," says Jayroe. "It's very fulfilling."

RVR Horse Rescue is looking for volunteers, along with hay donations to feed horses. Their 1st Annual Charity Golf Event will be held on May 11 at Westchase Golf Club.


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