Horses and humans help each other heal in SWFL

An equine therapy center is giving thoroughbred horses a second chance.

“We take in horses mostly from the track but sometimes local if they’ve suffered neglect and people aren’t able to care for them,” said Track to Trail founder, Cynthia Gilbert. “We get them back in top shape and adopt them out locally.”

Some of the horses need extreme medical attention, Gilbert said. When a horse is injured they may take up to a year to heal.

The equine center relies on volunteers to care for the horses, Gilbert said. Many volunteers find that helping the horses can benefit them in a big way.

“They’re amazing. They’re medicinal. They immediately just make your heart warm,” said volunteer Amy Cisck.

The work is even life-saving for some volunteers.

“I had breast cancer four years ago. I would come out here and feed them and do meditation and yoga with them,” said volunteer¬†Heike Guerette.

Guerette needed Chevy, a Track to Trail horse, just as much as Chevy needed her.

“I actually ended up adopting him and he’s my lifesaver. It just totally healed me,” Guerette said.

The rescue facility combated tough elements in the Golden Gate Estates. The barn was difficult to get to. Brush fires and hungry wildlife posed a deadly threat to the rescue horses.

“Everybody’s talking about brush fire since the hurricane there might be a greater risk of fire,” Gilbert said.

The rescue is moving this week to a brand new facility in the middle of Naples where these horses will be safe and accessible to the community, Gilbert said.

“We’re really excited for everyone to come and help, and donate, and support,” said Cisck.

There are many new programs happening at the new facility, according to the Track for Trails staff. For more information, visit their website. 

Reporter:Hayley Milon
Writer:Emily Luft