Highland County sanctuary growing as safe haven for mini horses

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 5:39 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In the rolling greenery of Highland County, a focus on the land and the Lord have persevered as a way of life.

It just wasn’t the life Koressa Malcom was ever used to.

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“When I got closer to retirement, I thought, I need to find something I can do here, because they never really included women so much in the cattle raising and sheep raising,” she said.

After a professional career in education, she was determined to keep her husband’s ninth generation farm active alongside their cattle.

Since she’s getting older, she didn’t want a big investment. So instead, she opted for something a little smaller.

“Okay, that’s all you get, no more,” she said, handing a treat to a miniature horse, Bess, standing at just 22 inches tall.

Five years ago, she established Elegius Mini Equine Sanctuary - a safe haven for neglected, abused, abandoned and wild mini horses, like little Gloria.

“And she actually has buckshot in her neck where people shot at them,” she said, pointing to the mini paint.

“And we visited some rescues just to learn a little bit more about starting one, and we saw that the minis had to compete with big horses. You know, like the stall doors were way up here, so when they’re in their stalls they just look at four wooden walls, and so that’s when we decided to build facilities that would be specific to their needs.”

Their needs can be great.

But so can their recovery and their growth, especially when some of them get adopted into new homes and jobs as therapy horses, like a mini horse named Pinto.

“That was cool and we missed her and I cried for three months before she left us, every time I thought of her leaving but she’s in a good place and we were happy for that.”

As they continue to grow, they’re always looking for help to paint fences, write grants to even help show off some of their residents online.

“A lot of of us are older and not as good as we should be, so getting some younger folks that can help us, like start a Tik Tok, that kinds of things would be good.”

Malcom has more than 20 animals and growing - with an old donkey named Peanut that serves as a foster dad to orphaned calves like Clara.

“That’s one of my favorite parts of this,” she said. “This is like a 20-year-old donkey who’s kind of lame, can have a purpose in life.”

And at the same time, Malcolm has found a new purpose, on this farm too with these creates both great and small.

“It’s brought me happiness, yeah definitely.”

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