In May of 2022, Lori partnered with Barteau’s Horses Without Humans to save nearly two dozen horses in a massive rescue operation in Okeechobee— so massive that it was featured in the local and statewide news. These horses were malnourished and abused, and their future looked bleak because most had never been handled by humans and were basically wild. Thankfully, Sheriff Noel Stephen of Okeechobee allowed Barteau to take in all of the horses, which required more than $8,000 worth of medical treatments while in the Sheriff’s care. Twenty-three horses survived (including five pregnant mares), made great recoveries, and from that original herd, 14 are now living out their lives at The Sanctuary.
That led to even more horses being brought to Lori from other rescues who had horses with little or no hope of being adopted. Fortunately she has the land to board and care for them, but the enormity of tending to well over 40 horses cannot be overstated. From veterinary bills, to feed, to grooming, and stall upkeep, there is an endless list of needs to sufficiently care for these horses, many of which are brought to Lori sick, starving and elderly. Lori is quick to add that none of this would be possible without her Sanctuary Team and the family, friends, neighbors and equine professionals who give so much of their time and love to care and provide for them. Lori said, “It is a 24/7, 365 days a year labor of love, and I am beyond grateful and thankful for everyone who plays a part, large or small, to provide for our herd of horses.”
As a private foundation, The Sanctuary is not open to the public on a daily basis. However, Lori prayed that God would send her people that could benefit from her mission, and in her words, “Boy did He!”
She recalled a time when, while in her pasture, she heard someone who had jumped her fence yell, “Hey, are you Lori Grubb?” The woman visitor introduced herself and explained that she had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and she was concerned for her three horses. She feared that they would be separated upon her death, or worse, mistreated, or even taken to slaughter, and would Lori please help her. She left the pasture knowing that the sanctuary would take in her horses. Said Lori “It killed her to let them go. She wanted to beat the cancer.” Lori takes comfort in knowing that she brought light into the woman’s last days with her assurance that the horses would not be separated, but indeed would be well-cared for and loved.