Louisville Magazine

APR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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trifectaeventpro.com 114 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.19 frustrated me so much that I love him," she says after her ride. "I absolutely love that horse." Rocky is Dante's foil. Dante is wiggly, Rocky is stolid. Dante snorts, Rocky stands. Today, Rocky's mane is in several long braids. His tail is long and silky. Even his forelock is braided. When Mary Rose climbs on and pets his neck, he's a statue. She flips the lead rope over his head. He doesn't flinch. She pulls his head gently to one side and then the other, and he's completely docile. But he won't move his feet. After about two minutes, she gets him to pivot in a circle. "His back is very, very tight right now," she says. "He's nervous about this. But he's OK. He's keeping it together, but he's definitely pretty nervous about having me on his back." For 20 minutes, they pivot in occasional lazy circles, Rocky as expressive as wood. Sometime in early summer 2018, Mary Rose starts thinking more about the larger problem of feral horses in eastern Kentucky. She has been to many of the strip jobs where horses struggle to make it through the winter. She knows how some wander into the road to lick minerals, hazards to drivers and themselves. She has helped capture some and failed to capture others that have become nuisances. Over a frustrating series of trips, she and April Harvey tried and failed to bring in one herd that a landowner is promising to shoot if someone doesn't get them. Bringing food to feral horses isn't always an answer, because feeding accustoms the horses to humans, making the animals prey to the kind of people who lassoed Leroy in Floyd County. While the Kentucky Humane Society has been involved with the problem for several years, Mary Rose saw a need for more help. "What if we just started our own deal?" Mary Rose asked Brett. One weekend, they had a long, serious conversation about the possibilities. "en I pitched the idea to April and she was like, 'I think you could do it,'" Mary Rose says. Brett came up with a name, Horsemen Helping Horses, and they were on their way. Mary Rose has a habit of adopting people as surrogate parents. One of those pairs is Brooks and Beth May, a couple with a 36-acre farm between Shelbyville and Simpsonville. e started out as clients who were relatively new to horse ownership and riding. "We put our horses in training with her," Brooks says. "It was as much training for us as it was for our horses." Over time they grew close with Mary Rose, and she would ask their advice, eventually coming to them about plans for a nonprofit. "She asked a lot of questions about what she should and shouldn't do," Brooks says. "I don't have any experience with any equine nonprofits, but I've been on the board of several nonprofits, so I have little bit of knowledge." He was planning to retire from the insurance business by the end of 2018. He and his wife both decided to play some role in Horsemen Helping Horses. Her other surrogate parents, Phyllis and John Tate, are also onboard. John, an attorney, told her what she needed to read. "I want you to understand what a 501(c)(3) is, what your responsibilities are, and then you can come back and talk about it," he says. "I didn't want there to be stars in her eyes and think that it was something different from what it is." Mary Rose and Brett live on a 1,000-acre farm between Taylorsville and Finchville. Brett, the farm manager, introduced Mary Rose to the guy who owns the farm across the street from their ranch home. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Michael W. Davidson, a former assistant chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Department of Defense and a former senior adviser at the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security, thought he might be able to help the nonprofit. "is sounds egotistical," he says, "but people almost always return my phone calls. I've been exploiting that to Mary Rose's benefit and the horses' benefit, trying to get her with the right folks in county government in eastern Kentucky. "ere's a lot of good reasons to do this," he says, "and no good reason not to do this."

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