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NKY couple partners with nonprofit to rescue, train, and help get horses adopted

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:13 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:20 AM EDT
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (WXIX) -A Northern Kentucky couple has partnered with a nonprofit that rescues hundreds of horses while also educating the equine community.

Katie and Eric Potraffke are the founders of Circle P Horsemanship in Williamstown.

Established in 2018, Eric and Katie have worked with hundreds of horses. In 2019, they learned about an organization called the Heart Of Phoenix and decided they wanted to do more.

“Eric signed up to be one of the trainers, and we took on our first Heart of Phoenix horse, and then rest is history,” Katie said.

Based out of West Virginia, the equine advocacy organization works throughout much of Appalachia with volunteers and partners improving the outlook for horses of all breeds and backgrounds.

The mission is to rescue horses in Appalachia and offer education to horse owners while advocating for good horsemanship and a kind yet strong equine community.

“We focus a lot on feral horses and very difficult horses,” Founder and President of Heart of Phoenix Tinia Creamer said. “So we actually made a trip earlier this year all the way to Texas because there was a group of horses there that nobody in Texas or anywhere else in America wanted to save. We brought nine horses back, so really it just depends on if there’s anybody else coming for the horse, and if not and we think that they fit the mission that we have, we’ll go pretty much anywhere.”

The nonprofit also started Appalachian Trainer Face Off, where professionals like Katie and Eric train horses to make them adoptable.

Since December, they have been working with the horse Bastille who arrived at The Heart of Phoenix as an aggressive, feral stallion.

“One of the reasons why horses end up needing to be rescued is because people love the idea of horses but don’t realize how complicated horses are,” Suzanna Johnson with the Office of Education at the Heart of Phoenix said.

In August, Bastille will go up for adoption through an event the nonprofit hosts.

“Well, there’s just a lot of horses that need homes and don’t realize it,” Katie said. “I know that’s the biggest thing, and there’s some people that get involved with horses that they don’t realize how dangerous they are, the amount of money they make, and again just the dedication the Heart of Phoenix offers along with saving the horses is quite huge.”

Kentucky Cowtown in Williamstown has been a staple in the equine community for years.

The arena reopened over the weekend under new management after it had to close in 2019.

Katie and Eric are now getting to utilize the facility to continue their mission to rescuing and training horses and eventually get them adopted.

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