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LONGMONT, Colo. —  Fifty-five horses call Colorado Horse Rescue home. That’s near capacity with room for only five more.

“We are here to rescue, rehab and find forever homes. It’s similar to a human society for horses,” Carol Brice said.

But these animals are different than cats and dogs. They’re expensive to feed and to care for, and their lifespan can stretch 30 years.

“Many don’t know there’s a crisis in America,” Brice said. “There are 170,000 unwanted horses in the U.S. About 6,000 in Colorado alone.”

One came to Colorado Horse Rescue unwanted and neglected, much like a quarter of the horses that have come through. The other 75 percent are relinquished by families who can no longer care for them.

“What we see are people, a horse gets ill or injured, too old to ride, and they get discarded. That’s unfortunate,” Brice said. “They should be honored and cared for.”

That what the volunteers at Colorado Horse Rescue strive to do each day. And in the process they get attached.

“I have learned not to fall in love because they get adopted out, which is great, that’s the whole point,” Brice said.

But it can mean heartbreak, especially knowing they can only help so many of the animals. Their hearts can be bigger than their wallets so they’re counting on the public to take a horse home.

“All kinds of horses wind up in this situation through no fault of their own,” Brice said. “We have all breeds, ages, sizes all ranged in training, come out and take a look.”

It costs $500,000 a year to keep the operation, which is in its 30th year, running.

Colorado Horse Rescue is working to open a second facility where older horses can come to retire. Donations are being accepted to help make that dream a reality.