Taking the reins: Kim Blanton

CHUNKY, Miss. (WTOK) - Each month, we shine the spotlight on one person who goes above and beyond in our Eleven Who Care series. This month, that person is Kim Blanton.

Kim Blanton's passion is horses. Her parents kept them, and she says she always knew she wanted to follow in their footsteps.

"I grew up as a kid, and my parents had a big house with a lot of kids, and it was everybody come and have fun, and so that's how I am," Blanton says.

In 2000 she opened up Coyote Hills Stables in Chunky. She boarded a few horses, taught riding lessons, put on a riding camp and put on birthday parties. Nine years later, Blanton took it a step further, realizing there were horses in Mississippi that needed her help.

"Starving horses, abused horses," she explains.

So she opened a nonprofit organization called Coyote Hills Equine Rescue and Therapeutic Riding. She takes in horses that have been abused or neglected. And she's a riding instructor for the disabled, so they're able to help both people and horses.

"Having horses, but opening up the nonprofit, the rescue horses, at first, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into, but I love it," Blanton says. "If it wasn't for the volunteers, it wouldn't exist."

But the volunteers all way it's well worth it.

"There's nothing easy about the work here, but it's very necessary," volunteer Sherry Savoie says. "Everyone works very hard here."

The more than a dozen volunteers are out tending to the horses and helping riders. They're also doing plenty of dirty work: cleaning out stables, even helping to rebuild after storm damage. But all the volunteers say Blanton is the backbone of this operation.

"Without her, we wouldn't have all this," Dori Scanlon, who sponsors one of the horses, says. "She does absolutely everything. Her life is this rescue."

"You never know what an individual has got, and the same thing with a horse," Blanton says. "You put a horse and a human together, and it's very beneficial."

If you'd like to nominate someone for Eleven Who Care, you can stop by our station to pick up an application or print one from the link attached to this story.