Melanie Sue Bowles, founder-director of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary

by | Aug 4, 2021

Melanie Sue Bowles—founder and director of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, who alongside her husband, Jim, has shepherded the sanctuary through nearly 30 years of challenges, changes, and relocations, in service of rescuing horses and providing them refuge—recalls helping her very first horse, when they were decidedly not horse people. Although she didn’t grow up riding, or even spending time with horses, Bowles observes that she believes everyone has a “superpower”—the tricky part is discovering what yours is—and realized, by horse #2, that her superpower is “helping horses who are hurting.” She describes how one of those earliest horses, Tuxedo, had been a racehorse whose training and overall existence involved concrete, and upon arriving at Proud Spirit, was so unfamiliar with grass that he was initially bothered by walking on it. (The good news: Tuxedo became accustomed to grass, otherwise healed, and is a current member of the Proud Spirit herd.) Bowles charts the Sanctuary’s evolution, and movement: Five acres in Myakka, FL, then 50 acres there, then 320 in Mena, AR, 180 in Lincolnton, GA, and finally, mere weeks ago, landing on 50 acres in Wilkesboro, NC. She explains that she and Jim always hoped to wind up in North Carolina, and with the herd being its smallest (20 horses) in years, it was now practical to settle once when they found that parcel of land in Wilkesoboro. We revisit a conversation Melanie and I had on the show five years ago, when she frankly addressed a certain level of exhaustion, if not exasperation, with the fundraising requirements of Proud Spirit, as well as the demands of rescue and advocacy—and decided to stop taking in horses, while continuing to care for those already living at the Sanctuary. They embarked on a quest, she notes, to find someone to take over running Proud Spirit, pointing out she and Jim and are still relatively young (having started rescuing horses as very young adults) and healthy, but recognizing that they won’t always be in a position to do this work. Still looking…(,

ALSO: I also spoke briefly with Jonathan Carlucci, Vice President of Content at CardioCast, an audio fitness app offering nearly 2000 on-demand fitness classes, and recently introduced a series of new workouts under the title “Walk & Jog With Your Dog.” Carlucci devised the workouts specifically for people to enjoy with their canine companions, and explained how he approached creating them, so that both dog and human would benefit and enjoy the sessions. He recalled how he was ably assisted in this process by his dog, Benji, noting the initial three workouts were so enthusiastically embraced by CardioCast users that the app not only added additional classes, but also has brought on another trainer, alongside Carlucci, to create even more “Walk & Jog With Your Dog” sessions. (

COMEDY CORNER:  Martha Kelly’s “Horses Hate That We Ride Them”   (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


Part One:

Listen Online Now:


| Open Player in New Window

Part Two:

Listen Online Now:


| Open Player in New Window

Sign up for Updates

Get weekly updates about upcoming shows and events!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Talking Animals. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Archives by Date

In Memoriam

Otis McGarr
(Nov. 1989 – Jan. 4, 2006)

John Taylor
(Sept. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 2011)