The sanctuary began with one horse in need and has evolved into a 320 acre award winning facility in Arkansas where, over the years, nearly 200 horses have come to live out their lives in peace.

Sometime back in the early 90's, author and founder of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, Melanie Sue Bowles stumbled across this quote: "The Purpose of Life is to Live a Life of Purpose". She loved it so much that she stenciled the quote above a window that looks out over the pastures at Proud Spirit. It is the steadfast philosophy by which she has lived her entire adult life and unwanted, elderly and abused horses became her purpose.

The sanctuary began with one horse in need on five acres of land in rural Florida and evolved into a 320 acre award winning facility in Mena, Arkansas where, throughout the years, nearly 200 downtrodden horses have come to live out their lives in peace and dignity; a life that most of these sentient creatures had never known before.

Jim and Melanie Bowles, the founders of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, are deeply committed to the horses in their care. "The new facility in Arkansas is the culmination of years of hard work, and all the dreams and visions that we had for this sanctuary finally coming together," says Melanie. One of those visions was to provide as natural an environment for the horses as possible. "Domestication has created so many problems...founder, colic, vices...problems that you never see in the wild. It was essential to Jim and to me that we place just as much emphasis on the horses' emotional well-being as we do their physical needs."

The horses at Proud Spirit are never stalled. They function as a herd with no cross fencing, safe in the companionship of other horses...something they so desperately need. They have room to move about, and to graze and roam... which they need to thrive.

One of the very few true sanctuaries in the United States, the Bowles do not adopt out any of the horses who find their way to Proud Spirit, "having given enough," as Melanie would say.

How YOU can help the Horses of Proud Spirit

One of the best ways to help is to buy Melanie's books. They are available at your local bookseller or at online sellers. 

Proceeds from the sale of the books go directly to the care of the horses at Proud Spirit!! Thank you for your support!


Horses of Proud Spirit

"This is one of the most profoundly moving books about horses to come along in years. The Horses of Proud Spirit is changing lives... of horses AND the people who love them. An absolute must read for any animal lover."

There are approximately seven million horses in America. Each year, over seventy thousand are abused, abandoned, and fated to slaughter by callous and irresponsible owners. With a heart as big as a pasture, author Melanie Bowles takes some of these horses into her sanctuary called Proud Spirit. Here, horses that arrive listless and broken find a home where they finally know safety.

Hoof Prints: More Stories from Proud Spirit

Readers were introduced to the graceful heart of Melanie Sue Bowles in her first book, The Horses of Proud Spirit. In Hoof Prints we learn more about the horses she cares for in her horse sanctuary, which has relocated from southwest Florida to the hills of west Arkansas. In the new location, the Proud Spirit horses run free on 320 acres of rolling hills, living the life every horse deserves.

In this book you will meet some people who have no idea how to treat horses, and some wonderful, kindhearted people who open their lives to the beauty of these creatures with so much to teach us. You will meet Cosmina, a Romanian orphan who finds a kinship with these horses, who have also been abandoned. You will, of course, meet the horses-and two donkeys, one of whom can fly!-each one bearing a different scar, recovering at Proud Spirit in the warmth of the care offered there.

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