COCOA, Fla. -- It's been a labor of love since day one for Suzanne Norris, founder of Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds.
Since opening the stables in 2011, Norris, a retired civil engineer, says her mission is to rescue thoroughbreds from ending up in deplorable conditions or slaughterhouses.
She says there are a lot of misconceptions about these racing horses -- people consider them wild, or only good for racing, for example -- but in reality, they are gentle giants.
Every month, Norris meets, greets and trains potential volunteers. Out of almost 30 people in attendance at Saturday's orientation session, only about five are likely to become long-term volunteers. That's why the nonprofit is always in need of more volunteers.
"There's so many things we want to do around here, so many things we can do, but I can't do it alone," Norris says.
It's volunteers such as 13-year-old Trista Lunsford who help keep the place going.
Lunsford not only moved to Florida and started school in the same week, she is here to volunteer. She's willing to do any task assigned to her, because she's passionate about helping horses.
"Yeah, I'm going to groom the horses, clean their stables and even scoop manure," Trista says.
The center offers free fertilizer to anyone and says it's an environmentally safe alternative to the synthetic ones.
Currently, there are 10 horses available for adoption, including 4-year-old Mateo, who was rescued from Puerto Rico after his home was destroyed.
If you'd like to help or adopt a horse, go to the rescue group's website, https://hartforhorses.org.