San Angelo horse rescue hosting mini 'unicorn' photoshoot
SAN ANGELO — Get to know this San Angelo horse rescue that is hosting a mini 'unicorn' photoshoot on Sunday.
Ashley Stahl started Ashley's Zoo, which provides sanctuary and rehab/adoption for horses that are in need.
Stahl runs the rescue with her boyfriend, Michael McCammon.
"We are fully equipped with a vet, farrier and other references," their Facebook page states. "We pay out of pocket for everything including hay, feed, vet and farrier expenses."
As of Aug. 13, 2021, the couple is currently housing 26 horses, including five mini horses. The minis aren't currently adoptable.
"We have had minis that are adoptable before and they find homes pretty quick," Stahl said. "I'm sure we'll have some in the future, but our little ones, they're stuck with us."
On Sunday, Aug. 15, the rescue will have a mini unicorn photo shoot at Civic League Park from 3-7 p.m. One of the mini ponies, Possum, will be dressed up and ready to take pictures.
Contact Ashley's Zoo Facebook page to book a time.
This is a donation-based event, and all the proceeds will go towards vet bills and continuing care for the horses, Stahl said. There will be a donation box, and they will also accept Venmo, PayPal, Cashapp and Facebook pay.
These will be quick 15-20 minute shoots with no age limit to participate. You will get an emailed copy of your edited pictures.
Stahl and McCammon answered some questions about their business for more insight.
How does your business work?
We get a lot of our horses from owner surrenders, or we step in and save ones going to the slaughter. The horses are typically neglected and need to be brought back to health. I think people are scared to ask for help or may not know where to start, especially when things get out of control quickly. We have one that had cancer in his eyes that we just got removed. The people that had him before really loved him. He just needed a little extra TLC. We get plenty of scrawny old ones that just need pounds put back on them. After we get them going again, we adopt them out. We really take our time to find the perfect adopters. Once we find the right home for them, we don't have to worry. We also have adoption contracts if there is a life change or something and they need to come back, which is totally fine. There are great homes that come along. - Stahl
What is your background?
I moved off to college at Texas State and ended up coming back to San Angelo and began working in Child Protective Services. They always say to have work and life balance, therefore this really became my balance and kind of my retreat to help horses. - Stahl
How did you get started in this business?
This property we have the animals on has been in my family for years and years. I was always raised with animals and taking care of them, little bottle feeding and things like that. - Shahl
We have been dating for about a year and half, and that's when I stepped in and began to help - McCammon
What are your hopes for the future?
I would say our three-year goal is to continue to do the photography events around four times a year. Our big five-year goal is to get registered as a nonprofit. - McCammon
It's not that I don't want to be a nonprofit. I just haven't stopped really to do the paperwork. There's never a lack of anything to do out here from the second it gets bright outside to the second it gets dark. We have really been focusing on getting things up to where we want them. We want a round pen for working with the horses, but we need to have a profit margin in place. We have enough stuff on our hands to do right now before we really start worrying about getting into the tax code regulations for being a nonprofit. - Stahl
What’s the biggest challenge running your business?
We are just really getting things organized, and that's currently our biggest challenge. We want to expand what we're doing and be able to help more horses. I want to give that special level of care to all the horses even if we do expand. Right now, we would just be too spaced out if we didn't have the equipment we need to get to expand, so we wouldn't be giving the best care we could give. - Stahl