Allyson DeCanio | A Hero for Horses in Texas and Beyond

As a child, Allyson DeCanio, dreamed of a Horse to call her own. But she was not from a horsey family. So playing alongside her Barbies on horseback had to suffice for the real thing.

As DeCanio grew up her and career path developed, she emerged into a very successful lawyer specializing in medical malpractice. In her thirties, when she decided to pursue her first horse she set a course to learn all things Equine. She excelled in her studies. Manifested her dream. And seeded what would become The Pegasus Project.

In 2009, DeCanio,  co-founded The Pegasus Project with her husband, Mike who is a Captain for Southwest Airlines. Since its formation, DeCanio has served as the President and Executive Director. Over the past nine years, the organization has rescued, rehabilitated, retrained, and rehomed hundreds of abandoned, abused, and neglected Equine throughout Texas and beyond.

On Real Horse Rescues Podcast, DeCanio delves into the learning curve, struggles, and day-to-day reality of running a real Equine Rescue Organization. She candidly covers each step of her journey with Horses, and the challenges of protecting them in the state of Texas.

Whether you are a Horse Owner, Equine Rescue Organization, Prospective Adopter, Fundraiser, Volunteer, or simply interested in understanding how to effectively Champion for Horses — DeCanio’s pragmatic approach and common sense solutions will bolster your efforts. You will learn tactical boot-on-the-ground strategies to expedite and accelerate your advocacy, including:

  • Practical planning to ensure the safety of your Horses.
  • How to approach and work with local law enforcement on abuse, neglect, and seizure cases.
  • Understanding why investing in quality training serves to save Equine lives.
  • How to create fundraising events that engage the community and draw hundreds of new attendees.
  • Criterion for effective adoption strategies to make the best Horse-Human match.
  • How you will skyrocket successful outcomes by taking the time to understand the nature of Horses.

Friends, I promise you, if you dare to get quiet enough to listen. You will discover takeaways to immediately embolden your advocacy and enrich your engagement with Horses.


DeCanio’s Notable Quotes:

“The problem is so core. It’s over-breeding, it’s people being irresponsible in their ownership, and as long as that faucet is open all we are doing is accommodating an overflowing need.”

“One of the simplest things that Horse Owners can do is to designate a trusted friend, a trusted family member, or an organization that’s willing to be the recipient of your horses should something happen to you. Name them in your Will and have an Insurance Policy that goes to the recipient that you designated to take care of your horses.”

“The most important thing that anybody can do for themselves and their horses is to make sure they don’t over stress their land and don’t take on more than they can afford — because then they end up becoming a person that I need to help!”

“An untrained horse has an uncertain future. The way that you keep a horse out of jeopardy is to teach that Horse to be a good partner for humans, so that horse has a much better chance of staying with a human throughout its life.”

“An untrained horse is the most common thing that you see you getting cast aside and ending up at the slaughterhouse.”

“I think that it’s almost absurd to think that you can run a not-for-profit properly without paid staff. Look at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. An amazing place with a staff of hundreds of people who are paid. There’s no shame in running a nonprofit and paying the people who work there.”

“The reason that our horses are so well-trained is that I pay very good trainers to train them. It is a valuable service. Our trainers could not afford to donate their time, they need to make a living too.”

“You can help a horse all day long and you can get it ready, but if you turn it over and put it in the wrong hands because you didn’t make a good match with the person, that horse is at risk.”

“The thing that I would tell people is … live it, just live it. Be whoever your organization is.”

“You know, it is the smallest things that are the biggest moments. When I see a change in a Horse — that is my most satisfying day’s work.”

“It was one of the hardest things because we felt like we were giving up on Sawyer, but we weren’t. We were giving him what he needed, and what he needed was to be free, and to be free from human contact.”

DeCanio is a fierce proponent of giving Horses the time they need to express who they are in order to inform our choices for Horses. We have to know who a Horse is at the core in order to determine the best possible environment and partner for their long-term safety and well-being.

Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:

The Pegasus Project


Bruce Logan Clinic


Adoptable Horses


Sawyer’s Story


Pegasus Project on Facebook


Thank You for Listening!

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the top and bottom of this page. Use the hashtags #HelpAHorse  #AdoptAHorse #RHRPodcast #BeAVoiceForHorses.

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Real Horse Rescues is an educational outreach program of the UNBRIDLED THOROUGHBRED FOUNDATION


To learn about the organizations participating in the 2018 #HelpAHorse Day Contest visit ASPCA Pro


About the author, Susan

Susan Kayne is a lifelong Horse Lover, avid Equestrian, and dedicated Equine Advocate. She is a Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES) and she is the founder/CEO of Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation. In addition to Real Horse Rescues, she created the national award-winning TV series Unbridled TV, Ireland Unbridled, and ThoroTalent.

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