By Melissa Garcia

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Coloradans are coming together to save the lives of horses headed to be slaughtered. In the 18 months since its startup, the nonprofit organization Believe Ranch and Rescue has saved 78 horses.

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Bek Keat. (credit: CBS)

Saving horses is a passion for Bek Keat, a retired triathlete. Zelda, one of her recent rescues, was in need of a costly surgery.

“She literally couldn’t walk on her front leg,” Keat told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “She’d been walking on it broken for eight years.”

(credit: CBS)

Keat and the organization raised about $18,000 for a ground-breaking procedure to fix Zelda’s leg.

(credit: Believe Ranch and Rescue)

Dr. Laurie Goodrich, a surgeon at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Hospital, performed an advanced reconstruction using 3D imagery printing.

Days into her recovery, Zelda is doing well.

“According to the surgeon, she’s doing miraculous. And we’re so grateful that we were able to give her that opportunity,” Keat said.

(credit: CBS)

Zelda is one of 15 horses currently in Keat’s care. Some of them have debilitating injuries.

One horse, Uncle, is an ex-ranch horse with arthritis.

“These guys work their whole lives for people,” Keat said. “Look at his face. We’ve got to save him. And we really didn’t have the resources, but we just made it happen.”

The organization is working to nurse the equines back to health and get them adopted out to loving forever homes.

(credit: CBS)

“I think (Zelda) has given everybody hope that anything’s possible. And that everybody, including horses, deserves a second chance.” Keat said.

TOGETHER 4 COLORADO: Latest Stories | Watch ‘Together With Karen Leigh’ | Share A Together 4 Colorado Story Idea With CBS4

The rescue is also pushing to pass the SAFE Act to prevent shipment of more than 60,000 horses to Mexico and Canada each year.

LINKS: Believe Ranch and Rescue Facebook Page | SAFE Act

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.