Saturday, December 24, 2016


River is an 8-year-old blue roan branded Mustang gelding captured as a 3-year-old from Jackie's Butte Herd Management Area in 2012.

He was adopted by a woman who could not handle him, said he was too much horse for her, subsequently he was returned to the holding facility.

He was adopted a second time by someone who saw the beauty on the outside but had no way of knowing what lay beneath this handsome exterior.

He was sent to training, he was to be a saddle horse and be this adopters pride and joy. He learned to accept a halter and a saddle, he learned how to live within fences and pace corrals, that's what he'd endured after his intial capture so that part was easy for him, although worrisome for this once wild creature. The first trainer didn't get much more accomplished, so he went to a second trainer who didn't fair any better with a horse that wasn't interested in human companionship.

His owner decided he just needed to be a horse somewhere, just needed to be. To have herdmates, a place to run. He couldn't be returned to the wild so he came here to live.

While he was waiting to be off-loaded to a quarantine area it was very clear he did not like the trainer that brought him nor the owner that decided to do the right thing by him. It was quite obvious to me that sometime after capture he endured a situation or set of circumstances that would make him the defensive bully he had become. It may have been his handling during and after capture, maybe the first adoptive home was abusive and by the time he arrived at his second home and to a set of trainers that had no idea how to gentle a wild horse, the damage had been done.

No matter, he now has a herdlet to run with, two close herdmates that accept him for what he is and a life of few demands. He is not accepting of human touch and is fearful of humans in general, but he is home and will always be safe.

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan -Simpson
Grey Oaks Equine Sanctuary
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Only For Love

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks. "Why do you not at least dispose of 'The Old One." She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?"

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, " Yes I could use a pair of new boots. His arm slid defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her near with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied softly, "We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One".

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife exhausted from their grief huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair.

We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and withered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the deep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows glistening in the night light.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife.

Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift.

Because of love. Only Because of love.

 -Author Unknown

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cinder - Holiday

This is Cinder, branded Mustang mare saved from a kill pen on September 14, 2016 planning her day here at the sanctuary. As you can see in the photo this girl doesn't mind playing in the dirt.

Her personality has started to shine through and what a little spitfire she has become. On the flip side she also has a soft, sweet disposition especially with her barn buddy, Abby, and yours truly.

My treasures do indeed gleam in the sun and neigh in the dark.

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan - Simpson
Grey Oaks Equine Sanctuary
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Out Of The Ashes

The little Mustang mare I rescued from the Bastrop Kill Pen on September 14, 2016 has come a long way on her road to recovery. She has gained 140 pounds, her numerous wounds are healing nicely and there is a shine to her coat.

As you can see in the photograph someone placed a halter on her and left it on so long it rubbed the hair on her face white. They tied her front legs so severely she now carries deep scars as a reminder of the abuse. You can't tell in the photograph but she is blind in her right eye, it's a recent occurrence because she is still trying to manage her limitation.

After some preliminary investigation, there is a very good chance she was used in a Mexican rodeo. Only 15 years old, abused, neglected and sent to who knows how many auctions before landing in one of the most horrific kill pens in the United States...but fate intervened and I saw her video and knew she would come here to live the rest of her life in the fashion she should have always been accustomed. So the little Mustang mare, tag number #804 has come out of the ashes and is now called Cinder.

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson
Grey Oaks Equine Sanctuary
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cinder (Part III)


Cinder is headed for Oklahoma from quarantine at A&A Transport, I am beyond excited! I’m to meet Andrew Guidry, the hauler, at Dr. Radde’s vet clinic around 5 p.m.

As fate would have it Andrew got caught in traffic south of Ft. Worth, TX and will bring Cinder here, to Grey Oaks, even better, I get to have her here with me tonight!

She arrived at dark, what a tiny little thing she is, so beat up, so thin, so absolutely loveable. We walked her down to the barn to get her settled in for the night. She loves her alfalfa and ate her pellets. A few small alfalfa cubes and a large flake of hay for the night. She wasn’t overly thirsty so that meant she had been kept well hydrated on her journey.
When everyone left it was just me and Cinder, I told her that she would live the rest of her life here in luxury. The very last thing I did that night was cut off that long mane, at one time it must have been gorgeous, not any more. It smelled ‘kill pen’ there was no amount of washing, brushing, conditioner or combing was ever going to make it beautiful again. I cut it down to 4 inches and threw the rest in the trash. That was her past, she would grow another luxurious mane one day and that would be part of her future. She looks quite snazzy with her punk rocker type mane trim.


Cinder -  branded Mustang Mare - September 19, 2016 at quarantine in Louisiana

Cinder has spent much of her time eating, resting and getting to know the members of our little herdlet. She must have had a buddy at one time because she has fallen in love with our little buckskin mare, Abby. The sentiment is not mutual but Abby puts up with Cinder up to a point and then it’s back off. Abby is very spoiled and is used to being the only mare in the barn and of course a favorite of mine, but it will work out in time. Cinder also likes another Mustang that lives here, a gelding named Sky. He tolerates Cinder pretty well so all is good so far.
I gave her a Betadine bath, brush her daily, add fly spray when necessary and her coat is starting to have a shine. Her weight is the same but she’s not been here long. The most exciting news so far is her trip to the vet. Cinder is only around 15 years old, has a sound heart and lungs, her teeth are bad because of non-existent care in her past. She was given her vaccinations, de-wormed and back home we went. Monday she will get a much needed hoof trim, hopefully her teeth floated and she will be ready to enjoy the rest of her life in comfort. I only wish that was the case for the others of her kind that were left behind.

Cinder – October 4, 2016

October 17, 2016
Cinder had her front feet trimmed, her back feet were fine. She had to be sedated as she is extremely defensive, terrified. That is what neglect and abuse do to a mind and body. With no known past we can only guess why. Was she bullied by other herd members, maybe? Abused by humans is my guess as she was delivered to the kill lot badly beaten up with abrasions, cuts, a swollen eye, and emaciated. Did she fall in a trailer as the kill lot suggested, maybe. Did she come out of the flood at Baton Rouge, not likely, was she neglected, absolutely.

She will wait a month or two to get her teeth floated, what Cinder needs now is a routine of ordinary days filled with food, comfort, companionship, and love. I watch the layers peel away little by little, what an absolute jewel is ready to shine under all the neglect. I am so happy she is here.

October 25, 2016

Cinder is most probably completely blind on her right side, she will spook occasionally and spin in circles as blind horses are prone to, I will make sure she is always has a safe place. The auction tag remnants are gone, even the glue that held it in place has worn off. Cinder is shiny after her brushings, her mane is growing, her cuts and abrasions fading.

She is indeed coming out of the ashes.

(2016) Grey Oaks Equine Sanctuary
All Rights Reserved