Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cinder (Part II)

Later that evening I was sent the most heart wrenching photographs of a very small Mustang mare clinging to life for all she was worth. She was not only beaten up it looked like she had either been drug or fallen in a trailer, she had skin literally falling off her legs. I was told that even after all she'd been through she was a loving, gentle little girl, although depressed and defeated.

I named her Cinder, meaning ' from ashes or little ashes.'

When the vet was able to come out and examine Cinder we received a surprise, Cinder was most probably in the flood at Baton Rouge, is why her skin was sloughing off her legs from the filthy water she was forced to stand in. Vet also aged her at about twenty five years old, yet the Coggins from the kill pen put her birth date down as 1980 which would make her thirty five years old. The truth most probably lies somewhere in between.

Cinder is too congested and fragile to make the trip to me this week, we are hoping she will be stronger next week so I can start spoiling her. She loves her hay but won't eat grain. She either was never fed grain or she just hasn't the taste for it, either way she will always have food in front of her.

She is more alert and whinnies when she sees Ashley. She received a medicated bath, antibiotics and lots of good old fashioned care and love. She fell asleep while being brushed her first night safe, possibly the first night in a very, very long time.

Friday morning, September 23, 2016 I messaged Ashley to check on Cinder and found out she is starting to eat a little bit of grain, is even more alert and her coat is starting to have a hint of a shine to it. Needless to say I was overjoyed! My little Cinder would enjoy the rest of her life after all. I was also informed she was ready for travel and would be arriving either Tuesday or Wednesday!

My trailer is ready, they will transport her to my vet for evaluation, I will then take her home to the comfort she always deserved.

(c)2016 Grey Oaks Equine Sanctuary
All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cinders Story

This morning sitting with my coffee looking at Facebook, news, and e-mail which is my custom I happened to see a little Mustang mare at the Bastrop Kill Pen in Louisiana. Usually I can scroll on past thinking what a horrific place to send a horse. I looked again, this little mare was limping, dirty, scrapes and abrasions over most of her body and a cut over her left eye that was clearly swollen and infected. A once luxurious, flowing mane matted, so thick with filth it didn't even move as a mane should. This little one would not get bail, she was too thin, probably too old and not flashy in the least bit. She would ship to slaughter crammed in a semi trailer with many more poor souls and more than likely not even survive the trip.

How can someone throw her away like so much trash? How many auctions was she run through before she arrived at the kill lot, or was there just one, the one that no one bid on her except the kill buyer.

I hope she was loved at least once in her life, maybe when she was first adopted when her new owner had grand plans for her. I wonder what happened when one day someone looked at her and didn't care anymore.

I kept watching the video of her, over and over, reading comments like she looks so sad and someone please save her. No one was going to bail her out, she would ship to slaughter. My stomach starting turning over, this little mare was not shipping to Mexico, she was coming home to me, to Grey Oaks Farm Equine Sanctuary to live the rest of what life she had left in comfort.

With the help of a good friend I was able to make her bail, she was mine, but now I had to find a way to transport her from the middle of Louisiana to southern Oklahoma. She would be moved to quarantine at the kill pen until transport could be arranged at the tune of eighteen dollars a day. Her care would be marginal at best.

I starting calling transport companies that regularly went to Bastrop Kill Pen to haul rescued horses, some were fairly reasonable, some extremely high. I got the distinct impression that since this little mare was a Mustang and not a pedigreed TB or QH she wasn't going to get the attention she deserved. One hauler even told me she'd never make it out of quarantine, advice I didn't need or want.

Then after calling twice I found A&A Transport out of Washington, LA initially they had told me they just didn't have room for her on the truck the next day and it would just be too long for her to wait. When I accidentally called them a second time thinking this was one I hadn't called yet, I was frantic to get her to safety, Ashley told me she had thought about it and if there was any room at all on the truck they would pick her up the next day. Needless to say I was beyond thrilled my little girl may be getting out of that place.

I was on pins and needles the next day until Ashley called in the afternoon and told me she was on her truck headed to quarantine! She would receive food, water, vet care and most importantly some degree of love and affection.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Story of Earth, Wind, & Fire

The Story of Earth, Wind, and Fire

by Paula Drake


Several years ago my animal rescue work led me down a new path. I met 3 branded American mustangs in 2007 as a result of a cruelty/neglect case in Kentucky.

The Risner family of Cynthiana lived on a dirt poor farm where they thought they would “make a good living” breeding horses for sale. WRONG. They did nothing for the horses - just stuck them in a field, thinking they would get enough sustenance off the overgrazed hillsides. They bought at auctions - buying the low-enders in bad shape and they bought BLM (Bureau of Land Management) branded mustangs because they were cheap and the Risners believed since they needed even less than “regular horses” to survive. The neighbors finally convinced the state troopers to investigate.

The horse non-profit with which I was involved at the time got involved as well. What was found on the property were piles of bones and horses in various stages of decomposition, as well as a sickly herd of survivors. The worst part of this crime was that though the local authorities had known about this for some time, they had chosen to do nothing. That’s Kentucky for you! Most people don’t know that Kentucky is ranked as one of the worst states regarding laws protecting the welfare of animals, especially horses.

The non-profit gained possession of 5 mustangs. I was able to find them temporary pasture nearby where they would spend the fall and winter on a farmer’s cut alfalfa fields that were due to be reseeded the next year. 3 of the 5 were the only survivors of the Risner’s direct purchases from the BLM. We were told the other two were mustangs as well, but they were unbranded. We guessed they were offspring of branded mustangs. Those two were able to be handled and the farmer asked to keep them.

The 3 branded mares had had enough of people and were very wary and aloof, especially the dark bay mare. I named her Fire. I named the red clay sorrel Earth and my favorite became Wind. I worked through the winter to find them a mustang sanctuary that would take all three since they were so bonded. I really wanted to take Wind, but Fire seemed particularly attached to her and I wanted to minimize her stress and make for an easy transition. I was particularly excited when the Black Hills Sanctuary told me they made room for them and a spring haul was planned.

We fundraised for the vetting and hauling costs while unbeknownst to me, a man running a “new sanctuary” contacted the non-profit and convinced them that his sanctuary would be a better place for the mares. I was not told of the switch until the last minute. NOTHING felt right about this, but I was outvoted on the decision. I said my goodbyes to the mares and prayed they would have a good life at “Three Strikes Ranch”, a sanctuary “devoted” to branded BLM horses who had gone through the BLM auction process multiple times and had not been adopted: thus the term “Three Strikes”.

This man also solicited mustangs needing homes, charging the owners a one time fee for "a lifetime of care and beautiful pastures". I asked about them regularly and the non-profit’s contact assured me they were fine. THEN, one bleak day, the horse sites on the internet were ablaze with the news of “scores of dead mustangs found on Nebraska ranch”. Yes, it was Three Strikes Ranch.

To make a very long story short, the next couple weeks were hell as I worked to locate the three mares after the 220 survivors were moved to the local fairgrounds and catalogued. Former owners were asked to identify and prove ownership in order to remove their formerly owned mustangs. With the AWESOME help of Front Range Equine Rescue, I located the three mares, was able to secure the right to claim and move them, with the consent of the non-profit. I now owned three wild mustangs who wanted no part of humans. Again I was tempted to take Wind, but again, Fire’s attachment to her ruled. Lisa, my friend and owner of the boarding barn where my horses currently reside, always says, when there is a need, the Lord will provide. Just let it happen. HE DID.

I found Eric Moltzan, an awesome rancher/hauler in Iowa who was ready and able to go to Nebraska to pick up three unhandle-able wild horses. I found an AWESOME sanctuary in Oklahoma with mustang credentials (thoroughly checked out by me) who had room for all three. Off they went to Linda of Grey Oaks Farm. Even though the con man swore he would never breed the mares, all three were pregnant. Fire sadly aborted her baby boy enroute to Oklahoma. Wind produced a healthy filly we named Breeze and Earth foaled a colt we named Sky. Little did any of us know three mustangs would become 5 almost overnight.

Now years later, Wind, Breeze, and Sky are still with Linda, living a simple quiet life at Grey Oaks. Fire and Earth had peaceful ends with Linda, both having lived very long lives despite the cruel hands dealt them by man - first being removed from the range by the BLM, then at the hands of the Risners, and then at the hands of Three Strikes' Jason Meduna.

I am so grateful they found love and care for their final chapter and a life as close to being free on the range as Linda and I could give them.

Sky gave everyone a surprise. Before Linda had him gelded, he sneaked a rendezvous with Wind and they produced a baby boy Linda named Rain. I am forever grateful to Linda for stepping up, to the Iowa rancher for being willing to haul them, and to Front Range Equine Rescue for making it all happen!