TEVA, CASPAR & SHORTY
Chief came to us in 2000. At the time, Ann was working with the South Florida Horse Rescue Association/ SFHPA-SPCA and was also on the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade County Humane Society. The Florida Highway Patrol had been called to the scene of a violent accident where 3 horses were found out on the highway and a speeding cement truck had struck one of the horses. The Highway Patrol called the Humane Society to come out and euthanize the mare hit by the truck. However, ranglers had to be brought to the scene to rope the bay QH gelding and the mare's 4 week old foal, who the gelding now appeared to be protecting.
Although the foal's mother died, the foal and gelding thrived. As people lined up to take turns bottle feeding the foal around the clock, someone soon adopted the little guy. But no one had spoken for the strong-willed Bay gelding who had been the foal's guardian all those weeks. Ann agreed to adopt the gelding, naming him "Chieftan" or "Chief", for short. Although this horse bucked off everyone who tried to ride him, even putting people in the hospital in his younger days, through extensive training, patience and bonding, Ann now uses Chief as her primary riding horse. He has some age on him now, but he is still the head horse on the property. He is still Chief.
The story of Luna and Big Frank must be told as one, as even fate couldn't separate them. Both horses were beach riders, used on North Carolina's Outer Banks. For over 8 years, they faithfully carried tourists daily to the Cape Hatterass Light House and back. Frank, a Belgian-QH cross, at nearly 20 years of age and 1350 lbs, was unable to continue at that level of activity due to his joints and was placed in a loving home in Eastern North Carolina. Six months later, Luna, a QH who was already blind in one eye, fell ill with COPD (heaves) and was scheduled for retirement at 16 years old. The two horses had been fast friends and inseparable on the trail and at the barn, but now Frank was gone and Luna needed a new home. Through the Internet, friends and relatives familiar with the Outer Banks connected the riding establishment there with Southern Sun Farm. Soon, Luna was on her way to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Five months later, we got another call from the Outer Banks ... Big Frank couldn't stay in the home he had already retired to. They were once again needing to place him, but permanently. We were at our horse limit, but agreed to take him anyway. After eleven months apart, these two loving animals were reunited at our Sanctuary. We hadn't yet off-loaded Big Frank from the trailer, when they were already calling to each other. The reunion was joyful for us and for them.
Horses that are ageing, with enduring medical conditions, physical impairment remain in the care of Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary where they will receive proper treatment, medical attention, and support for the entirety of their precious life.
Sweet Dusty is a retired rodeo horse that arrived at the sanctuary emaciated, the very day he was supposed to be put down. ADusty had spent years as a cutting and team penning cow horse. By 12 years old, with athletic injuries he was primarily a trail horse and taught many kids and adults to ride. But at 25 years old he was found in emaciated condition and he was scheduled to be put down. We gave him a home instead. In horrific condition and near death, John and Ann thought they might just be too late to help this horse. Dusty had missing teeth and had become unable to graze normally. He had not been given any grain so he was starving to death. We had Dusty's teeth cared for (floated) and he was wormed for severe parasite infestation. We then put him on a strict regimen of 5 small meals per day which included shredded beet pulp and alfalfa pellets to replace the grass he couldn't chew up and swallow. Eventually Dusty would be the greatest success story ever, gaining more than 340 lbs. to regain his health. Dusty will live out his life with us, his home.
Molly Mae is a donkey that was discovered during a cruelty investigation in Cabarrus County, NC, where she had been hit by car. She was never taken to a vet and so this traumatic event left her without the use of her rear right leg.
We had the donkey evaluated by an equine orthopedist and it was determined that it would be harder on her to try and fix the leg after 10 years of adaptation than to just leave her be. She is not in any pain, moves freely (and quickly when necessary!) and is a happy member of our herd.” Today, Molly Mae enjoys romping through the fields of her home and visiting with the ponies in the neighboring pastures. You can check out her video at; https://video214.com/play/bWOWr3Qxdbf7FMhksuJRNA/s/dark
RALEIGH & SPIKE THE CATDOG
LUNA CURRENT FAMILY
Big Boy came to us after a sudden blindness in one eye. He was undertstandably nervous and skitish due to his new condition, but as he acclimated to his new reality, his personality started to emerge. Although his size is a little intimidating, he is such a sweet and gentle soul. He can still have a useful life as a trail horse and soon became a favorite of the volunteer "squad".
Rocky had a bad eye infection and, although not a big horse, he was seriously underweight. He has gained 163 lbs in 7 months and has started back under saddle. Because of his transformation, John calls him "Rock Star"... and Oh, he truly is!
Smooth Operator is actually a registered Appaloosa, bred on a nearby farm and sold as a young colt for $1200. The owner then sold him to a family who fell on hard times with the husband dying and the wife suffering from mental illness. Smooth Operator, or "Opie" as we call him, would spend 5 years in a 10' x 20' round, metal pen. It seems extraordinary that the physical manifestation of psychological problems in a horse have traditionally been referred to as "vices". He became a cribber or "crib-biter". He grew thin, frail, and very mean. Watauga County Animal Control was finally called and Opie, along with 5 other horses, was seized. The owner, wishing to avoid criminal prosecution, surrendered all six horses without a fight. The other five horses were placed quickly as they were not in as bad condition. But no one wanted poor Opie as he was such a bad cribber that he had completely worn down all his incisor teeth. When he attempted to eat grain, at least two-thirds of each mouthful would fall out. He had trouble grazing as well. We brought him home to the Sanctuary. Opie gained over 200 pounds with us over the next 6 - 8 months. However, his POW attitude would take longer to heal. Operator took a stern hand at times, but a soft touch was needed for his soul. Opie is now at a good weight (around 1000 pounds), is shiny, bright-eyed, and runs to the fence to get feed and treats. He will always be aggressive over food and will have worn teeth in the front forever. He is part of the herd and has a family now.
RESCUED & RESTORED... HAPPY & HEALTHY
We raised John’s horse, Duke, since purchasing him at 4 months old and 18 months later took him to a training facility to be started under saddle. To keep up with Duke’s progress, we were regular visitors and got to know the other horses who were there to be trained, as well. Ann remembers seeing a beautiful little registered Paint Horse mare. She was a black and white tobiano with a sweet disposition. She had a gentle nature, kind expression and long white stockings stretching up to her knees. Seven years would pass before we saw her again. Before the owner was hauled off to jail on drug charges, our farrier had been called to come get the remaining 4 horses at this man’s barn. The scene would horrify even seasoned animal cruelty professionals. Horses had been left dead in their stalls and the same small black and white mare that we had seen at the training facility was found up to her knees in her own manure. Our farrier would keep the 4 survivors for a while, but this mare needed more. We brought “Darlin’ ” to SSFS and renamed her Libby Darlin’ in honor of one of John’s favorite Aunts to whom everyone was “Darlin’”. We treated her badly infected ears, had a tumor removed from one ear and over the next 6 months, added 70 lbs to her trim frame. Once healthy, we rode her, socialized her and began getting her ready for a new life. Although spirited, by Summer’s end, she would calmly trot past chain saws, weed eaters and moving cars. Libby Darlin’ was a fighter and that spirit kept her alive until better days finally came. A woman who had lost her beloved dressage horse was looking for a new riding and companion horse. The lady was small herself and well into her 60’s. Libby Darlin’ would leave SSFS for a lovely life with folks who would love and care for her just as we had. God speed, Darlin’!
restored our lives.
Duke is a registered American Paint horse. He is out of champion stock and is the only equine on Southern Sun Farm who is not a rescue. John and Ann purchased Duke as a colt and raised him in North Carolina. Duke is John's horse and participates in the local Christmas parade, the Annual Happy Trails Cowboy Church Revival and Ride, and charity rides.
These may have been
LUNA & FRANK
Three legs doesn't stop her from taking a dirt bath!
Kat and Tess came from a seizure in Lumberton, NC. Kat was 4 years old and now is a beauty! Tess was over thirty when she came home with us. She only made it 3 days, but it was the best three days of her life. "Saving one horse won't change the world, but it will surely change the world for that one horse"
Southern Sun Farm