Annual Report for Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary, Inc. - 2018

Life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northwestern North Carolina in 2018 for the residents of Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary (SSFS) continues to provide a wonderful home and safe environment for the unwanted, abused, and neglected equines who reside on the farm. Each and every one of the sweet souls at the farm receive loving care and first-class medical treatment, along with interactions with volunteers who help work on the farm and bring special treats of carrots and apples which elicit knickers of love for their human friends. Those knickers are truly a “big deal” around the farm as many of the residents come to SSFS after being abused by humans and the distrust is one of the main issues that must be overcome. The ebb and flow of the Sanctuary continues to be one of the joys for everyone involved with this noble endeavor.

This year, Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary was very honored to nominate The Hotel Tavern in West Jefferson, N.C. (the site for our Annual Fundraiser, “Beer for My Horses…”) for Small Business of the Year, sponsored by the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce. Not only are we so grateful to “The Tavern” for what they have done for SSFS, but we are proud to have them as members of this larger community of Ashe County. Gratefully, The Hotel Tavern won the award as the 2018 Small Business of the Year in Ashe County, N.C. and Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary looks forward to many more years of a great partnership!

                                                                    One of The Hotel Tavern owners, Sherman Lyle, receiving his congratulatory kiss

                                                                    from Chief!

In January of 2018, we were honored to receive word that the Sanctuary was approved for a First Steps grant in the amount of $2,500 towards the purchase of a hay steamer from The Binky Foundation “Helping People Help Animals” out of New York. This grant fulfilled a major need for the farm due to the number of elderly horses with respiratory issues, or as we humans would call it COPD. That means many of the horses cannot eat the hay with dust and allergens found in field hay. This steamer now allows large quantities of hay to be steamed at one time and greatly reduces the time to feed and tend to the horses. We are most grateful to the Binky Foundation for this award.

We were also very humbled to receive a $10,000 donation from a Family Foundation for the care and support of the horses. In fact, the Foundation’s President remarked to one of our Board Members that she willingly gives to SSFS because she knows where her money goes and how it is used. She appreciates the fact that it is spent directly on the horses and she trust SSFS to ensure that, each and every year. She is an animal lover and there is a horse connection with her grandfather, so she really treasures being able to help the Sanctuary. And we greatly appreciate her for this generous and vital donation. In her humble fashion, this donor wishes to remain anonymous

This year, also, through the support of Sandy and Mark McNeilly, we applied to the State Employees Combined Campaign to be selected as an approved charity for North Carolina state employees. This avenue would allow all state employees, through direct paycheck donations, to give to SSFS. We were proud to be the only horse rescue organization in the state to be approved thru this rigorous process. We attended a multitude of events in the state to promote the Sanctuary and make them aware of this option for giving. We are eagerly awaiting the results in March.

As far as an update on the herd, SSFS currently has 16 horses happily residing at the farm, including, of course, our sweet “three-legged” donkey, Molly Mae. There were two new additions this year, an emaciated Morgan horse from Surrey County and a Belgian Draft who had hoof surgery at NC State Veterinary School and had no place to go during his recovery. The Draft, Jack, had to have a second surgery due to the serious condition of Canker, but he is now mending. They each have their own personalities and quirks (as we humans do), but all have thrived on the farm and each eagerly awaits Ms. Ann when she comes to feed twice a day or wrap or soak an ailing foot, rain or shine, snow or ice! We also sadly had to say goodbye this year to three horses. Shadow, a Hunter-Jumper who was retired at SSFS with Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Disease, due to a massive pulmonary hemorrhage, Flash, a 32 year old Arabian mare we had taken in at the farm due to the death of her owner and “Smooth Operator”, a 27 year old registered Appaloosa, who was essentially unadoptable and had been with us for 15 years.

These situations are tough, but part of life on the farm with equines who come to us with issues and aliments. We love them all and any animal that must be put down is done so humanely and buried on the farm. We also lost another treasured animal, while not part of the equine portion of the farm, our dear Owen, a disabled golden retriever, died. “Big O” was known far and wide and was greeted everyday by the volunteers. We adopted Owen from a rescue group and due to his severe disability, we knew he would be hard to place, so, he became a member of Southern Sun Farm and was an absolute joy for the 8 years he was with us. That was one happy, happy dog despite his disability. We all miss him greatly.

This year, our Annual “Beer for My Horses…. and Wine” fundraising event at The Hotel Tavern was on Flag Day, June 14th. We had a record number of donations and wonderful attendance, all to support the care of the horses at the Sanctuary. All donations go directly to the care of the horses, as there is no paid staff at SSFS. Of course, no fundraiser would be complete without the famous Horse Kissing Booth featuring the champion horse kisser, Chief! This year Chief alone raised just under $400 at $5 a kiss! In total we surpassed last year’s donations and raised just over $21,000 for the overall event. We are grateful to all who volunteered to help and all who attended!

Volunteer, Taylor Davidson, who traveled from Augusta GA to attend and two-time Super Bowl

Champion Pittsburgh Steeler, Gary Dunn, who attended to support the event.

On September 14 of this year, as many of you are aware, Hurricane Florence made landfall just south of Wrightsville Beach, NC. In fact, the storm even traveled to our mountains. However, the real concern was the Carolina Coast. So SSFS put out a post on Facebook to let any horse owners who needed to flee the coast, know that space would be made available on the farm for their horses. They would be cared for and fed and were welcome to stay until it was safe to return home. We had a response from Lindsey and Sam Willis who drove all the way to the farm to make sure their 4 horses were safe. The Willis’ home was virtually at ground zero and, in fact, they could not return right away due to damage to their house and road blockages.

                                               Sweet Millie at her SSFS visit.

We were honored to help this beautiful family and believe that if we were in the same position, someone would reach out to help us, as well. You can see the serenity on sweet Millie’s “refugee” face, being at SSFS, while her home was taking a real beating. God Bless all those who had to deal with Hurricane Florence and the aftermath, which is still ongoing and will be for quite a while.

The fall brought some beautiful mountain weather and it began our time to prepare for the winter in the mountains, which can be very difficult. All signs for the winter, including both scientific weather forecasts and the local lore which is fairly accurate, pointed to a very cold and icy winter…and one that might begin early. Well folks, they all were right. November brought a significant ice storm, which included a loss of power. That is a doubly difficult issue for the farm as water troughs need to be heated and need electricity to be filled and slick slopes are problematic for the horses. Fortunately, power was restored in a day and a half and life started to get back to a bit more normal. Then December came and many of you either heard on national television or you weathered the December snowfall with us, but western North Carolina had a record snowfall of about 2 feet in two days. It was significant for all and many lessons were learned. But the horses never went without. Our Polaris vehicle could not make it through that much snow, so we had to “walk” over and through two feet of snow to get to the outlying pastures to feed, some a half mile or more away! Truly an experience. Fortunately, the holidays were free of significant weather and we are very blessed by family and friends who support us and help us continue our mission to help abused, abandoned, and neglected horses, with our specialization in taking the “worst cases”.

Thank you and may you be blessed for helping these beautiful creatures who only want to be safe, cared for and loved.

Ann & John Lisk

Saving one horse won't change the world, but it will surely change the world for that one horse ....

Annual Report

EIN - 45-4274518