Current Residents (Still being updated)
Luna and Frank
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 Southern Sun Farm 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. Although they both require special care for joints and health issues, to this day, over five years later, Luna and Frank eat from each other's feed bowls, share hay and stand watch over each other.
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 mouthhful would fall out. He had trouble grazing as well. As a special needs horse, there were no takers. We agreed to bring him home to Southern Sun Farm 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, but, nevertheless, Smooth Operator is part of the herd and the family, and will stay here forever.
Prince came to us in late spring 2011 through a local veterinarian. Animal Control seized the horse when so many complaints were logged about a horse being starved. The owner was cited and the horse was removed to receive vet care. During his weeks at the vet, Ann saw the pathetic horse. Having only seen one horse in worse shape (see Rescue Stories for pictures), Ann said if the owner would surrender the animal, she and John would take him back to Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary. Instead, the owner wanted his horse back. Because horse abuse laws are so inadequate, the abuser was allowed to pay the charges at the vet and pay his fine to the county and take Prince home. Two weeks later, Prince was badly injured by another horse with whom he was turned out and returned to the veterinarian. He'd been had been bitten up and down his neck with the worst injury at his withers. This resulted in a severe case of fistulous withers. The painful, hot, spurting masses erupted for over 4 months. After 3 courses of antibiotics and twice daily cleaning throughout the summer, Prince was finally healed. Within 8 months, Prince gained over 250 pounds. The pathetic, wounded bay gelding who painfully backed off our horse trailer would not be recognizable now. Sleek and shiny with a flowing black mane and tail, there will always be traces of the indention present at his withers and he is on a joint supplement to ease movement, but he is fine. Prince is turned out daily with his friends Luna and Frank. Other horses might have simply quit the fight to keep on living. Prince seemed to know God wasn't done with him yet.
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.
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.