Happy Endings.....

Happy Endings.....

When I decided to start Skydog Sanctuary I had many goals and lots of them are written out clearly in our mission statements and on the website.  To help at risk mustangs from across America and give them sanctuary !  We also wanted to help veterans and give people a place to come for peace and to heal.  One of the things I haven't mentioned is that one thing I hope the skydog Facebook page and the social media give people is hope and a happy ending !  Wild horse advocates have a really rough time and I believe that a lot of people give up the fight for our mustangs because the task at hand is too overwhelming and often feels hopeless.  I wanted Skydog to be a place where people can come and see that there is a happy ending for some of these horses.  It is so hard when all the news is more roundups or another horse in a kill pen or having been abused and then there is all the awful in fighting between advocates and their pages who spend most of their time fighting with each other to look the best or to raise the most money.  Skydog is a break from all that and somewhere you can come to see pictures of horses who ended up in bad situations but overcame them and live happily in nature and beauty.  Some people think our page is trivial and just full of unrealistic photographs of pretty horses but you know what, when I worked in the commercial world I remember very well that a really successful infomercial producer said one day about a program we were making "facts tell, stories sell"  I think it is so important to give a name to these horses and tell their stories.  They are not a number branded on their neck by the BLM, they matter, they are living feeling sentient beings who we can learn so much from and heal through.  Recently i saw a photograph of our gelding Bear who was standing watch over his two babies Whisper and Mariah while their mothers grazed nearby and I thought how horrifying it was that he was in a kill pen heading from slaughter with those two mares and their babies inside them to be killed for their meat for a foreign person to eat as their lunch or dinner.  How is it possible that people can be so far removed from the violence and cruelty involved in satisfying their taste buds for a moments pleasure these horses endure torture and an inhumane and torturous death.  Horses are not food.  They just aren't and if you disagree I don't think you ever could have spent a day around them.   So for all that horror that is in the back of all of our minds when we see another horse ship to slaughter I hope that these horses touch people's hearts and souls to the point that they make different kinder choices.  That is my hope.  And if all you do is come for the pretty pictures and to follow the story of the horses that come here.  Yes it is so little in the grand scheme of things - just under 50 horses saved - does it really make a difference in this world - maybe not - but it makes the world of difference to every one of our horses so we shall keep saving them as many as we can, one at a time and hope the tide turns and people stop putting money and greed first before love and kindness - thats all we can hope x

NEW ARRIVALS

It is hard to truly describe the joy and happiness the day we went out to feed and found Whisper.  I had been saying for a while that Aerial looked as though she were about to have her foal and the day before I found her I asked a couple that were out visiting who have had a lot of brood mares if they would come and look at her.  We stood in the snowy field and they said she was not due anytime soon as she wasn't bagged up and her baby looked to be hanging too low and would change position and that she would start raising her tail a lot and waxing when the baby was close.  I went to sleep and in the morning there was Whisper.  Which just goes to show, you just never know !  It is hard to imagine that this small perfect horse had yesterday been inside his mother.  He was running around in the thick snow as if he had always been here.  He came straight over to nuzzle my hand and say hello.  Both our foals have turned out to be amazingly friendly and very handleable and although their mothers are wild they both seem very happy for their babies to be touched and petted.  Blondie worries a little more than Aerial and the foals are different in look and personality but what an experience it is.  We had no idea that so many of the mares we rescued last year were pregnant.  And now we have three more mares expecting and getting bigger by the day.  One of the most horrifying things we found out about kill pens is that often they turn the mares they get out with studs and deliberately get them pregnant so they will weigh more when they sell them for their meat.  Horrifying.  Especially when I sit and cuddle with Whisper and Mariah and think they would never have known life and would have died inside their mothers in a slaughter house in Mexico or Canada.   The SAFE Act has just been re-introduced to the new session of congress and there is a chance if more people get behind it that we really can get this bill through this term and end this horrifying practice of slaughtering our horses abroad to end up on foreign dinner plates.  We at Skydog are going to do everything we can to raise awareness for this bill and hopefully American voices will be heard when we say NO to horse slaughter.  http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2017/01/us-house-leaders-introduce-horse-slaughter-bill-011217.html?credit=web_id85541261

Pamela and her new foal Mariah x

Pamela and her new foal Mariah x

How it all began....

Probably the question I get asked more than any other is how on earth I ended up rescuing horses and starting a mustang sanctuary in Oregon.  After all I am from a small town called Cobham in Surrey in ENGLAND!!!!!  so......I have always had a love of horses and got my first when I was a little girl but even before that there are photographs of me carrying toy horses everywhere I went as well as the imaginary one I galloped around the woods behind my house!  I grew up watching westerns like The Virginian, Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie and every cowboy movie I could see where I cried when any horse or indian got shot and killed.   But my favorite show of all and one that got me through some very difficult times as a child was Champion the wonder horse which was a series about a band of mustangs.  I used to fall asleep at night dreaming of that horse and his adventures.  It saved my life that I could disappear into the fantasy world of the wild west and I decided I was going to grow up and marry Trampas from The Virginian or Elvis and ride his palomino Rising Sun around Graceland.  But it wasn't to be but during various times of my adult life I did have horses, ride horses, be around horses and finally when I moved to LA I used to hike in Beechwood canyon and see people riding by and found Sunset Ranch where I bought and boarded my first horse Elvis, a paint quarter horse.  Well that ranch had a lot of mustangs that they used as string horses to carry tourists up and down the hill to the Hollywood sign.  I bought my second horse from that string and that was Buddy.  From him and through him I learned about mustangs and their plight and what the US government and the BLM were doing to our wild horses and it made me sad and then very angry.  I just had to do something.  I adopted a few more riding mustangs when I moved to a ranch in Calabasas and then a couple more when I moved to a larger ranch in Malibu and I started donating to help mustangs out of kill pens or at auctions to stop them shipping.  I realized the only way I could make a bigger difference was to have more land to save more horses and also be able to raise awareness and let more people know what was happening.  So Skydog was born.  I read an old Blackfoot legend about how the native american indians when they first saw horses called them Skydogs - sent from the old man in the sky to help them.  So that is where the name came from.  And we haven't stopped from there.  With the help of my incredible husband he bought the ranch in Oregon that we lease from him for the horses.  It is a wonderful life so far away from where I was a couple of years ago.  I am never happier than with the wind in my face, snow boots on, dirt under my nails and smelling of horse poop.   Every thing I have given up has been worth it to spend my days living with wild horses in the wilds of Oregon in the shadow of Sheep Rock.  It is a sacred place and I feel real there and my life has purpose.  I wanted to start writing a blog - mainly because so many of you asked me to or suggested I do and also for myself to keep track of this incredible journey we are all on.  And let you all know who we are here at Skydog and get a little behind the scenes look at our sanctuary and what we are doing here and a bit more about the horses we call our family.  I hope you enjoy it.  Clare Staples, founder of Skydog Sanctuary

The front gate of Skydog Sanctuary - this is where we ask people to leave their troubles at the gate.  We have a little wooden box where you can write down on paper anything that you are worrying about and put it in the box and leave it behind when you enter xxx

The front gate of Skydog Sanctuary - this is where we ask people to leave their troubles at the gate.  We have a little wooden box where you can write down on paper anything that you are worrying about and put it in the box and leave it behind when you enter xxx