Before and after Section
Ireland was dumped at Fallon Feedlot, hours away from shipping to slaughter we managed to rescue her just in the nick of time. She was completely terrified when we got her and now loves to be around people and is the first to the fence to look for treats and snacks.
She was described as being heavily pregnant which is so appalling that they were about to ship her to slaughter in that condition. Many horses do not make the long hauls to Mexico or Canada and the weaker horses often fall and are trampled to death by other horses in panic on the truck
JACKSON AND LISA MARIE
Jackson and Lisa Marie were found at Eugene Auction in Oregon and were the first two horses saved by Skydog. They were very bonded and Jackson was trying so hard to protect his little mare in their cramped stall, even striking out at people who came near, he was labelled wild and dangerous.
Since coming to Skydog Sanctuary Jackson has become an amazing herd leader and protector of seven mares, all rescued from kill pens. He is a complete teddy bear and love bug when it comes to people and everyone who meets him falls in love with him and his beautiful lead mare from South Steens HMA
Sequoia was rescued by a wonderful family from a horrible situation where she was starved, neglected and abused. They asked us to take her as she had been badly injured and would never be able to be ridden, the vet recommended euthanasia but instead she gets to live out her life here
Sequoia is loving and people friendly so she is a great ambassador for our ranch. The capacity these horses have for forgiveness is incredible and after the worst abuse from people they are still eager to love and trust and make friendships - quite a lesson for us all to learn
Bear was found in a feedlot in Bastrop Louisianna. Still a stallion at 8 years old, he came in with two mares who were most likely pregnant. BLM Mustang Rescue Network contacted us as they wanted to keep all three friends together. Bear was gelded and quarantined for two months and now all three friends live together here. They are inseparable.
Bear was a remarkably gentle stallion and was halter broke but his mares are a little more wild and don't like to be handled as much. Aerial just gave birth to her foal Whisper in the middle of winter and he came out with a full winter coat to keep him warm in the snow. Pammie or Goldie as we like to call her just gave birth to a gorgeous filly called Mariah. So we effectively rescued five horses, not three, on this save.
Read was spotted in a kill pen in Oklahoma and his photographs were horrifying. We bailed him and he was in quarantine for five weeks before heading up to Black Hills Wild Horse sanctuary in South Dakota for a little acclimation before heading here.
Read is 22 years old and his injury was from where somebody put a halter on him and never took it off, causing it to grow into his face - his nasal cavities are open to the air as a result but he does so well and runs around and seems in no pain or discomfort. He is one of our favorite saves.
Leigh was also found in an auction in Oregon. She came in with her friend of 10 years Sammy but they were separated and the Kill Buyer bought Tami. Leigh has never wanted to have anything to do with people and seemed really depressed and listless until we tracked down her friend and reunited them. They have not been apart since.....
When we finally managed to get Leigh out of the kill pen and reunite her with Sammy they remind us of a couple of old ladies, always together, sometimes bickering, then making up. But wonderfully at night they always watch over each other and take it in turns to lay down while the other guards them. It truly is a joy to see their close bond and love for each other.
Love was rescued from a kill pen in Waco Texas. The photographs show her standing in mud and poop looking lost and scared with cuts on her face and terrible looking feet. We sent her straight to Reata Equine Hospital to be treated for any respiratory diseases she might have caught in the pen as they very often come out with pneumonia or other illnesses from being around sick horses, and then she was brought to California.
Since being at the ranch she has blossomed and gained so much confidence and is just the sweetest girl. She was terribly head shy when she arrived and flinched when people raised their hand near her face but now all that fear has dissolved away. She is a long way from the description we had of her from the killpen where she was described as being unhandleable and dangerous. She was just plain terrified. And now she is safe.
We were alerted about a mustang going to ship to slaughter straight from a Kill Buyers pen and we stepped in. Apparently she had been used in a Mexican Rodeo and then thrown away. We bailed her an hour after we heard of her and she was in Malibu the next day.
Little Girl was checked by vets when she got here and found to have a respiratory illness as well as a heart murmur but she is doing good as long as we keep her quiet and don't put her in too big a pasture with too many boisterous horses. She is the sweetest smallest mare here and loved by all.
We found Jones at Eugene Auction in Oregon, she is a reservation mustang. Sadly these mustangs are not even afforded the protection of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act so unfortunately many hundreds of them are sold straight to slaughter every year. They used to rip the foals from their mothers before they shipped and kill them but now many wonderful rescue groups rally to go and rescue foals and find them homes.
Jones was rescued once from an abusive owner but sadly when she was found not to trainable she was again dumped at auction where we picked her up. She will tolerate and suffer being handled and even ridden but you can tell she does not enjoy it so we choose to let her live out her life without much human contact and that is just the way she likes it. She will come for treats :)
Winter is a mare rescued from ISPMB who ended up starved, pregnant and with a foal at her side after a sanctuary failed. We took Winter and her foal Blizzard and named them that so we never forgot where they came from. Minus 40 degrees in blizzards and a snow storm with wind chill at night being even lower. None of the horses had shelter or wind breaks or even trees to stand behind. Many of the horses and foals froze to death.
Winter was hauled here in the dead of winter and in the middle of storms but she and her friend Sooty and their two foals who were 4 and 5 months when they arrived here survived and have flourished since being here. They are now living altogether with the other mares and foals and Winter has since had her second foal Wilder. The foals are both beautiful and we spend a lot of time with them to gentling them for easier handling.
ANSELM LITTLE BOY
Anselm Little Boy was rescued from a Kill Buyer pen directly by wonderful rescue partner HiCaliber Horse Rescue. When Romney heard about a mustang about to ship to slaughter she contacted us and we agreed to take him. He was coughing and his legs were covered in scars from horse tripping and his body was also very scarred from what looked like rope marks where he had been beaten.
He had already been named Anselm by HiCaliber but after he was quarantined and brought to us we realised how tiny and delicate he was and we just took to calling him Little Boy. He really is a pushy, cheeky and food obsessed horse as he was obviously pretty emaciated when he was rescued but we forgive him all of that as he truly is one of the sweetest most affectionate mustangs we have ever met.
Sammy was rescued from a kill pen in Washington. We tried to bid on her at auction but for some reason she was sold to the kill buyer right under our nose so we tracked her down to Sunnyside Kill Pen (the name is not a very apt description of a place that ships horses to slaughter daily) and went to get her. She was pretty wild and uncooperative and wouldn't load for two weeks of trying but eventually we brought her home.
The good news for Sammy didn't end there, we were able to reunite her with her friend of 10 years that we saved from auction and now they live happily together at Skydog. This mare started off wild and untouchable but weeks of love and kindness work wonders and now she lets us stroke her all over and takes carrots from our hands. Sammy, you've come a long way baby xxxxxx
Luna was rounded up as a foal and then adopted out at the trap site with another foal who was Ireland. They both ended up dumped at Fallon Feedlot together but were separated as Luna was saved by a wonderful rescue in Reno and we saved Ireland.
The rescue agreed that the most wonderful outcome for both horses would be to be reunite them and let them spend the rest of their lives together as both are too reactive and traumatized to be trained at this point. They are now happily back together and get to call Skydog Ranch their forever home.
Hunter was found in a kill pen in Louisiana and she had on a halter made of bailing twine - the kind of cheap plastic string you put around hay bails which broke our hearts so we made the decision to save her. All our rescues are presented to the team that work here and the Board to make sure everyone agrees on taking another horse and this was unanimous.
Our wonderful hauler Marlene Dodge was on her way here from New York and picking up Bear and his two mares in Texas so one more was easy. We bailed her and brought her here and she took our breath away. There was no way to tell from that Kill Pen photo that this horse was so beautiful. She is a supermodel mustang so we name her Hunter after our wonderful friend and supporter Rachel Hunter and she is settling in nicely.
Pamela came in with Bear and Aerial to the kill pen, probably already pregnant as she had been with Bear when he was a stud. We were asked to take them so that they could stay together and we happily said yes. Pamela is very friendly and halter broke if you can catch her ! She and Bear and Aerial have a 30 acre pasture to themselves and spend the day grazing and playing - a very long way away from the kill pen they ended up in.
Pamela is named after one of our most wonderful supporters and friends, Pamela Anderson. They are both Blonde, beautiful, fearless and wild. In March Pammie just gave birth to her foal Mariah who is a beautiful sorrel filly who looks just like her father Bear. We are so happy to have another baby at Skydog x
Aerial is Bear's lead mare and best friends with Pamela. She came to Skydog pregnant and she just gave birth to her baby Whisper who is doing so well and thriving even though he was born in the middle of winter. She is very nervous around people and was absolutely traumatized by the experience of being in the kill pen. She is slowly settling down and coming around to being near people.
Aerial was originally from Wyoming, Divide Basin and she and her little foal Whisper can now live free and stay together. He is the sweetest little foal and just loves being tickled and having his butt scratched.
Lewis was found in Kaufman kill pen in Texas. She is a beautiful Grulla mare that looked so sad and lost in the photographs that we reached out to rescue her and get her to us. Lewis was turned out with Jimmy when his brother sadly passed away and they have been inseparable ever since.
Lewis is named after our wonderful friend and horse lover Leona Lewis and hopefully she will be able to meet her namesake next time she visits x
Swayze was found in the Colorado Feedlot. They told us he was a young mustang and that you couldn't see his brand in the photograph as it didn't show up on his white coat. We rescued him and then found out he was a 23 year old spanish horse with Cancer and we didn't hold out too much hope. Incredibly he has transformed in only a few weeks from the emaciated, sick and weak horse that arrived here to an amazing beauty.
Like so many other horses form Colorado feedlot he came in with Strangles and we had to exercise very strict protocols for him and his mare Priscilla during which time every person that worked at Skydog permanently smelled of bleach. But he has the all clear now and is out in the pasture with his mare. UPDATE - we are currently fundraising for laser surgery to remove some of the melanomas on his tail and rectum so hopefully he will be able to have that surgery soon
Sarge was found in the kill pen in Waco Texas and bailed by another rescue. He was really skinny and weak and they helped build him back up a little before sending him elsewhere to continue his recovery. Very very sadly those people also let him down and he deteriorated to the point that he had to be taken back and we were asked to take him. At first we were worried about the long haul but he put on enough weight to make it to Colorado safely and then was fed up even further and rested before continuing his journey home to Skydog.
Sarge is an Oregon mustang and we are so proud and happy to be able to bring him back to his original home and let him live out his life with us. We love you Sarge x
SOOTY (TOOTS) AND SHELDON
Toots and Sheldon were rescued from ISPMB - which is a now horribly failed mustang sanctuary in South Dakota. The horses there were found starved and freezing to death when people reported the owner for hoarding and mis treating the horses in her care. The sanctuary was seized by the county and they allowed some wonderful organizations to help find adopters for these horses.
Sooty and Sheldon were not in good health when they arrived with another mare and foal. Both the babies were wormy as well as which all four horses were mangy, had lice and mites and a bad case of shipping fever. But these horses are fighters to have survived that place and a tough haul in difficult conditions in the middle of winter. They have thrived and transform every day before our eyes. These are some amazing horses and from the Sheldon herd so it is an honor to have them with us at Skydog.
Rhys was found on social media listed for sale for a couple of hundred dollars and we wanted to have him tell the story of the dangers of selling horses cheap on Craig's List or Social media as they are EXACTLY the horses that kill buyers are looking to buy and pick up cheap and sell for meat prices. Kill Buyers do not always look as they sound. These people go to extraordinary lengths often bringing children and wives along to pick up these cheap horses being sold privately. They very often say that the horse is going to a therapy program in Montana or Colorado and make up all sorts of lies to unsuspecting horse owners to reassure them that their horse will be in good hands and taken care of.
We have sadly read so many stories of people devastated to find out that their horse is now in a kill pen or worse still shipped to slaughter. We hope Rhys tells the story of all horses that ended up in bad hands and warn owners of the dangers of selling to strangers for cheap. Rhys is now living out his life at Skydog with his best friends Sequoiah and Jazzy.
Butler is a chocolate palomino mustang we saved at Eugene auction. The only thing they listed about him was that he had been used as a packhorse and the several photos that came with him show him healthy and well taken care of so we don't understand why he ended up at auction with a kill buyer being the only other person bidding on him. Butler is a sweet and loving horse who is really enjoying his freedom and new friends on the ranch.
It is hard to believe that anybody knowingly sends a loyal and good horse to auction knowing the fate that most probably befalls them. We try as much as possible to catch mustangs at auction where they often sell for as little as two hundred dollars to kill buyers who then immediately list them on their sites between 400 to up to 1200 dollars to cash in on them or if they can't they just ship them straight to slaughter and sell them by the pound for their meat for people in Europe and Asia to eat. Luckily Butler never had to see the inside to a trailer to the kill pen or make that trip to Canada.
Adeline was saved at auction by the wonderful HiCaliber Horse Rescue. She was a terrified and very scarred mare who definitely needed some feeding up. She is covered in cuts and scrapes and was most likely used as a tripping horse or was just plain abused. Adeline came in with some other horses with a well known horse flipped and one of the other horses she was with had a face covered with cigarette burns so God knows what awful abuse these beautiful horses had suffered before they were rescued.
Adeline was sent to quarantine and we agreed to take her and Anselm Little Boy. They are currently living at our ranch in Malibu being fattened up and spoiled before coming up to Oregon when the snow melts and weather improves for the haul. She is handled daily and is losing her fear and learning to trust again. She is one gorgeous mustang.
Kennedy was rescued from a feedlot in Washington. They weren't sure he was a mustang so we had a vet visit there and check his brand and she confirmed that he was and told us he seemed around 18 years old and was guarded but friendly. We decided to rescue him and bailed him with the help of a private donor. Our ranch manager Jon drove the six hours up to the kill pen to haul him home and we all stayed up to welcome him here.
Kennedy was found to have strangles and influenza so he is still in quarantine but he receives regular vet attention as well as plenty of glove covered pets every day. He longs to get outside and is not enjoying the stall and confinement but we tell him every day that it is better to go through this than where he was heading. He is going to be one special boy when we are able to assess him.
We rescued Otis from a Kill Pen after he went through Eugene Auction - we really thought he would get bought at auction as he is a beautiful broke 18 year old ranch horse who just has the best manners and gorgeous gaits and has absolutely nothing going against him. But sadly it was a cold winter night and turnout was poor and the only person bidding was the kill buyer. We wanted to get him back quickly before he got sick so our trusty ranch manager Jon offered to go up there and we worked with another local rescue who wanted a mare who had also gone through auction - so together we got them both back.
He was a little skinny when he got here and very scared but now Otis has to be the sweetest, most patient, easy going, perfect horse here. And we haven't 100 percent decided if he will stay here as a riding ranch horse or if we will find him a wonderful home at some point. But for now he is living the life, hanging out with some good friends eating some good food and being loved on every day. Otis x
HAILEY AND CASEY
We got a Facebook message from a girl in Kansas who told us a kill buyer had two mustangs he was going to ship in the morning if we didn't save them. She had no photos or descriptions but said to call a man on a number to help them. We did and he said he needed cash before the morning or they would be on the truck. It was kind of miraculous that a group of women in Kansas all rallied to help and delivered him cash and picked up the wild horses and hauled them to us. They were not in good shape. They were both very overweight, which is pretty unusual and both had the worst feet we had seen. The grey mare Hailey was at least handleable and after a couple of weeks we had earned her trust enough to halter her and do her feet. Sadly it wasn't just the length, she had badly foundered and could barely walk. She was going to take months to grow new feet and it would take a lot of work and vet bills on our part to get her to where she is today. She truly is our skydog miracle.
Her friend Casey is the wildest and most reactive horse here and even after months of working with her she literally does things that would definitely hurt her or others unless she is just left alone. We have finally turned her out on a rockier pasture to wear her feet down a little but she will also be run through a chute to trim her feet and vaccinate her come spring. They no longer are together as Hailey was on stall rest for a long time and we felt it kinder to finally let Casey out to run free and be away from the pesky humans she dislikes to much. We love them both and are so happy for Hailey particularly who finally got to be out this week after six months of stall rest x
We first saw Daisy on a Facebook page where the lady who had her was very frustrated that Daisy was not responding to training and she was sending her back to the BLM. Something about her face, the look in her eye and that lead rope still attached to her halter that she had been dragging around for weeks broke our heart. With the help of another girl we adopted Daisy back out of the pens as the rest of her herd had shipped to long term holding without her. This was a horse that wanted to be wild and thank goodness we let her be that way. She has so much space, many friends and plenty of food. She is a big power house of a Utah mustang and we are honored and privileged to be her guardians.
Daisy before and after, she is such a joy to take care of and spend time around but never comes closer than two or three feet. She does love it when you throw her a treat x
T and Swift
One of the most important missions of our sanctuary is to promote adoptions of mustangs out of BLM holding pens. To show people how to go through that process and prepare them for their own mustang we decided to adopt this young mare and foal to film it for a video diary so that people can see exactly how the whole thing works from filling out the paper work to picking the horse up and bringing it home.
We found this photograph of a mare who had just given birth to her foal in a BLM corral in Burns Oregon and chose her to follow through the process of adopting them. The film is currently in production and will be available to view on our website and Facebook very soon.
We were contacted by a rescue who had taken in Sundance after he was found running down Klamath Falls Highway, starved and neglected he was not easy to catch. They asked us to take him as at 17 years old he just couldn't bond or connect with anyone they tried him with and was happiest out on a piece of land being left alone. He is a magnificent mustang. Over 17 hands and with four knee high white socks he looks like a show horse and is so beautiful running around free and wild. He likes to come eat out of our hands but does so with the most stretched neck possible so he keeps as much space as possible between us so he can get away. Nobody is going to catch you again beautiful boy. Stay free.
Sundance is from the Callaghan herd in Nevada....
Jazzy is with us because his owner loved him very much. That is usually not the case with a horse that we take in but his owner contacted us about him. She had rescued him as a foal and pretty much raised him but at two years old he had become a handful and was busting down fences and getting into all sorts of trouble. His owner was getting on in years and didn't feel as though she could handle a young wild mustang but also was devastated at the thought of him getting into the wrong hands and ending up in the slaughter pipeline.
We took him - in a way to remind older people to make provisions for their beloved animals. So many people don't and it is a huge cause of horses ending up at auctions when their families sell them off not realizing the fate that befalls them. We rescued one horse whose owner had raised him since a foal and was now in a hospice and horrified to find out his much loved horse had been sold off by his children and landed in a kill pen. That horse will also live out her life at Skydog. As for Jazzy - he is probably the most adorable, friendly, most human loving mustang we have here. He literally tries to take the muck rake and help out when you are in his pasture. He would live in the house if he could. We keep him right near the barn so he can interact with people as much as possible and we get to give him kisses every day x
Lady Jade is another mustang whom we adopted formally from the BLM to promote adoptions and show people the process of taking in a wild horse. She was 9 months old and amazingly was friendly and handleable from the beginning. She is a south steens filly and her mother was turned back out on the range after having her baby in holding. We hope that Lady Jade will show the beauty of these wild horses. It is our dream that one day every show barn, polo pony barn, hunter jumper barn, arabian barn - that people will see the amazing knowledge to be acquired from adopting a wild mustang and gentling one to learn more about horses in every way. The bond created is so beautiful. If you have the ability to adopt one or rescue one you will never ever regret doing so.
Lady Jade is a South Steens mustang and is currently being halter trained so she can safely have surgery for her umbilical hernia
These are just a few of the Mustangs we have brought to the ranch, there are so many more that need a safe environment to live in.
Check back soon and meet other rescued horses and please donate to help us save more mustangs. Over 150,000 American horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada every year and killed in the most inhumane and brutal painful way imaginable - stop the slaughter by lobbying your congressmen to Pass The SAFE ACT......