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Stories of Equine Rescue

Do you have a special story that involves helping a horse, mule, burro or other equine in need? Perhaps you adopted an abandoned horse, educated your friends on the horrors of horse slaughter, or reported a case of equine cruelty. Whatever your good deed—we'd love to hear from you!

To submit your equine rescue story, please email us at EquineRescueStory@aspca.org. If your story is chosen, it will be featured on our website. Don't forget to include a photo!

Please include:

  • Your full name and e-mail address.
  • Your story—please include the month and year the animal was rescued, what happened and how he/she has changed since the rescue. Feel free to include some funny quirks about his/her personality as well.
  • Up to three photos in JPG format.
  • Please write "Equine Rescue Story" in the subject line.

Callie, a Mustang Filly

Submitted by Linda Kramer

Callie was captured as a yearling filly by the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada, home to more than half of America's wild horses. Before she was rounded up into a crowded holding pen, she roamed freely with her family in the majestic mountains near Mount Callaghan. She was rescued, along with Valor, by the Kaeli Kramer Foundation and was named after her wild mountain home.

Callie is friendly and outgoing and learns quickly. If left in the wild, she might have become a “lead” mare, making decisions about where the herd would travel and eat. While in the care of her trainer, Callie was a star pupil, mastering the art of relating to humans and adjusting to a life filled with constraints with grace and ease.

Callie's job now is to educate people [PDF] about the importance of preserving the untamed beauty of America's last wild horses and our rapidly deteriorating public lands.


Valor, a Mustang Gelding

Submitted by Linda Kramer

Valor's mother lived freely in the secluded timbered woods of Oregon. This area is known for its hot, dry summers and cold winters that reach temperatures below zero. The horses who live among the heavily forested areas of Ponderosa Pines are known as “timber horses.” They are said to have descended from the horses of the early Spanish settlers. Valor's mother lived in a small family herd with her stallion and few other mares and their offspring.

Valor's pregnant mother was captured by the Bureau of Land Management. She was chased by helicopter into a holding pen, where Valor was born on May 15, 2008. He could not play or socialize with other foals. He never ate grass or knew the freedom enjoyed by his ancestors. But he was lucky, as many foals die during the roundups. They cannot keep up with the frightened older horses. Many other foals are injured and separated from their mothers.

Valor was rescued by the Kaeli Kramer Foundation when he was 15 months old. He was a “three-striker,” so if he was not rescued he could have been sold, without legal protection, for slaughter. He was named Valor because he was very shy and afraid. He needed to develop courage so he could learn to trust people and gain confidence, and his trainer knew he needed to take things slowly. Valor watched her doing farm chores and observed how the other horses, even his friend Callie, trusted her. Gradually, Valor, too, became interested in having a human friend.


Freedom's Story

By Richard Couto

In June 2008, Freedom's Flight was rescued from a slaughter farm in Miami, Florida. Foaled in Kentucky in 2005, there were high hopes that this fast, spirited three-year-old Thoroughbred might someday be a Triple Crown winner, much like his illustrious grand-sires; Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral and Seattle Slew. Shortly after his third birthday, Freedom ran his last race. Just out of the gate at Florida's Gulfstream Park, Freedom suffered a bad break in his front leg. Despite his injury, Freedom kept running—he came in third.

It was then that Freedom's downward spiral began. Since he could no longer run, his owner saw little value in keeping the disabled Thoroughbred and, to the best of our knowledge, gave him away. Mere days after his injury, Freedom was given to a "pony ride" company. In the heat of summer, with a broken leg, Freedom was forced to give rides to any passersby on the sides of city streets. When he could no longer walk, Freedom was sold for $50 to a slaughter farm where he lived in filth and misery, awaiting his cruel fate. That was…until we rescued him.

Immediately after his rescue, veterinarians evaluated and diagnosed him as severely emaciated, suffering from Strangles (a serious equine disease), severe rain rot resulting in the loss of almost all his hair, bites, wounds, severe rashes, abscesses under his hooves, detoxing from steroids and a broken leg! The Florida Department of Agriculture immediately quarantined Freedom for five weeks to prevent the spread of the Strangles virus to other horses.

Today Freedom is free and has been adopted into a loving home. Although he is still recovering, he is living with the dignity, care and love that all horses deserve.