Friday, August 10, 2012

Mustang A Day Challenge Painting # 327 Spirit More details of his story.

This Story is dedicated with grateful thanks to all who helped get Spirit to Sanctuary. And especially to Ellie who kept me updated along the way and shared the story with me so I could be involved. Blessings Friends.
"Spirit  Released"
The Delaware Mustang
Now Residing at Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota
8 by 10 inches Watercolor Original
by Linda L Martin
A portion of the proceeds from the Sale of this Painting
will be donated to the continued care of the Horse and His relatives

Purchase prints of this painting on Fine Art America

Currently updated Story Of Spirit:
The Background:

Early in 2012 the family who had adopted a beautiful Mustang stallion they named Spirit had a sudden change of economic circumstances. They were going to have to move and Spirit was not going to be able to move with them.

Because the horse had never been trained it was problematic. Spirit was completely desensitized to humans and everything that revolved around their daily lives. But Spirit had no formal training, except accepting the halter to lead from the  trailer to the pasture. He had not been led since his arrival. He had never been groomed. And he had not had his feet trimmed since he left the BLM. And in all those years except for treats, petting and throwing hay over the fence for him and a few toys they gave him to play with, he had no hands on contact with humans.

To make matters worse he was an uncut stallion who had been breeding.

There are few choices for an adult horse with very little handling. And for a basically untrained wild horse there are even less choices. To complicate the problem he was a wild horse and a stallion over 15 years of age. And even though he was loved and cherished by his family, everything came down to three choices:

Ship him to an open sale, Find him a sanctuary or put him down.

The first choice was an automatic resounding "NO". The owners knew that he was a healthy candidate for slaughter buyers. They also knew that most people didn't want a stallion that age with no training.

The second choice was actually their first choice. Every shelter and sanctuary they contacted in the Mid-Atlantic Region was either filled or didn't have the facility to handle an un gelded formerly wild horse with very little training.  With out gelding first, not even temporary foster homes wanted to take the chance or assume the liability if he got loose and did damage or bred someone's mares.
Click on the photo to see details
of the photo of Arizona and his father
Spirit at the Corrals at Black Hills Sanctuary
in South Dakota

Even the gelding of the horse was proving to be a bigger issue than anticipated. There were vets who were willing to tackle the operation, however, the charge for extra man-power to keep the horse subdued would be $700 more than a normal gelding. And if there were complications how could that be handled?

The owners were out of options. Their move was coming soon. There was no back up plan for Spirit. They set a date, told as many people that they could and decided that if he wasn't at least in foster care by that date, they would have to have him humanely destroyed.

At the last moment a number of organizations stepped up to the plate, not only for Spirit, but also for his other band members and offspring.

A local trainer donated her time and spent several days giving Spirit a refresher course in leading and handling and also worked with his son, Arizona. A transport  firm with some experience handling wild horses was hired. Arrangements were made as a place opened up At the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota. A total of 6 BLM Branded wild horses would eventually make their way to South Dakota from Delaware as a result of helping Spirit.
More than 50 people gave money or support from Delaware, Pennsylvinia, Virginia, Maryland, Oklahoma, New Mexico, California and places I dont even know of, to help these horses get back to the range.

There is more to the Story.

First about Spirit. Spirit was not an unwanted horse. He Also was not abandoned, however, he was a wild horse in crisis. The crisis was brought on by the change in circumstances for his owners, the economy of the region where people selling off and even giving away horses because they could no longer afford to keep them, and because Spirit wasn't trained. Were Spirit trained he would have had many more options when a crisis arouse for his owners.

Letter from Black Hills with Confirmation
that Arizona and Spirit had arrived in good
condition and that they had received the donation.

When I held my on-line fund raiser for Spirit in March 2012, we were originally trying to raise half of the $900 it would take to get him gelded. Then the circumstances changed fast. The Black Hills facility no longer breeds mustangs in captivity; instead, we discovered, they will take uncut stallions and geld them on site for a lot less money than it would cost to do it on the East coast. They have a mustang specific facility geared to handle wild horses in all stages of handling and the expertise to do the job safely for both horses and caregivers.

When Black Hills agreed to take the horses they were moved out before our April 8th, 2012 Deadline. Arizona and Spirit were in the Sanctuary corrals and quarantine facility before the donations could be sent by pay pal. I received a letter from the Sanctuary on April 18th, 2012 with Photos of Spirit and his son becoming acclimated to their new surroundings. They had already been gelded.

Then I heard of another mustang in Delaware that was in even worse circumstances. This beautiful gray stallion had been confined to a BLM Approved corral with out even a run-in shed for over 10 years, since his adoption. I will tell you more about that one in my next post.

Here is  how you can help more horses like Spirit right now:

"You can be involved. For each print in the "Release" series I sell, a portion of the money will go to the upkeep of Spirit and his family at the Black Hills Sanctuary.  Please buy a print and help us protect and preserve the amazing animals. if you would rather have an original that is possible too. Every purchase you make helps."

As a result of being involved with helping to fund raise and get the word out about Spirit I began the Mid-Atlantic Wild Horse Project. If you would like more information on the Mid-Atlantic Wild Horse Project or to become part of the network of dedicated people helping to rescue adopted mustangs in crisis please email  Please write " I would like to help Adopted Wild Horses" in the Subject line so your email.
Thank-you for your generous support. ~Linda

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog.
    I’ve been a follower on your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.
    Just checking back for any new posts you may have written.