Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Endings

If you’ve never been to Wild Horse Days, you’re missing out – especially this year. Our silent auction was bigger than ever, thanks to all the wonderful local merchants who supported our efforts to care for and protect our unique and historic herd of wild horses and through the efforts of volunteers who worked tirelessly to solicit auction items. Because of the generosity of Wrangler Farms in Grandy, we were able to offer mini riding lessons and “pony” rides on once wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs who live because they were rescued and rehabilitated by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and its dedicated volunteers. Board member Steve Edwards and his students traveled nearly two hours to bring Corollas, BLM Mustangs, Chincoteagues and Shacklefords. We were able to triple the number of children’s activities through the efforts of our board president and volunteers, and we raised the most funds to support our efforts to protect and preserve the wild horses in the 6 year history of Wild Horse Days. However, the highlight of Wild Horse Days came on the last day, in the last hours and on the day after.

A horse tour guide called Herd Manager Wesley Stallings around 4 p.m. on July 9th to report seeing a group of mares and a stallion trying to drive a tiny foal from the harem, biting and kicking the baby. We still had many people on the grounds of the Wild Horse Museum and our truck’s tires were not aired down as we had been hauling trailers. (Traveling the 4X4 beach requires tire pressure of 16 – 20 pounds.) Board President Kimberlee Hoey jumped in her Jeep and headed up in advance. We communicated with Kimberlee by phone. The foal was trying to nurse but no mares would allow it. The temperature was in the 80’s and if dehydration didn’t kill the foal, a well placed kick from an adult horse would. Clearly, the foal’s mother had been stolen by another stallion and the foal was left behind. Wesley instructed Kimberlee to try and get the foal away from the other horses and restrain it if possible.

When we reached the location, Kimberlee was sitting in the sand, a safe distance from the harem across the street. The exhausted foal was in her arms. Wesley was on the phone with the vet at Dominion Equine Clinic. The vet recommended a baby bottle with water to try and hydrate the foal. Two men who were staying in a nearby house with their families offered a baby bottle with water. Wesley cradled the foal in his arms and climbed into the back seat of our truck. I drove and he was able to get the foal to drink a bit of water from the bottle and we raced to meet the vet at Wrangler Farms in Grandy.

After a thorough examination by the vet, the filly was determined to be 3 – 5 days old. Miraculously, she had no broken bones and only a small bite mark on her neck. To save her life, she would have to be bottle fed a commercial mare milk replacer every two hours, night and day for two weeks. Wesley has taken night shift, sleeping in his truck between feedings, and Wrangler staff has taken the day.

EVERYONE has fallen in love with “Kimberlee’s Sunrise” – or Sunny. She is thriving, kicking at the air, jumping, and bucking after each feeding. She is sleeping peacefully in her stall with a full tummy and many loving hands to scratch her neck.

The next day, we responded to a call at 5:45 p.m. regarding a wild mare with a beach chair around her neck and through her front legs. She was captured, the beach chair was cut away from around her neck, and she was released to rejoin her family group. It probably resulted from her reaching through the opening in the chair for food left behind by tourists who had been feeding her earlier.

Wild Horse Days is one of the many ways we generate the resources we need to do what is necessary to help horses like Sunny and the entangled wild mare. If you sponsored, attended, or volunteered in some capacity, you were an important part of saving their lives. If you are a member, a customer, or a supporter in another way, you can all be proud to be a part of these two happy endings. Thank you to each and every one of you who support the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. You ARE making a difference.


  1. What a sweet looking foal. I can't wait to see her! Good job Wesley!

  2. What a beauty and good news on the newly passed law...