Victory for Victory- and some thoughts about stallions



Back in February, we posted regarding an 18-year old stallion named Victory who was in need of a home.  Today, we are pleased to report that Victory has indeed found his forever home. This is due largely to the efforts of a caring friend (not his original owner), who provides us with a great example of how to do a few basic things very well.  Our advice is as follows:

1. Be patient. Stallions can be hard to find good homes for. Note that we said “good” homes. Bad homes are a lot easier. Be in this for the long haul. Don’t get discouraged. Keep knocking on those doors.

Was a friendly stallion, now a friendly gelding needing a home.

Cherokee was a friendly stallion and is now a friendly gelding needing a home.

2 Cast a wide net. Talk to your friends, family, rescues, people in the breed clubs and industry and anyone else who might know someone who knows someone. Often reaching the right person is a matter of exposure, persistence and just blind, dumb luck.

3. Consider gelding your boy.  A nice stallion will make a nice gelding. A poorly handled stallion may be easier to train if he’s not busy checking out all the neighboring mares while you are trying to work with him. If your guy is very senior, you may want to check his testosterone levels before doing this.  He may not need to be gelded at all.

4. If he is not well-behaved, straighten him out! We’d give the owner of any horse the same advice, but given the trepidation that many people have about stallions, this is especially important. If you care about him, invest some time in training him. If this is outside of your skill level, find someone who can. The idea is to make him attractive to a new home and he won’t be if he is badly behaved.

Murphy in stallion mode, injured and preparing for combat

Murphy in stallion mode, injured and preparing for combat

Stallions are not all the fire-breathing, nail spitting dragons that people often believe them to be. If they are well-socialized and handled, they may differ from geldings only in their interest in the girls and their behavior in herds. Many are routinely ridden and continue to be good equine citizens. When considering adopting a stallion or a recent gelding, you will want to consider the individual. Is he disrespectful of people? Does he challenge other horses, especially geldings? Does he respect fences or is he the neighborhood Romeo?  He can be badly injured trying to cross barbed wire and your neighbors won’t appreciate his friendly visits. Most important: do you have mares that can be accidentally bred? If the answer to any of these is yes, you will make everyone’s lives easier by gelding him.

Murphy as a gelding, relaxed, happy and ready for a new home.

Murphy as a gelding, relaxed, happy and ready for a new home.

Most rescues will not adopt out intact boys.  This is because there are already too many homeless horses out there and frankly, we don’t really want to see some of these genes perpetuated, no matter how well the horses are pedigreed. The fact that these guys have all their parts does not entitle them to progeny.  But we often advertise intact horses for owners who can no longer keep them. And we are acutely aware of the fact that finding homes for stallions is difficult, due to some of the misconceptions that are out there. So we’d like to respectfully suggest that, before you turn away a horse needing a home simply because he is a stallion, take a second look at the individual. Many of these horses are good boys and solid citizens. If so, they will be good boys and solid citizens as geldings, for about what it costs for a month’s expenses.  Some seniors may not require gelding at all. Let’s give ‘em a chance.



What a ride! This last month has been a busy one and we have lots of news to report.

Bus Stop

We are still working hard to treat, vaccinate, geld and rehome the horses of the Sparky Project. To-date, we have either rehomed or found available rescue space for 22 of the 41 horses on the farm. We are currently gelding stallions and this has gone very well, aided in no small part by the fact that these are sweet horses, unhandled or not. Available horses are being featured on our “Sparky Project” Facebook page, which we created specifically for the project.

We are deeply indebted to the wonderful folks at the ASPCA, who have ensured the success of this project through their generous grant.  We are also in complete awe of the other Virginia rescues who helped out by opening their doors to these horses- and we know darned well how full you already were. These include: Brook Hill Retirement Center for Horses, Blue Horse Mukwa, Central Virginia Horse Rescue, Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, Lilly Pond Foal Rescue, the Middleburg Humane Foundation and also Crew and Cherokeeour wonderful rescue fosters, volunteers and the absolutely awesome transport drivers Sam and Chris. Special mention goes to Allie Sinclair, who will be working so hard to make these horses good equine citizens, and to Dr. Ray and Hanina Hyde, our talented feral horse veterinarians! The horse in this picture is fine, by the way and he is enjoying his new life as a gelding!

Last weekend was also one of our two annual hay-cutting events. We cut, baled and stacked about 800 bales, of the 2000 that we use annually. We’ll have a second cutting in the fall, so we are doing well so far. We owe part of this success to Jay Rupky and the kind donation of his standing hay.  We would also be remiss if we neglected to thank the fantastic Paul Frappollo, for his donated hay over the course of many years.Appy show photo

The ASPCA Help a Horse Day Benefit Horse Show was a resounding success! We are sincerely grateful to our Trainer Allie Sinclair and the many people who volunteered their time, their hard work, or even their leisure time, to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather and just play with us and our ponies!

This weekend, if you are in Virginia, you can visit the White Bird crew at Tractor Supply Stores in Farmville, Midlothian and Manassas, as we will be out to meet and greet! Please come by and say hello, and consider supporting our efforts to save horses in urgent need. Rescuing horses is truly a “village” effort and we could not do this without the support of many people. If you can’t come visit us, please consider making a donation through the “Donate” button on this page.  No donation is too small, and this is more important than you can imagine!


Bear: ca 1969 – May 2nd 2014

Bear and Girl



Bear 2008









It is with the greatest of sadness that we had to help Bear across the rainbow bridge this afternoon. This indefatigable little Appaloosa with the huge heart has made so many friends since he came to us in 1997.  At that time, his estimated age was 27.

Grandchildren have ridden him in from the paddock bareback, and if he had a soft spot for little girls  and mares, he had no love of other geldings.  Bear never knew he was a pony, and no male competitor was too big to take on. His early adulthood as a stallion gave him ownership views on any mares in his paddock. In a mixed herd, Bear just made everyone uncomfortable. He’d pick on the geldings and round up the mares, guarding them in a tight group.  For that reason and his failing eyesight, he spent his later years happily with one companion mare.

Bear came to us because a divorce situation resulted in him living in a mud lot with nothing to eat.  Emaciated and ill, he took some time to turn round. But recover he did – and with a vengeance.  He and his new “roommate” Sunny (a gelding) were never good companions.   As soon as he recovered, Bear began to needle Sunny mercilessly until the latter finally called a stop to it, and from then on they had to live in separate paddocks. Sunny passed away late last year, at the age of 30.

Always a favorite of visitors and volunteers, Bear leaves a huge hole in our lives and in the White Bird community.  We have no doubt that he and Sunny are reunited and perhaps age will have mellowed Bear a little, so they can enjoy the green grass of the Elysian Fields together. More likely, he is figuring out how to bite Sunny in the butt. See picture below.

Bear Chasing Sunny

Bear Chasing Sunny

White Bird Welcomes Cheyenne

CheyenneOn Friday, we welcomed our new resident, Cheyenne, to the rescue. Cheyenne was surrendered due to owner hardship, after having lived with this family for nine years. He was originally rescued from a situation of serious neglect and then rehabilitated. Cheyenne is a big, energetic guy in his early 20′s, with no known health issues. He is sweet and cares what you think, but is still a little anxious. He is saddle trained, but needs a tune-up and will be best suited for a confident rider who will develop a trusting relationship with him.

Homes Urgently Needed – Culpeper, VA

We have the following urgent request from Tranquility Farm for the rehoming of  four horses.  Time is short to find them homes, so if you are in the Culpeper, VA area, please consider opening your barn doors for one of these deserving animals:


“Sadly, due to family circumstances, Tranquility Farm Equestrian Education and Renewal Center is being forced to close its doors. We have been able to rehome all of our animals except four, and we are hoping that you may be able to help us find these wonderful horses a new forever home:

u'mletteUm’lette is a Standardbred mare for advanced rider. She is 20 years old and in good health. She currently receives MSM and Glucosamine. She had arthroscopic surgery on her knee and had a club foot as a foal, but seems to have no lingering issues.


Star is a 12 year old standardbred gelding. He has been ridden, but needs more schooling. He bites around feed because he had been starved as a youngster. He’s a gorgeous guy now.

Mare and Colt

Cocoa is an 18 year old thoroughbred mare. She has slightly limited vision due to an injury to her left eye. She had been kicked by another horse while at auction. She was saved  while in foal from the slaughterhouse.

Tucker is a 10 month old colt that was born on the farm. He is Cocoa’s foal. He is in excellent health and has lots of spirit, but needs to be gelded.

A signed humane contract will be required of new owners.

Please contact the owner (not White Bird) through the contact information, below. Please keep in mind that these horses need immediate rehoming, so time is of the essence:

Sarah at:  540-718-8305

2014 Top Rated Award

Want to help the White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue get more donations? If you nominate us for a 2014 Top-Rated Award you could help us gain an online promotion worth $20,000, or a trip to the annual Technology for Social Good event in California to meet with potential donors.   Just write a new, pastedGraphicpositive review, either 4 or 5 star, and if we receive at least 10 new, positive reviews during the campaign period (January 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014) we will be Top-Rated for the year and will be eligible for prizes.

You can help the White Bird Rescue meet its goals, reach and help more horses, and get the attention it deserves!

Click here

and type in “White Bird Appaloosa”.  Write a short review, give us a five/four star rating and help us win the 2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit!

So Much to Do!

Yesterday, we were able to set up the round pens that will help us round up and transport horses and start gelding the boys. We have received a lot of inquiries about these horses. We will respond to everyone as soon as we are able to, but here is what we know.

Patrick with lower herdThe horses are unhandled, not wild or feral. You can walk right up to them. Most will move off, but they do not run away.  Quite a few are just curious and will reach over to smell you. One mare will touch you. These are sensible, calm horses that just need time and groceries. There are about 20 stallions and colts, but only a few breeding boss stallions. The younger boys are in non-breeding groups together and do not show any stallion characteristics. They will make nice geldings- they are not studdish at all.  The average age in this stallion group is about 4, with some older, some younger. The nice looking Appy in the photo is “Patrick” and he is about 5. He’ll make a real showstopper horse buddy.  There are many blanketed and roan Appaloosas and some are in better condition than others. We will be gelding all of them.

Many of the mares are pregnant or exposed. We are trying to move these out immediately because the fescue grass is causing them huge problems and the mortality rate of the mares and foals is high. At least two of them are definitely not bred, and that includes the very friendly “Patrice.”

Because these horses do not lead or halter, we are having to use the old “squeeze play” to get them into the trailer. This is the safest way we know for both horses and people. The pictures show how this works. We entice the horses into a corral with feed, which is also open to a stock trailer. We then start removing panels, making the corral smaller and smaller, gently pressing the horses into the trailer. Eventually, we just squeeze them in.  Cora (who needed immediate treatment for an eye condition) and Ruby (who just lost her foal) were taken to Traveller’s Rest, where they will start their new lives.

Horses in Pen #2All of this takes many hands! Yesterday, we were grateful to have the assistance of the folks at Traveller’s Rest, Andrea from ERL and Meredith Barlow from Equidentistry, in addition to Chyna Hudson who has been so instrumental in coordinating this effort. I know I have left some individuals out, but we deeply appreciate your assistance, nonetheless.

All of these horses are going to need veterinary care. The boys will need gelding, they all need vaccinations and Coggins testing and the mares will need special care. Some of the foals will be orphaned because the fescue is causing some mothers not to lactate. All of the horses need worming badly.  We need gas money to help the volunteer transporters get them home.

Loading Stage 1If you have every considered donating to an equine rescue, now would be an excellent time to do so. The costs associated with this operation will be very high and we need your help to get these horses to safety and to take care of their medical needs. If you can find it in your heart to help them (especially you Appaloosa folks, who are our peeps!) please do so, by using the Paypal button on the site. Your support matters more to us than you know.

Loading Stage 3

Herd Dispersal in VA- Very Time Sensitive

Friends2We are seeking the assistance of good rescues and qualified homes to provide immediate assistance in the rehoming of a large group of needy horses. This herd consists of approximately 40 horses of varying age, most between 2 and 10 years old, containing stallions, mares (many in foal), geldings and colts. They are primarily Appaloosas and we have been asked to provide assistance in rehoming them. They are a semi-feral herd who have been around people but are timid and have not been taught to halter, lead,  or pick up feet.  Some are in need of immediate veterinary care. Many are beautiful animals that will make wonderful companions with just a little TLC. The horses in the picture are not a part of this herd, but they will look just like this with a little care.

The condition of some of these horses is extremely fragile.  This is especially true of some of the mares in foal, and we are seeking immediate assistance from experienced rehabilitators, both as fosters and adopters. We also look forward to hearing from individuals with training backgrounds who can assist these horses in their journey to becoming good equine citizens.

Potential homes should be aware of the time and space requirements needed to work with these horses. You will need a small paddock to work in until you are able to comfortably catch them, and we recommend daily interaction until they are well-socialized. We will be looking for homes that meet our normal standards for adopters and this will include a good veterinary reference, safe shelter and fencing and a source of clean, fresh water. Given the uniqueness of this situation, we are willing to be flexible in some instances.

If you have space in your rescue, farm or heart, please fill out the adoption questionnaire at: and tell us about yourself and the kind of family your new friend or friends will have.




White Bird Horse Show

Allison and Fancy

Allison and Fancy

White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue

1st Benefit Fun Horse Show

April 26th 2014

Buckingham Equestrian Center, Dillwyn, VA

Enjoy a day out with the horses!  The White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue is excited to announce its first ever Horse Show. Thanks to Allison’s hard work ( this family-friendly fun show will be taking place on Saturday 26th April at the Buckingham Equestrian Center.  Unlike any other show in the area, there will be classes from all disciplines to compete in. Whether you are a Hunter, Jumper, Dressage, Western Pleasure, Barrel Racing or Poll Bending competitor, you will find a class for you. And don’t worry if you are none of these just come along for the entertainment. Your enjoyment will help raise money for the horses of White Bird as well as help in the effort to alleviate equine abuse and neglect.

Competitors – sign up on-line by filling in the entrance form here – Entry Form.

You can also pay on the day at the Arena.

Spectators – entrance will be by program on the day. – Price $5.

Classes start at 8am sharp, so mosey on over and enjoy the spring weather that is sure to have come by then.  It is going to be a fun-filled, action packed day in a good cause.

 And if you are interested, there are still opportunities for sponsorship – just contact Allison on

 We look forward to seeing you at Buckingham Equestrian Center on April 26th

Joe’s 10km Run

Joe and UlyssesUlysses and Joe

Pictured above are Ulysses, and his friend Joe Alcorn who is running in the Richmond, VA, Monument 10km run.  Very adoptable if you want a pasture ornament or companion animal.  Ulysses that is, not Joe (his wife Tolly might have something to say about that!)  He will be running for White Bird (Joe not Ulysses, who does, however, canter around the pasture on beautiful days like today – Ulysses not Joe!).  OK, I’ve bled that joke dry.  Seriously, please support Joe on his first ever 10km run.   Joe is one of our stalwart volunteers, turning out come rain, snow or shine, and is now (along with Allison Sowden) one of our new Board Members (more of that in our next post).  Your pledges, large and small, will help feed and medicate White Bird’s horses, and will definitely boost Joe’s energy level.  You can pledge either directly, through the donate button stating it is for the run, or by informing us on  Anyone pledging $50 or more will receive a much coveted White Bird t-shirt.  If you are near Richmond and would like to cheer Joe on that would be especially appreciated.