Sundance was headed to slaughter.

Sundance, a.k.a. Sunny, spent the first six years of his life as a stallion out to pasture.  One day it was decided he would go to auction.  He had very limited exposure to humans and zero exposure to things like horse trailers, paddocks full of unfamiliar horses, rough handling, and loud noises like slamming gates and loud speakers.  It must have been a terrifying day for him.

More terrifying but unbeknownst to Sunny, he was purchased by a meat buyer.  Thankfully, a kind-hearted woman from a horse rescue knew his fate and talked the buyer into re-selling Sundance to her.  She took him back to the rescue but he was untouchable.  Obviously, he had suffered a lot of trauma and it had impacted him deeply.  He remained alone and untouched for several months until Stillwater Ranch heard his story. 

Our horse trainer, Holly Anderson, brought him to the ranch and spent weeks working to earn his trust.  She patiently sat with a pile of hay in her lap and waited day after day for Sunny to approach her.  Eventually she could touch him, then painstakingly untangle his mane and tail, then halter him.  Once his trust was earned, Holly could work with him more and eventually trained him to ride.

To this day, years later, he is very interested in people but ducks away when approached or an attempt is made to touch him.  Imagine our surprise when a new client (not knowing his history) walked right up to him in the pasture and started petting him.  He didn’t move a muscle.  She had trauma, he had trauma, and it was a match made in heaven.  We eventually told our client about Sundance’s history and she was shocked that he had chosen her and nobody else was able to work with him as she did.  They went on to work together over the next several months and learned a lot about themselves through the trust and acceptance of the other.

Both found their place of safety and healing at Stillwater Ranch.

Help us continue to create more stories like this one by donating -  Thanks for your generosity and for helping Stillwater Ranch continue its mission of saving lives, families, and communities one Veteran at a time.








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