The horses that Sunrise helps are often severely neglected, abused, and abandoned, many times found starving and all alone. But once they arrive at Sunrise Horse Rescue, the story of their life reopens. They receive veterinary care, good feed, training, and love from gentle people that truly care about their well-being. They learn to feel safe and to trust again. Pretty soon, it is the horse that is helping us to heal, teaching us lessons about forgiveness and communication, and enhancing our lives.
We teamed up with two other horse rescue organizations to save Donya and two of her pasture mates from terrible neglect and starvation. When we found them, they were eating rotten vegetables, some of which were toxic for horses, they had limited access to water, and were covered in ticks. This sweet mare is an Off-the-Track Thoroughbred (OTTB) who survived living in horrible conditions to once again flourish in good health and spirit at Sunrise.
Pace was a packhorse in Supai, Arizona, used to carry tourists gear in and out of the Grand Canyon under unspeakable conditions of abuse and starvation. Two friends of Sunrise were on vacation when they witnessed this, and worked tirelessly to rescue Pace and raise awareness about the abuse of Havasupai pack animals, which has been occurring for over 40 years.
Every year thousands of wild American Mustangs are rounded up and put up for adoption. If not adopted, these horses may end up sitting in overcrowded holding pens for the rest of their lives or may even be sent to slaughter. Dusty is a 19 year old American Mustang who has, after many unfit homes, found Sunrise as a place where she can just be a horse again.
During a very stormy winter in 2010, concerned neighbors called SHR about a pair of horses that were in a desperate situation. Blitzen and his pasture mate, Comet, were living in a debris-filled yard with no shelter, food or water, they were eating the bark off of fallen trees and drinking dirty water to stay alive. Blitzen is a 16 year old American Mustang. He is incredibly smart, and, despite his rough life, he responded quickly to natural horsemanship training and human kindness.
Pippin, a 29 year old Welsh Pony, was a championship show jumping pony for many years but the pressures of training and competing got to be too much for him and he had a nervous breakdown. When he arrived at Sunrise, Pippin couldn’t be approached by men without attempting to bolt for safety. It took many years and his special friendship with Cupcake for him to learn to trust people.
Cupcake is a 24 year old Shetland/miniature cross and his job (which he takes very seriously) is to keep Pippin company. As our mascot, he wishes that every horse and pony could have as good of a life as his – free from abuse or neglect, and having only ever lived in one other home.
Finn is the youngest horse in our herd! He was the victim of neglect and abuse in American Canyon before a concerned neighbor contacted us about him. He is only 6 years old, and blind in one eye, but still amazingly trusting of people and full of spirit, which you can see in the short video clip of him (coming soon).
In California alone, 186 horses died in racing related accidents in 2012. In the US, 24 Thoroughbreds die every single week on the race track. Had Richie not been rescued after fracturing his fetlock (ankle) he would have been one of these sad statistics. Richie is a 15 year old Thoroughbred and although his injuries will prevent him from ever racing or being ridden again, he still has many years of quality life left. He is a sweet and gentle horse who loves to be loved!
Hero’s story is nothing short of a miracle. He came to us in August of 2013, the worst case of animal abuse that Napa Humane had seen in 27 years, “a walking skeleton.” He was found abandoned and alone, starving, and desperate. Hero, a 30 year old Arabian, is thriving at his forever home at Sunrise Horse Rescue. He has gained 170 lbs and has made many friends, both equine & human, and his sweet and forgiving nature is a magnet to anyone who meets him.
Taj is a 20 year old Arabian who is well trained and very well mannered. Taj found his way to Sunrise when his previous owner was not able to care for him and he became very under weight. As you can see, since coming to Sunrise he has gained his weight back is now healthy and happy.
Star is a 27 year old Thoroughbred who was abandoned when her owner was deported from Napa. Our veterinarian gave her a body score of 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 using the Henneke horse body condition scoring system (1 being extremely emaciated). Despite her poor condition, she has an extremely sweet disposition and has made a full recovery at Sunrise.
Shorty is a 19 year old Thoroughbred, and is 17 plus hands . He is a retired dressage and event horse who ended up injured and neglected by his previous owner. Unfortunately, he will always have pain when he runs or even trots due to his previous injuries and his severe arthritis. Shorty will live out his last years being loved and cared for at Sunrise.
Gazor is an Arabian mix gelding and about 30 years old. He came to Sunrise with Hayleigh when his owner could no longer care for them . Gazor was a companion horse for Hayleigh and they are very bonded. Gazor and Hayleigh enjoy getting groomed and getting love from all the volunteers at Sunrise.
Tex is a 26 year old Quarter Horse gelding. He was a ranch, calf roping and rodeo horse. Tex has seen it all. After a lifetime of service to his owners he needed a quiet place for his retirement which led him to Sunrise. He is a well trained and sweet-natured guy. Tex is adjusting to retired life enjoying walks around the property and lots of love from the volunteers.
Daphne is a 21 year old Quarter Horse mare. She came from the same home that Pete did and sadly in just as bad of shape. She was severely emaciated and was also a 1 out of 10 on the body scale. Daphne is a well mannered and friendly girl and seems very happy to be in a place where people care about her. In the first 3 weeks she was at Sunrise she has already gained 50 pounds.
Ged is a 13 year old Paso Fino gelding who came to Sunrise as a pasture mate to Quincy, a mare in her late 20s with severe arthritis, when their previous owner could no longer care for them. He certainly is one of our most handsome guys and now the official "Spokespony" for his fellow herd members at Sunrise Horse Rescue!
Roxy came to us in 2015 after being diagnosed with narcolepsy. She was a lesson horse, but had become increasingly unsafe to be ridden due to her condition. Lesson programs typically cannot afford to keep horses that can't be ridden, a system that we hope will be changed one day to be more humane. Her owner tried to find her a safe home, but she was returned each time because of her condition. She is a 19 year old Thoroughbred. Roxy has a typical thoroughbred personality- sensitive, a little jumpy, but very sweet.
In Loving Memory
We remember all those who found sanctuary at last and left this earth with love in their hearts and food in their bellies. The Rainbow Bridge poem helps us to say "goodbye for now." Click to read the Rainbow Bridge Poem
Moe was a 29 year old Quarter Horse with a gentle and sweet spirit. After serving his owners for many years as a long distance trail horse, Moe was sent to a livestock auction where the only ones bidding on him were meat buyers. He finally found a safe home at Sunrise, where he made many friends that will miss him dearly.
This big guy was rescued from a farm in Napa and was near starvation when we were contacted by a concerned stable-hand. We got there just before his owner was planning on using a rifle to put him down. Barney touched the lives of many in his short time with us, but unfortunately he was so unhealthy that he was beyond the point of possible recovery. He was humanely euthanized surrounded by people who loved him.
Wal-E was a much-loved little Morgan who was brought to Sunrise because the medications he needed for metabolic condition were too expensive for his owner. He was the resident goofball who always brought a smile to everyone’s face with his sweet, silly antics. After many years of quality love and care, Wal-E was humanely euthanized after a lost battle with colic. He is sorely missed.
This little angel was a 19 year old Welsh Pony. After giving many years of her life for the enjoyment of the children who rode her, she was abandoned at a puppymill. Her feet were never trimmed, her stall was never cleaned, and worst of all she had no interaction with anyone. Princess also had several medical conditions that went untreated, including melanoma. At Sunrise, Princess received all the medical care she needed as well as all of the love and attention she deserved.
A 19 year old Quarter Horse, Molly was Captain’s sweetheart. She was one of the many, many horses who are over worked and then discarded by those who have used her up. This sweet lady could barely walk due to the injuries and arthritis she sustained from her work as a roping horse. With anti-inflammatory meds & special corrective shoes, Molly would often be found trotting around the pasture with Captain. We know that she is now running free with no pain and is grateful for her second chance.
Comet was used in a Mexican rodeo sport known as “tripping” where the horses are made to gallop and then their front hooves are roped, causing them to flip and crash. He sustained many injuries as a trip horse before ending up in a hoarding situation in Napa where there was little or no food for him to survive on. He was sweet and grateful for his rescue, and he quickly regained weight and life in his eyes. Sadly, he had only a few months of the good life at Sunrise before he succumbed to his injuries.
Jake’s elderly owners just decided to stop feeding him. He was found standing near the carcass of his pasture mate, eating dirt in an attempt to fill his empty stomach. He was so fearful of humans when he arrived at Sunrise that he would shake at even a gentle touch. With Captain by his side, Jake quickly learned of human kindness and began to look forward to attention from volunteers. He spent many years at Capi's side before being humanely euthanized when his arthritis became too much to bare.
Rain was a loving, sweet Arabian mare who was near starvation when she found us. After a life of being over-used as a brood mare and then cast aside when she was too old for the job, she spent the last year of her life grazing in the vineyards and being doted on by many young volunteers at the rescue before she took herself on her last vineyard stroll and was defeated by cancer.
Born with crooked front legs, Stryder was a 16 year old Thoroughbred who was unable to race and so was thrown away from the racing industry. He was found in a muddy dog kennel with infected wounds in all 4 legs. Stryder was a gentle giant who would follow you like a puppy dog and stand quietly while volunteers brushed his beautiful coat. He had a huge heart and personality and had made very special bonds with many of our volunteers. He will be missed by all.
Miss Rita was a 19 year old former racehorse who went on to have a long career as a show jumping and lesson horse. Until she could no longer jump that is, and she was scheduled to be euthanized before she was rescued. She had given her life in service to man... until she came to Sunrise Horse Rescue for a long-overdue break, where nothing was expected of her but to just be a horse. Rest in peace, pretty girl.
This pretty little horse was a 24 year old Peruvian Paso. He had a lot of rough training and mishandling in his life. Before coming to SHR he lived all alone with no other horses to interact with. His rehabilitation had included time with his equine friends and lots of gentle handling by our faithful volunteers.
Tazz, among many other roles, was the Spokes-pony for SHR. He was a 29 year old Arabian and due to his incredibly calm and outgoing nature was the perfect horse to represent Sunrise at various events around the valley. Having had only 2 homes in his long life, he represented the kind of care we believe all horses should receive. He was a friend, teacher and an inspiration to many.
Quite possibly the oldest horse in Napa County, “Capi” was over 40! No one is sure of his breed, though we speculate that he could have been an Icelandic Pony. Many years ago, this old man was rescued from a slaughter yard and brought to Sunrise to enjoy life in peace and comfort. He has touched the lives of many and will be very missed.
Charlie was a twenty-five year old Arabian mix gelding. He came to us in 2012 after he had served as a trail horse and a children's lesson horse for many years. Charlie was a fun horse to be around and formed strong attachments with his pasture mates and his human friends. He was very intelligent and communicative, and his curiosity and friendliness never ceased to entertain. He is missed by many!
Pete was a 17 year old, 16 hand Palomino gelding. He was a former police horse who sadly found himself neglected and starved with 100 pounds of sand in his stomach. Pete was well-mannered and very sweet despite being neglected for so long. Sunrise became aware of Pete's situation and agreed to take him in to the rescue. Pete was a 1 out of 10 on the body scale, 1 being the worst condition. In his last months at Sunrise, he received the best care available and was surrounded by people who loved him.
Quincy was a beautiful Paso Fino Mare in her late 20's who was a show pony. She came to Sunrise when her previous owner could no longer care for her and her best buddy Ged. Due to her severe arthritis she could no longer be ridden or re-homed, so rescue was her only option. Quincy was comforted around the clock by our dedicated volunteers until she was humanely euthanized due to colic.
Spirit was a Mustang in his late 20's. He was neglected for 10 years at his previous home and came to Sunrise with severe arthritis in his front legs and hoofs that were in horrible shape. He was not trusting of humans when he first came to Sunrise, but he made a lot of progress because of the love, time and attention he was given by some very dedicated volunteers. He was often called "Spirit the Wonder Horse" by some of his closest friends. We will all miss him dearly.
Hayleigh is a Quarter Horse mare and is approximately 26 years old. She was used as a trail horse but developed severe neck arthritis and is now retired. Hayleigh came to Sunrise when her owner could no longer care for her and her buddy Gazor. Hayleigh and Gazor enjoy getting groomed and getting love from all the volunteers at Sunrise.
Danny was a 28 year old Pinto Quarter Horse, blind in his right eye due to an accident years ago. He was a retired show and ranch horse who was with his original owner since he was 2. Sunrise agreed to take Danny and prepare him for the loss of sight in his left eye due to cataracts. Danny adjusted very well at SHR and enjoyed his many adoring fans.