It took two years, but a horse sanctuary that focused on saving the wild mustang arranged an intimate reunion between two horses who are in love.
A wild mustang named Phoenix caught the attention of Claire Staples when she saw a dramatic photo of the American Wild Horse Expedition jumping off a fishing rod and the ghost (his girlfriend) looking at it.
That day, Phoenix managed to jump over the fence but refused to leave his flock and returned to look for his family. Claire Staples, founder and president of Skydog Sanctuary, says wild horses form strong family bonds. A few days later, Staples tracked down the phoenix to save him and give him his freedom. Skydog Sanctuary rescues the horses and focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wild mares.
Staples wrote on the Skydog Sanctuary website that they had gone to the barns where the Phoenix and Ghost were kept:
“We tried to adopt the whole family but we refused,” Staples wrote. However, they were told that the stallion Phoenix and his male companion would “return to the wilderness where we were happy”.
Staples visited Phoenix regularly but never saw the ghost again and “assumed she had been adopted”.
When she learned a year later that the stallions would not be released back into the wild, she applied for the phoenix to be adopted. The aim was “to bring him back to the freedom he so desperately wanted on the day of his capture”. (Phoenix’s friend has already been adopted.)
Phoenix went to Skydogs Oregon Ranch where he made new friends. But he always looked sad. Knowing that Ghost was likely missing, Staples kept looking for the Persians, but with little luck. Not until two years later.
“To my surprise, I discovered a ghost on the internet almost two years after the tour started, accepted it and immediately asked them to reunite with Phoenix,” said Staples. Fortunately, they won and went to get it. A few weeks later, she was reunited with Phoenix. This intimate moment was captured on camera.
Staples wrote on the Skydog Sanctuary website: “We are so excited and happy that you [Ghost] are back with their family and that after everything they have been through, they will now be living together.” As for Phoenix, the grief he felt at losing his girlfriend is gone, and he and the ghost spend their days inextricably linked.
The Skydog Sanctuary is home to several families of wild horses who were reunited during the tours after separating. They write, “The horses here represent many different aspects of the Mustang case that was once collected by the Bureau of Land Administration. Many of them crawled through the cracks and ended up without basic care and affection.”
“All of the wild horses here are treated with the utmost kindness and respect, and we peacefully leave those who want to be left alone and give others love and compassion they have never experienced before.”
Find out more about their rescue efforts on their website.