Patriot Day!


Patriot will be here this afternoon. Yesterday, I took Morgan to the little store in town to pick up her saddle and other equipment and supplies. She’s been saving her money. Not that she saved enough, so I had to help her. Morgan’s money tends to fall out of her pockets. Usually while she’s standing in a bookstore.

She had fun picking everything out. Tim, the owner of the little store, helped her with a few things.

After we got home, she spent most of the rest of the day riding the couch.

(A number of people asked about a helmet. Yes, she is getting a helmet also. I will be picking that up today at another store.)

Meanwhile, so many coincidences falling into place. As I posted yesterday, the previous owners visited this weekend. In our conversations, I found out a few things, including that there is someone nearby here (just a couple of miles away) who gives riding lessons. I’ve been wanting to find someone who could come here to the farm for lessons, so this was exciting. They also have a hitch wagon they take places to give rides, and I promptly hired them to bring their horses and wagon to this year’s Party on the Farm! (Won’t that be fun?!) Along with a hitch wagon, they also have a wedding carriage, and I talked to them about collaborating on wedding events at Sassafras Farm. (Could a wedding at Sassafras Farm be any cuter? Now I can offer a carriage to bring the bride down the road and up the drive!)

The previous owners also told me about a horse neglect and abuse case that occurred here on this farm in 2006. A veterinarian (at North Gateway! the animal shelter where Coco is right now! and NO, she is no longer a vet there) who leased this farm at the time had 13 horses seized. At one point, she had several dozen horses here, which is far too many horses for the fenced pasture, and they were being starved. There isn’t enough stall space here in the barn for that number of horses to be sheltered, and when I called Jim, my neighbor, he said he’d known of at least three horses that froze to death here over the winter of 2005-2006 and were hauled up the hollow on the farm and dumped. I remember that winter–I had just moved to West Virginia and the temps hit zero multiple times. It was quite cold in the slanted little house that winter. The vet was eventually evicted from here (for non-payment) and the horses were seized from a nearby 6-acre farm, shortly after she moved them off this farm. You can find the story here. Some of those horses eventually found their way to the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, which was founded in 2007.

At first, this whole scenario felt a little weird and creepy, knowing it happened here on this farm. She lived in my house, cooked in my kitchen, sat on my porch, starved horses in my fields, and dumped them in my hollow. But then it felt somehow very right after all. The farm has come full circle as today, I adopt a rescue horse. (By the way, see my story today about the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue in the Charleston Daily Mail here.)

Patriot is coming!


  1. Diane says:

    How very exciting!!!! I think that farm picked you. You brought it back from a sad past history. People will no longer look at that farm and feel sadness from its past they will see a great future and healthy animals.

  2. Dot says:

    Wow. You didn’t just “buy” that farm, you “redeemed” it! You’re a rescuer.

  3. BuckeyeGirl says:

    What a wonderful article Suzanne!

  4. TammyF says:

    How exciting! Can’t wait to see all your pictures and stories about Patriot!!!! :snoopy:

  5. holstein woman says:

    I love the complete turn around you have done. Excellent job and you are being rewarded for all of your hard work. I can hardly wait to see you and Morgan riding together. Many BLESSINGS!

  6. lattelady says:

    All I can say is “WOW!”

  7. rhubarbrose says:

    Yeah – you and Morgan are going to have a great day! What a lovely way to start Passion Week. Your Charleston article is really interesting – you are such a great writer. Thanks for sharing.

  8. ibnsgirl says:

    Congrats on Patriot! Hopefully, all the tack fits him. Keep in mind that as he is ridden, he will start to build muscle (a good thing!), but that stuff that fits him now may not later. Watch for dry spots, no hair, and white patches of hair under equipment, as these are signs that tack is rubbing. It will make a sore spot and an unhappy horse.

    I speak from experience! The lady that owned my dear Ibn before me was scared of him, so she hardly rode him. I rode nearly every day in hilly terrain, and after several months my saddle started pinching in the withers. I had him at a trainer’s barn, so he knew what to look for. Ibn was an Arabian, so not all the “off the rack” equipment fit him anyway, but I noticed the difference in his movement that the bigger saddle afforded him.

    I’m so happy for y’all! :hug:

  9. shirley T says:

    loved your artical in the paper.It’s good to be informed about these things~~things I never even thought about~~sO GLAD you are getting your horse today~~HAPPY TRAILS

  10. browardl says:

    You will always remember this day. I remember the day I got my first horse, over 40 years ago, like it was yesterday. I am so happy for you and Morgan! And Patriot!

  11. blueberrylu says:

    :woof: :woof: :woof: I am very excited for Morgan!!! My teenage daughter loves her horse so much, and having Tess has been a great thing for her—-you know, the old “responsibility” thing.

  12. SusieD says:

    This is all so exciting. Can’t wait for the horse to arrive and see all the photos of Morgan riding it. The farm is just beautiful and I love your little store in town.


  13. JerseyMom says:

    I totally agree that it is right for rescue horses to live on your farm~~it’s redeeming in a certain way. Give Patriot a kiss and a hug for me. It’s a good week for rescue horses – a blind carriage horse that I am sponsoring part of came home yesterday – he would have shipped to slaughter last Thursday if 3 women hadn’t stepped in to save him. You and Morgan bringing Patriot and Zip home will leave room for two more horses to come to PER, so you are really helping four!

    Watch out for becoming a tack junkie…it’s so easy to do. Ask me how I know 😉

  14. SuzzyQ says:

    How ironic that a veterinarian would cause so much abuse. We will never be able to figure that one out; however, I find it quite refreshing that you have come along to redeem the farm & restore grace & beauty to it. What a blessed day! Congratulations, Morgan. I know you will be a fantastic horse owner & Patriot will enrich your life beyond measure.

  15. dawdawsmom says:

    bologna and a saddle…now that is what i call one stop shopping!

  16. Murphala says:

    The history of Sassafras Farm might be fodder for another book one of these days. It makes my heart ache to think that someone who pledges to help animals would hurt them so. I strongly believe in karma… you’re there to put their restless spirits to rest and breathe new life and hope there for animals who are there and will come after. So proud of you!

  17. Bev in CA says:

    OMG!!! First off, our hearts goe out to Tinia and her loss. What a special thing she has created. It is true about what is happening with horses. A sad thing of our times. A news article in our hometown paper this past week involved two horses being hauled down a dirt road, unloaded and killed. Why couldn’t they have asked for help from anyone? Your buying Sassafras Farm has resulted in notheing but good! It was more than waiting for you. Your article was wonderful and timely and I hope that many donations come in. I am going to check on what is going on in our neck of the woods, too. Congratulations Morgan and Patriot.

  18. liz2 says:

    Good column in the Charleston newspaper. I hope that people who read it will be prompted to notify authorities if they see an abused or neglected horse (or any abused animal)& then follow up to ensure that appropriate action is taken. Tragic that such cruel neglect occurred in the past on your farm, but you are redeeming the farm’s goodness with the love & care you are giving to your animals & land. I’m eagerly awaiting Patriot’s arrival & lots of stories about him & Morgan.

  19. Janis says:

    And that, Dear Suzanne, is your PATRIOTE ACT! The USA Patriot Act was

    Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.[1]

    Yours is the:

    Providing Appropriate Techniques Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Tortured Equines Act of 2012

  20. VictorianGirl says:

    Suzanne, how exciting for you and Morgan to adopt Patriot and Zip. What a wonderful act of kindness and love to take on two rescues. Not only are you and Morgan lucky to have these two wonderful beings, likewise they are blessed beyond words to come into a loving home. If I were there I would give you both a big hug. Congratulations and wishing you many years of enjoyment from your new “companions”.

  21. Teresa says:

    I am glad that you contacted Tinia and are taking Zip and Patriot. I am so happy with my horse, Kate, that I got from her. Kate is a wonderful horse and absolutely beautiful! I just can’t imagine why someone would have sent her to a slaughter auction.

    I hope that you and Morgan are as happy with Patriot and Zip. :snoopy:

  22. Puma45 says:

    Suzanne, aren’t you amazed every day at all the signs indicating that this farm is *exactly* where you were meant to be. I know how painful the events leading up to this were, but just think! If things had happened differently, how many human and animal lives would be different today (and I’m thinking not for the better!).

    I’m not normally an overly emotional person, but lately, it seems like every third post of yours ends up making me cry (and that’s not a bad thing!). I find myself telling your story to people that don’t read your blog, and encouraging them to find you and make their way through your archives. YOU, my friend, are a true inspiration!

  23. VikingMiss says:

    Amazing you can mayonnaise and a saddle in the same aisle! 🙂

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