Zip, Then and Now


This photo was taken on May 8, the day Zip arrived at Sassafras Farm–she had just been unloaded from the trailer:

Here she is in July, when she was with the horse trainer:

This is Zip in September:

You can really see her color deepening dramatically. This is Zip now (photo by Jerry Waters):

She’s really put on a lot of weight since I’ve had her, and she’s made a dramatic color change. Her color has gradually deepened since the time she was originally rescued, which has continued since I’ve had her. My cows’ coats particularly darken as they put on their winter coats, so part of her color change right now may be her winter coat coming on, but part of the change also is a natural change that occurs when horses return to a healthy state. Zip looks so different between now and the time she first arrived at my farm, both in weight and color, that she doesn’t even look like the same horse. Which is a good thing–what she is now is a fully recovered horse. She also made a dramatic change, of course, from the day she was rescued until the time she came to my farm.

I’m going to post a photo that shows Zip when she was rescued, so please click away now if you don’t want to see it.

This is a “virtual poster” put together by Tinia from the Heart of Phoenix to show the dramatic change in Zip’s condition at rescue and following recovery. What surprised me most–not Zip’s color change from rescue to today, because after all, I’ve seen the continuing color change right before my eyes–is the response when Tinia posted the photos on Facebook here. I couldn’t resist pointing out to Tinia in a private message that if she was going to fake out horse rescue before-and-after photos, she really needed to do a better job of getting two horses of the same color. (JUST KIDDING.) I also couldn’t resist commenting there myself since this is my horse–and she is the same one. Wow. I’m in such a bubble here with all of you, who are the best readers on the web, that I often forget that the internet is not a kind place. I first met Zip in March, and there is no doubt that this is the same horse who was in rescue rehab at that time, the same horse who came to my farm in May, the same horse she is today in my pasture. And I also have no doubt she was the same horse in March that she was a few months before when she was initially rescued. (Hello, I know my horse, just look at her markings from day of rescue to today–that is the same horse.) I’ve been to the farm in Kentucky where many of the Heart of Phoenix rescue horses are rehabilitated a number of times and have seen the same horses from time to time as they change and recover. They do a fantastic job, and those horses make night and day transformations. (One of the most fascinating cases is one of a horse that had to be put in a sling because she collapsed–I saw that horse on her feet not long afterward when I visited the farm in Kentucky and was amazed!)

I’m a huge fan of horse rescue and of the people at Heart of Phoenix. Good time to post another link to them–if you’re interested in a horse and you’re in this area, you can find their current adoptable horses here, and if you just want to show the horses some love, no donation is too small.


  1. JerseyMom says:

    I have no problem believing that both pictures are Zip. It is not only horses whose hair color changes when they recover from severe malnutrition. It happens to people too. I can attest to that first hand. I brought a baby home from China in July of 1996 who weighed just 11 pounds at almost 8 months old. She had the classic look of malnutrition – long skinny limbs, bloated belly, and sparse reddish hair. As time went by all of that changed. The thinness resolved fairly quickly but it took quite some time for her hair to begin to darken. Now, at almost 17, my lovely daughter has long, thick, shiny hair that is almost black. Good job, Tinia and Suzanne. You have done a very good thing.

  2. pugwaggin says:

    Anyone who is involved with any animal rescue knows what you are talking about. I have seen Pugs come into Pug Rescue of North Carolina that were in such bad shape and after dedicated careby a member and help from very deicated vets look like totally different Pugs. Zip is looking strong and beautiful.

  3. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    Some people are just negative Nellies. Zip is absolutely gorgeous and the Rescue, and you, did a wonderful job bringing Zip back to full recovery.
    Obviously those people who posted negatively on Tinia’s facebook have never seen a person go pale from malnutrition and illness. Same thing. When their health returns, so does their color. (exactly what JerseyMom said).

  4. Rose H says:

    Oh goodness 😥 poor Zip, the first photo really choked me, but the second one filled me with joy. You and the rescuers are ALL amazing people.

  5. Flowerpower says:

    I am a big fan of any type animal rescue. It does my heart good to see somebody who cares enough to feed and care for animals who have been horribly mistreated. I hate those who would be cruel for any reason. God bless you Suzanne! :happyflower:

  6. jodiezoeller says:

    Bravo for Zip! Her recovery has been very dramatic. She’s doing so great with you. Scary to see what she looked like little over a year ago when she was rescued.

  7. VikingMiss says:

    I am surprised to see negative comments there, and Tinia must have deleted the majority. I don’t have a horse rescue, never been a part of one either (other than virtually viewing), but people are not being critical thinkers if they think that nutrition doesn’t have a huge bearing on the appearance of anything–animal or human. I do know that horses undergo seasonal coat changes anyway, but add in proper nutrition and simply no longer starving, I am NOT surprised at how she looks like such a different horse. The poor girl was starving and in such terrible condition.

    My niece’s horse loses her coat when she is stressed. She was also a rescue and looks so much different now that she is a stable, caring, and appropriate home… originally she looked (was!) bald because of the coat loss.

    Zip is looking beautiful today. I also love the latest pictures with you on the other side of the camera 🙂 kudos to Jerry Waters.

  8. cabynfevr says:

    Most of the horses at our rescue change color with the seasons as well. The blacks fade to a reddish brown in the summer, the sorrels get darker with their winter coats. One percheron mare (the first winter she will be with us) is growing in the most beautiful, velvet coat of black. Especially her butt! Another interesting fact with the rescues is what a farrier sees. Trimming one mare, he noted that she had undergone a tremendous change in her diet and care approximately 9 months previous…. that was when she came to us! 🙂

  9. Berrywin says:

    Didn’t know about color change and the difference in angles makes it a little tricky, but the the eyes, nose, ears, star and slope of shoulder match. Even more: the expression of your beautiful mare as she walks with you tells it all. This horse is with her best friend.

  10. wanda1950 says:

    I am so glad Zip was rescued & found a home with you.

    I think there are too many criminally naive people in the world–don’t believe there are any hungry people around, much less horses.

    Then, of course, there are the criminally suspicious, mean natured bunch who doubt & criticize any & everything.

    I’m sorry these types are trying to make something special seem crooked. Try to ignore them–you & the rescue are doing what I think of as God’s work.

  11. bonita says:

    I know nada, nought, zip (sorry) about horses and their rescue. However, based on my experiences with dobermans—coat regrowth and color deepening, as well as behavior and demeanor change—I have no problem believing the pix are before and after of same horse. What I do know for sure is that those who do not believe the photos are Zip have never truly rescued any animal at any time. They have never enjoyed the love a rescued animal exchanges for a place in a forever home. They have never seen a blank stare of a starved or injured animal replaced by a loving gaze. And, they have missed a transcendent opportunity to interact on a meaningful level with another species. I’d feel sorry for them if they were not so mean-spirited.
    Congratulations on your success with Zip.

  12. Jan Hunnicutt says:

    She’s beautiful! It’s amazing what love and care can do for a rescued animal. We rescued a dog about a week ago and he looks about like Zip’s initial photo but is changing fast I’m happy to say.

    Thanks for all your work, wonderful articles and pictures here I enjoy them very much!

  13. Old Geezer says:

    To test a horse to see if it is Zip, offer it a carrot.

  14. Camille says:

    Of course that’s Zip…all one has to do is look at the white blaze on her forehead in both photos. Good Grief, some people can be so negative. Shame on them. Good job Suzanne and Heart of Phoenix! Zip is a beauty. :heart:

  15. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I’m not surprised at Zip’s change of appearance. We’ve rescued lots of cats over the years, and some we thought were shorthaired turned out to be longhaired! You’ve done a great job-keep up the good work.

  16. Tinia at Lucas Farm says:

    Thank you, Suzanne, for the support! We appreciate it!!


    HOP, INC president @ LUCAS FARM

  17. VictorianGirl says:

    My heart aches and I have tears in my eyes seeing the “before” picture of Zip. How cruel and inhumane some people can be which is so difficult to comprehend. Suzanne, God bless you for the wonderful job you’re doing with her and for providing such a loving home. You’re an earthly angel.

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