San Diego

Neglected Horses Get New Lease on Life at Equine Sanctuary

The non-profit Horses of Tir Na Nog specializes in hard-luck cases

Ten Mustangs will get a new lease on life after they landed at the Horses of Tir Na Nog, an equine sanctuary in the eastern San Diego County community of Guatay.

Horses of Tir Na Nog director Amy Pat Rigney said San Diego County’s Department of Animal Services delivered the horses last week malnourished, neglected and underweight.

“It really tears at your heart because you know what these horses could look like when they’re cared for properly and well fed,” Rigney said.

The horses were transferred to the sanctuary after the owner clearly could not take care of them.

“There just was too much competition for these guys to keep up with the rest of the herd,” she said.

Even to the untrained eye, it looked like the horses’ skin and hair was hanging on their skeletons.

Thankfully, the non-profit specializes in hard-luck cases. Over the years, the Horses of Tir Na Nog has rescued and cared for hundreds of horses, sheep, llamas, goats, and chickens. They currently care for more than 140 animals. Half of them are equines.

The 10 Mustangs are actually reuniting with seven mustangs from the same herd. They were rescued for the same reasons in 2012 and brought to the Horses of Tir Na Nog.

“Our girls came this skinny six years ago," Rigney said. "So we know that in a couple months they’re going to have the same weight gain issues that our other girls do."

Rigney said once the horses are nursed and fed back to health, they’ll be added to a 30-acre preserve reserved just for the growing mustang herd.

The non-profit organization relies solely on donations and grants. It is hosting a “Mexican Fiesta for Medical” fundraiser Saturday at King’s Inn in Hotel Circle.

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