Friend or Foal: Blazes Equine Rescue
Some Oklahomans agree that ‘a dog is man’s best friend’ while others would proclaim that honor belongs to a horse. Dogs are sometimes rescued from abandonment or adverse situations and placed for adoption. Unfortunately, some horses have experienced a similar plight but now rescue and adoption are available for them as well. Two horses, Mimosa and Crash, rescued by Blazes Tribute Equine Rescue, found their way into the hearts and home of an Edmond family.
Oklahoma horses that are abandoned, neg-lected or abused are often rescued by nonprofit organizations like Blazes. Shawn and Natalie Cross established Blazes in 2001 to aid in the rescue of horses in Oklahoma. “Our first rescue involved 20 horses, but we’ve rescued as many as 82 in one location. In 10 years we’ve rescued and rehabilitated over 646 horses and found forever homes for 514,” said Natalie. “If someone had told me years ago we’d be here, I would’ve said they’re crazy. But I believe if God leads me to it, he’ll lead me through it. I never thought we’d take on the capacity of horses that we have,” she said. Some of the horses have come to Blazes after surviving traffic accidents. One horse, Crash, was named such after being hit by a car. “By the time we rescued Crash, he already had a lot of rehabilitation.” Whatever the condition horses are in when brought into Blazes, they’re all given love and care to improve their quality of life.
Blazes’ vision for horses has drawn many families to adopt from them including the Burgess family from Edmond. Avid horse lovers, Greg and Lynn Burgess were looking to purchase young horses. “It’s a buyers’ market right now but we couldn’t find the right horse,” said Lynn. After hearing about Blazes through a family friend, the Burgesses didn’t hesitate to pursue this possibility. “We went to Blazes immediately. We loved the idea of being able to give a horse a good home,” shared Lynn. The Burgesses delved through information about the horses assigning them to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ list. “We kept passing over one that was on the ‘no’ list. When we finally looked at the picture, my husband became emotional. It was a picture of Crash,” said Lynn. “When I opened the picture, I realized he looked like Two Bits, a horse I’d had as a child,” said Greg. Generally a “horse will pick its owner” and that’s exactly what Crash did.
Crash was only two years old and had been with Blazes for more than seven months when the Burgesses adopted him but “it was like he was meant to be ridden,” and at Blazes, his rehabilitation was almost complete. Normally it takes a long time to get a horse under saddle, but the Burgesses said he took right to it. Crash exudes a sweet spirit and will lay his head on Greg’s shoulder. “He’s like a lap dog, always in your business. We’ve never had a horse that young so (we’re) not sure if it’s common, but he wants to be with you wherever you are,” said Lynn.
Mimosa, the horse they adopted for their son, had been with Blazes for less than two months and her rehabilitation had just begun. Mimosa, part of an animal cruelty situation, was starved and emaciated when she was rescued. “It takes several months to get in the starved body score and takes just as long to rehabilitate them. Once you rehabilitate them, they get fat. It shows how long it really takes to starve them. Horses go into a survival mode and will eat the bark off trees. During rehabilitation when we offer them hay, sometimes they refuse it until we get enough nutrients in their bodies,” said Natalie.
Mimosa, like Crash, is eager to please. Lynn shared, “As a mother, I enjoy watching my son take on the responsibility of caring for his horse. There’s something really wonderful about that. The day he hopped on her without a saddle was amazing.” Crash and Mimosa, renamed Ranger and Lese respectively, reside with the Burgesses’ son who lives about a mile away. Greg and Ranger are “pretty much inseparable.” “I think you’d be amazed at the quality of horses they have at Blazes. It’s a misconception that a rescued horse is a problem horse. Ranger is unique and has really bonded to me. Our other horses will wait for me to come to them but Ranger will come when I call him. Lese is older than Ranger and was abused but, she’s slowly learning to trust again,” said Greg.
These two horses have found their forever home in Edmond and continue to thrive under the love and care of their owners. For more information about Blazes Equine Tribute Rescue, visit their website