Discovering the Herd
In September of 2008, Cynthia and Tony Royal learned that an entire family of twenty-six rare horses (including four pregnant mares) was suffering from severe neglect in the Sacramento area — at risk of seizure and far worse. You can watch the amazing story of how the herd was transported to its original home at the Valenti Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe, California here. In late August, 2014, after 6 years’ time in Rancho Santa Fe, Pegasus Rising relocated its 14 remaining herd members to the beautiful Lake Wohlford area in Escondido at the Escondido Equestrian Center for Natural Horsemanship.
Upon their visit, the Royals learned that the horses were direct descendants of two champion Arabian stallions who were imported directly from Poland with the aid of then President Ronald Reagan. Champion racer Gedymin won races in Poland equivalent to that of the Triple Crown, while stallion Dalipan was a descendant of the great stallion Lotnik, who had been imported previously by General Patton.
From Noble Birth to Neglect
These two champions and their offspring had grown and lived together for over thirty years. But because their ranch degenerated as the owners aged, they were in poor health as veterinary care had not been made available to them for quite some time. They were infested with parasites, their hooves had cracked, their teeth had become malformed and a portion of the herd were malnourished.
However, the years of neglect could not break their spirit, as Cynthia reported when she initially visited the herd: “Their conditions were deplorable. Yet still, despite years of hardship, competition for food and minimal human contact, they were not only calm with each other, they were inquisitive and gentle with us.”
Inspired Community Members Rally to Save the Herd
When considering how they might be able to save a few of the herd, the Royals had an epiphany and realized that the herd’s unique qualities in the face of such extreme conditions were, in fact, a special gift to humanity. Through an ever-widening network of community members, upwards of sixty volunteers from various communities came on board to assist in the rescue and relocation project. To overcome the immense challenge of relocating the horses to their new home at the Valenti Ranch in San Diego County, many individuals and organizations contributed hundreds of hours of time and thousands of dollars in services.
The volunteers contributed a semi-tractor trailer truck which was used together with other vehicles for transporting the herd. In addition, the volunteers donated other essential materials to make the relocation project a reality and provided food and monetary donations to sustain them during this time period.
From Neglect to Noble Purpose
An all-volunteer staff now cares for the herd mornings and evenings daily, while a leadership team of pro-bono business and equine professionals oversees development of the organization and its Equine Assisted Experiential Health Therapy and Volunteer programs, as well as the herd’s welfare.
Become a Part of the Pegasus Rising Cause
While private veterinarians and Western University College of Veterinary Medicine faculty and students are already helping these horses attain better health through donated products and services, the need for monetary donations to maintain the herd, develop programs and support the organization is great. Click here to view the list of services and items we need to maintain the herd.
Meet the Pegasus Horses
Learn more about the Pegasus horses by clicking here.
You can also support the Pegasus cause by adopting a horse today.