I started rescuing horses while my son, Afton J. was living here with me. Rio was the first horse that we brought in, an older mustang stallion (cryptorchid) that just needed a soft place to land, a retirement home, and we gave him that. Afton loved Rio and Rio loved Afton.
5 years later, on Feburary 28, 2021 Afton J. took his life. Haunted by demons that he couldn't fight any longer. He was a great kid in the prime of his life. He had moved away from the ranch 2 years earlier and was going to college, living off on his own. 2 months after Afton died, I went out to feed horses in the morning and found that Rio had died, at about 30 years old.
In order to honor Afton and Rio, Wild Horse Haven Rescue has begun new programs aimed at using the horses here as equine therapists, to help those with mental health issues heal. We have also begun programs for the youth, with Reading to Horses and Wild Horse Camp.
Afton and Rio are riding the clouds of heaven and they are always in our heart here at Wild Horse Haven.