Piedmont native Deborah Gay’s love of horses began at age four or five, and she’s never given up her spurs.
Living on twelve acres in Piedmont, Gay and her husband, Bob, started taking in needy horses … but the situation got out of hand. So, they relocated to 160 flat prairie acres in El Reno. And in July 2013, they officially opened the Rockin’ G Equine Sanctuary, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that rescues, re-trains and re-homes horses, giving them a second clip-clopping chance at life.
“We mainly rescue thoroughbreds from tracks that, for whatever reasons, need new homes,” says Gay. “But some of our horses are from kill pens. Those are located in Stroud and all over the place in other states. The horses are jammed into trucks like cattle. Horses don’t travel like cows, so it’s a terrible thing to do. The trucks are taken to Mexico and the horses are slaughtered. It’s a pretty awful sight.”
And if any horse has been dumped or abandoned, suffered neglect, starvation or abuse, or can no longer be cared for by the owner, the Rockin’ G takes in all breeds so they can blaze trails of hope and new beginnings.
After spending time at the Rockin’ G, Gay explains that the horses “go on to be polo ponies, hunter/jumpers, dressage, cross country jumpers, trail horses, and barrel and roping horses. Some become pasture companions.”
But they never go to race tracks, she says.
“They go to some new career and/or home. We try to place them in new forever homes. Giving some rough estimates, we have homed around 189 horses and saved approximately 40 from kill pens. Owners or trainers have retired the rest from racing, bringing them to us. Many that have come through here are considered ‘war horses,’ which means they ran over 50 races or made over $100,000. Many of those have been stakes winners.”
Gay’s personal show horse, Boston, has a ‘can’t-believe-it-until-you-see-it’ ability to unlatch a stall gate, open it and walk right out. At times, she’s found Boston out on the property, horsing around at his leisure. And one of the pastures is home to a rescue pet donkey, Darla, and an elderly horse who spend their days together enjoying the peaceful life of retirement. Another horse, Millie, got her happy ending at Rockin’ G.
“She was dumped in a kill pen, and she was starving and pregnant,” says Gay. “We thought Millie would abort her baby. But her baby, Baby G, is now just over a month old.”
The stories of hope abound.
“Three years ago, we got Don Miguel, a.k.a Micky, from a kill pen. He’s put on 150 pounds since we’ve had him,” says Gay. “Island is an injured thoroughbred who will go to a new home and live out her life in luxury.”
The Rockin’ G staffers are able to prepare most horses for adoption through donations and adoption fees. Potential adopters usually learn about available horses through word of mouth and social media.
Donations are accepted through PayPal at [email protected], or by mailing a check to 6608 S. Manning Rd, El Reno, 73036.
To volunteer, contact Deborah at 405-315-8760.