The lead stallion of a herd of wild horses always runs behind them so they can lead their group to food and water. However, this herd has a different story.
The founder of Skydog Ranch, an Oregon- based sanctuary, Clare Staples cannot help but laugh at Cassidy, the one who drops behind her herd of rescued wild horses, despite being far from being a wild horse.
Cassidy, the mere 39-inches tall miniature mule was named after the singer David Cassidy.
Cassidy is a species commonly known as “mini hinny”, which is a mixture of a mini horse and a mini donkey. He was saved at the last minute from a terrible place. He is a few inches shorter than the horses he has bonded with. However, he thinks quite highly of himself.
“We tried to put him with the donkey herd several times,” Staples said, “and he just goes under the fence and back to his wild mustang herd.”
Cassidy, along with a mustang, was rescued from a kill pen at Texas, where people keep horses, donkeys, and mules that no one wants anymore. If not rescued from there, these animals are sent to Mexico to be slaughtered.
“I know we are a mustang sanctuary,” Staples wrote on Skydog’s Facebook page just after seeing Cassidy’s photo and deciding to rescue him, “but sometimes when you are rescuing a mustang a little creature manages to win your heart … Cutest little boy just couldn’t be left behind.”
After Cassidy’s life was saved, she started living a very different life at the sanctuary; refusing to be introduced to the donkeys.
“The moment he arrived he didn’t want to hang out with donkeys but full-size horses,” Staples said.
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Not to mention, even the horses were curious about the mini hinny. Buddy was the first horse Cassidy met when he reached the Malibu branch of the sanctuary. “[Buddy was] trying to say hello as he arrived,” she added.
Cassidy seems to want to live his life on his own terms in the sanctuary.
“He has decided he is now a mighty mustang and lives free at our sanctuary with a herd of wild horses,” Staples said. “He is only 39 inches tall … but thinks he is enormous.”
Cassidy even has a special role in the herd. “If the herd of mustangs is nervous of something or a new horse arrives, it is Cassidy who checks it out and tells the others it’s safe,” Staples said.
Despite having tiny legs, Cassidy has no problem keeping up with the herd in the 5,000 acres of the sanctuary.
“He even has two mares he believes are his,” Staples said. “He just stands next to them and tries to act like they are his girlfriends.”
However, whenever Cassidy wants to hang out with someone his size, he goes to Barkley, the Great Dane.
“From a kill pen to where he is now is a huge leap for a tiny fellow,” Staples noted.
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