Miss. nonprofit rescues, reunites family of horses

Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 9:18 PM CDT
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PRENTISS, Miss. (WDAM) - Now dubbed the ‘family that love saved,’ the Oakley horse family’s story is one of heartbreak that ends happily.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures by Shea Gibson Photography, but the family of horses was rescued from an auction, some even from kill pens.

They’re now called the Oakley family, named after the stallion, Oakley, who is the father of the family’s two foals.

Officials with Rocking R Ranch & Rescue say the Oakley family stood out because of the state some of the horses were in.

“We noticed Bindi’s Roman nose,” said Jennifer Aylesworth, vice president of Rocking R Ranch & Rescue Inc. “And that’s what led me to go in to see the rest of the family.”

However, rescuers had a decision to make. One that we’re told didn’t come easy.

“That night, I made a choice to help some other horses that had some health issues versus the Oakley’s because I just felt like they really needed us,” Aylesworth said.

The family was separated.

“Grace and foal Bindi had been purchased by a kill pen in Louisiana. Oakley was purchased for breeding,” Aylesworth said. “We found the other mare and baby and they were at a kill pen in North Carolina.”

But that’s not the end of the Oakley family’s story.

“Our followers were adamant that they really wanted us to save and reunite that family,” Aylesworth said. “Within 14 minutes, our followers had raised the money to save their life.”

Grace and Bindi were reunited with Oakley. Sadly, the mother of the other foal, Sippi, died before she made it back to the rescue.

“Grace took her under her wing, and she nursed and raised both of those babies in an emaciated state herself. So she’s pretty amazing,” Aylesworth said.

Then a few vendors incorporated the Oakley family into a styled wedding photoshoot to raise awareness about the horses.

“Whenever we did this, our goal was to give as much attention as possible to the Oakley family because their story really does tell that love conquers all,” said Shea Gibson, owner and lead photographer of Shea Gibson Photography.

They used their talents to tell the family’s story.

“It was just awesome to be able to use some creativity and some florals to really bring their story to life and make it just really pretty and something attractive for people to want to look at and then read the story and learn more,” said Callie Evans, owner of Still Magnolia Floral Designs.

The horses now live as one big happy family.

“Doesn’t take much to be around them to see the love that they have for each-other,” Aylesworth said.

For more on Rocking R Ranch & Rescue, click here.

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