André’s Story 💛 (the pieces we know of it)
André is a Mustang, born in the wild of Salt Wells, WY. His lineage goes back to the huge draft horses that pulled wagons before cars were invented.
He was gathered from the wild and then adopted. We do not know by whom. This was many years ago. (He is 20 years old) and has so much personality.


André has his first three Sponsors, Jeanne Jones, and Jen&Zac Cross and Julia Pearson. André is continuing to build his Sponsor Team of seven and is in need of only four more Sponsors. Each Sponsorship is a $50 monthly commitment that goes directly to André’s care. Or a business can sponsor a horse In Full for $350 per month, to make up their entire sponsorship team. We are a non-profit and count on public support to care for this herd and offer our Mustang assisted Wellness Programs to those in need. Sponsors receive a sponsorship certificate, a high-resolution photo of your sponsored horse with a message from them, as well as continued updates from André throughout the year!

Read on to learn more of his story …

We do know that André has brands, in addition to his BLM freezebrand. These additional brands were put on by his owner, not the BLM. They are hot brands, a 5T on his left jaw and a T on his left hip. The CO brand inspector did not recognize these as CO brands. He also has a severe clubbed foot. It would seem that he was born with it. But he obviously had a very lengthy life in service to humans, (he has extensive saddle scarring on his back, sides and girth area) so I do not know if this leg has always presented him with an issue or not. At this point, in present moment, it is amazing to me just how sound he actually is on it, considering the degree of deformation. Truly, even if there was absolutely zero pain, his stride would still be different from left to right, because his hoof size and angles are so different. When we purchased his Soft Rides for the trip, (thank you Carla, Denise, Susie and Adrienne) he needed the largest boot they make for his front left and a much smaller one, more average light horse size, for his right – the clubbed foot.
Back in November of last year, he was discovered in the Fabrizius Livestock pen by Evanescent Mustang Rescue and Sanctuary This is the non profit that paid his fees and purchased him. Since he was in CO, they reached out to The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS) to see if they could pick him up and care for him. At the time, Stephanie Linsley was the Head Trainer/CEO at GEMS. She said yes and picked him up immediately, Thanksgiving day! … and then wrote that powerful post that tugged at all of our heartstrings.
Here is that post below… 
Written on November 26th, 2020 by Stephanie Linsley, former head trainer and CEO of The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary. 

“Last night, I broke down. I’ve been in the horse rescue world for most of my life… I’ve seen a lot. I’ve learned to compartmentalize my emotions so they don’t overwhelm and inhibit the work that needs to be done. And there’s always more work to be done.

But last night as I drove off with a new rescued Mustang in my trailer, I had to pull over as these emotions that I’ve trained myself to suppress overcame me. I have seen skinnier horses.. horses with worse feet.. horses who were so scared and shutdown from mental trauma.. I’ve seen many bleaker cases. But for some reason, this horse I loaded up hit me hard.
This old boy with mangled feet, full blown infection and blood coming out of his nose, skinny and extremely dehydrated… all these physical issues are fixable.
What hit me was the way this big, gentle giant didn’t see me. He wasn’t scared of me… he wasn’t angry or nervous… he just didn’t see me. I walked up to him, gave him a pet, and haltered him so I could get him out and home as quickly as possible. He stood there, quiet, unmoving. As I led him to the trailer, he politely obliged and picked up his big neglected feet carefully into this strange trailer with this strange person and accepted everything I asked with no protest… But he didn’t see me… His eyes were so devoid of emotion that his story became clear.
He didn’t know who I was, and it was clear that he had been passed around enough times that it didn’t matter who I was… things probably weren’t going to get better.
Horses develop what’s called, learned helplessness, as they experience an inability to do anything to affect their outcome… so they give up. They quit trying to fight, or to flee, or to open up and play. They just quit trying…because no matter what they do, their actions don’t produce a better result. This horse didn’t know who I was and he didn’t care. He was beyond trying to voice his opinion.
So when I felt this complete shell of a horse, who still managed to be as gentle and polite as can be, it hit me hard. I pulled over and let myself feel every single one of those emotions. Grief. Anger. Hopelessness. Defeat…
But today, I’m grateful. There’s no more time for those debilitating emotions. Today, I’m grateful, and hopeful, and joyful.
I’m joyful that this big, beautiful soul will learn what it’s like to be loved and he will not hurt anymore.
I’m hopeful that he will come out of his shell and find peace and play and happiness in his life.
I’m grateful for every person who has been a part of saving his life, and so many others.
I’m grateful for the big players who stepped up, paid their bail, and had the courage to reach out and ask if we had capacity to help… knowing all too well how overwhelmed we all already are.
I’m grateful for every single person who is inspired by these horses and finds a way to help, even if it’s just to spread the word or donate a few dollars.
I’m grateful to be a part of a community of allies, all fighting for the horses who we love.
And most of all, I’m grateful for the horses… who endure so very much at the hands of humans and still find space in their heart to forgive and share their pure soul with us.
I know that this fight is not over… that this boy has a long road to recovery (mentally, physically, and emotionally)… but I’m grateful that Andre now has an opportunity and a voice.
Stay tuned to watch this beautiful boy, who we named Andre the Giant, blossom.” 
Stephanie Linsley, former head trainer and CEO of The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary.
André’s story continued…
Once at GEMS the vet assessed André’s condition. He had strangles (a severe respiratory infection) and they found that in addition to the club foot deformity, there was a degree of acute tendon tearing as well. The vet reccomended 6 months stall/small paddock rest. The club foot deformity would not change, but the hope was the acute aspect would heal and he would become at least pasture sound.
When Stephanie picked him up he was non weight bearing on the club foot. In the condition he was in, many would have euthanized him. But with the hopes that there was in fact an acute injury that could heal and he might not stay 3 legged lame … and in hopes he would recover from the strangles …they decided to do their best to support him and hope he would improve – and he did! At GEMS, Stephanie gave him daily red light treatments, special supplements and specialized farrier care to help reshape André’s hooves as best they could be. He made truly miraculous improvements and it became quickly clear André had more to do in this life.
From the first time Stephanie posted about André I knew I AM HERD must offer him a forever home, our I AM HERD board and advisors did not hesitate to agree. (Bless you Lauren Sarlya, Sharon Miller, Laurie Wood, Sabinananda Cox, Deanna Brown, Allison Kraft, Manna Naidu and Colleen Murphy)
When Stephanie first agreed to take André into GEMS back in November, the intention had always been to help rehabilitate him and then find him a forever home. … I knew that home was with us.
But we are in NC. André was in CO. Our school programs with the herd were already booked through May. We really could not come to get him until now, in June. And to hire a shipper felt less than ideal. Even though André was much sounder than before, he still was far from 100%. We wanted to come get him ourselves so that we could manage his comfort first hand all along the way.
GEMS went through some changes, Stephanie’s head trainer position was dissolved and she and her husband purchased land of their own and built an amazing horse facility there, Infinity Horsemanship. Stephanie agreed to take André to her new home for us, since we could not pick him up until now.
She continued his red light treatments, his special supplements, his farrier care and a whole lot of love … and by the time we arrived, André had worked his way to convincing Stephanie that he really did not even need any fences … seriously, for the past month he has been living totally free range at Infinity and loving it (and it was all very safe I should add, she is far from any roads)
So, as you can see, after all these months of helping André, I simply had to honor Stephanie’s relationship with him in that post a few days ago. Their love will always remain … but it has been the intention for quite some time for André to ultimately make his way to our Sanctuary in NC. And it feels André is truly the one making these plans, far beyond the place where our minds pick up streams of thought and think it was all our idea.
When he arrives home at I AM HERD I imagine (or maybe he imagines!) that he will spend much of his time free range just like he did at Infinity. Our Golden Pony, Squirt that recently passed lived his life that way much of the time too… and if he so chooses, there are a whole lot of young people that will absolutely be overjoyed at the opportunity to love on him .. not by riding, but simply by caring for him. Part of the work I AM HERD does as a non profit is to travel to the area public schools and support children in need through our partnership with national non profit Communities in Schools.
One thing I have found is how transformational it is for a student to offer a loving touch to a horse and to feel that horse receive their touch in gratitude. For that child to know, in that present moment, that they have something of value to offer this world … through their gentleness towards a giant creature that often is completely foreign to them and unexpected in their lives.
To feel their worth through another being allowing them to gently pet them, brush them, care for them. This is such a precious and deeply alchemical gift. And if André decides he would like to be a recipient of these young loving hands, well we are certainly here to help make it happen.
So, I hope this helps bring you all up to date on what we know of André’s story. There have been so many organizations and individuals that have played a part. And we are just so grateful…. from Evanescent Mustang Rescue finding him and paying for him in the first place, to The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary stepping up to help in such a huge way, to Stephanie continuing her dedication to André at Infinity Horsemanship, to countless donations made in support of his care.
André is so deeply loved and I can sincerely tell you…
He knows it.

André is in need of Sponsorship. If you feel a connection to André it would be our honor for you to amplify that connection by a direct contribution to his care.

Sponsoring an I AM HERD horse or pony is one of the most supportive things you can do for our work and mission. And the most amazing part is the way it truly connects the Caregiver TO the horse or pony they are Sponsoring! These wild ones just know and they are so grateful for Your help!

As your first Gift of Gratitude for your Sponsorship, we will send you a sponsorship certificate and a high-resolution photo of your sponsored horse with a message from them., You will also receive continued updates from André throughout the year!

Above all, you will know that your donation ensures that we can provide the best of care to this wild one that you feel a connection to. Sponsorships are a monthly donation of $50, the cost of a bale of hay, and are a one-year commitment. You may opt to have your monthly donation withdrawn automatically or you may pay in full for the year either via check or online credit card. The annual commitment begins the month you begin your Sponsorship (so a Sponsorship initiated in Feb 2020 will run through Feb 2021)

Blessings from this herd to your heart, there is truly a wild horse in all hearts that are drawn to them ~

Mary Miller-Jordan
P.O. Box 3
Kelly, NC 28448
501(c)3 non-profit organization
EIN 47-3111624

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