"He was pretty pathetic," Meagher said of Chief, who was most likely in his late 20s when he arrived at WHRR. Horses typically live between 25 and 30 years, depending on the type of horse, and ponies can live into their 40s. Chief had scars all over his frail body, as if someone had a used a knife on him, according to Meagher. He was afraid of people. "If you walked by his stall, he would shake and clench his eyes closed. So we just fed him, mucked his stall and talked sweet to him. It took about three weeks for him to start opening his eyes and actually look at us."
Chief began to trust the volunteers and other horses. Little by little, he became part of the herd that included Lady, WHRR's first rescued horse, and Dunny, its second resident.
Both Lady and Dunny arrived at WHRR in 1995. Lady's previous owner was elderly and loved the beautiful, white 10-year-old rescued BLM mustang, but the woman didn't have the physical ability or time to care for the horse. Dunny also was given to WHRR by a family who could no longer care for him.