Breed: American Saddlebred
Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/1997
Sultan arrived at Horses of Tir Na Nog in September 2009. His arrival story is one of our favorites. Animal Services was planning to transport two stray burros to the ranch, Ellie Mae and Jethro. At the last minute, Animal Services staff called to ask if they could add a gelding to the transport trailer. We knew they had been carrying for a gelding named Sultan, but he had been adopted, so we wondered who the gelding was. Unfortunately, after his adoption, Sultan was returned to Animal Services when a veterinary exam showed lameness. When telling Sultan's story we liked to joke that Sultan faked lameness so that he could get back to his burro buddies, Ellie Mae and Jethro. We never saw any lameness once he was at the ranch, so perhaps he did.
Upon his arrival, Sultan made it very clear that he needed to live with his burro buddies, pacing and refusing to eat if he was separated from them by even a corral panel.
One of our favorite stories about Sultan was the day his burros played a wicked game of hide and seek. It was a wet, drizzly day and the burros and Sultan were out wandering the ranch. The group ended up in the turnout area and after a few minutes the burros wandered up toward the barn. Sultan suddenly realized he was alone and immediately began calling for the burros. Ellie, Mae, Jethro and Milton were easy for us to spot. All three of them were lined up inside an open box stall, tucked just inside the doorway so that they couldn’t be see unless you were standing in front of the stall. And from the look on their faces, they were laughing at their friend as he ran up and down every aisle looking for them. If horses could smile, Sultan's smile was a mile wide when, just a few minutes later, he found his friends!
As part of our Burro Brigade Program, we often teased our young visitors by introducing Sultan as a rare, red, short-eared burro, for in his heart Sultan was a burro. He loved his BFF's, "Burro Friends Forever." While Ellie Mae and Jethro always had a special place in his heart, in 2012, he met Jack and they became great buddies who played together every day.
On December 18, 2014 Sultan started the day as he always did, with a strong appetite. Once he had filled up on his pellets, he played with his burro buddies, enjoying a great game of tag with Jack. The day passed uneventfully, but just prior to the evening feeding, we believe Sultan suffered a heart attack, leaving us very suddenly, and much too soon.
Most of the volunteers were surprised that Sultan was so young. He gave everyone the impression of being a very old man. He was kind and gentle and had a look of wisdom in his eyes. We imagine that life before he came to Horses of Tir Na Nog was not easy. No doubt in his early years he was "ridden hard and put away wet." But thanks to our donors, his final years must have been very satisfying for him. He lived his life surrounded by his very special friends who were with him right up until the moment he left us.
Farewell to our gentle boy, our honorary burro!