Sully, a Percheron draft horse, was taken in by the local equine rescue shelter, Wings and Reins or W.A.R. Percheron were one of the most widely used breeds for draft horses used for warhorses in World War 1 because of their massive size and unmatched muscle structure, used to maneuver battle fields quickly. Sully fits this description perfectly at 19 hands, 6’ 3” at the top of his back, and 2300 lbs.
“It’s kind of cool that we have an original War Horse in Devine. Percherons are the most muscular breed of all the draft horses, so they’re incredibly strong,” Jo Harp, founder of W.A.R. said.
Percheron War horses were also bred with Arabians in the 18th century to create what is now the modern day Percheon.
“They were bred with Arabians, making them very fast,” Harp said.
Sully was found by an elderly couple before W.A.R. took him in. He was on the side of the road, and incredibly emaciated. They took care of him for a while until they could no longer. Mrs. Harp was then called to take him in.
“Sully was struggling when he first came to her. He was shy and scared of people. Sometimes he’d turn his butt to you like he was going to kick you,” said Harp. “He wouldn’t even look at you if you called him. You’d have to yell to get his attention.
One day, during a storm, all of W.A.R.’s horses began to panic, except Sully. He had no reaction, as if he wasn’t aware. That storm is what led Mrs. Harp to realize that Sully had lost his hearing, and how she could better work with him.
“He’s much better now. He’s very sweet. He’ll run right up to you with his head down so you can pet on him,” Mrs. Harp. “His hearing is still bad though, so he’s the only horse I don’t feel bad for raising my voice at.”
Mrs. Harp started W.A.R. 10 years ago as a way to help horses and their owners. They also use their herd to help locals through fundraisers, or events like their Christmas program.
“Around Christmas we take a horse to nursing homes to bring some light to those who looked after us and deserve our respect,” Mrs. Harp said. “We try to do as much as we can for our community.”
Along with their local involvement, WAR has offered their service to 7 countries through the Disaster Relief Program for equines. They’ve done everything from fundraising for the Australian bushfires, to direct action such as sending $2,000 worth of hay to owners hit by Hurricane Laura.
“When Hurricane Harvey hit, we helped pull out horses and provided them with shelter, food, and veterinary services for 3 months,” Harp said. “We also worked with the DA to help people that had lost all their horses paperwork in the storm.”
Here at home, W.A.R. ‘s mission is to give shelter to abused and neglected horses or just help ones in need of a new home.
All of their current residences are permanent residences, meaning they cannot be adopted because of their mental or physical state. To help care for these horses, they run a Sponsorship program. A sponsorship costs about $100 a month and covers all the basic needs of the horse like hay, grain, and wormer.
The price of a sponsorship varies from horse to horse to ensure it receives the proper care. With all the current residences, there isn’t any room for horses up for adoption to stay, so W.A.R. also offers a Rehoming Program. This helps owners find new homes for their horses.
“People can contact us about their horse and we will send them an equine information packet for them to fill out to the best of their ability,” Harp said. “Then, we use that information to help find their horse a new home at no cost to anyone. It’s all about getting these horses to a good home.”
For those who wish to lend a hand, but don’t have the funds to sponsor a horse, donations of any size are appreciated and W.A.R. is always looking for volunteers to help care for horses.
“Anyone can volunteer if they’d like. There aren’t any age requirements. Our youngest is three year old,” Harp said. “Volunteers come in the morning to help feed, water, brush, and just love the horses.”
If you’d like to help out in any of these ways, you can get more information at W.A.R’s website wingsandreins.com, or you can directly contact Mrs. Harp at (210) 471-1377. A text message is the easiest way to contact her.
By Noah Davila