MSP0184 (1)


    Name: Xander

    Type: Friesian Horse

    Color: Black

      Markings: None

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 1/1/2007


Xaner is a beautiful purebred Friesian who came to Red Bell Run at the request of our veterinarian as she was assisting Animal Control with a horrific abuse and neglect case. Because he was starved and his left hind leg was grossly swollen and infected, our vet felt Xander had the best chance if he came to Red Bell Run for intensive veterinary care. Twenty-seven equines including Xander were removed from that “Death Farm”. The owner is facing felony cruelty chargers, and we hope that these animals receive the justice they deserve.

How does a beautiful animal like Xander end up in such a place? His breeder had suffered from a change of life circumstances; as has happened to all of us at some point. She rehomed Xander as a companion-only horse due to a previous leg injury, with the understanding he would be returned to her if things should change for the new owner. Sadly, in the equine industry, people move horses on, often ignoring these agreements and never telling the former owners what they’ve done. This is what happened to Xander. He had the bad luck to end up in one of the most awful situations we have ever had the misfortune to encounter; being ridden even with his bad leg and starved nearly past saving. Xander’s breeder was absolutely horrified and heartbroken when we notified her of the situation. She stepped up and has generously assisted with Xander’s vet bills and visits him often here at Red Bell Run. It is clear that she loves him dearly.

After many months of daily treatment, Xander recovered from the leg issue and has been refed to a good weight. He is stunningly beautiful. Sadly, he has developed a condition called Mega Esophagus, or ME. This is a genetic disorder found in the Friesian breed and is eventually life-ending. For now, Xander is happy and enjoys his “harem” of ladies at our Hilltop Barn. Our staff dotes on him and manages his ME carefully. As long as Xander’s quality of life remains acceptable, he will enjoy his “retirement” at Red Bell Run. He will let us know when it is time to cross the Rainbow Bridge, and we then will do the kindest thing for him. He will never suffer another day of his life and will always know that he is loved by everyone at Red Bell Run. 

Zander (2)
Xander intake side (1)




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    Name: Penelope

    Type: Haflinger Pony

    Color: Palomino

    Markings: Lightning bolt brand, Blaze

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 12/30/2001


Penelope was used in kids’ rodeos as a “bucking bronco” and then sold off. Since bucking is the only thing she knows, it made her dangerous for most homes, so she found her way to Red Bell Run through The Circle of Friends rescue group in Oklahoma. Penelope has Cushing’s Disease now and receives medication and monitoring for this disease. She has a very unique mark on her shoulder that looks like a lightning bolt. Penelope is now the Hilltop Barn mascot and hangs out with her best big friend, Shelby Ann.

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Emmie laying down 1


    Name: Emmie aka Mabel Esther

    Type: Mule

    Color: Chestnut

    Markings: Star

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 12/31/2003


Emmie is a lovely, red molly mule who bears the name of Red Bell Run’s Founder’s beloved grandmother. Emmie’s full name is Mabel Esther since she was rescued on Easter and her nickname became  “M-E” or Emmie. Emaciated to the point of being skeletal with a rope halter so tight that it made deep grooves in her poor face, Emmie was in bad shape. The Circle of Friends Rescue Group in Oklahoma alerted us that there was an older red molly mule in need. If they could get her, would we take her? Who could resist Emmie’s sweet, sad face? Besides, it was Easter!

Emmie was duly picked up, underwent vet and farrier care, refeeding and rehabilitation in Oklahoma and then came to the Red Bell Run Florida facility where she became fast friends with our big draft mule, Shelby Ann. At first, Emmie was very shy and avoided people as much as she could – and who could blame her? We’ll never know her full story, but after several months, she decided people weren’t so bad and she has proven to be one of the kindest, sweetest mules at the Sanctuary. Emmie is quite elderly now and has DSLD, a disease of the suspensory ligaments that unfortunately has no cure – but for now she is comfortable on appropriate doses of anti-inflammatory drugs. Her caretakers watch her closely and evaluate her every day to be sure she is not in pain. She has also developed asthma this last year, but is quite tolerant of her treatments which involve inhalers twice daily. So far, she is still enjoying a good quality of life with her friends, her hay, grain, and of course…treats!

She and Shelby Ann are the first greeters whenever visitors arrive at the Hilltop Barn. With their smaller friend, Penelope, a Haflinger cross pony with a somewhat checkered past as a “bucking” pony, the three friends enjoy their hay nets, communing with the other Hilltop residents and entertaining us with their friendship. We hope our sweet Miss. Emmie will be with us for along time to come!   

Emmie before RBR

Emmie Before






    Name: Lacey

    Type: Horse

    Color: Dark Bay & White Tobiano

    Markings: 4 Stockings

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/2012


The first picture we were sent of Lacey was heartbreaking. In it she stood, her blind companion dead at her feet, starved and deathly ill herself, with both strangles and rhinovirus, either of which could kill her. She had the defeated, hopeless look of an equine who is leaving this world behind. My heart just stopped. We immediately facilitated her rescue, and with the help of several equine lovers and our talented Oklahoma vet, Dr. Grace Owen, she miraculously survived. She endured a long stay at the vet clinic, during which time our friend Janelle visited Lacey daily. When it seemed there was no way Lacey could survive, Celine Myers of the Ark Watch Foundation suggested a damp cloth with a couple drops of peppermint oil on it be applied to her muzzle. Lacey loved this! Janelle would arrive and Lacey would walk over and put her muzzle into the cloth and just breathe. The peppermint oil helped relieve the congestion and seemed to offer some comfort. Lacey wouldn’t eat due to the abscesses from strangles so Janelle tempted her with oatmeal balls filled with Well-gel, a nutrition supplement. Lacey beat the odds and after months of rehab she was able to come to Red Bell Run. 

Today, the hope has returned to her eyes and she’s a bit mischievous! She had developed uveitis in her left eye which we watch carefully, but now lives happily with her friends at our Hilltop Barn, spending her days knowing she’ll never be hungry again. 

Lacy before RBR1
Lacy before RBR

Lacey Before

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Lacy in pasture
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Shelby Ann

Shelby Ann

Shelby Ann

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    Name: Shelby Ann

    Type: Belgian Draft Mule

    Color: Flaxen Chestnut

    Markings: Star

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 12/22/1996


Shelby Ann knows no strangers! She is often referred to as Queen of Red Bell Run and her sweet nature is apparent to all who meet her! She is a 25 year old Belgian Draft Mule who wows visitors with her height and stature as she ambles over to get an ear rub (by far her favorite thing second only to eating). If you offer to rub them, she will lower her head way down to encourage you.

What we know is that Shelby Ann pulled a plow for most of her life and the old couple that had her could no longer care for her due to the infirmities of their old age. She was rescued from an almost certain fate from the feed lot by Circle of Friends in Oklahoma and is now here at the Sanctuary to live out the rest of her life in well deserved peace and bucolic beauty. Shelby Ann’s situation underscores the importance for owners to provide for the needs of their animals after their own incapacitation or death.  

Shelby Ann with Gabeirl
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Shelby 2
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