Our Inspiration: Sturgeon Moon


When I was younger, in college and far more naive, I reluctantly had to place my beautiful thoroughbred mare, Sturgeon Moon in another home. Despite my parents' financial help, there just wasn't enough money for college and a horse, so she sadly went to a "good home" with a safety net contract... a signed promise to return her to me if they could not keep her.

As it turned out, "Moon" was not the best fit for the girl who took her and her father soon asked if they could place "Moonie" with their neighbors. We allowed it (with the another signed contract, another promise) and visited her both on the property and again at a horse show, checking up on her regularly. But then, out of nowhere, something went terribly wrong; we couldn't reach them. After dozens of unanswered phone calls and countless phone calls to vets, rescues, and slaughterhouses, we learned we were too late.

Much to our dismay, she had been sent to auction. Her new owners had broken their contract and abandoned the horse they promised to protect.  The auction house further confirmed our worst nightmare, the first horse I ever owned, the only horse I had ever owned, had gone to slaughter.  My beautiful mare, the horse who depended on me for peace, protection and possibility, had spent her last days, her last hours, alone and scared, first at auction, than en-route in a double decker trailer (legal at that time) and finally at the slaughter house. She died a horrible, horrible death and I vowed to never, ever, no matter what it took, allow an animal in my care to find itself in that situation again.

I have never forgiven myself for "allowing" her to be sold by-the-pound and slaughtered. It is that permanently etched memory that gives me strength every day: to be more, to do more, to help more. It's also why many of our rescues are pulled directly from equine and livestock auctions.  For Moon, that would have made all the difference, one person, just one, to be there, to be able to have stepped up to save her.

And so, together with the support of others who have joined us in this journey, I rescue. Horses, pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys, dogs, rabbits and more. And I offer them sanctuary here at my farm and/or into rigorously-screened adoptive homes, where they can find the peace, protection and possibility that Moon did not.  Where, with your help, they can find dreams come true.


Jen with 2014 Rescue, Pippilottaspotslongstocking

Jenifer Vickery, Founder
Tomten Farm and Sanctuary


Did You Know...

More than 100,000 horses—pets, show and race horses, carriage horses and wild horses—end up in slaughterhouses every year. They are killed in Canadian and Mexican processing plants, many bought by kill buyers and then shipped in crowded trucks from the livestock auctions from which we have rescued some of our horses and goats.  (Domestic slaughter ended in 2007 so U.S. horses are shipped to foreign plants.) We could devote our entire website to education regarding horse slaughter, but we fear it would be too upsetting for most and we prefer instead to concentrate the good that comes from Rescue.

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Tomten Farm and Sanctuary
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing peace, protection and possibility to animals in need.

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