Breeding kindness: No animal turned away at safe haven for horses in Elburn

HORSE RESCUE — David Sharos, freelance reporter for The Courier-News, writes:

St. Charles resident Kris Anderson doesn’t regard herself as a horse whisperer, but she does admit hanging around horses has made her a more sensitive human being.

“Being around them has given me more of a unity and connection with living things,” Anderson said.

The retired 4th grade teacher now serves as a board member and volunteer for Casey’s Safe Haven in Elburn, a non-profit equine rescue facility founded in 2011 that has been accepting cast off horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that are later adopted, boarded, or allowed to live out their natural lives.

Anderson said finding this new chapter of life at Casey’s was the result of “an angel guiding me in the right direction.”

Sister Darbie and Casey's Safe Haven resident donkey Petunia. Image from their website.
Sister Darbie and Casey’s Safe Haven resident donkey Petunia. Image from their website.

Casey founder Sue Balla of Elburn said she grew up in Downers Grove and that despite living in a horseless environment, they were always on her mind.

Changes in her life forced Balla to search for another outlet after the riding school closed. A friend suggested she lease a barn in Elburn and Casey’s Safe Haven was born, named after a horse purchased at an auction that became Balla’s friend for more than a quarter century.

Virtually no animal is turned away.

“Over the years, we’ve probably taken in about 50 animals and our mind set is to get them healthy and adopted,” Balla said. “On average, the animals need about two years to get healthy, but given that this is a sanctuary and rescue, some of them never leave.”

•  Read full article »

•  Visit Casey’s Save Haven website »

•  Find out how you can help »

Thank you Mr. Sharos for writing this story.

Featured Image: Casey’s Save Haven

First ever Mardi Gras for Mustangs to take place this March

Wild Horses: Randy Harris Photo

Source: Press Release

ALTON, IL — Carnival season is going strong through March with the inaugural Mustang Mardi Gras in support of the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary — the only one of its kind in the two-state region.

Alton’s Atrium Hotel and Conference Center teamed up with the Friends of the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary to provide a first-time Mardi Gras experience for the Riverbend. The Legendary Mustang Sanctuary, located in Alhambra, in Madison County, strives to rescue wild mustang horses and burros, provide training and locate permanent loving homes for each one.

Mustang Mardi Gras is an adult celebration of food and carnival with illusion and magic from Chris Carpunky; masks and music; prizes and surprises. The Atrium will present its exclusive famous Mardi Gras Chuck Wagon Buffet and Cash Bar Saloon.

The good times start rolling when the saloon doors swing open at 5 p.m.

The festivities start at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 12, in the ballroom at the Atrium Hotel and Conference Center, 3800 Homer Adams Pkwy., Alton.

Ticket purchases and attendance registration are available through Monday, March 7.

Tickets cost $25 per person.

The award-winning, five-star Magician Chris Carpunky Show starts at 7:30 p.m.; starting at 8 p.m., listening enjoyment and dancing to authentic New Orleans-style jazz with some old-fashioned rock ‘n roll performed by Riverbend favorites Dixie Dudes and Dance Band. Event organizers conceived the event to provide fun and relaxation throughout the entire evening.

Guests can enjoy creative mask and face design activity, The Mustang Equestrian Board Game, special raffle items, such as a special collectible Mustang Mardi Gras glass horse by art glass company Horse of a Different Color, super-cool door prizes and more throughout the night.

The Mustang Mardi Gras fundraiser, in support of the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary, includes special items that guests will have a chance to take home such as this special Mustang Mardi Gras horse, a glass collectible horse made by a company called “Horse of a Different Color.”
The Mustang Mardi Gras fundraiser, in support of the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary, includes special items that guests will have a chance to take home such as this special Mustang Mardi Gras horse, a glass collectible horse made by a company called “Horse of a Different Color.”

All proceeds will support the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary.

Tickets are available at the Atrium Hotel, Alton Convention and Visitors Bureau, or call or email Kathy Lewis at 618-616-8875 and/or Tickets are limited and may not be available at the door. Table reservations are available for parties of eight to 10 guests.

The Legendary Mustang Sanctuary organization’s mission is to rescue America’s wild mustang horses, burros and to help advance public education programs raising awareness of the important role these historical, living, legendary animals play in America’s western history.

The Legendary Mustang Sanctuary developed and supports two formal education programs, which include internships for students studying veterinary medicine and equine sciences. An application process is in place for these programs.

For additional information, call co-founder Lewis at 618-616-8875. The Legendary Mustang Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. This charity enjoys a 100 percent successful adoption record for these animals and operates with volunteer-only labor.


Wild Horses: Randy Harris Photo

Crundwell horses, equipment fetch more than $4 million

Rita Crundwell Quarter Horses. Photo by Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune.

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune reports:

“More than 300 horses as well as equipment and vehicles from indicted former Dixon Treasurer Rita Crundwell’s world-class operation sold for $4.79 million at an auction this week amid a crowd of eager horse enthusiasts from around the world and curious natives of the small northwestern Illinois town.” If you are really interested in this story, there’s loads more information, including a video and lots of photos here.

Rita Crundwell Quarter Horses. Photo by Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune.
Auctions contracted by the federal government of indicted Dixon, Illinois treasurer Rita Crundwell Quarter Horses and equipment bring in more than $4 Million.

PAT RAIA writing for reports:

Horses, tack, trailers, and other equipment belonging to indicted Quarter Horse breeder Rita Crundwell brought more than $4 million during a two-day live auction in Dixon, Ill.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury in Illinois indicted Crundwell for allegedly misappropriating $53 million in funds from the town of Dixon, Ill., where she had served as comptroller since the 1980s.

Following the arrest, a federal court judge placed more than 400 horses connected to the case in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Professional Auction Services Inc. was later hired to carry out the sale of the horses and related equipment at auction.

If convicted, Crundwell could face maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the cost of the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater.


Remaining Crundwell horses to be auctioned Sunday, Monday

Cross-posted from Rockford Register Star

A broodmare and her colt walk in a pen Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in Dixon during a preview for the upcoming auction of Rita Crundwell’s horses.

DIXON — The U.S. Marshals Service will sell the remainder of the Rita Crundwell herd of quarter horses — more than 300 — via a live and Web simulcast auction in Dixon on Sunday and Monday, starting at 11 a.m. each day.

The auction will be held at the RC Ranch in Dixon, where a news conference was held today to showcase the horses.

Crundwell, 59, was among the leading breeders of quarter horses in the U.S. Formerly the comptroller of Dixon, Crundwell has been federally charged with wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois. Crundwell’s indictment charges her with fraudulently obtaining more than $53 million from the city since 1990 and using the proceeds to finance her horse breeding business and lavish lifestyle.

Auction details

Live auction: Sept. 23-24 at Rita Crundwell’s farm, 1556 Red Brick Road, Dixon. The auction is open to the public. Information on the horses being put up for sale will be made available ahead of the auctions.

Contact: Professional Auction Services, 800-240-7900 or

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