Archive for the ‘Shelby’s Plight’ Category



Shelby has officially been adopted this weekend to Beth Phillips at New Visions Farm here in Weeki Wachee, Florida.  For those who are not familiar with Shelby,

Shelby is a Kiger Mustang who came to us a few months back wild and untouchable.  Beth took Shelby in just a few weeks back to work with her on a one on one basis.  Since then, Beth has been able to get a halter on Shelby, gave her shots, and has been able to touch and interact with her.  She is making great progress with Shelby and Shelby is being very receptive to her.

As much as Bob loves Shelby and wanted to keep Shelby for his own, he knows that Shelby is in the best possible hands and has been given a great opportunity to have the best and live the best quality of life that she truly deserves.   Shelby is just 5 miles away, so we will visit her frequently and continue to keep everyone updated on her progress. 

Thank you Beth for all of the help you have given us and for the work you have done and are doing with Shelby.  Shelby could not have received a better gift than what you are giving her through human touch.  It is never about what we want personally, but truly what is best for these animals.  We would not exist without the help and teamwork that we have received from the community that supports our efforts and lend a helping hand.  It is ALL about the Domino Effect!!


God is Good!!! 


Dinelle Ashcraft

Domino Effect Rescue Ranch
“People Helping Animals Helping People”
Robert & Dinelle Ashcraft
10370 Snowbird Avenue
Weeki Wachee, Florida 34614

Read Full Post »

Shelby’s First Vet Visit

Cindy Fallness came out today as planned for Shelby’s first vet visit.  Before Cindy and Brad showed up, we were blessed with Leslie Grime Cook showing up to help out with Shelby’s transition.  We spent 2 hours today, first introducing a sedative into Shelby’s food, which she promptly ate with no problem. 

Bob states   “What a BEAUTIFUL girl Shelby is. She has such wonderful confirmation. She suspects nothing, but is curious as to why all attention is on her. :)”

Bob States  “You can definitely see that we had Shelby’s full attention.”

After waiting for 45 minutes to see if the sedative was going to take affect, we saw that there was no change whatsoever in Shelby’s demeanor, it was like she just ate plain food.

Bob States  ” Once we gave her the sedation in her feed we headed to the rear paddock to pull coggins on the 4 emaciated TB’s. Shelby was too intent on us to be able to eat comfortably.”

This was when we decided to undo 3 sections of the breakdown, formed a triangle around Shelby, and locked it down. 

This made Shelby extremely fearful, as she just started trembling and breathing heavy, but at no point did she ever try to be aggressive to any of us. 

Bob did a little desensitizing with the lead rope, throwing it across Shelby’s back, running it back and forth, pulling it off, and putting it back on, so that Shelby would understand that it was not hurting her. 

Bob, Cindy, and Brad, all three posted on the side of the breakdown.  This pushed Shelby to Bob’s side since Bob has become Shelby’s safe haven and has gained a lot of her trust.  Bob eventually was able to lie hands on Shelby’s back gently rubbing her to reassure her.  It took a little bit, but he gained her trust enough to rub the side of her neck. 

Bob States  “After rubbing Shelby’s sides and the side of her neck for a bit to see if she would allow Cindy closer, I decided I was going to need to have control of Shelby. Every time Cindy stepped closer, Shelby went into panic mode. So I made a lariat of a lead to place around Shelby’s neck.”

Bob States  “I kept the lead wrapped around the panel for my safety. Shelby is EXTREMELY powerful. I had to be able to control the speed in her pulling back, so that I wouldn’t get injured in the process.”

Any movement from anybody else automatically spooked Shelby and sent her into a panic.  This is when Bob decided that he had to devise a way to get a halter on Shelby to have more control of holding her, so that Cindy may approach her without her panicking and retreating from her.

After a short time of this, Shelby was content with standing still to where Bob and Cindy were able to get the lead rope around to where Bob could form a noose around Shelby’s neck. 

Bob was able to pull Shelby closer to him to where he could work with reaching out and touching her. 

Bob States  “I started trying to calm Shelby to see if I could possibly get a halter on her and the lead from around her neck. I felt as if the lead was a trigger to the memories of her past abuse.”

At first she began to panic, but soon relaxed just a minor bit.  Bob asked Cindy to slowly approach her to see if they could work on building Shelby’s trust and having both of them close to her, but it was not working. 

Bob States  “We contained her to where Cindy could scratch Shelby, but she wasn’t letting Cindy near her neck.”

Shelby immediately would go into panic mode.  It is important that you understand just how stressed and fearful Shelby was.  While she was standing there idle, water was running down her neck, down her sides, down her legs, and out of her pores like a faucet.  You could clearly see just how stressed out she was. 

Bob States  “Look at the sweat running down Shelby!  She was so stressed out and at times in panic mode. You could watch the beads of sweat exiting her pores and running down her neck, sides. and legs like a water faucet. Here, I was introducing her halter to her. When I moved it up towards her she immediately freaked and went into an extreme panic! I worked to calm her down and removed the lead.”

Everybody backed away, but Bob.  Bob was rubbing her sides, her neck, and the sides of her face.  Bob even got up to where he was rubbing her forehead between her eyes.

Bob States  “I will say that today I made some wonderful breakthroughs with Shelby. She wants to let me into her circle so bad, but she has to conquer her fears on her own. She cannot be forced!”

At the same time, he was telling her, shhhh, it is okay baby, calm down.  At one point Bob got her calmed down enough that he wanted to see if he could get her introduced to the halter.  When Bob stuck the halter in front of her so she could smell it, again Shelby went into panic mode.  Bob was standing on the breakdown corral.  Shelby lifted the Bob and the breakdown corral off the ground.  Shelby tried to retreat from Bob, but he had the lead around her neck so that she couldn’t get away, but she did kick the breakdown corral bending 2 of the lower pipes.

Cindy and Bob in agreeance decided that this route was being just too dramatic for Shelby. 

Bob States  “We decided that the only way to proceed with Shelby’s first vet visit was to hire a vet with a tranquilizer gun for out of control or runaway horses. It needs to be done from a distance without causing all of the initial stress.”

Bob was able to calm Shelby down, so that he could get his hand up to her neck and release the lead.  Shelby was free again.  After 2 hours of calmly and slowly trying to work with Shelby to be able to inject a sedative and muscle relaxer into her neck to lie her down, Bobby and Cindy decided that the only way this is going to work was with a tranquilizer gun to where we do not have to pull Shelby to us and hold her to tranquilize her, but can be done from a short distance. 

In the end, I believe that Bob will win Shelby’s trust and she will be an awesome horse for Bob. 

Bob States  ” Shelby wasn’t mad at me, which I am very thankful for. She would still come up close to me and showed me her willingness to try and trust.  Dinelle had no problem getting her attention, as you can see her looking around the panel at Dinelle and the camera.”

We are not certain that Shelby will every trust anyone else to be close to her and to touch her, as she trust Bob to, only time and patience will tell.  As for now, we know that we have to devise a new plan on how to proceed with Shelby’s first vet visit.  With 2 hours of our time and patience today and $70.00 to compensate Dr. Cindy, we are now on to plan B.  If anyone knows a vet equipped with a tranquilizer gun for a runaway or out of control horses, we would deeply appreciate this information to further assist us in Shelby’s plight.

Dinelle Ashcraft


Domino Effect Rescue Ranch.

“People Helping Animals Helping People”

Robert & Dinelle Ashcraft.

10370 Snowbird Avenue

Weeki Wachee, Florida 34614

(352) 596-3104

Read Full Post »

The History Behind Shelby’s Plight

In 1996 Bearclaw’s friend told us about a Mustang that the preacher we got Misty (Arabian) from wanted to “get rid of”. We were told he couldn’t do anything with her. We had no idea what that meant, but we went to see her. When we got there he had 2 Mustangs in the barn, one much smaller and very tame and then “BIG RED” who we later named Shelby. She was in a very large open pen and she paced nervously the whole time we were there. She was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen. I knew very little about horses and trusted my husband when he said he could train her. The preacher said he got her from a police officer in Daytona Beach. He also said we would have to tranquilize her to get her loaded, because she was too “dangerous.”

We went home and called Ms. Fussell at the feed store and she gave us the number for Dennis Ford and said he could tranquilize her and get her loaded. Dennis went with us and shot her with a dart, it didn’t calm her, so he did it again. They got her from the pen to the back of the trailer and she just stood there and trembled, you could see the sweat coming out of her pores. I cried, but was told it wasn’t hurting her. She was soaked with sweat by the time they coaxed her into stepping up into the trailer. It all took at least 2 hours.

We got her home and let her free in the pasture to get used to it. It took a few days before she would eat her feed and then only if Bearclaw would back way off. I would sit in my lawn chair and watch her and talk to her. Over the next months I slowly got my chair closer and closer to her. After a few months Bearclaw roped her but couldn’t hold on and got dragged. Our dog would grab hold of the end of the rope and get her to stop. Bearclaw thought this was good because the dog moved the rope around her legs and after awhile she wasn’t spooked by it. It was only a few weeks before she had the rope off. His plan was to rope her again and tie her to a pole till she “got the fight out of her.”

Meanwhile I was reading about “gentling” a Mustang and started telling him that was how I wanted it done, Not the old cowboy way that he knew. I learned all I could and had him build me the round ring and started feeding her in it. I still sat in a chair and even got right beside her feed with my hand in her dish. We took turns free lunging her, him doing it when I had to work. I did it with a coiled rope in my hand. with a lunge whip and with just my hands over a length of about a year. Couldn’t get her to join up. Closest I could get back then was about 10 feet. Bearclaw gave up and said she was a lost cause, only good for pasture buddy. I couldn’t give up and kept at it a few days a week for the next years. She was real good at following hand signals and watched me all the time, but I knew she needed more of my time and I just couldn’t do more because of my work schedule and my health.

Then about 2 years ago we got a phone call from Dennis Ford wanting to know if he could train Shelby for the Mustang Makeover. He charged us 400$ plus her feed and kept her for 2 months. He never let us visit her so I don’t know what exactly he did, but he brought her back and said “She’s the scaredest horse I’ve ever seen.” The day he brought her back he worked her in the round ring and would walk up and rub her on her shoulder and brush her on the neck and shoulder. He said she liked being brushed. I was thrilled and thought I could continue where he left off and got some teaching from him.

I still couldn’t touch her. She didn’t run but would back up or walk away when I got about 5-6 feet from her. This went on for months, then I was really getting concerned about her feet and needing shots. I started looking for another trainer and unfortunately found Richard Wilder. He charged 600$ a month, but agreed to train at our house. He did a lot of desensitizing with a pole and I thought he was doing good with gentling her, never saw him do anything to harm her. After a few months he talked me into him taking her to his place “so he could spend more time with her.” I took feed and watched him once a week and he could signal her to go to a corner of her pen where he worked her, she did well, but I noticed her dropping weight and he told me she was more healthy at a leaner weight. After a while he said he was going to get a halter on her so he could control her head, he wouldn’t tell me how he was going to do this. I was sick and didn’t get to go back for a few weeks, but he told me he was making great progress.

By the time I got back to see her she was tied to a pole, standing quietly. He went and untied her, rubbed her on her forehead and shoulders and led her around on a lead. Although I was happy that he got her to do this I was mortified at what she looked like. I could see her ribs and her hipbones and she was raw around her neck and on her front legs. I went into the enclosure and touched her for the first and only time and told her I was so sorry and would get her out of there TODAY! Thats was when he told me that he had tied a pole to her and had her drag it till she exhausted herself and fell down. That’s how he got the halter and lead on her. Then he tied her out and let her fight till she gave up. He said Bearclaw said it was ok (old cowboy way).

She came home that day and when she got out of the trailer she bolted and wouldn’t come near me. The lead rope she had attached to her halter got caught on a tree a few weeks later and she broke it. I didn’t see this, but my husband did and he said she broke the rope before he could get there to cut it loose. This was about a year ago. It took months for her to be comfortable with me in the ring with her again. And I started over, but my husband said she had to go because he had tried to ride his horse and she got upset and ran through the fence. Thankfully it was a cross fence and she didn’t get out. He said if she ever got out she would be impossible to catch and animal control would put her down. That was when I started looking to rehome her.

I never wanted to give up on her but felt like since 2 different trainers could touch her and I couldn’t that maybe she would be better off with someone else that understood Mustangs. Me loving her had just caused her trauma. Although I( got advise, no one else seemed to want her. I called Mustang Rescues and was told that they were too full. Then finally last month I found we had to move and couldn’t take her. Bearclaw said if I didn’t find a place for her he was going to put her down. That’s when I begged for help on the Facebook group “Free horses in Florida” and the rest you know.

Kelly Blevins got in touch with me and got her to the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch. Finally Shelby is with someone who loves her like me….I never wanted to give her up, but I know she truly belongs to Bob…I saw the look in her eyes when she looks at him, yes I’m a little jealous but more happy for her than that. Oh and she loves Native American flute! In the beginning that was how she calmed down.

Hope this gives you enough background.


Skye E.

The pictures below are Shelby with her first trainer, Dennis Ford, back in 2009.

Shelby joined us here at the Domino Effect Rescue Ranch on May 30, 2012.

A Facebook friend inquired how Bob got Shelby to the ranch “I am curious, how did you get her to the ranch? Just curious”

One Facebook friend, Karen replied “It was amazing! OK I know I will over simplify it! But….He made a “run” between the the pen and the trailer. Asked Shelby to go to the left and then the right (Or the other way) and then told Shelby that any time she wanted to be done in the round pen to hop on the trailer. 🙂 She was happy to oblige him and it was a stress free event :)”

Bob replied “Karen has pretty much summed it up. My first thought was I needed to get Shelby moving her feet. I kept her in a semi-circle using half of the roundpen crossing back and forth to the opening out. I added more pressure, rapidly moving her back and forth across the exit. As Karen said, simply stating, “Shelby, the only way to get away from the pressure is to load up.” 🙂 As if she knew what I was saying, she did just that. She was loaded 3 minutes after I walked into the roundpen.”

Meet Shelby Shelby is a 11-year-old, wild, BLM Mustang.

She has never been bathed, groomed, feet trimmed, teeth floated, shots, etc., but she is one hot babe. Shelby had a trainer in her past who thought that he could break her by tying a rope around her neck and around logs making her pull them around to break her down, body and spirit. This scarred her neck where the rope was pulled tight and you can see in the pictures the white line around her neck where the white hair has grown back where she is permanently scarred. She has her BLM freezebrand and hopefully one day soon she will let us close enough to see it. Shelby is very timid, but will let you walk within reach of her without bucking or kicking. Bob is excited to start working with her and we look forward to seeing her make good progress. We will keep you updated weekly. If she is this beautiful at dusk, she will be a knockout with the sun blazing on her mane.


Shelby’s First Day

Bob walked in and out of her space, getting closer and then stepping away. She was able to relax if his immediate attention was not directly on her.

Bob paced the yard in front of her, gaining her trust and showing her there was no threat. She kept her eyes focused.

Its like she was copying everything he did. When he walked, she walked the other way like they were playing a game. Then he closed his eyes and she did too

This was Shelby’s first day here and she was already learning to trust Bob. This was the closest he came to her, which was GREAT progress for just one day.

Skye F. There’s that look I fell in love with! She has the kindest eyes. I’m amazed that Bob can do in one day what it took me years to do. She is definitely with the right person. You can see that she wants to join up & I know she will with him. I’m so happy!!!!!

Shelby’s Second Day

Robert Delaney Ashcraft says “Day 2 was very busy for me Shelby. I’m sorry we missed our date today, but tomorrow is ultimately devoted to you Darliin. I saw the intent gaze that you had in your eyes while I unloaded that pallet of feed. I can’t help but wonder, was it me or the feed? :)”

Robert Delaney Ashcraft says “I had an awesome time working with you today Shelby! You are getting more comfortable and VERY inquisitive! Tomorrow we will get more photos of your progress. Your coat will get shinier, Your tone will improve as we work together, and very soon we are taking care of you medical needs along with your grooming needs. It will only get better from here! Trust me Darl’in…”

Shelby’s Fourth Day‎

On Shelby’s fourth day, Bob offeres her an apple.

He wins the prize, as he gets within 2 feet of her. There is no contact at this point, but her trust is building.

Bob had a great day with Shelby, until our neighbor, Tom Logsdon, stepped in to interfere and spook Shelby.  Shelby’s time with Bob was done for the day, as we didn’t feel that it was healthy to spook Shelby when we were trying to teach her to trust.  Another man’s games can cause a hazardous environment when working with a wild horse, none of which was grounds we were willing to risk.

Shelby’s Sixth Day

On Shelby’s Sixth Day, Bob invited her into his space.

Robert Delaney Ashcraft  “Okay Shelby, now I have you up in the front in the Quarantine pen.  Tom Logsdon will have to trespass on our property to interfere with our time together. Then he will HAVE to deal with me personally!  Just as every jealous man in my past has!!!” “CAREFUL WHEN TREADING ON ANOTHER MANS TURF”

June 11, 2012:  “Bob moved Shelby last week from the back paddock to the front paddock where she now will have complete privacy and be closest to us.  She is in a smaller area temporarily where Bob can get closer to her in a smaller space and where others can approach her on the outside of the breakdown coral without actually entering her space.  We are hoping that the combination of this will help her adapt to people coming and going past her, the motion of vehicles and other noices of every day living, helping her to adjust to those being in and out of her space, and seeing us frequently.  We will be running a Fundraiser here shortly in the near future to cover her veterinarian expenses.  Her first trip visit will be quite extent, as under sedation, she will get her shots, coggins, and teeth floating, along with trimming her hooves, and grooming out her matted tail.  This first trip will be quite extensive and we will need outside assistance to help us cover this.  We hope that through this opportunity of being this close to her and having hands on as she is coming out of sedation, will also will reduce her fear level after experiencing the human touch ♥”

On June 12, 2012, we started Shelby’s first fundraiser to raise money for her extensive, first vet visit.

Shelby’s First Vet Visit

Domino Effect

We need your assistance with Shelby’s first veterinarian trip visit, as it will be quite extensive. Under sedation, she will get her shots, coggins, and teeth floating, along with trimming her hooves, and grooming out her matted tail. This first trip we will cover a lot of ground and will catch her up on things that have never been done before in the first 11 years of her life. We hope that through this opportunity of being this close to her and having hands on, as she is under sedation, will also reduce her fear level after experiencing the human touch and will set the foundation of her learning to trust. ♥

We appreciate any amount that you can help us towards her upcoming vet visit. We encourage you to join us on Shelby’s Plight, so that you too can follow her progress here in the future months.

We thank you for your support!!!

Below is the Fundrazer link, which sends ALL payments of support directly to PayPal.


When we have successfully raised the funds for Shelby’s First Vet Visit, we will schedule our vet to come out, along with several volunteers to take care of her teet floating, hooves trimmed, shots, coggins, and grooming out her mane and tail while she is under sedation. We will document the event and share it with you here on this page, along with sharing it in Shelby’s Plight, here on our Facebook page. We will give you weekly updates on Shelby’s progress as we follow her through the next few months.

We thank you for following Shelby’s Plight and your support in our mission!!!

Dinelle Ashcraft

Domino Effect Rescue Ranch.
“People Helping Animals Helping People”

Robert & Dinelle Ashcraft.
10370 Snowbird Avenue
Weeki Wachee, Florida 34614
(352) 596-3104

Read Full Post »