Sunny : Queen of the Pastures Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Sunny Horizon Guest House Captain Cook Hawaii

Sunny is a special horse. Not just because she’s so special to us but also because she has an incredible pedrigree.

Her official name is ‘Mirasol’ which means ‘look at the sun’ and she has been with us since 1996, when she came to us from Rancho Del Sueño in California.

Sunny’s Family History

The interesting part of Sunny’s heritage is that it’s traceable to the original horses brought by the Spanish when they first came to the Americas.

Sunny Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island

Sunny is unique because she’s a Wilbur-Cruce Colonial Spanish horse. The Cruce horses are direct descendants of horses that came to the New World from Spain in the 1500s. In 1989 the horses on the Wilbur-Cruce ranch were identified as a rare, genetic type – DNA results pointed to their characteristics being ‘Old World Spanish’ and ‘North African Barb’. The original stock of the herd came from Father Kino’s Mission Dolores in Sonora, Mexico. The group of horses had been breed on the ranch for over 100 years prior, having been purchased by the ranch from the Mission.

In 1990 the Wilbur-Cruce family donated the horses to The Nature Conservancy and they, in turn, partnered with a number breeders including Robin Collins at Rancho Del Sueño (where Sunny was born) in order to protect the bloodlines. Since then, Robin has maintained the genetic diversity of the horses via a careful breeding program in order to preserve the integrity of these amazing horses.

Fun Fact! The Wilbur-Cruce horses look very similar to the horses found in a lot of Baroque-era art, and are in fact closer to the horses from this era than those found in Spain today.

https://stablemanagement.com/industry-news-information/spanish-treasures-arizona-cruce-colonial-spanish-horses-25107

Sunny Horizon Guest House Hawaii Big Island

Personality

The breed is known for its intelligence, agility and hardiness. Sunny is no exception. On the boat trip from California to Hawaii she was accompanied by a large herd of goats. The barge tender told me that in the course of the journey Sunny twice untied the latch on the gate and let the goats loose on the barge…

Fiercely competitive Sunny will always seek to be number one. If I’m riding with her in a group situation she will insist on riding in front and won’t be happy until she is!

Time to get new shoes!
Time to get new shoes!

Sunny and the Gang

After Sunny’s best friend, Buck, died a few years ago she decided to ‘adopt’ the donkeys Poncho and Lefty as her new friends – allowing them to keep her company…

She still rules the pastures – Poncho and Lefty know who’s boss – but Sunny is basically now retired. However, she will gladly snack on carrots from the guests and is always happy to have some attention if you just want to spend time petting her and, of course, reminding her of her distinguished pedigree!

Sunny Horizon BnB Kona Hawaii
Buck (left) and Sunny

Support the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

Interested in supporting the preservation of Sunny’s family? Rancho Del Sueño is the equine division of the Heritage Discovery Center, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the critically endangered Wilbur-Cruce Spanish horse.  Their mission is to save this amazing breed from extinction. To find out more about the great work the ranch does, and to support them, check out the link below. 

www.ranchodelsueno.com

And for more information on the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish horse:

https://stablemanagement.com/industry-news-information/spanish-treasures-arizona-cruce-colonial-spanish-horses-25107


For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request

 

Donkey Life: BFFs Poncho and Lefty Horizon Guest House – Captain Cook – Big Island – Hawaii

Donkey Big Island Hawaii B&B
Poncho and Lefty strike a pose

Over ten years ago we added to the Horizon animal family with the first of two donkeys. Poncho was the first addition and soon after we added Lefty. Both donkeys were born in the wild but were captured when they were young. They’re quite tame and love being fed with carrots by the guests.

They look so much alike that while we can’t be certain we’re pretty sure they’re twins! They’re inseparable and you’ll often find them grazing the pastures together at Horizon Guest House, with our horse Sunny not far behind. Sometimes Clem will let Poncho, Lefty and Sunny graze in the upper part of the garden where they like to come visit, keeping us company as we garden.

Donkey Big Island Hawaii Horizon BnB
Lefty

Donkeys don’t need to be shoed like horses. Donkeys tend to have tougher hooves. This is most likely because of their wild ancestor, the African Wild Ass, that evolved in dry, mountainous environments. Studies have shown that walking causes less internal stress to the hoof of the donkey than it does to that of horses. Though this doesn’t stop Poncho and Lefty from coming to hang out with Sunny when she gets her new shoes.

Did you know? Donkeys are smart. Not only is a donkey stronger than a horse of a smilier size, but donkeys have an amazing memory – they can recognise environments, as well as other donkeys, from more than twenty years prior. And just in case you thought donkeys looked less than alert, they’ve been shown to be safety conscious too – tests have proven a donkey will not do something it thinks is unsafe. Although, there was that time that Poncho and Lefty… wait – never mind. After all it wasn’t Poncho and Lefty who ended up in the swimming pool like Buck did…

Donkeys don’t like dogs so much and this might be an evolutionary hangover. It’s been suggested that to a donkey a dog resembles a wolf and therefore remains a threat. Donkeys will often protect the herd from anything it considers to be dangerous, whether that herd includes other donkeys, horses, sheep or goats.

Donkey Big Island Horizon B&B
Lefty checking in with Gary the Goat

Origins of donkeys on the Big Island of Hawaii

Originally brought to Hawaii as work animals on coffee farms and agricultural plantations, their population soon increased and wild donkeys were, until relatively recently, a common sight.

Wandering over the Big Island unchecked for almost the last 40 years, it was only in 2016 that the Humane Society had a big drive to place the remainder of these donkeys into safe, happy homes, either here on the Big Island or even on the mainland. Wild donkeys can be challenging to train so it was a requirement that all those that adopted donkeys could provide ample space and social contact for the animal.

And the key requirement of adopting a donkey? You’ve got to have two! Donkeys are incredibly social animals, so if they can’t have another donkey to keep them company then another animal is a must.

Make time during your stay to visit with our farm animals – they love the company, a scratch under the chin and a friendly pat, and of course a vegetable snack! We always have something on hand to feed them, just ask Clem and he’ll be happy to introduce you to BFFs Poncho and Lefty as well as Horizon’s other domesticated residents.

Donkey Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B
The whole gang! Sunny taking some time out while Poncho and Lefty stand by

 


 

For more details on Horizon Guest House:

• Check out our suites here

• Information on our rates are available here

• To make a booking use our contact form to make a reservation request