Starberry is bold and bright, yet soft and curious. She’s smart as a whip and can be a little cheeky. A contrarian, she likes to say no when asked to do something, then changes her mind in a minute. She walks away, then peers coyly back at you, yearning for connection. Starberry possesses a steely quality that enabled her to survive tragedy, but she has come to understand that humans can be trusted. She is elegant, inquisitive, strong, spirited, and fiercely loyal to those she loves.
This graceful Polish Arabian mare was born in 1998. Before she arrived at the sanctuary, she was known as Strawberry by adoring residents and visitors to Big Sur. For seventeen years, she roamed the fields near Pfeiffer Beach with her sister, Caroline. In August of 2020, these beloved mares fell victim to an atrocious act of animal cruelty that caused 3rd-degree burns and nerve damage. Sea Star Horse Sanctuary offered emergency veterinary care and lifetime sanctuary for both horses. The owners elected to euthanize Caroline and relinquish Strawberry.
When Strawberry arrived at the sanctuary, she was injured, traumatized, and dazed. As soon as she stepped off the trailer, our oldest mare, Jane, rushed to her side. Strawberry needed a friend to help her adjust to her new surroundings and recover from the loss of her sister. In the beginning, Strawberry was fiercely protective of Jane, standing between her and anyone who tried to approach. She was not about to let any harm come to her new companion. A sign of her healing was her willingness to give Jane more space as she regained her strength and confidence.
At the sanctuary, Strawberry was surrounded with love, care, and protection. The community generously donated for her care. Veterinarians and volunteers wielded their healing skills to help her. She is adaptive and pays keen attention to her environment, so it did not take her long to find acceptance in the herd. This was critical for the sense of security and well-being that is only found in the company of other horses. In this healing cocoon, Strawberry metamorphosed into Starberry (as we call her today), a beautiful being who absolutely sparkles with life force.