Ortega Mountain Ranch

Apple and Stevie

From the moment we bought the ranch, I knew that I wanted to provide a home for a couple of rescued burros. I had never been around burros before, but there was something about them that I was drawn to. I felt that the ranch needed ‘burro energy’, so adopting burros was on my To Do list. But when you have a ranch your To Do list is so long that it reaches to the end of the valley, and I got caught up in a lot of the other To Do’s. Getting burros was constantly on my mind, but I never took steps to follow through. IMG_3416

Well, Kent did. For my Christmas gift in 2008, Kent gave me Apple and Stevie. And what a story they were.

Kent spoke with our friends Tom and Debbie Barkley of Barkley’s Freedom Mustang about where he could adopt a couple of rescued burros. Tom and Deb decided that they had the perfect pair for him. It was an honor that the Barkleys let Kent adopt the burros because they are very particular about whom they allow to adopt. In fact, they are so particular that I think we were some of the first people they ever let have any of their rescues!

Apple was a wild burro that the BLM had taken off the range. She had been adopted out to what sadly turned out to be an abusive home. Tom and Deb, who do follow-up inspections on BLM adoptions, confiscated her from the abusive environment. At the time that the Barkleys took her, she was so emaciated and weak that someone literally picked her up and put her in a truck to take her to the Barkley’s ranch.

Tom and Deb immediately began to give Apple the care that she needed, but they weren’t sure if she could recover. To make things even more difficult, they soon discovered that she was pregnant. Somehow she managed to survive and then to thrive. She gave birth to a son who they named Stevie.



When Kent adopted them, Apple was 6 years old and Stevie was 2 years old. Apple didn’t have

much use for humans. She had received love and care from the Barkleys, but prior to that she had first been taken from her home in the wild and then she was put into an abusive environment with these strange creatures called humans. She had no reason to trust anyone.

Stevie, on the other hand, knew nothing but love and attention. He is like a big dog. He would curl up in your lap if he could. He loves people, and he loves social interaction.


 Of course, when I received my Christmas gift of Apple and Stevie I was so excited. They are everything I had hoped for and more. They are such fun. They run and play together, and they are wonderful to interact with. Apple is coming out of her shell, and she has become not only accepting of people but even a little trusting. Stevie is smart and attentive and he wants to learn. Kent loves hanging out with them and he has given them good ground training. They are easy to care for and are the sweetest and most gentle creatures you could ever imagine.

Someday, maybe Apple will want to curl up in our laps too.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at ortegamtnranch@cox.net