They soon bought a bigger sailboat and decided to spend the Thanksgiving holidays on it in Florida. It was then they started to see that people could actually “live” on their boats. They started talking with year-round “boatsteaders,” researched the lifestyle of being on the water year-round, and discovered that there’s an entire “cult” of people who do this. In 2006 Sami and Barry took the bait and made a big lifestyle change that started a whole chain of events to fall into place. They sold their Landrum farm, rehomed the horses, Sami retired from her job, they bought an even bigger boat, and made the decision to become one with the sea. Okay two with the sea. They were soon living a new life on the water. Barry, a college professor, was able to continue teaching as long as they had an Internet signal…and they learned to seek those out.
Even with the services of an equine vet donating his time and using his own money to help the effort, they were unable to capture the mare at the right time to collect the eggs. ViaGen, a company specializing in cloning special animals was providing the special collection kit needed to store whatever they could obtain and the kits had to be refreshed constantly in order to have the proper storage solution.
It finally came down to getting the vet on scene as Nunki was living her last hours. The vet and ViaGen were working together on what to do next and in this case that involved getting a clipping of Nunki’s ear once she died. This had to be placed in the solution and then there was only so much time left to get the tissue back across the preserve, to a boat, to a jet, and to the lab in the U.S. On top of that, there’s this thing called Bahamian government red tape. With just minutes to spare, the government gave its okay to leave the island with the preserved specimen and the USDA gave its approval to have it enter the US, and the final chance to preserve this breed was on the plane to the ViaGen lab where it would be kept in the proper environmental conditions.
The possibilities are real. It could happen. What is mostly standing in the way now is money. There is a non-profit organization set up for donations and every bit helps. Of course, a few large donors could make this happen now.
Mimi is still down on the Abaco Islands maintaining the preserve in hopes of bringing a brand-new Abaco Island Horse home for good. And then another and another until a small herd can preserve the species. She has given a quarter-century of her life and her money to this cause. She needs help to change this from a possibility to a reality. Sami is committed to helping in anyway she can. Just imagine how equine history could be changed. Sami Bolton wants to be a part and you can too! It can happen. It needs to happen. It has to happen.
More to Know:
Sami and Barry moved back home (here in the foothills) about a year ago. Sami is very active locally. She’s on the board of the Foothills Humane Society and volunteers with TROT (Therapeutic Riding of Tryon). Sami invites you to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on saving the Abaco Island Horse and how you can help. You might be able to convince her to tell you everything I’ve had to leave out. You can also check out www.ArkWild.org for additional information on the Abaco Island Horse.
...retired in 2017 from a life of work, mostly in education. I decided it was time to stop commuting and stay at home a while. Foothills Faces is meant to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..