Joker and Flirt’s Journey to Ruffian: Part 1

Joker and Flirt’s Journey to Ruffian: Part 1


Two of Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue therapy horses need your help! Joker and Flirt will head to Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialist in Elmont, NY for two big procedures this week. We are raising money to benefit these two beautiful souls as they are soon to receive medical attention to keep them healthy.  Any donation made will make an impact towards the procedures and recovery of these two gentle souls!

Joker is owner Marisa Striano’s personal trail horse turned therapy horse.  He is a 28 year old Gelded paint who suffers from EOTRH syndrome, also known as Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis, a disease resulting in destruction of incisors and canine teeth.  Although a slow progressive disease, it can result in chronic pain and swelling of affected tissue. In moderate cases, a plan for extraction is created to alleviate symptoms of the disease and restore full dental health. Fortunately, Joker is a healthy horse and should return to normal eating habits, almost immediately with a full recovery in two weeks. 

Joker is the last “OG” of the herd at Spirit’s Promise who started it all. He may be an older horse, but he’s a gentle soul who is young at heart and full of mischief!

Known as the “Casanova” of the barn, he’s quick to develop strong attachments to every mare that calls Spirit’s Promise home. His one true love, Diva, a young stunning Welch pony who returned to Spirit’s Promise  earlier this year  from a local lesson barn, has captivated his heart once again. 

Flirt, also known as “Dirty Flirty”, is as sassy and full of attitude as they come! A 19 year old varnished Appaloosa Mare, Flirt is known throughout the farm as the “Alpha Mare”, the fearless leader of the herd.  Originating from Orient Point, NY, Flirt experienced trauma witnessing her owner take her life in front of her stall.  That spot was selected with purpose to make sure Flirt wouldn’t be left alone.  Flirt was relocated to Double D Bar Ranch and then to her permanent home at Spirit’s Promise in 2016. 

Flirt suffers from Corneal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) of the right eye.  SCC is the most common type of cancer in horses affecting the eyelids, whites of the eyes and the cornea.  Luckily, SCC does not metastasize however can be locally destructive and invasive. Treatment for this type of cancer and at the stage in which it was discovered in Flirt is eye removal.  Her eye sight is compromised in her left as well with Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU). Despite Flirt's limited eyesight  she remains the “Alpha” and will have the support she needs from the herd as she navigates through learning to live with seeing from one eye.  She’s a kind soul.  Once loved by her you are locked in forever. 

This week Joker and Flirt, the “Hearts of Spirit’s Promise”, once herd mates, will get trailered together to Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialist for EOTRH surgery and enucleation of the right eye.  They will return home to us in Riverhead on Saturday to recover. 

We thank you in advance for any contribution towards helping our precious horses live out a comfortable retired life at Spirit’s Promise. 

Spirit's Promise is dedicated to the life of the horse and rescuing those in crisis. We rescue horses that have been abused, neglected, or left behind. When these beautiful animals arrive at Spirit's Promise, we give them new purpose by enabling them to help our fellow man. At Spirit's Promise horses get a second chance. They become our teachers, and we learn from them. Equine Empowerment Program Therapy Through our programs, students, special needs, recuperative, and senior groups are introduced to the concept of the horse as sentient, intelligent creatures, social amongst themselves and their human counterparts. We introduce them to the proper care and affection that all creatures deserve.

Help Us. Help Horses. Help People.

Stay tuned for an update about Joker and Flirt’s journey to Ruffian!


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Christina Perrone 
Riverhead, NY
Spirit's Promise Equine Rescue 
Registered nonprofit
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