I hope you take a second to read this story about a very special horse I met a few days ago by total chance. Trooper (as ive named him deservingly) is a very BIG boy standing at a true 19 hands. We are not entirely sure what his past consists of before winding up at a notorious carriage company in a popular north ga mountain town-white county to be exact (you do the math). It is quite clear that he was over worked, under fed, and his feet completely ignored. Basically, this horse pulled carts on the pavement until he could no longer be seen pulling a buggy in his poor condition and health. At that point he was sold and discarded and was bought by a local horse trader who buys and sells frequently to auctions, where kill buyers are regulars. He has given me permission to be honest and tell Trooper’s story, while giving me the opportunity to raise necessary funds to essentially bail him out before he heads to auction in Tennessee this coming Saturday. It is gut wrenching to think about him being sold at auction to god knows where. I am also using this as an opportunity to generate attention on the plight of horses in the carriage industry. If nothing else at least Trooper will hopefully open that dialogue for more horses like him right here in our own home state. Go fund me is something I generally steer clear of, but I haven’t slept since Saturday knowing that I could possibly do SOMETHING for this horse.
We have no way of knowing how long it had been since trooper carried a rider on his back or if he even knew how, the carriage company said he was broke to ride but you never know in these circumstances.....and there was only one way to find out! I have a solid amount of experience with large draft breeds and have worked with quite a few large horses in my day. Size usually does not rattle me as i have ridden/owned and been in the show ring on 18 hand Warmbloods, but I was not prepared to be as intimidated as I was standing next to this giant. To be honest I was very nervous about climbing up and initially did not want to. I should also add that I didn’t have a bridle or bit large enough for him so we rigged up a rope halter and said a prayer! To my amazement this horse was an absolute gentleman in every way, he was so easy and kind and did not put a foot wrong. He even expressed interest in the lake when we arrived at the shoreline so off we went for a swim!!! I have never experienced anything like it in my life and I can’t begin to explain the howls of laughter and happiness coming from me as we cruised through the water. I couldn’t believe how comfortable he made me feel about his immense size and how honest he was. It was an incredible experience and such a privilege to spend time with and cross paths with this equine. I feel compelled to do SOMETHING for him in an attempt to improve his standard of living and provide him with a secure fate. He needs a way out of the cycle that has befallen him, and many do not get this chance.
While I appreciate the stellar mentality of most of my fellow horse professionals and the quality care that they provide their horses on our side of the industry, sometimes we get comfortable and forget that bad things are happening to a lot of horses in other avenues of the business. I am certain that Trooper could aid in creating awareness for other horses in his same circumstance. It is so painfully important to always remember that horses are not in charge of their own fate, we are. We must be responsible and do better every day.
Southern Gait apparel is also working on a project currently called "Every horse" that will give back to local rescues and bring about awareness for "Every Horse" that is at risk of winding up in the slaughter pipeline, while also sharing their story. Pulling horses from auctions/dealers is a double-edged sword because we are essentially funding them to go find another horse to fill the spot. "Every Horse" wants to aid in rescuing these horses but is also VERY concerned with killing the supply of unwanted horses by educating and creating awareness of how easily a beloved horse can wind up at auction. More importantly we want to take on the issue of irresponsible breeding because this is a GIANT factor contributing to this grim predicament. Fighting towards drastically reducing the number of horses sent to slaughter through education, donation and awareness is the ultimate goal. It is an issue that has has become very important to me and is now hitting close to home as I will be relocating to an area very close to an auction ground where kill buyers are regulars.
Thank you all so much for taking a minute to read about Trooper. The short term plan is to get him away from his current life style for good. His long-term plan consists of proper rehab/rest and slowly bringing him back to condition holistically. This horse has every ability to lead a normal life as a trail horse, and should never have to pull a cart again. Trooper is only 11 years old and deserves a fighting chance, especially when he can be championing this cause for his fellow horse mates still in need. Trust me- he would do the job very well. I did not plan to cross paths with this horse, but I did. There are so many in need and at the very least please share this post relentlessly to bring attention to EVERY HORSE in the same situation.
Alexa & Trooper.
Disclaimer: the dealer who purchased this horse from the carriage company in no way contributed to the current body condition of this horse. This horse was neglected and underfed by the CARRIAGE company in white county georgia.
- Anita Pratt
- Anne Butfiloski
- Lisa Bertolini
- Liz Underwood
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