Stetson is a 26 year-old chestnut Thoroughbred gelding. We were originally contacted about Stetson last June when his owner called us asking to help her find a home for him. Stetson had been owned by a local trainer but he started tripping while being ridden. A vet diagnosed him as being neurological, and said he should not be ridden, so he could no longer be used in her program.
When we picked him up at that time, he was thin and his coat was dull. He was also diagnosed as being cushinoid, but he was not being given any medication, nor was he being fed correctly for a horse with that diagnosis.
Horses like Stetson make us so sad because they have done their job and are kind and patient, and still end up being in danger of being sent to auction or slaughter or just suffer from neglect.
Stetson was a good horse who made his owner a lot of money.
When he was no longer able to work for her, he was cast aside. Although we understand that people have businesses to run, and that horses are expensive, we cannot but wonder why some trainers do not have long-term solutions for the horses who make their business successful.
Stetson landed a home…temporarily.
We found a wonderful woman who took Stetson as a companion horse for her Tennessee Walker, but they did not get along, and Stetson did not like being left alone while she took her other horse out on trail.
The woman asked us to help find Stetson a home that would be a better fit, and although we networked him for several months, we could not find anyone who was willing to take him on. In the meantime, she made sure he got his medication and tried to get his weight back up by feeding him watered-down pellets. She has also offered to continue to pay for Stetson’s medication while he is at Hanaeleh.
Stetson comes to live at Hanaeleh
With the recent loss of Bear, we had a space open and Stetson was at the top of our waiting list.
He was local to our facility, so we decided to walk him over instead of trying to trailer him over. Three of us walked Rio down to see Stetson, as we thought that Stetson would be more likely to leave his home without a fuss if he had a horsie friend to follow.
It worked very well, and although he seemed very concerned throughout the entire 1/2 mile walk, he followed Rio diligently. In fact, he was so attached to Rio after that short walk that he would not leave Rio’s side even when we were at Hanaeleh and he was able to see other horses. We actually had to get Rio to lead Stetson up to his stall and put Rio in the stall next to make Stetson feel more comfortable.
Stetson is still thin, but we have him on a diet that should help him gain weight more rapidly. He doesn’t like being alone in the arena, but he has settled down quite a bit in just the past few days, and seems to enjoy having a number of horses around him as neighbors.
Stetson is getting his feet trimmed on Thursday as they are a little long. We’ll allow him a few weeks to settle in before we allow volunteers to work with him, but he seems very sweet and we think that he’ll quickly be a favorite horse to groom.
Please donate (it’s tax-deductible!) to help with Stetson’s care. We are 100% volunteer so every penny goes to Stetson!
Stetson Will Live Happily Ever After at Hanaeleh
Because of his history as a lesson horse, after he settles in we will also assess him to see if he would be a good fit for our Equine Assisted Coaching for Veterans program.
Stetson’s neurological issues prevent him from being ridden, but he can be turned out without any issue and enjoys running around the round pen and arena.
Overall, Stetson is a very sweet boy. We will take care of him and honor him for the service he has done for humans and make sure his remaining years are safe and happy.
Here’s Stetson (with Elizabeth) when he walked up to the ranch for the first time:
Notice Stetson’s buddy Rio, keeping a watch on his friend.
Here’s Stetson when he arrived in his new stall. He was calling out for Rio, his buddy who helped him travel to his new home (he didn’t realize Rio was just in the next stall).