A Surprise Happy Ending
By Pauline Stotsenburg of Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH)
2013 a Walking Horse, his pasterns covered in scars from years of chemical abuse and the use of chains, making it impossible to pass the inspections associated with the Horse Protection Act, is dumped by his owners.
Sold in the parking lot of a Kentucky auction, then taken to a sale in Tennessee and sold to a known killer buyer, he was hauled to a sale in Pennsylvania . There he was spotted , wearing his big lick package, in a pen where horses with no future were kept before being auctioned.
It is against the federal law to sell a horse with scars from soring practices at a public sale. A USDA investigation was initiated. He was given his name, Dutch, because of the Pennsylvania connection.
The battered gelding was taken to a local rescue and examined by veterinarians. The scars and condition of his feet were documented. It appeared he had been subjected to pressure shoeing. Scurffing of his skin was evidence of chemical applications.
After a year, the USDA issued warnings to the people involved in the sales. The auction houses received warnings. The original owners escaped detection. USA Today was interested in Dutch’s story and he made national news. What happened to him then?
Unlike other Walking Horses that have been dumped, Dutch’s story has a happy ending. He was adopted into a forever home. His physical and emotional needs are met. Part of a five horse herd, he has learned that it’s safe to leave the stall, the place where he spent most of his life, for adventures in the outdoors.
The scars remain; he has COPD; he will require supportive shoeing for the rest of his life. But, more importantly, he happily runs to greet visitors; he tosses his feed pan back and forth with his stall cleaner; he is addicted to Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns. Dutch is a bit of a clown.
In his 20s, he lives joyfully and abundantly. Part of an animal trust, he will be buried at home when that time comes. He will never be exploited again. The next part of Dutch’s life will be better than the first.
He is the living example of why the PAST Act must be enacted. PAST will end the soring, stacking, and chaining used to produce unnatural gaits for the show ring and increase penalties for violators. It takes a call to your representative and senators to make a difference for all the other horses like Dutch, the ones that are waiting for soring to be stopped forever.