Have You Ever Found a Stray Horse?
Stretching awake in the early morning hours a few days ago, my husband noticed that the horses were calling out more than usual. Money was squealing and carrying on, so he went to investigate. That’s when Eddie noticed the strange horse loose in the yard.
A big bay beauty was prancing back and forth, touching noses with Money and pawing at the fence. We rushed outside to try to catch this mysterious horse. With cookies in hand and a halter and leadrope over my shoulder, I set out towards the field after Eddie.
The horse was very frightened when we approached him. After closer inspection of the horse, we realized he was a stallion. He did not let us get close enough to touch him, only close enough to eat a treat before running off in the other direction. After several unsuccessful attempts at catching the horse, we decided to call some backup. Eddie went to call the neighbors and Animal Control while I went and awakened our closest neighbor to ask him to help out.
After an hour of chasing the “wild” stallion around our yard, Animal Control finally came. I was relieved because I thought they officer was going to help us catch this frightened horse. The stallion was frantically running up and down the fence line, occasionally trying to jump into the field with our mares. The officer walked towards us, snapped a photo of the stallion with his phone, and left us with the animal to go and try to find the owner.
Although I was shocked that he did nothing to help us catch the horse, I didn’t have time to worry about that. It was up to me. We had tried herding him, tempting him with grain, feeding him treats, and even just chasing him to wear him out. None of it was working. I decided to try something different.
With just a rope and a treat, I practiced a give-and-take approach. I would walk towards his shoulder and based on his reaction either continue forward, stop, or turn and walk away. Soon I was able to get close enough to let him sniff my hand. After he sniffed me, it was only about five minutes before I was able to fasten a rope around his neck.
I tried to put a halter on him next, but he shied away from me and cantered off. After he calmed down again, I was able to approach him. I chanted, “Shh, shh, shh, easy boy,” in a low tone as I stroked his cresty neck. I tried to halter him again, but he ran. Finally, I was able to slip the halter on and he was caught!
It was immediately apparent that the stallion did not know how to be led. After some circling and coaxing, we managed to lead him from the yard to the quarantine paddock on the other side of the house. We gave him some hay and water and he settled right down. I was able to do a brief evaluation on him once he was contained. The stallion appeared to be a 2-3 year old Quarter Horse. He did not seem to be halter broke at all, but he was very friendly and curious.
The rest of the day was spent trying to locate the owner of the stray stallion to no avail. I spoke to Animal Control, my vet, and others throughout the day. By the next morning, the owner found us!
The owner gladly surrendered the stallion to CVHR because she didn’t want him anymore. He had been loose several times and was becoming too much for her to handle. Now, the stallion is being fostered with us while we get him cared for and trained.
We have been trying for a couple of days to name the stallion. I think we’ve decided on the name Derecho, after the unusual storm we had in our area just a few days before he appeared on our farm.
In the meantime, we are trying to raise funds for the stray stallion’s vetting and care. He has never been vetted or had a farrier work on his feet. His shots, coggins, gelding surgery, and hoof trimming is going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500.
CVHR is trying to raise funds for the gelding surgery and is working towards starting a Great Geldings program. If you would like to help CVHR, donations are greatly appreciated via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are also needed to get the gelding program underway!
Stay tuned for more updates on Derecho!