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by Eileen P. Hollaway
Last year while my husband was out of town on a business trip, I fell in love. The object of my affection had large, expressive brown eyes, was tall with a broad chest, and weighed 1300 pounds. His name is Sunny Jetalito, a sorrel Tovero Paint Horse.
Sonny, as I call him, had at least two previous owners. His surrender to ERRI may have been due to his physical condition. He was diagnosed with ringbone and stringhalts, two degenerative diseases that restrict his ability to run and jump, therefore, not a good candidate for equestrian eventing. This did not stop me. Like many little girls, I had always wanted a pony, but because of the cost and not having any place to stable one, I was never able to have one. Now 40 plus years later my dream has come true. Since I am not into eventing, his physical problems are no problem.
First, I fostered him for a month to make sure that we were suited for each other and that I fully understood and accepted his physical limitations and the cost associated with horse ownership. This fostering program helps everyone who is seriously thinking of adopting a horse. You learn about the horse, his or her personality, medical, and farrier needs and understanding the dedication it takes to own a large animal. Horses are not like dogs or cats. Everything about a horse costs more. You need to make sure that the horse is right for you and you can AFFORD to keep him.
Since his adoption, I have been working with his physical conditioning. At first we just did, slow flat ring work and gradually we were able to work up to going up and down hills. Bringing back his muscle tone helped him to even work up to a trot. Now he has been seen galloping in the field with the rest of the geldings. He has even felt well enough to hop into the schooling ring to feed on the grass, which is always better on the other side of the fence.
Sonny is just one of many success stories ERRI can report. It is through the hard work and dedication of people like Debbie Frank, her daughter Rhonda Rollins, and the many hard working volunteers at ERRI that horses like Sonny have found new lives with people who care for them and understand any shortcomings the horse may have.
Rescues exist because people do not do their homework. Before you think about buying or adopting a horse please do some research, talk to breeders and stable owners about leasing before you buy. Talk to them about the cost of stabling, feeding, grooming, vet services, farrier services, and if you or your child require schooling or the horse requires schooling what that is going to cost.
Sonny and I are a great match, a match made in heaven but even heaven can have pitfalls. I hope that I will be the last love Sonny will have in his life.
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