Stories from the Heart

Before You Walk On By That Senior Horse, Here’s Something You Should Know…


We first met Monty when he was considered “old”.

He was adopted into our family when he was 18. His main little rider, Hannah, was just eight years old at the time. A retired racehorse that also had a career in search and rescue, Monty was just what a family with four children needed.

As the years passed, he proved his worth over and over. He was the horse that went to fun shows and cheerfully babysat all day. If Hannah lost her balance, he would visibly slow down to help her. Trustworthy and consistent, Monty was the most honest horse in the barn.

What little girl wouldn't smile with a best friend like this? (Courtesy of Bella Run)
What little girl wouldn’t smile with a best friend like this? (Courtesy of Bella Run)

He possessed a wisdom that only comes at a certain age. He taught his kids life lessons. He taught them to not judge a book by its cover, that there is value in all life, that kindness matters, and that just because something is old and can’t be ridden anymore, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be cherished. He trained children in a sport where the old are all too often thrown away. He taught loyalty and love.

Years passed, the kids grew up, and Monty was retired. He was still cared for by his family without a complaint. After years of service and protection, it was a small way to thank him.

Several weeks ago, Monty was humanely euthanized at home. He was 28 years old. He was in our lives for ten years. While the loss was difficult, we wouldn’t take any of it back. He was exactly what our family needed, and we were exactly what he needed. That old thoroughbred got a second wind and a second life.

Senior pictures with the horse of a lifetime. (Courtesy of Bella Run)
Senior pictures with the horse of a lifetime. (Courtesy of Bella Run)

He got a chance to have his mane braided by children in his golden years… the best reward for an old horse.

Every auction we go to we see old horses. These horses were once 4H horses, trusty trail horses, and partners. We see a little bit of Monty in each of them… that wisdom, that gentleness.

We pull the ones we think we can find homes for and carry mints in our pockets for the ones we can’t save. If we could place more, we would pull more. Our hope it that Monty’s story might spread and convince others that a horse in their “late teens/early twenties” isn’t just a backhoe rental waiting to happen. Ask anyone that has adopted and loved a senior horse… it is worth it.

If you are looking for a horse, please consider an old horse. If an inexpensive medication or joint supplement is all it takes, it’s a small price to pay for the gratitude and love you will reap in return.

They deserve it, and you won’t regret it.


About the Author

(Courtesy of the author.)
(Courtesy of the author.)

Located in Athens, Ohio, Bella Run Equine is a non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of slaughter-bound horses. Pulled from Ohio kill pens, their rescues are rehabilitated physically and mentally in preparation for their new forever homes. Bella Run makes a commitment to do right by each horse that passes though their barn doors.

For more information on the organization or to find out how you can help, visit their website: bellarunequine.com or Facebook page.