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Rescue Horse Elysian Finds a Blissful Future

Courtesy of DEFHR

Elysian is a 16-year-old Quarter Horse gelding that arrived at Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR) in Woodbine, Maryland, in March 2017.

Elysian and 11 other horses were seized by animal control officers from a property in Carroll County, Maryland, due to neglect.

Elysian was very thin, had unbalanced hooves, and his beautiful cremello coat was covered in layers of mud and feces. Once in DEFHR’s care, it took several baths to remove the dirt. Underneath, his skin was raw due to urine scald. According to DEFHR’s Operations Director Brittney Vallot, although bathing and cleaning Elysian took a lot of time, the process was even more tedious because of his anxiety.

After fully rehabilitating under DEFHR’s care, Elysian moved into DEFHR’s training program to help him overcome his anxious tendencies and prepare him for his forever home. He was ultimately adopted in March 2019 and his new, loving home allowed him to blossom and thrive. However, in June 2023, his adopter asked DEFHR to step in again as she had to unexpectedly sell her farm and move out of state.

As a safety net for horses in need, DEFHR always welcomes back their previously adopted horses and Elysian was no exception. Elysian re-entered training and by early 2024, a new family expressed interest in adopting the kind gelding.

When Elysian arrived at DEFHR, his beautiful cremello coat was covered in mud and manure. Now, his coat gleams along with his personality. ©Days End Farm Horse Rescue

We spoke with DEFHR Head Trainer Sara Strauss to learn more about Elysian’s journey from a timid rescue horse to the consummate partner for equines and humans. 

How did you help Elysian overcome his fears and anxieties?

Strauss: When Elysian first entered DEFHR’s training program in 2017, he had a difficult time adapting to living in a herd and with environmental and routine changes. As a result, we moved him to our satellite facility, which houses fewer horses. The quiet environment enabled him to relax and become more comfortable with his surroundings.

Elysian was a stallion when he first arrived at DEFHR and had been locked in a stall for an undetermined amount of time, so his social skills were lacking. After he was gelded, DEFHR staff slowly introduced Elysian to a larger herd and that gradual process helped him learn how to socialize and ultimately find comfort in numbers. 

What were your areas of focus during Elysian’s training? 

Strauss: We focused on groundwork and helping Elysian understand that he could find relaxation on his own. We originally started him under saddle but due to an undiagnosed lameness, we decided it would be in his best interest to find a home that would allow him to be a very handsome pasture pet.

Where did Elysian excel in training and what were the challenges? 

Strauss: Elysian is very aware of his surroundings, which is a good trait, but it can also cause him to become distracted. On the flip side, he’s a sensitive fellow, so his heightened awareness means he responds very easily and quickly to cues. 

Tell me about his personality. Any notable quirks? 

Strauss: He likes to think that he is a tough guy in the field, but around people he’s pretty much a marshmallow. He loves to be petted and loved by his handlers!

Elysian has an adoption pending. What made this new family a great fit for Elysian?

Strauss: The family that is adopting Elysian had horses previously but took a break from ownership for several years. They’re now ready to have horses again and they wanted to offer a loving retirement home to a horse in need.

They initially fell in love with Elysian thanks to his striking cremello color and gorgeous blue eyes. Their daughter enjoys pleasure riding, so they are also adopting another DEFHR rescue named Dudley. This will allow the daughter to ride Dudley and the mom can enjoy quiet, pampering time with Elysian. The family has a new shed row barn for the horses—they are two lucky guys! 

To learn more about DEFHR’s adoptable horses, visit:

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