He’s a Percheron. As in a very big guy. And he’s finally found his forever home at Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue in Florida.
The gelding named “Gentleman” first came to the attention of Beauty’s Haven in the fall of 2006. A friendly, sweet senior, he has a name well suited to his disposition.
The Florida rescue learned that Gentleman had once been used to pull carts or buggies. Information on the horse suggested that after his partner died, Gentleman had been sold to a kill buyer and was headed for a slaughterhouse.
Horse lovers – many of them fans of the late Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro – mobilized to raise funds to buy the horse. However, after he was released from the kill pen, he developed pleurisy. The Beauty’s Haven staff arranged for him to stay at a Pennsylvania rescue while he recuperated and until he was well enough to travel to Florida.
That October, the Percheron arrived and was at a decent weight. Aside from normal medical maintenance such as floating his teeth and trimming his feet, he appeared to be in good shape. His sunny disposition made him a hit with the staff, who lavished him with attention.
Once the aging gelding finished rehab and was determined to be sound, he was ready for adoption. In March, a rescue with a therapeutic riding program formally adopted him. The Beauty’s Haven staff delighted in the fact that Gentleman was going to a rescue that specialized in draft horses.
However, three months later, the rescue notified Beauty’s Haven that the horse was losing weight. He had been moved from a pasture full of younger draft horses to a geriatric pasture so that no other horses would run him away from the hay. The adopting rescue added that the staff was working on his weight.
In November of the same year, the Beauty’s Haven staff found out that the Percheron was in very bad shape. Pursuant to the terms of his adoption contract, they sent a state-licensed veterinarian to examine the horse and assess his condition. The photos they received showed an animal in sad shape. The vet pronounced Gentleman to be around 300 pounds underweight and recommended that he be removed from the adopting rescue before it was too late to save his life.
Gentleman returned to Beauty’s Haven on Thanksgiving morning that year. He faced yet another complete rehabilitation. Although the adopting agency had stated the horse suffered from EPSM, a condition common to draft horses, muscle biopsies and blood tests determined that the cause of his condition was neglect. His body had begun to feed off itself.
The staff focused on feeding Gentleman many tiny meals during both the day and the night. He received top-quality hay, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments, and deworming in addition to standard care. The Percheron has now completed his second rehabilitation program. Rather than risk any chance of future neglect, the rescue has decided to offer him a forever home. He is now a sanctuary horse.
The horses at Beauty’s Haven arrive from auctions, kill buyers, and from owners who no longer want them or who can no longer care for them. The rescue for many is their only safe place, a home where they can get vet, farrier, and dental care, whether their stay is short or permanent. Beauty’s Haven is a 501(c)(3) organization.