Apollo – An Orphan’s Story

Apollo, a young appendix quarter horse gelding, began life as an orphaned foal. He was born to a nurse mare for hire and was not permitted to bond with his dam before an early separation. The young foal was then taken in by a Midwestern equine shelter. Young Apollo was adopted, transported to the east coast and then his placement disrupted. Following that the young horse was again adopted and this time relocated to Maine.

Apollo as an orphaned foal

Along the trail, Apollo devolved from super cute to not so appealing, undersocialized, and finally to intimidating, aggressive, and downright dangerous. From sheer self-preservation, he had learned to challenge all handlers, charge, rear, strike, and bite anyone who entered his turnout or stall. Apollo was good looking, but unmanageable, and headed to the livestock auction. His likely next stop would have been the killer’s truck to Canada. MSSPA first had contact with the situation when Apollo’s then owner tried to rehome him using the MSSPA’s Maine Horse Matchmaker rehoming service. No takers for this bad boy! Before he could be sent to auction, Apollo’s owner contacted her local animal control officer and asked to surrender the horse. She told the officer she was too frightened of the horse to enter his turnout to feed, catch or handle him. The animal control officer accepted Apollo from his owner and then contacted the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals. Apollo finally caught a break; it was a lifesaver for this fellow.

Apollo soon before arrival at MSSPA

When this active two-year-old was unloaded at MSSPA, he was seriously underweight, had a heavy parasite load, and his hooves were overgrown. He also presented with some very challenging behaviors. Without warning or provocation, Apollo would rear and strike. He snapped at and would bite anyone who attempted to approach him. He had developed ulcers that contributed to his discomfort and unacceptable behaviors. The ulcers were quickly addressed through vigilant veterinary care. Through committed, consistent handling and training by the MSSPA’s professional staff, particularly from the Society’s assistant barn manager, Apollo has blossomed into a clever, willing, and agreeable young horse. He still engages in mouthy behavior occasionally, but does not over react when he is redirected. As a result of patient, skillful work with barn staff and horse trainers, rearing and striking is no longer his “go to.”

A well-behaved Apollo with MSSPA Assistant Barn Manager Madison Donahue

Apollo’s progress from throwaway horse to hot prospect during his year at the MSSPA has been nothing short of miraculous. He continues to work hard on his training and charm all who meet him. When Apollo is adopted and joins the community as part of a “forever family,” he will surely bring joy and smiles to all who meet him.

Charming Apollo

Show your love for Apollo and the other MSSPA horses by participating in the Help-A-Horse Monthly Giveaway.