At a young age, buckskin colt Tony has already shown an amazing ability to generate a lot of attention. Reportedly six months old, Tony arrived in Maine in January. While being taken off the horse trailer in Springvale, Tony spooked and got loose. The skittish and relatively unhandled colt went on the lam, avoiding all attempts to contain him for weeks. Horse lovers throughout the state and beyond were concerned about Tony’s welfare. One Facebook post about the loose colt was seen by nearly half a million people!
Tony eventually settled in at the property of Martha Roberts and Butch Clarke, frequently taking shelter under their second-floor deck. With exceptional patience and perseverance, Roberts and Clarke were able to establish a rapport with the colt, which allowed for his eventual recovery. A team including MSSPA staff, professional horse trainers Erin Austin and Chris Lombard, and Dr. Alex Catalano and technician Leanne Rubchinuk from New England Equine Surgical and Medical Center was able to safely coax the colt onto MSSPA’s horse trailer.
After a short stay at New England Equine for necessary veterinary care, Tony arrived at the River Road shelter with a clean bill of health. MSSPA Barn Manager Jeff Greenleaf describes Tony as very friendly and curious but still shy and skittish. He now approaches staff at the paddock fence, especially at feeding time! He likes to be groomed and can be easily approached if you take your time. He also seems to like attention, which certainly tracks with his previous antics! MSSPA CEO Meris J. Bickford adds that Tony is extremely gentle when being offered food from a bucket or feed dish, despite how food motivated he seems to be.
This situation is a good reminder of why it is not always the best idea to purchase horses from out-of-state auctions and kill pens. Tony was reported to be only six months old when he arrived, which means that he was likely weaned from his dam not long before leaving for Maine. Additionally, he seems to have had little human handling. According to MSSPA Assistant CEO Kathy Woodbrey, a young horse in that state of mind would be a challenge for any horse handler, and Tony was able to get away and evade human contact for weeks. Any Mainer interested in owning a horse is encouraged to contact MSSPA first. The equine professionals at the Society are available to offer help and advice in a variety of situations and maintain a close network with other professionals and organizations throughout the region. In addition to horses available for adoption at the shelter, the Society runs a free rehoming service on Facebook called Maine Horse Matchmaker. When a good match is not found at the shelter or through Matchmaker, MSSPA staff are always happy to put prospective adopters in contact with other reputable equine shelters and rescues in New England. After all, there are a lot of horses right here in Maine in need of loving homes.
No matter his history, everyone at MSSPA is just glad that Tony is now safe at the shelter. Because of his young age and previous lack of proper handling, Tony will need time for rehabilitation and training before he is available to be adopted. This smart and sweet colt should have little trouble finding a wonderful new home when he is ready! If you would like to follow Tony’s progress and find out when MSSPA opens to visitors so that you can meet him, please sign up for our email list below. You can also follow MSSPA on Facebook and Instagram; links to both are are the bottom of this page.