Hawser has a knack for landing on his feet.
Last October, standing in a trailer at the New Holland Auction, a place where horses are routinely sold into the slaughter pipeline, the end seemed certain.
But the ever-vigilant Thoroughbred rescue activist Sonja Meadows spotted the chestnut in a careworn red halter, reached in, flipped the frightened animal’s lip, and snapped a picture of his identifying tattoo.
With no time to spare, she contacted California-based Thoroughbred advocate Deb Jones, and from there Hawser’s journey was eventually re-directed to the sprawling training facility of Steuart Pittman. (Please see earlier story).
Pittman, the founder of the Retired Racehorse Training Project, took Hawser under his wing, and trained him as a potential foxhunter.
But luck changed again when a veterinary inspection revealed that Hawser had suffered cartilage loss in his ankles, a condition prohibiting him from strenuous work.
Listed on Pittman’s website as a free horse, Hawser failed to attract any takers, and once again, his fate was left to chance.
“We tried for months to find him a new home, but had no luck,” Pittman says. “Hawser’s ankles, combined with his tendency to get too strong, and really wanting to roll in his canter, made it difficult to even give him away.”
Unable to afford to keep Hawser at his facility indefinitely, Pittman was all set to return him to his original owner when an idea struck!
“It occurred to me that my sister Polly, who lives on the farm and likes to go on a trail ride a couple times a month, had been talking about wanting a horse of her own,” Pittman says. “She likes them a little spunky, and Hawser loves nothing more than to go hacking through the woods.
“I recently got him for her and sent her on her way” on a ride, “with my fingers crossed,” he says. “Sure enough, she came back with a big grin on her face and now he’s hers!
“That damned horse didn’t want to leave here, and he figured out a way to stay!”
So Hawser the horse, with the skill of a cat, landed perfectly—again.