An old lesson horse, not forgotten, gets his due

Moccasin Dancer, 23, was reunited with one of his old friends earlier this year. The longtime lesson pony has earned a sweet retirement.

Moccasin Dancer, 23, was reunited with one of his old friends earlier this year. The longtime lesson pony has earned a sweet retirement.

After a decade spent obliging a blur of riders who honed their equestrian skills on him, a 23-year-old T’bred was placed for sale on Craigslist, and soon had one of his old friends come calling.

In a story that might not have ended so well for Moccasin Dancer, a quick glance at Craigslist, and a mother’s recognition of the photo backdrop, the place where her daughter took lessons, brought a very happy conclusion to the old geldings long lesson career.

“I asked my daughter Cassandra if the horse I’d spotted on Craigslist looked familiar and she yelled, ‘That’s Simon!’ And I called his old barn immediately and said we’d take him,” says Cheryl Messores. “He spent all those years as a lesson horse and I felt he deserved it.”

So shortly after the New Year, mother and daughter drove to the riding stable and picked up their old friend who had seen better days. Now missing a couple of front teeth, and a bit scruffy, he was still the big, friendly chestnut her daughter used to ride.

Moccasin Dancer
Sire: Northern Match
Dam: Quickery
Foal date: April 26,1991
“My daughter used to tack him up and exercise him to work off some of the board (costs) she was paying on her own horse. She always really liked him,” she says.

Since coming to live with one of his former riders, Simon filled out nicely, and made an appearance at the small Central Jersey Horseman’s Association show in April—he took 2nd overall and reserve championship in western pleasure.

And recently a family friend agreed to share Simon, and took him to their place on a free lease. Simon is the new family pet who is so gentle he will be entrusted to give walk/trot rides to the friend’s son, a teen who suffered a traumatic brain injury and is in need of a trusted, calm and steady mount, Messores says.

“It worked out perfectly. We leased Simon to my friend, and we took on one of her younger horses to train,” she says. “They’re so excited to have him that even my friend, who lost her confidence riding, is regaining it by riding him.” ♥

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21 responses to “An old lesson horse, not forgotten, gets his due”

  1. Jeanne Mirabito

    This makes me smile. May Great Spirit’s love shine upon this horse forever .

  2. Laura

    My stable has a nonprofit arm which raises money to care for retired school horses until a forever home is found.

  3. Jon

    Loyalty to an old loved friend.

  4. julia

    As a child, at the stables where i took lessons, they lost the mare, Uppy, i often rode, in foaling. the horses
    there sadly weren’t so very well taken care of.. the foal was breach and the barn owner didn’t want to call
    a vet. sadly lost both mare and foal. have always had a soft spot in my heart for lesson horses.. they all
    deserve a safe retirement. it’s only right after all they give. glad someone stepped up for him. we need more
    people to do so.

  5. Judith Ochs

    Great story. Lesson horses are the true heroes. I had a lesson horse that I loved dearly. He was a gentleman who was the alpha of his field and whom all his field mates – and every female who knew him – loved. His death was the loss of a major part of the soul and heart of the barn. So very sad to see this on Craigs list – where the likelihood was small for a good ending but at least this guy landed softly as he so very very richly deserved. It takes a very special horse to be a “lesson horse”…

  6. Mrs. H.B.

    Mocassin Dancer/ Simon really hit the jackpot- LUCKY horse. I AM VERY HAPPY FOR HIM AND WISH ALL OTHER OLDIES WERE SO LUCKY.

    Thousands of old lesson horses, carriage horses and pleasure horses are not so lucky. Craigslist is crowded with listings like this during the winter months when the people who have made money FOR YEARS off these “oldies” resent having to keep feeding them once they are no longer “useful.”

    It is a shame, but it is the truth. Often they are sold or given away to whomever shows up first–often a kill buyer. Sometimes, they are simply sent to a low end auction, where again, their chances of being bought by a kill buyer is very high.

    And Susal Salk, your commemnt shows that you are either very unfamiliar with the horse world in general, or are very naive.

    1. Colmel

      Mrs. H. B. either you are naïve or you are new to blogs. Susan Salk owns this blog. If it weren’t for her, you would never have read this story. Period.

      Susan never said that no horses on Craig’s list go to unspeakable futures. What she is saying is that in her research of this PARTICULAR situation/story, there was no evidence that this PARTICULAR horse was going to slaughter.

  7. Daryl

    He looks good for his age , so happy the story has a good ending for this horse.

  8. Patricia Bewley

    don’t you hate the term “human nature”, when these horse’s end up on Craig’s list cause human nature took over and gratitude was no where to be found for his life of service ? so glad he was saved from an unspeakable trip to the slaughter house

  9. tbdancer

    Lesson horses have a special place in Heaven, but some of them earn a special Heaven on earth. Looks like Mocassin Dancer is one of those. God bless that wonderful boy and his angels :o)

  10. Majela

    Just like my Thor. Please continue to follow up on him. Bad things happen to horses. He needs to stay put somewhere. Very sad.

  11. Barbara Griffith

    The word that should be in the email address is wordpress. My mistake.

  12. Barbara Griffith

    I will trying sending this again. This is very important information from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. Yesterday they sent the information that the EU had stopped excepting all horses from Mexico because of not being able to trace the horses medical background and the cruelty of shipping the horses.

    I hope this stops at least some of the slaughter of US horses.

  13. Michelle Y.

    Wow, unbelievable that after a decade of loyal service the barn would actually have the callousness to list him on Craigslist, especially at his age, not to mention it sounds like they weren’t taking that great of care of him. A HUGE thank you to Cheryl Messores who has the compassion the barn obviously lacks. So glad Simon has his forever home and is healthy and happy and still helping riders. May he have many years ahead of him!

  14. KWebers

    Excellent! Great to hear that this horse had people who took action to keep him safe & secure. Every horse deserves that, bar none.
    I hope that that continues to be the case & that Simon’s forever secure from slaughter …. where over 94,000 US horses have been betrayed for that coin this year alone.
    That’s not only wrong, it’s unethical, as this unregulated species is (potentially) very harmful to humans that consume it.
    And eating horsemeat is culturally abhorrent to the majority of Americans.
    Act now to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter for human consumption: S.541/HR.1094 ….. the SAFE Act in Washington DC.
    Safety for US horses, & safety for consumers. Ban this toxic, cruel practice now.

  15. Colmel

    This is a WONDERFUL ending. I’m sure Simon knows that he is loved and appreciated, and that’s the best possible outcome for him. I hope he has many happy, healthy years ahead of him. What he will do for the young man will amaze many.

  16. Carol Parmenter

    So very glad of a wonderful outcome. We can all make a difference one horse at a time.

  17. Stephanie Morse

    pretty sad that the stable that made money off of him decided to get rid of him, I understand that many cannot offer a retirement home, but for an older gelding like this, euthanasia would have been the better choice.

    Very glad of the outcome in this case.

  18. Marilyn Lee-Hannah

    Minus the being listed on Craigslist, this is what should happen with all horses who give their life to serving their owners…a happy and loving semi-retirement. Woohoo to “Mom” for seeing and recognizing Simon and getting him to safety!

  19. SpotOn

    LOVE this story!

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